Breeding Neolamprologus meleagris

By Dave Gauthier


I purchased a trio of these dwarf Tanganyikan shell-dwellers from a friend of mine in January of 2002.  I set up a 10 gallon tank with 50/50 crushed coral and gravel for substrate, an adequate sized shell for each fish and a sponge filter along with a heater; the pH was right around 8.2.  A 50% water change is done weekly. They ate mainly flake food and bits of plankton at this point and adapted well.


The first sign of fry was on March 16.  I could see one coming out of the shell when the female would be away (she protected that shell from ANY nearby fish).  I waited until the female was away from the shell and all the fry were inside and moved the shell to an empty 10 gallon.  Within a few hours I had 18 fry swimming around and they were SMALL (1/8”)!  I waited for a day and began to feed them Cyclops Ez (a brine shrimp substitute).  This was the smallest food that I had.  They took to it immediately and they were fed this for the first 4 weeks.  They now eat finely crushed flake.


I lost 2 fry along the way, but a pretty good hatch rate considering I never saw the egg mass.  These fish were pretty easy to spawn or I just got lucky.  I have had 2 spawns since then, with both females.  After spawning the male is pretty content on just staying by his own shell, but will occasionally pay a visit to the females’ shells.  A very nice Tanganyikan fish and I would recommend these to anyone interested in getting into shell-dwellers.  The adult size is only 2” give or take a bit.