Lamprologus: Greek, lampros = light + Greek, lagos = hare
A tiny fish with a large personality. Lamprologus ocellatus is known as a shell dweller, they live in the empty shells of a particular snail which inhabits Lake Tanganyika. They rarely move far from their shell and they even use it to protect their eggs and small fry. Each fish has to have its own shell, even mating pairs have a shell each. It is important to have more shells than fish.
Wild Lamprologus ocellatus eat small invertebrates but in captivity they will accept all types of food but their diet should include some suitably sized live or frozen food such as daphnia, bloodworms, cyclops and brine shrimps.
Males are larger and have a more "bullish" appearance than females.
Breeding takes place inside the empty snail shell. If kept as a pair, both parents will guard the shell entrance fearlessly and will occasionally enter the shell to fan fresh water over the eggs. From spawning it takes around 10 days before the free swimming fry will be seen emerging from the shell, although at the slightest hint of danger they will disappear back in to its depths. They will also breed as a group with a number of females having a small territory within the bounds of a males larger territory. Each female will protect its own patch and the male will keep all intruders out.
Lamprologus ocellatus is widespread throughout Lake Tanganyika and doesn't face any known threats. Wild populations are considered to be quite rare but are listed as "Least Concern".
pH: 7.5 - 9
dGH: 9 - 19
Temperature: 23 - 25°C (74 - 77°F)
Size: 5cm (2in)
Min tank size: 60 litres
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Aquarium type: Species / Tanganyikan Community
Swimming level: Bottom
Origin: East Africa, Burundi; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Tanzania, United Republic of; Zambia. Lake Tanganyika. (endemic).
Habitat: Shallow lake edges in the abandoned shells of Neothauma snails.
Species: L. ocellatus, (Steindachner, 1909)
Synonyms: Julidochromis ocellatus, Lamprologus lestradei, Neolamprolagus ocellatus.