Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Neolamprologus multifasciatus

Multi, (Multies)

Neolamprologus multifasciatusNeolamprologus multifasciatus
Photos by Andy Rapson


Neolamprologus: Greek, neos = new + Greek, lampros = torch + Greek, lagos = hare.

General Notes:

Neolamprologus multifasciatus is one of the smallest know cichlids with adult males reaching just 4 cms and females even less. They live and breed in empty neothauma snail shells in Lake Tanganyika which litter the floor of the lake in some regions. Neolamprologus multifasciatus normally is very peaceful unless defending a brood of eggs or fry. They will do best when kept as a colony in a species tank but if their tank mates are carefully chosen they will thrive as part of a Tanganyikan community. Lake Tanganyika is very rich in minerals, the water is very hard and alkaline and it is important that this environment is replicated in the aquaria, Neolamprologus multifasciatus will not thrive in soft acidic water at all.
Try to avoid using to much substrate because if you do Neolamprologus multifasciatus will spend all their time digging, I have seen them pile up all the tanks substrate in to one corner of the tank and still not satisfied they were busy taking the substrate from the bottom of the pile and placing it at the top.
In the right environment these fish are quite hardy and long lived but they won't tolerate being in the wrong environment regarding water chemistry.


Neolamprologus multifasciatus is a planktivore which means it feeds on plankton (zooplankton). In captivity they aren't over fussy about their food and will accept most types of food of an appropriate size. Live or frozen daphnia, Cyclops, and good quality flake food and freeze dried tubifex worms ( not live) are all taken.


Males and females are the same colour but when adult the males are much larger.


Neolamprologus multifasciatus use their snail shells as a place to lay their eggs and tend their fry before they become free swimming. The brood size can be quite small at just two but can reach up to thirty. When the fry emerge from their shell they tend to stick close by the entrance and at the slightest threat of danger they will retreat back inside as will the adults. These fish will live happily in colonies but in the aquaria there will normally be just one dominant adult male. Once settled these fish are very prolific.

Wild status

The wild population of Neolamprologus multifasciatus is quite healthy and there are no concerns about it.

Information at a glance

pH: 7.8 - 8.4
dGH: 15 - 25
Temperature: 24 - 26°C (75 - 79°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 4cm (1.6in)
Min tank size: 60 litres
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Aquarium type: Species / Tanganyikan community
Swimming level: Lower

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Neolamprologus multifasciatus

Origin: Endemic to Lake Tanganyika in the E African rift valley.

Habitat: Neolamprologus multifasciatus is a shell dweller and is found among the empty shells of neothauma snails where it lives and breeds.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae
Genus: Neolamprologus
Species: N. multifasciatus, (Boulenger, 1906)

Common name:
Multi (Multies)

Synonyms: Lamprologus multifasciatus.