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Congo Blackfin (Altolamprologus calvus)

Photo of: Congo Blackfin (Altolamprologus calvus)

Scientific Name(s): Altolamprologus calvus, Lamprologus calvus, Lamprologus compressiceps, Neolamprologus calvus


Common Name(s): Congo Blackfin


Family: Cichlidae


Species Type: African Cichlids, Lake Tanganyika


Maximum Size: 6 inches


Life Span: 11 years


Natural Habitat: East African Lake Tanganyika


Minimum Tank Size: 29 gallons


Tank Region: All over but prefers middle to bottom.


Possible Tank Mates: Other african cichlids and syndontis catfish.


Description: This is a shell dwelling species and as such the tank should contain shells or shell like structures for them to hide and breed in. These cichids generally mind their own business, though they can hold their own in a fight. Their scales are very thick, so they can easily take a few attacks. They are very good fish for Tanganyikan biotypes, as long as there are no small shell-dwellers present.


Temperature Range: 74°F - 82°F



pH Range: 7.4 - 8.6

pH 5.0
pH 6.0
pH 7.0
pH 8.0
pH 9.0


Hardness Range: 10° - 25°



Breeding Information: Spawning takes place in a cave, shell, or flowerpot too small for the male to enter. The male releases his milt at the entrance, then the female fans eggs, and remains in the shell till they hatch. She may not come out at all during this time. The male then guards the territory, preventing any other fish from coming near. The female will gaurd the fry as well, but the male will usually attempt to eat the free swimmers. For this reason, the shell with the female should be separated from the male shortly after spawning.


Sexing Information: Males tend to be larger than females with longer more pointed fins.


Diet: Carnivorous - prefers live food but will also accept frozen freeze-dried flake or pellet foods. Good frozen foods include krill or brine shrimp.


Temperament: Semi-aggressive. Not too territorial but may eat smaller fish.


Common Diseases: None specific to species.


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African Cichlids, Lake Tanganyika


Keith Pardee

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