Neolamprologus leleupi

Neolamprologus leleupi, commonly known as the Leleupi cichlid, is a stunning fish species that belongs to the family Cichlidae. Native to the rocky shores of Lake Tanganyika in East Africa, this vibrant fish has gained popularity among aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various aspects of Neolamprologus leleupi, including its size and appearance, natural habitat, behavior, diet, and how to successfully keep them in a home aquarium. This fish is also known as Lamprologus leleupi, Lamprologus leleupi leleupi, Lamprologus leleupi melas, Neolamprologus leleupi leleupi, Neolamprologus leleupi melas.


The Neolamprologus leleupi typically reaches a size of 10-12 centimeters (4-5 inches) in length. With a compact and robust body shape, it showcases stunning coloration. Males are known for their vibrant yellow to orange hue, while females tend to display a paler yellow coloration. Their elongated fins complement their overall appearance, adding grace and beauty to their presence.


Originating from Lake Tanganyika, the Neolamprologus leleupi primarily inhabits the rocky shallows along the lake’s eastern coast. This region is characterized by clear, alkaline waters with temperatures ranging from 24-26 degrees Celsius (75-79 degrees Fahrenheit). The Leleupi cichlid is often found in close proximity to rocky outcrops, where it seeks refuge and constructs its breeding territories.


Neolamprologus leleupi is a territorial and somewhat aggressive species, especially during breeding and while defending its nesting sites. They are known to establish small territories among the rocky crevices, where they create nests and fiercely guard their eggs and fry. These cichlids exhibit interesting social behavior, forming small groups or pairs within their territories. While they can be aggressive towards other fish species, they tend to be peaceful when kept with their own kind.


In their natural habitat, Neolamprologus leleupi feeds primarily on small invertebrates, including insect larvae and plankton. To replicate their natural diet in a home aquarium, a variety of high-quality foods should be offered. This can include a combination of pellet or flake foods supplemented with live or frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, and small crustaceans. Providing a balanced diet helps maintain their vibrant coloration and supports their overall health.

Keeping Neolamprologus leleupi at home

If you’re considering keeping Neolamprologus leleupi in your home aquarium, there are a few essential factors to consider. Firstly, ensure that your aquarium is adequately sized, with a minimum of 75 liters (20 gallons) for a single pair or small group. Provide plenty of hiding spots, such as caves or rocky formations, to mimic their natural habitat and to facilitate territorial establishment. Maintain the water temperature within the recommended range of 24-26 degrees Celsius (75-79 degrees Fahrenheit) and maintain a pH level around 7.8-9.0 to replicate their alkaline lake conditions. Regular water changes, typically 25% every two weeks, help maintain water quality and reduce aggression among the fish.

When selecting tankmates, opt for other Lake Tanganyika cichlids that can tolerate their slightly aggressive behavior. Avoid keeping them with fin-nipping or overly territorial species. Additionally, provide a sandy substrate to imitate the sandy bottom of Lake Tanganyika, where these cichlids sift through foraging.

Scientific nameNeolamprologus leleupi
Type of aquariumFreshwater aquarium
Size10-12 centimeters / 4-5 inches
RegionNative to the rocky shores of Lake Tanganyika in East Africa
Ideal tank sizeA minimum of 75 liters (20 gallons) for a single pair or small group
Ideal water temperature24-26 °C / 75-79 °F
pH7.8 – 9.0
DietFeeds on small invertebrates, such as insect larvae and plankton. Offer a varied diet including pellets/flakes and live/frozen foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms.
ReproductionThey establish small territories among rocky crevices and guard their eggs and fry. Breeding behavior includes pairing and forming small groups.
Life spanAround 5-8 years
SchoolingNeolamprologus leleupi does not typically school but may form small groups within their territories.

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