Neolamprologus pulchra "Brichardi"

Neolamprologus pulcher ‘Brichardi’

Lyretail Cichlid, Princess of Burundi, Fairy Cichlid
Trewavas & Poll, 1952

Distribution:  Endemic to the rocky shores of Lake Tanganyika at depths of 15-75 ft (5-23m).

This species has undergone a number of genus and species reclassifications.  A chronology of attributable synonyms is as follows:

Lamprologus savoryi elongatus (Trewavas & Poll, 1952)
Lamprologus elongatus (Trewavas & Poll, 1952)
Lamprologus brichardi (Poll, 1974)
Neolamprolongus elongatus (Colombe & Allgayer, 1985)
Neolamprologus brichardi (Poll, 1986)
Neolamprologus elongatus (Konings, 1988)
Neolamprologus brichardi (Burgess, 1988)

Arguably one the most elegant of the Tanganyikan cichlids, what’s most striking about Neolamprologus pulcher ‘Brichardi’ is their graceful, filamentous finnage, giving rise to one of their popular monikers, “Fairy Cichlids”.  Best kept in groups, they make a stunning display indeed!  Unlike most other cichlids, breeders should not be isolated.   They are notable for their highly socially-developed breeding behavior.  Care for their young is communal and multi-generational.  That is, older offspring participate in the care and protection of younger offspring.  Large  colonies consist of dominant breeders as well as non-breeding subordinate adults and sub-adults.  Offspring at every stage of development are cared for collectively by the colony.  As one might imagine, other aquarium inhabitants are not tolerated, so a species only aquarium is recommended.

Below are the twelve juveniles that were the beginning of my colonies.

Recent research indicates that N. pulcher (the Daffodil cichlid) and N. brichardi (the Lyretail or Fairy cichlid) are the same species, but from different, phenotyically distinct populations.  As it happens, there are many distinct populations of Neolamprologus that are designated as separate species that could at some point be designated as N. pulcher as well.  Given its colony-building habits in rock and boulder-laden habitats,  it can be understood how colonies can isolate themselves and over time develop their own characteristics, yet not to the point of speciation.  I have in mind N. splendens, gracilis, palmeri, crassus and others.  We’ll see how it all unfolds as the research continues.

Here are the first fry of the colony.  At this point the breeders were still quite young, so their colors, finnage and overall size had not fully developed.