Zebra Shell Dweller | Neolamprologus Similis

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Are you interested with fish species that form small colonies (harems)? Neolamprologus Similis is the smallest type of cichlid measuring up to 5 centimeters in length (2 inches). They love shell beds and form colonies. Neolamprologus Similis dwells in shells. It’s commonly found in Lake Tanganyika, particularly along the shores of southern region of Democratic Republic of the Congo. These fishes favor a lower substrate than most other shell dweller creatures.

Physical Appearance

The appearance of males is not different from that of females’. It’s difficult to distinguish the gender when they are still young. They are monomorphic. The significant noticeable thing is the males are bigger than females when they are already adults. Males also develop nuchal hump (protruding part on the head) when they are sexually mature.

They are typically shy fishes but they usually roam near the vicinity of the shells when they are not disturbed. Sometimes, they do mouth fighting but they are actually not harming each other.

Optimal Requirements:

  • pH range: 7.4 to 8.4
  • dH range: 7 to 30
  • Water temperature: 23°C to 28°C

In the wild, they live in shallow ground (sand) up to 10 meters high. They can tolerate a water depth of up to 45 meters.  You can have them in at least 40-liter aquarium for them to live comfortably.

How To Feed Them

Don’t feed them too much. A balanced diet is essential. Spirulina / algae flakes and sinking pellets are their daily diet. They also love live food but make sure they are not contaminated before you feed them to Zebra shell dwellers. To be safe, you may occasionally fee them frozen live food.

Spawning Behavior

They spawn inside the shell. The female chooses the spot and invites the male. The female deposits the eggs inside the shell. The male enters the shell and releases sperms to fertilize the eggs.

After fertilization, the eggs hatch after 24 hours and you’ll see swimming tiny lamprologus similis babies in six to seven days. Parents will defend their young against predators even as big as Trophies.

Final Thoughts

Neolamprologus Similis species are some of the most peaceful fishes in the hobby. These tiny fishes are very easy to care for as you can feed them easily. They reproduce considerably. The maintenance is also laid-back because they don’t produce much bio waste. You’ll definitely love to see your aquarium having sand substrate littered with shells.

The eyes of Neolamprologus Similis with a zebra-like body are stunning. Try to own some and see for yourself!

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