(Trewavas & Poll 1952)
by J. McCann
Found in close association with rocky bottoms to depths of 5m(16ft)around the southern half of Lake Tanganyika.
These are the Tank details and conditions that I use to keep and breed N. sexfasciatus.
The tank size for a pair of these fish can be relatively small, mine are now kept in a 30x12x12 after pairing of in a 48x15x15. This is probably about right as the male does become very protective towards the fry and can attack the female.
Filtration is up to you but I use the same in this tank as I do in 90% of my tanks, Air driven undergravel. The undergravel is covered with ordinary gravel covered (1-2") topped with a gravel tidy if you dont have this the female will dig down to the undergravel plates when cleaning out her spawning site. On top of the graveltidy I use about an inch of coral sand. Tank decoration can be rocks, flowerpots or pieces of pipe to make caves.
pH 8, normally the coral sand will help keep pH up around this mark. Temp 78-79o. Nitrate less than 25ppm the lower the better. Water changes of 10% per week if stock is small if stock increases monitor water conditions and change as necessary.
Sexual differences-Females are somewhat smaller and fuller-bodied than males but the only reliable means of sexing this species is by direct examination of the genital papillae.These fish seem to take an age to reach sexual maturity (app 18 months)and compared to a lot of species seem to need to be fully grown 9cm(3.5in) for males. 7 5cm(3in) for females. Pair Forming-The only reliable way to get a pair is to start with a group of similar sized young and let them grow on together that can seem to take forever with the slow maturing of this fish. Once a pair has formed most of the other fish are forced to leave the area, and the male and female defend the area usually with just threat displays.
Breeding-Once a pair has formed a spawning site is chosen in my case this was a broken flowerpot the floor of the site is then cleaned till it is spotless (in my tank they stopped when the reached the gravel tidy). The Stripes/bars of the male and female then fade until they have almost disappeared and the spawning then takes place, the eggs are laid on the floor and the female remains above them for a couple of days fanning them, as each egg hatches the female picks up the very tiny fry and moves them to a different spot. when all the eggs are hatched the fry numbering up to 200 are just a wriggling mass. Over the next few days the fry separate out more and can be feed with powered fry food or very newly hatched brine shrimp, the mother can also be seen chewing up and spitting out fish food.Click Here to find out how to hatch Brine Shrimp.
At this stage you might find the male becomes very aggressive and will attack any fish in his area or even you on the outside of the tank. The fry tend to roam more than a lot of species I have kept and can and do get picked of by other tankmates who swim in and snatch up the fry and then swim of (all very Quick). I have found that after 2/3 weeks the female no longer cares for the fry and they move in with the male who dos a very good job of protecting them (even from the female who gets attacked if she come to close to the group of fry.
© Copyright 2002, J McCann, All Rights Reserved
This article was originally written for use by tanganyikan-cichlids.co.uk.