The adult male Neolamprologus brichardi. Photo by Alexander Langer.
I have bred Neolamprologus brichardi successfully in many tanks. My first pair was a wild-caught one when I was very new to the cichlid hobby. I set it into a 60x30x30cm breeding tank with unusual much sand, so that they could dig as much as they wanted. As filter I used a sponge-filter. The water had a pH of 8.3, a temperature of 27° Celsius and a hardness of 16° German hardness. I used four flower-pots (each had a hole that the fish can get in) as caves.
The Neolamprologus brichardi breeding tank. Photo by Alexander Langer.
Both the male and the female were 8 cm in size and had a wonderful beige color and bright blue gleaming fins. I bought a special neon fluorescent tube with a special color to get the fins gleaming more, because they would looks wonderful then, but this was a mistake, as I found out later.
The pair started digging at once and to make the caves free from any sand. I changed almost 1/3 of the water in the tank once a week with new colder water, and after the water changes the water was some degrees colder than before. I also added some table salt - 1 teaspoon for every 50 l water - after each water change, because I found out that the cichlids from the rift lakes feel better then (they stop scrapping the bodies at stones and other things). I do this in all my rift lake tanks.
The spawn of Neolamprologus brichardi. Photo by Alexander Langer.
Neolamprologus brichardi with the free swimming pair. Photo by Alexander Langer.
Almost four weeks later the pair spawned after a water-change. The process was as follows: After a long mating-time, which more seemed to be a fight than a mating-dance, they started to spawn. The female swam into the cave and put some eggs on the upper part of the wall of the cave. Then the female swam out and the male entered the cave to fertilize the eggs. This happened a few times until the female had laid almost 30-40 eggs. Now the female left the cave very rarely, and those times only to eat. The male meanwhile saved the territory against other fish - it sometimes even wanted to attack the fish in the neighbouring tank.
Unfortunately, many algae started to grow during the breeding period. I later found out that this happened because of this special neon-light I've bought. The whole tank had been covered by these algae - the walls, the stones, the caves and even the sand! And I couldn't remove them because I didn't want to annoy the pair and disturb the harmony.
After three days the eggs became larvas and after seven days the fry started swimming inside the cave. One day later they started to come out of the cave - first only very careful and close to the cave but later also above the cave in a big swarm of fry. A day later they swam around in the whole tank.
Then I found out the bad looking algae was a "good" thing: Many micro-organisms had started to grow and live between the algae, and the fry started to search for them and eat them. But I don't believe that these algae was good for the water conditions and I never would breed a pair again in such a tank.
I fed the fries with artemia-nauplii and micro-flake-food and they grew quite fast.
The pair spawned again after two weeks, but the female didn't laid as many eggs as before - the nature has developed a protection against overcrowding a tank. The bigger juveniles stayed in the territory of the parents.
When the biggest juveniles had a size of 2-3 cm, they took care for the babies, too. Here you can see the group-behaviour of Neolamprologus brichardi: In the Lake Tanganyika Neolamprologus brichardi lives in big colonies together with many other individuals and pairs and they've developed a wonderful system to protect the group and mainly the babies and juveniles.
Usually I removed the biggest juveniles at a size of 3-4 cm from the tank, to get new space for new babies.
Later I bred them in several other tanks. For example in my big society tank (100x50x50, 250 l) with many stones (the whole background is full with stones and caves), where a very small (4 cm) pair bred.
I think that Neolamprologus brichardi is one of the easiest-to-breed cichlids from Lake Tanganyika.