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Five-bar Cichlid

five-bar cichlid

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Scientific Name:  Neolamprologus tretocephalus     
Min. Tank Size:   75 gallons      
Personality:   Highly aggressive      
Temperature:   75-79°F      
pH:   8.0-9.0/10-25°dGH      
Size:   6"      
Diet:   Carnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Can be kept with other medium-sized Lake Tanganyika species including Mbuna Cichlids; only a single pair should be kept in a tank. Allow plenty of room (the larger the tank the better) as this species is highly aggressive when breeding!

Five-bar Cichlid

Also called the Dwarf Frontosa and the Five-barred Lamprologus, the Five-bar Cichlid is endemic to Lake Tanganyika. These fish tend to inhabit the shallow, rocky areas in the intermediate zone of the lake. The Five-bar Cichlid is named for the five vertical black bars adorning its white or silvery blue body. These bars lend this species a similar appearance to the Frontosa Cichlid, though the Five-bar Cichlid lacks the pronounced hump on its head. The fins of this species are typically blue in color and they may show a faded portion of the vertical bands running along the body.

Tank Set-up

Five-bar Cichlids are fairly easy to care for in the home tank, though they may become territorial and highly aggressive during breeding periods. Like many Lake Tanganyika species, these fish are sensitive to changes in water chemistry so large water changes should be avoided. The ideal tank for Five-bar Cichlids will be decorated with sandy substrate and plenty of rockwork to form caves. This species also requires a great deal of open swimming space and quality filtration to counterract the high waste production that results from a carnivorous diet. Highly oxygenated water is also a must to provide optimum conditions and to mimic the natural environment these fish are endemic to.


Being a carnivorous species, Five-bar Cichlids feed primarily on meat-based foods in the wild. The natural diet of these fish consists largely of mollusks and small fish, though they are likely to accept a variety of live and frozen foods in the home aquarium. Feed a regular varied diet consisting of a high quality Cichlid pellet along with live and frozen meaty foods such as mysis shrimp, bloodworms, snails, and krill.


These Cichlids do not often spawn in the home aquarium but, under the right circumstances, breeding can be accomplished. Five-bar Cichlids are cave spawners and should be spawned in a breeding tank decorated with plenty of rocks piled to create caves. The water in the breeding tank should be kept at a pH between 8.2 and 9.0 and a temperature between 77 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. After the female lays the eggs on the walls or roof of the cave she will tend to them, fanning them with her fins to prevent fungus. Males of this species become very territorial and aggressive while guarding the spawning site and may forcibly take over care of the fry after they hatch.

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