Sexfasciatus Cichlid (Neolamprologus sexfasciatus)

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The Sexfasciatus Neolamprologus sexfasciatus is without a doubt one of the most attractive Lamprologini cichlids imported from Lake Tanganyika, Africa. There are several geographic color variations depending on where it originates in the lake. But overall It is an elongated, somewhat stocky cichlid with six bold black bars on a silver to white, or gold background. it is further highlighted with touches of blue.

Its species name is very descriptive, with “sex” meaning six and “fascia” meaning band. The common names describe its bold appearance too. It is known as the Six-bar Lamprologus, Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid, Six Bar Cichlid, Yellow Six Bars, Neolamprologus sexfasciatus Gold, Neolamprologus sexfasciatus Blue, and Sexfas. Other names are implemented by putting ‘tagged” add-ons at the end the scientific name. This is used to refer to varieties based on the region where found or a color variation. An examples of this is Neolamprologus sexfasciatus “Fulwe”. Others tagged in this manner are followed by Gold, Kambwimba ‘daffodil’, Ikola, Kasanga, Mwerazi, Namansi, Nkondwe, Samazi, and Kipili, to name a few.

This attractive cichlid is moderate in size with males reaching up to about 6 inches (15 cm) in length and females being a bit smaller. It is closely related to the Five bar cichlid Lamprologus tretocephalus. Both species have very similar coloration. But true to their names they are distinguished by the Sexfasciatus having 6 broad bands while the Five Bar has only 5. Another similarly appointed cichild is the of a Frontosa Cichlid Cyphotilapia frontosa, but is much larger than either of these two, reaching a length of up to 14 inches (35 cm) or more.

This fish is best for the intermediate and advanced cichlid keeper. The size and bold patterning of this cichlid make it fun and easy to observe and it’s fairly easy to care for as long as regular maintenance is done. A minimum 50 gallon tank is suggested, but a larger aquarium with about a four foot length will be needed for a breeding pair. This cichlid is highly territorial and does not tolerate others of its own kind. Keeping a pair can work, but not groups of this species unless the tank is very large. After spawning the male can be quite protective of the fry, even to the point of attacking the female.

These cichlids are best kept in a species tank or with other durable species in a good sized aquarium. It can be kept with other cichlids of similar size and attitude, but because it is very aggressive the tankmates must be chosen with care. Tanganyikan cichlids that occupy different areas within the tank, like those from the Cyprichromis genus, can work well. Other rock dwelling cichlids can work too, like the larger Julidochromis or Altolamprologus species, and even Mbuna cichlids. Just make sure the tank is large enough with sufficient territories for each occupant. A mixed tank actually helps the female get less of the brunt of the male’s aggression when he is protecting the fry.

They like a sandy to very small sized substrate along with caves made from rocks, highly porous rock works well. They also do fine with plants. Because of their size it’s best to put the decor towards that back and sides of the tank, leaving open space in the middle for them to swim.


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