Endemic to Lake Tanganyika. It is found only in the southern part of the lake.
It inhabits shallow water around rocky shorelines.
Maximum Standard Length
Aquarium SizeTop ↑
30″ x 12″ x 12″ (75cm x 30cm x 30cm) – 70 litres is suitable for a single pair.
Temperature: 73-81°F (23-27°C)
Live and frozen foods should comprise a large proportion of the diet. Dried foods can be fed, but less often. The diet should include some vegetable matter, such as a good quality spirulina flake.
Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑
A relatively peaceful species even when spawning. It can be maintained successfully with other small to medium-sized Tanganyikan cichlids that occupy different areas of the tank such as Cyprichromis species. Other rockdwellers such as Julidochromis or Altolamprologus are possibilities if the tank is large enough and sufficient territories are provided.
It should not be kept with mbuna or other boisterous species and should be maintained in pairs as the fish form monogamous bonds with their partners. Pairs are territorial towards conspecifics and only a single pair should be kept unless the tank is very large.
Possible. Bi-parental cave spawner. We suggest purchasing a group of young fish and allowing them to pair off naturally. Once a pair forms the other fish should be removed from the aquarium as the pair will remain together for life. The aquarium should be at least 48″ in length and set up as suggested above. The pH should be around 8.2-9.0 and the temperature 77-80°F.
The pair will spawn very secretively in a cave, with the female laying her eggs scattered on the wall or roof of it. It is often very difficult to tell if they have spawned until the fry are seen. Once spawning has occured the female will tend to the eggs while the male guards the area around the cave. The free swimming fry can be seen outside the cave after a week or so, although they will remain close to the cave for the intial period while they are aggressively guarded by the parents.
The fry are large enough to take brine shrimp nauplii from birth. Brood care is quite long-lived and they can remain with the parents until they are around 1″ in length at which point they should be removed as the adults may turn on them. The adults may spawn again whilst the brood are still in the aquarium and will form a nuclear family with the older fry remaining in the parents’ territory and tending to new broods of eggs.
V. moorii exists in several geographical morphs but interestingly the only variation in colour occurs in juvenile fish. All adults exhibit a dark patterning but depending on locality the fry may be dark (like adults), yellow or orange with the yellow and orange juveniles taking on the adult colouration as they mature. It is has been observed that the forms which undergo this colour change may ‘plant’ broods among fry of other species with similarly coloured young, leaving them to be guarded by the adopted parents and allowing the V. moorii adults to spawn more often.
This monophyletic species is the only known example of a Lamprologine cichlid which eats filamentous algae. It is often erroneously sold as Neolamprologus moorii. It is a good beginner’s fish due to its peaceful nature.