Known by a number of vernacular names including Fairy Cichlid, Lyretail Cichlid and Princess of Burundi
Deservedly one of the most popular Tanganyikan species available in the hobby, N. brichardi is ideal for newcomers to both Rift Lake cichlids and cichlids in general, being beautiful and easy to keep and breed. It is seen for sale under several common names including “Fairy Cichlid”, “Lyretail Cichlid” and “Princess of Burundi”. There are several colour morphs available, although these do not vary much in patterning, and an albino form is also occasionally available. The different species in the so-called “Brichardi complex”, which include N. crassus, falcicula, gracilis, helianthus, pulcher, savoryi and splendens, should not be mixed in aquaria as they will hybridise freely.
In nature, N. brichardi can be found in shoals of many thousands, exhibiting the same altruistic nature towards spawning pairs and young fish as is seen in aquaria but on a truly massive scale.
Not an ideal resident of the community aquarium since it’s aggressively territorial, especially when protecting fry, and is therefore best kept in a species tank under most circumstances.
In large set-ups it can be maintained successfully with other small to medium-sized Tanganyikan cichlids that occupy different areas of the tank such as Cyprichromis or shell-dwelling species.
Other rockdwellers such as Julidochromis or Altolamprologus are only possibilities if the tank is large enough and sufficient territories and broken lines-of-sight are provided.