The Cylinder Cichlid Neolamprologus cylindricus is a handsome, hardy fish from the south eastern part of Lake Tanganyika, Africa. It is a more recently described cichlid species that is similar in shape and behavior to its close relative, the well known Lemon Cichlid Neolamprologus leleupi. It is as brightly colored as the Leleupi but it also has a very striking patterning with bold black and white bands. Because of its elongated cylindrical body shape, it is also commonly known as the Cylindricus Cichlid. This is a very attractive fish that adds a unique color palate to any Tanganyika biotope aquarium.
There are several slightly different color morphs, but all the varieties have ten dark vertical stripes along the body. Some also have blue edging on the fins and just under the eye. In each variety the males and females are both colored the same but those from the northern part of their range have lighter, brownish black bands. The more southerly specimens have darker black bands, and their bands are also broader. Some from the south will also have more yellow coloring between the bands rather than being white. This color morph is known as the Golden-head Cylinder Cichlid, Gold Head Cylindricus, or Goldheaded Cylinder Cichlid.
These are great fish for both the intermediate and experienced cichlid keeper. They are hardy and easy to care for as long as regular water changes are done and are ready eaters. These are moderately sized cichlids that will reach up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) in length, so they do need a tank with lots of room. They also need a lot of rock work and other decor to create multiple caves formations. They are quite active swimming in and out of the cracks and crevices, sometimes on their sides or even upside down, but will stay very close to the rocks. They will not harm the plants nor will they burrow. Hardy plants that do well in hard, alkaline water and don't need a lot of light can make a nice addition.
These cichlids are territorial and do not tolerate others of their own kind. They can be kept singly as they are a solitary species, or can be kept in a pair. A minimum 40 gallon aquarium is suggested for either of those arrangements. They do best in a species tank or in a cichlid only aquarium with other durable species. For this arrangement they will need a good sized aquarium of 55 gallons or more. These fish are aggressive and the males will kill any fish that is subdominant. In a mixed species aquarium tankmates need to be of similar size and attitude, and need to be fish that don't occupy the same type of territories. The best tankmates are other shoaling types of Lake Tanganyika cichlids.
In the wild the Cylindricus Cichlid is usually found alone and a pair will only come together for reproductive purposes.This fish will readily breed in captivity as long as are caves. Do keep it separate from its close relative the Lemon Cichlid. This will prevent any cross-breeding and thus losing the true color strains.