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Lamprologus ornatipinnis is a shy and lovely little cichlid which prefers to dwell in empty snail shells.  The males may be expected to reach 2”TL, while the females remain half that size.  Spawns average 20-30 fry, and a male may breed with more than one female at a time.  Each adult fish has its own domicile.  Aside from brief encounters the male pays no attention to the females or his fry.  These are harem spawners and ideally should be kept in quarters with sufficient bottom area for the co-habitation of all females.


The overall color of a female is light gray with a splash of lavender scales behind the pectorals.  While she is caring for a brood, the first couple of pelvic rays become black and she becomes somewhat braver and therefore easier to see.  The females are so awfully timid and their color so light that they can be difficult to enjoy fully.  As the males grow past the one inch mark their noses become a bit sloped.  The colors on the male are more easily visible, and consist of two unbroken horizontal rows of colored scales, the lower being lavender and the upper green.  With size, the delicate stripes adorning the fins also become visible.