The Brevis Shelldweller is a small cichlid with an elongated body. It has a large mouth for its size and it is upturned, indicating a carnivorous predator. Males will reach just short of 2 1/2 inches (6 cm) in length and females are even smaller, only growing to about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm). The Neolamprologus genus can live 8 - 10 years with proper care.
The body is primarily a light brown and the fins are the same color, but clearish. They have florescent blue lines under the eyes, though these can only be seen under good lighting. When they are stressed they turn a bronze color with a black cap on the head.