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Neolamprologus olivaceous Cichlids are endemic to Lake Tanganyika, where they are found from coast to coast inhabiting rocky caves and crevices near shorelines. As is the case with many species of African Cichlids, the Neolamprologus olivaceous is highly territorial. In the wild they will typically be found in a monogamous pair that will claim a rocky area near the lake bottom or shoreline as their territory.
They will aggressively defend this territory from other similar rock dwelling species, but tend to ignore species that have different feeding and swimming patterns to their own. Neolamprologus olivaceous are available from fish stores that special in Cichlids, and are also available from time to time from online fish sellers.
Both the aquarium setup and tank mates are crucial to successfully keeping Neolamprologus olivaceous. Neolamprologus olivaceous are very territorial and aggressive towards other similarly sized species. Providing an aquarium environment that creates plenty of habitat modelled after their native habitat will go a long way towards curbing their aggression towards tank mates.
If they are provided an adequate amount of territory in a larger aquarium, Neolamprologus olivaceous will be able to co-exist with other dis-similarly shaped and sized Lake Tanganyika species. However, if kept in a smaller aquarium (20 to 55 gallons) they will need to be kept as a pair or with much larger Lake Tanganyika species that are not viewed as direct competition.
When housed in very large aquariums (125 gallons or larger) they can be kept in larger groups or with many other species, as they will have enough room to claim their own territory and leave their tank mates alone.
The aquarium should have a sandy substrate and large amounts of rocks arranged to create many caves and crevices. This is crucial because Neolamprologus olivaceous are a cave dwelling species that will look to claim some caves and rocky crevices for their territory. If housed in an aquarium without plenty of rocky caves, the Neolamprologus olivaceous will attempt to take over the whole aquarium as their territory.
Hobbyists should consider keeping Neolamprologus olivaceous in either a species only or Lake Tanganyika biotope unless they have a larger aquarium. Hobbyists with larger aquariums that are well aqua-scaped should be able to provide enough territory to keep Neolamprologus olivaceous with a variety of other African Rift Lake species.
It is important to maintain good water quality in order to maintain the overall health of this species. Typically hobbyists perform weekly partial water changes to maintain water quality. Quality canister and wet/dry filter systems can also be used to maintain high water quality, which should reduce the need for frequent water changes.
Feeding & Nutrition
Neolamprologus olivaceous feed on small crustaceans and planktonic animals in their natural rift lake environment. They will quickly adapt to a wide variety of commercial aquarium foods including: flake, mini-pellet, crisps, frozen and freeze-dried. Neolamprologus olivaceous are easy to feed and will eagerly consume Cichlid flakes, freeze-dried worms, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, small pellet foods and other similar foodstuffs. It is best to feed them multiple small feedings per day. Feed an amount of food that they will completely consume within 3 to 5 minutes.
Once a pair of Neolamprologus olivaceous have established themselves, they will remain together for life. An established pair will often breed if kept in an aquarium with many rocky caves, inverted clay pots or other cave like settings. Water quality needs to be high, with a water temperature between 78 to 80° and a pH of 8.2 to 8.6.
They will look to spawn in a dark cave where the female will lay the eggs on the roof of the cave. Once spawning has occurred, the female will stay in the cave and protect the eggs while the male patrols the pairs entire territory. During this time they will be hyper-aggressive towards all other fish species within the aquarium.
Due to this, it is best to keep them separate from other fish species if the hobbyist intends to breed them. Once hatched the young fry will be able to eat baby brine shrimp, cyclop-eeze or similar fair right away. As this species is a mouth brooder, they young can stay with their parents until they reach sexual maturity.