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Neolamprologus buescheri
by Brett Harrington (aka Fogelhund)
Neolamprologus buescheriThe Neolamprologus buescheri is a small and beautiful fish, and has long been one of my favourite fishes. There hasnít been a time over the past 15 years that I didnít have some in one of my aquariums. I have kept and bred the buescheri from Kachese and from Gombe. I currently am keeping a pair of Gombeís of which you shall see in the majority of the pictures here, with the exception of the picture of the fish from Cape Kachese credited to Ad Konings.

Perhaps by taking a look at this fish in depth a bit more, learning about its natural habitat, and some tips on how Iíve successfully maintained and spawned this fish over the years.

Location:

The buescheri is a southern fish, primarily found in Zambia and the Congo. The Ďtypeí location is at Cape Kachese as pictured below.

At the present time, there are seven known distinct geographical variations of buescheri.

These are:
  1. Cape Kachese

  2. Chituta/Gombe

  3. Isanga

  4. Chaitika

  5. Moliro

  6. Tembwe II

  7. Kamakonde
Kachese Neo. buescheri

There is an interesting French language article, and pictures of many of these locations at Eric Genevelle's Web site.

Habitat:

The buescheri is found between 15 and 40 meters deep along cliffs and very rocky areas. They live in the crevices, cracks in the rocks, and amongst the fallen rocks at the bottom of the cliffs. Often their habitat is in very oxygen poor areas.

Diet:

Carnivorous; eating crustaceans and insect larvae.

Maintenance in the Aquarium:

The buescheri is a fish, that popular opinion will tell you is a very aggressive fish to both its own kind, and those of the fish around it, it is incredibly hard to pair up, and hard to spawn. This has not been my experience at all.

First, a bit about the tanks Iíve kept and spawned the Neolamprologus buescheri in. Iíve always maintained them in tanks of 65 gallons or larger, with sand bottoms, heavily rocked, and heavily planted.

Aquascaping for Neolamprologus buescheriOne of what I believe to be prime reasons for success with these fish, is building the proper aquascape for them. Being a fish that lives naturally in the deeper crevices and rocks, it is a fish that is used to subdued lighting conditions, and having places to hide. In all instances, I have built their caves using a flat slate or shale rock, with the preferred caves being no higher then 2cm. The present arrangement is six caves high, not by design mind you, as four or more should do, but it is important to provide multiple levels of rockwork.

With the proper territory developed, a pair of buescheri will never range beyond their rocks, except at feeding time, even then, only darting out to grab some food to be consumed in their rocks.

The tanks have never been heavily populated, and with a combination of few fish, and many plants, the need for water changes is usually minimal. (about every two to three months) Given their deep-water habitat, where the water flow is minimal, I believe that stable water conditions are the second most important factor in the success of keeping, and breeding the Neolamprologus buescheri.

My aquarium with Neolamprologus buescheri

I hear much about the minimum ph requirements of these fish being above 8.5. My water hovers in the 8.0 +/- .2 range, though admittedly I only test about every five years. I do believe the success of buescheri is more due to providing the correct aquascape, and stable water conditions, then an exacting high ph. This is only coming from my experience alone though.

The buescheri is not a prolific fish by any means. Most reported spawns see yields of 3 to 7 green eggs, although I have heard of single spawns in the twenties. The fry are very well protected, and will not stray from the territory of the parents at all. Typically, unless you look very hard, with flashlight in hand, you will not see fry until they are about 2 months old, at about 5mm. From there, the fry are very slow growing, even by most standards, save that of Altolamprologus. Multiple generations of spawns are tolerated, and I have never had a loss of smaller fry from the predation of older siblings. I have noted that male fry are driven away from the territory around 4.5cm, and females around 6cm. In all cases it is the male that drives away the fry, and he will do so without abandon.

I have never found buescheri, including any wild caught individuals that I have kept, to be picky of their diet. They will readily accept flake food, pellets. They do of course prefer mysis shrimps, brine shrimp, krill and other shrimps.

I have kept them in tanks with Altolamprologus calvus, Neolamprologus pectoralis, Neolamprologus leleupi, Neolamp-rologus nigriventris, Neolamprologus multifasciatus, Neolamp-rologus caudopunctatus, Julidiochromis transcriptus "Gombe", Cyprichromis leptosoma "Utinta", Neolamprologus pulcher "Daffodil", Telmatochromis bifrenatus and a host of other barbs, tetras, rainbow fish and live bearers. They should get along quite well with most small to medium sized lamprologines, given enough correct territories for the inhabitants.

If you get a chance to try these fish, I think youíll be well rewarded, it certainly is a fish Iíve enjoyed keeping. □



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