Fairy Perch / Crested Cichlid

© Laura Leidig

The Fairy Perch(Neolamprologus pulcher or also Neolamprologus brichardi) is a particularly graceful small fish that occurs in the wild only in Lake Tanganyika in Central Africa. Its pretty appearance and its strikingly positive social behaviour have earned it the nickname “Princess of Burundi”. Occasionally it is also sold under the name of forktail cichlid. It is an easy to cultivate fish and perfectly suited for a community aquarium.

What are the characteristics of the fairy bass?

If you are looking for an attractive stocking for an aquarium with several peaceful cichlids, the fairy bass is just right for you. It truly has a fairy-like appearance. The transparency and finely curved fins give it a veil-like appearance. It is also known for its extraordinary sense of family, with even older siblings helping to raise a new generation of young fish. The fairy bass should therefore never be kept alone.

The appearance of the fairy bass

© Laura Leidig

The attractive ornamental fish grows to about 8 cm long. It is elongated and flattened at the sides. Its silver appearance extends over the whole body and runs elegantly to the gently curved fins. Over the body the typical fish scale pattern or even a speckling can be seen. It can be easily recognized by a black band that runs from the back of the eye to over the gills. This band is interrupted in the middle by a striking yellow spot. The ends of the fins are drawn strikingly bright, which further emphasizes the elegant shape.

  • approx. 8 cm long
  • silver to transparent
  • extremely elegant

Housing conditions of the fairy bass

The fairy bass is quite easy to keep. It can be kept as a single species with some of its conspecifics or in a community tank with other endemic species of Lake Tanganyika. These include, for example, the very similar-looking Neolamprologus, the Brabantian cichlids or the yellow-black Julidochromis.

  • peaceable
  • easy to cultivate
  • gladly in the community pool with other cichlids

Gender differences

The males are usually larger and more elongated and somewhat more intensely coloured than the females.

Water values for the fairy bass

As inhabitants of the Central African continent, these fish love evenly warm water. The temperatures should be kept at least 25°C or slightly above. The pretty perch need clean water under more or less constant conditions, although smaller fluctuations are tolerated well in exceptional cases.

  • Water type: Fresh water
  • Temperature: 25° to 27°C
  • PH value: 8 to 9
  • Total hardness: 7 to 12°dGH

Feed and nutrition

In the wild, the smart cichlids feed exclusively on animal food. The food source is small crustaceans and other aquatic invertebrates that live near the bottom. In the aquarium they are not fussy and also accept dry food. If you want to keep your fairy bass healthy and lively for a long time, you can regularly and sufficiently offer fresh food such as small crustaceans, larvae or worm species.

The ideal aquarium for the fairy bass

If you only want to keep a small group of fairy bass, you will get along well with 60 to 90 cm edge length. Otherwise, aquariums with a length of 120 cm or more are suitable for keeping several species of cichlid. As this species of fish is normally always near the rocky coast in the very north of the lake, the aquarium should be set up in such a way that the rock-like decoration reaches to the water surface or beyond. The fairy bass always stays a few centimetres above or near a solid surface, it does not swim into open water. Many tunnels and stone caves on top of each other perfectly imitate the natural habitat. The fish is not familiar with vegetation from its home, but for the eye of the beholder some water plants can still be planted. The best surface consists of medium to coarse gravel.

  • alone in the 60 to 90 cm long pool
  • in company from 120 cm length
  • Rock decoration necessary
  • avoids open water

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