Max Size: 9cm

Fairy Cichlid (Neolamprologus brichardi)

Fairy Cichlids were one of the first African Cichlids to be imported for the aquarium hobby. These fish are an excellent choice for both the beginner and advanced aquarist. These Cichlids are relatively easy to care for if they have an appropriately sized aquarium and suitable tank mates. In addition, these fish are reasonably peaceful, making them good inhabitants of the community Cichlid aquarium. However, these fish are not ideal residents of your typical community aquarium because they are territorial, especially when they are protecting their fry, and are best kept in a species-only tank.

You can keep a group of Fairy Cichlids in a good-sized aquarium with other similar types of Lamprologine Shell-dwellers. Other good tankmates could include a large school of Herring Cichlids of the Cyprichromis genus, such as the Sardine Cichlid Cyprichromis leptosoma, The White Pearly Calvus as well as Goby Cichlids, fish from the Julidochromis genera such as the Convict Julie and the Mariner's Julie.

The ideal aquarium for Fairy Cichlids should ideally be at least 4ft long if you are housing them with other species. The aquarium will need a lot of water movement, oxygenation, and filtration. The best choice of substrate would be sand, and the water should be hard and alkaline. It would be best to use rocks to create plenty of visual barriers and broken lines of sight as these Cichlids can be aggressive towards one another in the confines of the home aquarium.

The Fairy Cichlid has an elongated light creamy-brown body with gold highlights ornamented with a lyre-shaped tail and a continuous dorsal fin. in addition, their fins are bluish-grey and are tipped in white with long flowing filaments. These Cichlids also possess a small thick black stripe that runs from their eye to their gill cover with a yellowy-orange spot above it. Lastly, these fish have blue eyes; on some individuals, you may see a thin blue trim on their fins and under their eyes.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameNeolamprologus brichardi
Year Described1974
Other NamesPrincess Cichlid, Lyretail Cichlid, Princess of Burundi, Fairy Cichlid, Brichard's lamprologus, Fire Tip Kiku, Brichardi Cichlid
Aquarium LevelAll Levels
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
ReproductionCave spawning
Lifespan8 - 10 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.0 - 8.0
GH15 - 25
TDS150 - 300
75 - 79℉
23.9 - 26.1℃


Fairy Cichlid
Fairy Cichlid
Fairy Cichlid
Fairy Cichlid

Natural Habitat

The Fairy Cichlid is endemic to the alkaline waters of Lake Tanganyika in East Africa. These Cichlids are highly variable and can be found in all kinds of habitats. You can find these Cichlids both at the surface and in very deep waters, as well as on rocky coastlines.


Fairy Cichlids are omnivorous; however, live, and frozen foods such as Mysis shrimp, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, and chopped krill should incorporate a large proportion of their diet. You can give your fish good quality dried foods; however, this should be less often. You should also provide your Cichlids with some vegetable matter, including blanched spinach or spirulina wafers.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is very challenging to differentiate between a male and female Fairy Cichlid; however, males tend to be larger and have more pointed dorsal fins than females, and their caudal fin is more extended.


Fairy Cichlids are substrate-spawners in the wild that deposit their eggs on the roof of rocky caves. These Cichlids will reach sexual maturity at about 5 cm in length. These fish are super easy to breed in the home aquarium; just make sure you condition them with a well-balanced diet.

Fairy Cichlids will swim around together as a group and then they will pair off to spawn, keeping their bond for future spawns. For example, a couple will spawn in secret in a cave where they will often burrow themselves, and the female will lay anything from 100 to 200 eggs on the roof or wall. Once spawning is complete, the female will tend to the eggs while the male defends the area around the cave.

The eggs will usually hatch in 2 to 3 days, with the fry becoming free swimming around seven days later. The fry is big enough to take baby brine shrimp straight away; however, they are pretty slow growing. So the entire group will help the parents guard the babies for a very long time.

Once the parents stop protecting the kin, they are allowed to stay in the group; these babies will then help guard the next generation of fry. This protection will carry on whilst the fish are breeding, so you will be able to have several generations living in harmony together, with the older fish guarding the younger. However, if a point is reached where the space becomes too little, the breeding fish will start to lay fewer eggs or even consume the smallest fish in the aquarium. Therefore, if you wish to raise good numbers of young regularly and prevent deformities from inbreeding, removing the babies to a separate rearing tank would be better.

Other Cichlids of interest

African Butterfly Cichlid(Anomalochromis thomasi)
Banded Apistogramma(Apistogramma bitaeniata)
Blue Panda Apistogramma(Apistogramma panduro, Apistogramma pandurini)
Bolivian Ram Cichlid(Mikrogeophagus altispinosus)
Checkerboard Cichlid(Dicrossus filamentosus)
Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid(Apistogramma cacatuoides)
View all Cichlids
Date Added: 01/08/2022 13:32:33 - Updated: 01/08/2022 16:09:29