Max Size: 10cm

Lemon Cichlid (Neolamprologus leleupi)

Lemon Cichlids, Neolamprologus leleupi, are somewhat non-aggressive community fish. You can keep them in a smaller species-only tank or a giant aquarium with other enduring fish, as long as they have their own territory.

Tanganyikan Cichlids, such as the Convict Julie and Dickfelds Julie, are the most suitable tankmates for Lemon Cichlids. Besides Synodontis catfish, you can also keep them with White Pearly Calvus and Compressed Cichlids, which are both in the genus Altolamprologus. However, keeping them with African cichlids from Lake Victoria or Lake Malawi would not be a good idea.

Despite being relatively peaceful, Lemon Cichlids can become aggressive with their own species. Lemon Cichlids are usually found alone in the wild, and they only mate together. Usually, younger siblings of a spawning couple get along well, but they will not tolerate other siblings. A large aquarium is necessary to house several of these Cichlids in a community environment.

These Cichlids require plenty of live food, and they also need an aquarium correctly set up with suitable tank mates and need frequent water changes. Therefore, only intermediate and experienced aquarists should keep them.

An elongated body, a continuous dorsal fin, a fan-shaped caudal fin and large lips are the features of the Lemon Cichlid. These Cichlids have a delicate blue or greenish line above the lips that runs to just below the eye, and the eyes are a light blue colour. Colour varies naturally with tone and intensity; however, it is mainly influenced by their diet and aquarium lighting.

The species is known to exist in three wild colour morphs: yellow-orange, brown-black, and silvery-beige. There is the same yellow pigment in the brown-black variant as in the bright yellow-orange morph; however, the brown-black pigment obscures this; likewise, the yellow-orange individuals lack the melanistic brown-black pigment.

It is also sometimes seen at Bulu Point in yellow-orange with a black moustache marking over the upper lip. However, the bright yellow-orange variety is the most popular and the most regularly traded.


Lemon Cichlid
Lemon Cichlid
Lemon Cichlid
Quick Facts
Scientific NameNeolamprologus leleupi
Year Described1956
Other NamesLeleupi, Gold Leleupi Cichlid, Orange Leleupi Cichlid, Gold Cichlid, Tanganyikan Lemon Cichlid, Firecracker Cichlid, Dutch Orange Cichlid, Super Bright Orange Cichlid.
OriginsBurundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Zambia
Aquarium LevelAll Levels
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asPairs
Lifespan8 - 10 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.5 - 9.0
GH8 - 25
73 - 81℉
22.8 - 27.2℃

Natural Habitat

Lake Tanganyika


In the home aquarium, the Lemon Cichlid will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is pretty challenging to differentiate male from female Lemon Cichlids externally. However, adult males tend to grow larger than females, have fuller bodies, a bigger head, and often has a cranial hump. They also have longer pelvic fins than females.

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: 26/04/2021 10:40:59 - Updated: 31/08/2022 13:16:24