Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid

Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid (Neolamprologus sexfasciatus)

The attractive Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid (Neolamprologus sexfasciatus) can be found in the rocky coastal waters of Southern Lake Tanganyika, Africa. This aggressive cichlid cannot be housed in a community tank. They are recommended for the experienced cichlid keeper, but provide excellent rewards for anyone up to the challenge. Their striking colouration and the fact that they spend the majority of their time swimming in the open, means you will have a an eye catching fish on display in your aquarium.

  • Care Level:  Moderate
  • Temperament:  Semi-Aggressive
  • Max Size: 6”
  • Colouring: Blue, Yellow
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Origins: Africa – Lake Tangyanika
  • Family: Cichlidae
  • Minimum Tank Size: 200 Litres
  • Water Conditions: 24 – 28°C / KH 10 – 15 / pH 7.8 – 8.6  / 76-83° F

Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid Appearance

The Six-bar Cichlid is one of the most attractive cichlids originating from Lake Tanganyika. Their colours can change depending on the area of the lake they come from, but will generally be Gold to Silver in colour, with 6 black stripes, or bars, adorning it’s side.  It has an elongated and stocky build, with its body being highlighted with flashes of blue.

The Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid is also distinguishable by it’s continuous dorsal fin.  Also their mouths are almost ‘beak-shaped’ to accommodate their specialised feeding. They have a specially adapted pharyngeal bone and teeth that they use to break open the strong shells of molluscs, which are their primary diet.

Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid Temperament

The Gold Sexfasciatus is an aggressive cichlid. This will be most apparent in the males, who will be particularly protective of their fry. Even going so far as to attack the female in the pair. This is not a community fish and should only be kept with cichlids of a similar size and temperament. It is essential to ensure your provide the best environment and tank mates for things to run smoothly in the aquarium. The Sexfasciatus is an active cichlid that will swim mostly in the middle and bottom areas of the aquarium.

“Their striking colouration and the fact that they spend the majority of their time swimming in the open, means you will have a an eye catching fish on display in your aquarium.”

The Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid can be kept on it’s own or in a pair, but not in groups. They will not tolerate others of their own species, unless the tank is huge with an immense setup of elaborate rockwork structures.

Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid Environment

The Gold Neolamprologus Sexfasciatus Cichlid will need to be kept in an aquarium that holds at least 50 gallons of high quality water. Provide them with plenty of rocks, shells and African driftwood in order for them to discover their own territory. A lack of these will cause the fish to be overly aggressive towards others. Ensure you have a sandy bottom of aragonite to Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid (Neolamprologus sexfasciatus)maintain the necessary high pH and alkalinity. 

They will also appreaciate a sandy substrate along with caves made from rocks as it replicates their natural habitats. Use highly porous rocks where possible. You can add plants, however they are not essential and the sexfasciatus will more than likely ignore them.  Due to it’s size and need to swim in open waters, place structures and decor to the back and sides of the aquarium.

These cichlids will need excellent water movement along with very strong and efficient filtration. Lake Tanganyika cichlids need stable temperatures more than most Cichlids. Make sure it is kept within acceptable limits and contains lots of oxygen for the cichlid to survive. The lake is also consistently alkaline with a high pH of around 9, and very hard water at about 12 – 14° dGH. Most Tanganyika cichlids are quite adaptable to the aquarium, so long as conditions are close to these natural ranges. The water will need to be closely monitored and subject to small, regular water changes.

Keepers of Tangyanikan Cichlids have reported that it is beneficial to use salt to increase the water’s carbonate hardness. Consider using a chemical filtration method, where the water passes through layers of crushed coral or coral sand. Tanganyikan cichlids also need iodine for their thyroid to function properly. This regulates their growth and development. Supply this by adding iodized table salt to the water.

Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid Diet

In their natural habitats, the Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid eats small fish and molluscs. Offer them a variety of meaty high protein foods such as frozen or fresh chopped up shrimp, clams, mussels, live feeder guppies, and ocean plankton. The Sexfasciatus will also accept Cyclops, water fleas, brine and mysis shrimps. They will particularly relish snails so try to give them these as a treat. This cichlid will need to be fed 2 to 5 times a day in smaller amounts instead of a large quantity once a day.

Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid Breeding

The Gold Neolamprologus Sexfasciatus Cichlid is a secretive cave spawner, and breeding is more difficult than most of the cichlids. This is a very slow growing species which may take a few years to reach sexual maturity. When this happens, the males will typically be larger than the females, growing to a size of about 6″ compared to 5″ with females.

You will need to ensure that their are plenty of caves for the pair to choose from. Once an acceptable site is found, the female will lay her eggs within the cave, and the male will fertilize them. It is recommended to remove all other fish from the aquarium once breeding has taken place. These fish become aggressive during breeding time. Incubation occurs in 3 to 4 days. Feed the fry newly hatched brine shrimp and finely crushed flake food.

Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid Origins

These cichlids originate from Lake Tangyanika. They are rock dwellers and will be found in relatively shallow waters, that are no deeper than 50 feet. The Gold Sexfasciatus Cichlid inhabits several types of habitats. They can be found in rocky areas, or intermediate zones where there is a sandy bottom and scattered rocks. They will often be found swimming in the open. Lake Tanganyika is a very oxygen rich lake so extra air pumps or bubblers, will need to be going day and night, even if there are plants.

For further information, here’s an article on general aquarium maintenance.



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