Species group: Cichlids
Other common names: Multies
Scientific name: Neolamprologus multifasciatus
Multies are native to the Neothuma shell beds of Lake Tanganyika, where they inhabit and breed inside empty Neothuma shells, hence the reference “shell-dwellers.” Multis are sought after in the pet trade because of their interesting habits. They move sand by scooping up a mouthful and spitting them elsewhere, sometimes on the other side of the tank or on other fishes’ chosen shells. They diligently dig ditches to position their shell homes. Sometimes they choose several shells that they occupy alternately. Identified pairs locate their shells close to each other. They live, sleep, and breed in the shells. Multis thrive on flake food.
Considered the smallest Cichlid in the world, the Multi-Bar Lamprologus or “Multies” as they are fondly called, mature to only about 2 inches in length, with the female reaching up to about just an inch long. Their base color is pale white, broken by dark bands running vertically along the whole body.
Having established their territories, the Multies aggressively guard their shells against other fishes. Disturbing their territories stresses them out. They are compatible with small to medium non-aggressive fishes as long as their territories are not breached.
Multi-Bar Lamprologus are best kept in pairs or groups in medium-sized aquariums. However, considering the small size of the fishes, pairs can be housed in tanks as small as 10 gallons. The substrate must be fine sand, which they require to burrow into and relocate (or half-bury) their chosen shell homes. Shells must be provided; preferable more than two shells of different sizes per fish. Some rocks and gravel can be used to decorate and add interest to the sand. Because the natural habitat of the Multi is the clear and clean waters of Lake Tanganyika, the aquarium must have ideal water conditions. Regular water changes of 10-20% must be done weekly.
small, species tank, behaviorally interesting fish
little food, sandy substrate