Lamprologus werneri was first identified in the late fifties and soon after brought into the United States. They are rather odd looking and have only been sparingly imported. They are nonetheless a very interesting fish. As you can see from the picture, these fish at first glance resemble other fish from the genus Steatocranus called the "Buffalo Head Cichlid". Upon further observation, the resemblance seems to fade. They also resemble another West African riverine fish called Neolamprologus kinganga. The main difference is the Lamprologus werneri has a more pronounced hump and the N. kinganga has a slightly more pointed head. Males will reach a size of 5 inches and females about 3-1/2 inches.
Lamprologus werneri are from the Congo River in Zaire. They love a sandy bottom and hide and breed among the rocks on the river bottom.
Lamprologus werneri likes hard alkaline water around 76-82 degrees, although they will tolerate slightly higher or lower temperatures. Some salt may be added but they do fine without. As stated, Lamprologus werneri likes a sandy to rocky habitat and caves and/or flowerpots should be included to insure successful breeding. They do best when kept in groups. A group of 5 or 6 adults (1 male and 4 or 5 females) will do well in any tank that is 36 inches long or over.
Lamprologus werneri fry can eat anything. Start them out with newly hatched brine shrimp, microworms, or if you prefer a quality flake food. Within weeks the fry will be large enough to accept whiteworms. Adults will readily eat flake food, pellet food, adult brine shrimp, whiteworms, bloodworms and earthworms.
Lamprologus werneri are harem spawners. Adult fish do best when one male is in a tank with 4-6 females. You can have more than one male but he will be harassed. Coloration ranges from crème colored with gray barring to almost jet black when spawning and/or guarding eggs. They are substrate spawners. My breeding colony consists of 4 females and 1 male. Each female should be provided with her own cave and/or flowerpot. Each female will produce approximately one spawn every five weeks consisting of anywhere from 200 to 300 eggs. The easiest way to get the fry out of the breeding tank is to siphon them out after they are free swimming. If you would like to observe typical cichlid behavior, leave the fry in with the adults.
Fry up to $10.
Adults $10 to $20.
If you plan on obtaining Lamprologus werneri fry, they may be hard to find. This is not the easiest fish to find, but they are seen with regularity on various wholesale lists.
Report October 1999 by Jim Stigliano