Common Name/Origin: Shellie, or shell dwellers. The Lamprologus Brevis comes from Lake Tanganyika in Africa.
Size: 2.-2.25 inches. Males will be a bit larger than the females.
Sexing: Males are a bit larger than the females. Males usually show their stripes throughout their body more so than the females. Females will possess a yellow belly as the males do not.
Tank: Can be kept in an aquarium as small as 10 gallons. “Shellies” require very little territory so you can house several pair in tanks such as 20 gallons or more. The length of the aquarium tank is more important than the height. “Shellies” will claim territory withing a few inches of a empty shell. They will do well with a gravel substrate but prefer sand. It is very fun to watch them clear out their territory around their shell. “Shellies” will dig and clear out the sand surrounding their shell. This is natural and interesting act to watch. Provide at least 2-3 empty shells for each pair of Lamprologus Brevis you own.
Water: Water temperature should be between 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Feeding: The Lamprologus Brevis is a carnivore. A good high quality pellet or flake will be ideal for the staple diet. “Shellies” openly accept frozen treats such as mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, or blood worms. As with any tropical fish we keep, a varied diet of high quality foods will help your fish thrive.
Behavior: ”Shellies” are territorial around their shell. They will protect their young. I have been bitten by my “shellies” while cleaning the tank. It does not hurt, but it did surprise me. They are not afraid of anything!
Tank mates: House with similar size cichlids. Do not house with any cichlid that could easily fit a Lamprologus Brevis in it’s mouth. Good tank mates are any of the Tanganyika Cyprichromis, Altolamprologus calvus, or Altolamprologus compressiceps species.
Removing “Shellies” from their Shells: If you have to ever move the “Shellies” from their tank due to breeding or for some other reason, here is a tip. “Shellies” are very difficult to remove from their shells, so if you elevate the shells by placing on eggcrate or a baking shelf mid-tank with the shell openings facing down, the “Shellies” will drop down to the bottom of the tank on their own since they are “bottom dwellers.” You may have to leave the shells elevated for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remember that whatever you use to elevate the shells must be aquarium safe. Their must also be a large enough opening for the “Shellies” to drop through to the bottom once out of their shell.