Altolamprologus calvus stats infographicAltolamprologus calvus is found only in Lake Tanganyika in Eastern Africa, and it is a predator fish that likes to feed on other small animals.

The fish has a lot of different names; some of them are Calvus Cichlid, Pearly Compressiceps, Pearly Lamprologus, Pearly Calvus, Black Calvus, White Calvus, White Chaitika, Tanganyika Blackfin, and Congo Blackfin!

What is Altolamprologus Calvus?

If you want to have this fish in your house, you need to have some experience taking care of fish, although it is an easy fish to care for. Keep on reading to learn more about this beautiful and unique fish that will light up your aquarium.


Common Name White pearly calvus
Scientific Name Altolamprologus calvus
Care Level Medium
Average Lifespan 10 years
Maximum Size 6 inches
Diet Carnivorous
Breeding Type Egg layer
Minimum Tank Size 40 gallons


Order: Cichliformes
Family Cichlidae
Genera Altolamprologus
Species a.    Calvus


Altolamprologus Calvus Care

Unlike other cichlids, this fish is quite peaceful and can be kept in an appropriate community tank. The care for this fish is not that hard either if you know what you are doing! Such as maintaining an appropriate altolamprologus calvus temperature of the water.

– Diet

Altolamprologus calvus get to know this unique cichlid betterAltolamprologus calvus are carnivores, meaning that meat makes up most of their diet. They are not picky eaters, and they can eat most of the commercial food.

In the wild, the fish feeds on the fry of other fish, insect larvae, and invertebrates!

Regardless, here are some food items rich in protein that the fish should be fed when in your aquarium:

  • Flakes
  • Mysis shrimp
  • Earthworms
  • Freeze dried krill
  • Frozen brine shrimps
  • Frozen blood worms
  • Protein tablets
  • Mosquito larvae

The food should only be given for a few minutes and five to six times a day. Make sure the food is also given in small quantities; this will prevent the fish from getting obese and help keep the water of the tank clean.

All types of fish benefit from vitamins and supplements in their diet, so that should also be given. If the fish does overeat, make sure to skip one day of the week when feeding them.

– Water Parameters

The fish needs a home with stable water parameters. The temperature of the tank should always be from 72 F to 86 F, the pH should be around 9 as pH below 6 is not tolerated by the fish, and the water hardness should be high as well.

Additionally, the water also needs to be well oxygenated as Lake Tanganyika has a very high oxygen level of water. The nitrate level should also be controlled and should not exceed 25ppm.

– Lifespan

The lifespan of altolamprologus calvus is eight to 10 years, it lives for a long time compared to other fish of this size. Of course, to reach this lifespan, you have to provide the fish with proper care as well. In the wild, the lifespan of this fish is longer as it can live for 10 to 15 years in its natural habitat.

– The Tank Setup

Altolamprologus calvus needs a moderate-sized tank for them to live comfortably. A small fish, which is juvenile, can live in a tank size of 20 gallons; however, a full grown altolamprologus calvus needs to be in a tank of 40 to 50 gallons.

The tank size should be around 100 gallons if you plan on keeping this fish in a community tank, and there should be bi-weekly water changes of about 10 percent. Note that the tank size is essential to allow the fish to explore its new habitat and also be able to grow and live comfortably.

If the tank is too small, the fish gets stressed, leading to diseases and other problems. Therefore, it is always important to know the capacity of the tank that you can have and if you will be able to keep altolamprologus calvus cichlid.

– Common Diseases

The common fish diseases are the ones you have noticed before. There is no specific disease that this fish suffers from. Your fish will be okay as long as the tank is clean, water parameters are followed, and no diseased organism is introduced.

The fish can suffer from ich, skin flukes, parasitic infections, bacterial infection, and fungal infections. These diseases are curable if immediately caught and treated.

Tank Mates

As mentioned above, they fit the best in the Lake Tanganyika community tank due to the  similarity of habitat. You can also keep them in an eastern African tank with fish from there if you want. Regardless, this is a pretty peaceful species of cichlid that doesn’t bother any other fish in the tank.

– Ideal Tank Mates

Although they are solitary fish, they can also be kept with their species of fish. Some examples of fish that can be kept with altolamprologus calvus are Synodontis catfish, Malawi Aulonocara, and most semi-aggressive haps and cichlids. The fish should not be kept with Mbuna, Tropheus aquarium, or any other fish that is smaller than two inches and can fit in its mouth.

– Tankmates to Avoid

The only fish you should avoid are the ones that can be fit into the mouths of the altolamprologus calvus, as any fish that is small enough will be eaten. Don’t think that just because it is a peaceful fish, it can’t defend itself, as this fish will use its scales to defend itself and attack others. Altolamprologus calvus are not territorial like other cichlids as well.


It is possible to breed altolamprologus calvus in captivity. In fact, these fish are endangered, so it would be good to breed them if you can afford to. They are substrate spawners which means that they spawn at the bottom of the tank. If you start with juvenile fish, it will take around two years for them to form a mate.

– Pre-Breeding Care

Usually, when they are mating, it goes unnoticed by people since they do it in such a secretive way. The female fish will find a cave or any hiding place where only she can fit and deposit her eggs there.

After this, the male will deposit sperm or milt at the entrance of the cave, and both of them will fan the milt with their fins to fertilize the eggs. There can be around 200 eggs, and after the fertilization process, the female fish protects the fish inside the cave and the male fish guards from outside.

– Post Breeding Care

The eggs will hatch in a week, and the fry will come out. By this point, the fry and the female fish should be separated as the male fish will try to eat the fry. Don’t worry, as their siblings will eat some fry, but the remaining ones will grow in about two months, and by two years, they will reach maturity.


1. What is Altolamprologus Calvus Average Size?

Altolamprologus calvus growth rate is pretty slow as it takes around two years for the fish to reach its maximum size. The full grown altolamprologus calvus size is different in male and female fish, as males are generally larger. The male fish is expected to get around six inches in size, whereas the female fish only gets around four inches in size! Therefore, once mature it is quite easy to distinguish between the sexes of this fish.

The size is again average as sometimes the altolamprologus calvus can get big, especially in the wild. To provide this fish with a bigger tank so that it can grow up to its full potential.

2. What Does Altolamprologus Calvus Look Like?

This is a beautiful fish with a very laterally compressed body which allows it to fit into crevices and other small places. Not only that, the colors of these fish are brilliant, and they can be one of the best fish you can have in an aquarium.

When it comes to their body, they are very slim, with a steep sloping forehead and a largemouth. The fins of this fish are very long as well. The fish has stripes on the head and collar region and white spots on their sides. Needless to say, the appearance of this fish is unique.

When it comes to colors, there is a variety of them. Common colors of Altolamprologus calvus vary from jet black to light whitish gray; some fish have light blue and white accents on the black body to dark brown accents on the white body. Some people have also reported seeing a tiger version of this fish which is orange in color, but that is due to captive breeding.

To differentiate between the sexes, you will need two or more mature Altolamprologus calvus, as juvenile fish are not distinguishable. This is because the main difference is in size; the male fish is larger than the female fish. Moreover, once the fish matures, the male has longer fins compared to the female. The fins are very useful in defending against the enemy in this species of fish.


Altolamprologus calvusThe altolamprologus calvus is a very unique and beautiful cichlid that acts as a great pet. The fish doesn’t require much care, and anyone can take care of it with a little experience. Here are some important things from the article to remember.

  • Altolamprologus calvus is found only in Lake Tanganyika in Eastern Africa. It is a predator fish
  • The fish is expected to live for eight to 10 years. The male grows up to be six inches in size, but the female, only grows to four inches in size
  • It is a carnivorous fish that requires a 40-gallon tank
  • It is a peaceful cichlid that should be housed in a Lake Tanganyika community tank or kept alone
  • It is possible to breed them in a propwe tank with the right equipment.

In conclusion, you should do proper research and buy this fish from a reputable pet store to be able to keep it for the longest time.

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