The Frontosa Cichlid is probably the most famous predatory fish from Lake Tanganyika, but a close second would have to be the peculiarly flattened pair of species belonging to the genus Altolamprologus. The angular face and large, sail-like fins help to make these fishes instantly recognizable, and, when their fins are held fully erect in display, these are some of the most truly stunning fishes found in African waters.
Both Altolamprologus species are fairly widespread in Lake Tanganyika, but the two can be told apart by the relative proportions of the head. In A. calvus, the head is exceptionally angular and elongated, while in A. compressiceps the angle of the face is noticeably steeper and shorter. Both species come in a wide variety of regional color morphs, ranging from mostly black populations to those that are more white and others which are primarily yellow. All of these have black stripes of varying intensity present, and, particularly in the black variety, the brightly colored scales running along the posterior portions of the body create a beautiful starry accent.
The highly compressed body of A. calvus is an adaptation to the rocky terrain this fish calls home, allowing it to sneak in and out of the many crevices and cavities formed by the boulders lining these rocky shorelines. The Calvus Cichlid is highly predatory, but its small size (5 inches) means that it preys mostly upon juvenile fishes and shrimps. In captivity, they can be fed on a mixed diet of frozen foods, but dry foods are typically ignored.
The Calvus Cichlid is quite peaceful in an aquarium, bucking the notion that all African cichlids are aggressive. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a newly introduced specimen to spend most of its time hidden among aquarium decorations. It can certainly be kept with other modestly aggressive species from Lake Malawi and Lake Victoria, but it arguably looks most appropriate amongst other groups from its home waters in Lake Tanganyika. This could include Julidochromis, Neolamprologus, Cyprichromis and perhaps a Synodontis catfish or a Mastacembelus spiny eel.