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Gold ocellatus - Lamprologus ocellatus

Gold ocellatus - Lamprologus ocellatus

Scientific name: Lamprologus ocellatus

Common name: Gold ocellatus

Family: Cichlidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 5 - 6 cm (1.97 - 2.36 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 8 - 8.9

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 9 - 19°N (160.71 - 339.29ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 23 - 25 °C (73.4 - 77°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: Africa

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels


The Gold ocellatus originate from Africa, they are endemic to Lake Tanganyika. They occupy the rocky edges spending time on the sandy substrate areas.

Short description

These fish are sometimes classed as a peaceful species but it should be noted that they are very territorial when it comes to protecting their chosen shells that litter the substrate and will become aggressive towards intruders. They belong to the family of cichlidae and as such like other cichlids can be high waste producers in the aquarium. Although they are not the most brightly coloured cichlids available to house they are extremely popular with fish keepers and make a great addition to the aquarium. Their main body colouration is a pale gold with a pale blue edging to their finnage. The average adult size for mature specimens is approximately 2-2.4 inches making them ideal for medium to larger aquariums.


If cared for correctly the average lifespan for the Gold ocellatus is expected to be between 8-10 years of age.

General care

The Gold ocellatus are not a difficult fish to care for but they do demand a high water quality in the aquarium. It is best to house one male to a small group of females, this will prevent one female being harassed too much. For a small group of one male and two females the minimum sized aquarium that should be used will need to be at least 24 inches (60cm) in length and 12 inches (30cm) in width. For a larger colony the aquarium size should be upgraded accordingly. Place a rock structure at the back of the aquarium and provide hiding places for tank mates but make sure you leave open swimming spaces at the front of the aquarium. Sand will need to used as the substrate as the Gold ocellatus will dig around and add plenty of empty snail shells for each fish to choose from.

Use a suitable filtration system that is rated for the aquarium and as cichlids are high waste producers, perform weekly water changes to keep the quality high. The water temperature should range between 23-25°C (73-77°F) and make sure that the pH ranges between 8.0-8.9. Using coral sand for the substrate should help with this. Suitable tank mates should inhabit the rocky areas, these include the Julidochromis species or similar.


Not a difficult species to feed so use a quality flake or small cichlid pellets for the main diet but they will require regular meals of live or frozen meaty foods such as chopped earthworms, blood worms or brine shrimp.


Mature males are larger than mature females and they develop gold edging on their finnage, this will be white on the females.


These are not a difficult fish to breed if given the correct conditions. It is best to breed in a separate breeding tank which has the same water parameters as the main aquarium and add extra shells to provide more breeding sites for the females to deposit their eggs. Add several females to one male and condition the parent fish with plenty of live or frozen foods. The female will select her chosen shell and display to the male to induce spawning. When the male shows interest she will deposit her eggs which are quickly fertilised by the male. It is the female that tends the eggs which she fans and after 3-4 days they should hatch with the fry becoming free swimming a few days later. Once free swimming, they fry can be fed on newly hatched brine shrimp or micro worms until they are large enough to accept the same diet as their parents.


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Gold ocellatus

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