Brichard's Slender Cichlid (Teleogramma brichardi)

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Brichard's Slender Cichlid

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Brichard's Slender Cichlid

Teleogramma brichardi

208 Litres (55 US G.)

8-9 cm (3.1-3.5")




6.0 - 7.0

20 -23 °C (68-73.4°F)

7-10 °d

1:3 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Other (See article)

5-8 years




The species exhibits marked sexual dimorphism, particularly at breeding time when the female is a medium grey with a large salmon-coloured area extending from the pectorals to the vent, covering the entire depth of the body and suffusing the lower part of the dorsal. The breeding male is, by contrast, uniform grey. Non-breeding females may show no red at all, or just a tinge on the belly, and the body becomes banded vertically in two shades of brownish-grey. Non-breeding males are very similar. Generally speaking males are larger (up to 12cm (4.7") SL) than females on an age for age basis, and the sexes can be easily told apart at all times by a characteristic marking in the tail. Both sexes have a white outer edging to the dorsal, and in males this continues onto the upper edge of the caudal. In females, however, the edging broadens to a large, forward pointing, triangle of white in the upper caudal. Interestingly these white markings appear red in preserved specimens (Roberts & Stewart, 1976), but in live fishes they are unequivocally a pure white.


All four species inhabit areas of turbulent water where the river descends over rapids. All are more or less cylindrical in cross-section and extremely elongate, giving an almost snake-like appearance. All have the much reduced swim-bladder characteristic of rapids Cichlids and seen also in Gobiocichla, S teatocranus, the fluviatile species of Lamprologus, and Orthochromis from Africa, and in the recently described analogous genus Teleocichla from Brazil. This modification is thought to enable them to remain resting on the bottom, unaffected by the rush of water overhead; buoyancy is not an advantageous characteristic for small fishes inhabiting fast-flowing waters which might easily sweep them away. It has to be said, however, that because of the difficulty of underwater studies in such conditions our knowledge of their natural lifestyle is, of necessity, largely surmise. We do not even know what foods are taken, though it is reasonable to assume a diet of aquatic invertebrates and crustaceans, probably with a degree of opportunism. T. brichardi relishes live foods such as Daphnia and chironomid larvae in captivity, and recently imported wild specimens show no hesitation in seizing and devouring whole earthworms.

Environment specifics[edit]

The natural range of this species is limited to a comparatively short stretch of the lower Congo River near Kinsuka, to the south-east of Kinshasa; it is apparently replaced further downstream by two of its congeners, T. gracilis and T depressum. (The fourth species, T. monogramma, is restricted to the River Kasai, which drains into the Congo upstream of the T. brichardi locality.) Natural water conditions are reported as very soft, pH 7-7.5, temperature 28-29°C (82.4-84.2°F) , and, obviously, a very high oxygen content.


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