Neolamprologus multifasciatus is the smallest known cichlid in the world and are affectionately called "multies." A colony of 6 multies live with us in a 29-gallon tank with sand for substrate, some rocks, some gravel pieces mixed in the sand, plastic plants, and 10 shells. If you're considering what type of cichlid can go in a 10-gallon tank, multies may be the answer.
Males reach a maximum length of 1.5-2 inches, and females will grow to .75-1 inch. What they lack in size, they make up for in attitude. A male will establish his territory around several shells and entice females to live in these shells, forming a small colony in his area. They literally live in the shells; they sleep in them, retreat to them when they're startled, spawn in them, and raise their fry in them.
Eggs are laid in the shell and protected until the fry develop. At first, the fry will stay in the shell. Then, as they venture out, they will stick close to the shell and gradually enlarge their "comfort" zone as they get larger. Since the females are so small, broods will contain only a few fry. And since the eggs are secretly deposited in the shell, the first sign of breeding activity may be when the fry leave the shell. As the fry develop, they will not eat or pick on their newer siblings. This allows several generations and sizes of fry to be observed in the colony.
Multies should be kept in a tank by themselves, or with fish that are not predators. Otherwise, the multies may become expensive fish food. They will readily eat most types of fish food.
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