Type locality is the town of Kinyamkolo, now known as Mpulungu, located in Zambia at the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika. The species is endemic to the lake but quite widely-distributed with other localities including Katoto, Kabemba, Cape Chaitika, Cape Nangu, Nkamba Bay, Lufubu, Kasenga, Kiku, Kanoni, Pemba, Bujumbura, Magara, Kigoma, Cape Kagobo, Mabilibili, Lyamembe, Kekese, Ikola, Cape Mpimbwe, Nkondwe, Kerenge, Kipili, Kirando, Ulwile, Mtosi, Namansi, Malesa Island, Muzi, Kasanga, Kambwimba, Kantalamba, Kalambo, Isanga, Mwela, Chituta, Kasakalawe, Mbete Island and Mutondwe (also known as “Crocodile”) Island.
A sandy substrate with some complex structures of piled rocks arranged to fill much of the available space represents the ideal environment. Place the latter directly on the base of the tank before adding the substrate in order to prevent them being toppled by the digging activity of the fish. Water quality must be of the highest order meaning weekly water changes of up to 50% should be considered mandatory.
A specialised carnivore feeding mostly on invertebrates, crustaceans and smaller fishes in nature with its elongate mouthparts adapted for insertion into cracks and crevices between rocks. In one study more than 80% of the stomach contents of wild fish were found to comprise various shrimp species. Most captive specimens will accept dried foods but are better offered live or frozen bloodworm, Tubifex, Artemia, chopped prawns, small earthworms and similar. There is no benefit in the use of ‘feeder’ fish such as livebearers or small goldfish which carry with them the risk of parasite or disease introduction and at any rate tend not have a high nutritional value unless properly conditioned beforehand.
Temperature: 24 – 28 °C
pH: 8.0 – 9.0
Hardness: 125 – 447 ppm