is another indigenous cichlid to Lake Tanganyika and an aquarium favorite among African cichlid keepers. This species is easily identified by its large jaws and high dorsal fins. Certainly this species has a prehistoric presence about it. Their bodies are compressed commonly referred to as unilaterally compressed giving it a unique feature and its species namesake. It is speculated that this characteristic gives it an unfair advantage to crevices in their rocky biotope.
In the wild A. compressiceps is known to consume crustaceans
and insect larvae but they also prey on small fishes which they will slowly stalk. In contrast in the aquarium they are not territorial and may seem timid and it’s not uncommon for them to hide among rocks until they get acclimated to their surroundings.
Generally male fish can reach 5 inches in length and are usually more colorful than their counterpart females, which can reach around 4 inches. Altolamprologus compressiceps is listed with the IUCN Red List of endangered species list
but is marked as not threatened. Their major threats include water pollution, disturbance of habitat, landslide and sedimentation. Interestingly another cichlid called Altolamprologus calvus looks very similar to N. compressiceps is also endemic to the southern shoreline of Lake Tanganyika in eastern Africa.
In terms of coloration Altolamprologus compressiceps
is generally black fish overall but there is a full yellow form which is endemic to Kambwimbwa, a northern area of Tanzania. There are numbers morphs or varieties actually like the gold head compressiceps. See below for a list of varieties of A. compressiceps currently available and check out the video which illustrates their predatory strategy. Certainly a very colorful and unique African cichlid from many perspectives and worthy addition to a community cichlid tank geared for Lake Tanganyikan cichlids. It should be noted the A. compressiceps shares similarities in features with its cousin Altolamprologus calvus