Familly: Viviparidae

Species: Neothauma tanganyicense

Origin:  Africa, endemic to lake Tanganyika

Size:  4 cm

Breathing: aquatic, through gills

Temperature: 20 to 30°C

Juvenile, 1 mm. Adult, 3 cm. Juvenile, 2 mm. Algae develop on the juveniles shell.


 Utility: Apparently none if they are alive, but they do nicely decorate a  "Tanganyika" regional aquarium.


Neothaumas have an interesting feeding mode, the juveniles move a lot and preferably eat algae and food remainders - a complement of spirulina proves quite useful to keep them alive.  Juveniles resemble melanoids but do not dig-in. An accurate way to distinguish them is the presence of algae that grow on the Neothaumas shells. As they do not dig-in, algae have no problem developping.  the adults are quite different, they rarely move and seem to filter the water like mussels do.  It is very difficult to keep them as their condition depends both on the quality of water as well as of the quantity of plancton they'll find in this water - a difficult species, for the moment.


On the other hand, their empty shell is the refuge if not the  "house" of numerous fish species.  Numerous varieties of neolamprologus, lamprologus and other cichlids of the lake dwell in them, using them as hideout in case of danger and as a support to lay eggs.


If they do not have these hideouts at their disposal, shell dwellers might slowly die.  In most cases they refuse to reproduce. These empty shells may be replaced by empty burgundy snail shells (see the page on the "Utility of Snails"), but the purist will prefer Neothaumas in his Tanganyika auarium.