Started over a year ago, the Cichlid Guessing Game topic is still going strong. If you think you have what it takes to identify cichlids, stump the rest of us or just want to see what unusual cichlids other members keep, stop by and check it out. The topic creator, bernie comeau, kicked off things with an exCichlasoma festae and since them we’ve seen pictures of Mbipia lutea, Guianacara owroewefi and Simochromis babualti. No fair using Google Images to identify.
The latest images of the Cichlid Guessing Game topic can be found HERE. Make sure you read the rules on the first page of the topic before jumping in.
Terrific video with a dramatic score of a pair of Paretroplus menarambo spawning. The video goes into great detail showing the actual egg laying and eventually the free swimming fry. Make sure to watch it all. You won’t be disappointed.
Paretroplus menarambo is an endangered cichlid from the flood plain lakes of the Bemarivo River of northern Madagascar. At one time this species was considered extinct in the wild. Recently a surviving group was found in a single lake of the flood plain. P. menarombo is still considered critically endangered due habitat destruction, invasive non-native species and over-fishing. Fortunately captive breeding groups exist in Europe and North America.
A special thanks goes out to Dave from Dave’s Rare Aquarium Fish for allowing me to take many pictures of fish in his shop, including the one below. If this rare and unusual cichlid is something you would like to have and breed, make sure you read the article on Malawi Cichlid Homepage.
Found in the Congo River system, Orthochromis stormsi is a goby type cichlid from West Africa. It has a small swim bladder and spends most of its life along the bottom of shallow, slow moving waters near the shore. O. stormsi males can reach almost 5″ with females being about an inch shorter. Believed to be a herbivore in the wild, they do well with a spirulina based food in captivity. There can be some aggression between males, but for the most part O. stormsi isn’t known as an aggressive fish.
If you would like to read more about Orthochromis stormsi, including how to keep them successfully in your aquarium, make sure to read the Species Article by Greg Steeves.
Altolamprologus compressiceps Muzi gold head. Photo by Razzo (Russ F.)
Altolamprologus compressiceps Muzi gold head is one of the many variants of A. compressiceps from Lake Tanganyika. This predator has an easily identifiable laterally compressed body and sloping forehead. Although similar in appearance to Altolamprologus calvus, the two species differ most notably in the shape of the snout. Fully grown A. compressiceps are impressive to watch, especially then they spot and attempt to catch prey. Several years back is was common to see fully grown wild-caught specimens on stock lists, but in recent years they are becoming harder to find. For anyone thinking of growing some juveniles, keep in mind that the are extremely slow growing.
There is a great topic in the forum about Altolamprologus compressiceps Muzi gold head by Razzo (Russ F.). He has successfully spawned A. compressiceps and has many beautiful pictures of adult fish and fry. Make sure to check out his Muzi gold head topic in the Tanganyikan section.
This Father’s Day why not take dad (or make your kids take you) to your local aquarium. Aquarium discounts are being offered this weekend in many cities in celebration of Father’s Day. This is a great way to spend some time with your father or your kids and save some money too! Most discounts are buy one ticket and dad gets in free but they do vary. Check with your local aquarium to see what is being offered and what days are available. Although Father’s Day is this Sunday, some aquariums are extending the discount for the entire weekend. Even if your local aquarium isn’t offering a discount, Father’s Day is a great excuse to visit.
More bad news for the Amazon River. A landslide in Ecuador ruptured an oil pipeline spilling an estimated 400,000 gallons. The oil spill has made its way into the Napo River, a major tributary of the Amazon River. From Ecuador, the Napo River flows through Peru and Brazil where it eventually joins the Amazon River. All three countries are steps to minimize the damage. There have been accusations that the actual amount of oil released by the landslide is not known and could be much higher.
For more information on the oil spill, visit the Global Post article. Video of oil in the Napo River can be seen below.
Hidden wildfires leading cause of Amazon deforestation
Using new satellite imaging techniques, scientist at NASA have found that previously unnoticed wildfires have done more to destroy the Amazon Rainforest than intentional deforestation. Known as “understory fires”, these hidden wildfires burn on the ground below the dense Amazon canopy and were previously unseen by satellites. It is estimated that between 1999 and 2010, understory fires have destroyed almost 3% of the southern rainforest. This figure is far larger than intentional deforestation for agricultural purposes. Although these fires are believed to be started by human carelessness, there is little correlation between intentional deforestation and understory fires. Climate seems to play the largest part on how frequent and devastating these fires are.
Benitochromis nigrodorsalis is found only in a couple areas of western Cameroon, making its home in various rivers and streams. This pair bonding riverine cichlid gets its name from its black dorsal fin which contrasts its lightly colored body. At times, B. nigrodorsalis will also display a large amount of pink in the lower part of its body. When spawning or caring for their fry, the pair will become rather aggressive toward any other tank inhabitants so arrangements for tank mates should be made. An interesting note about this species is that they are bi-parental mouthbrooders. Both the female and the male take turns holding the egg/developing fry.
Benitochromis nigrodorsalis is considered endangered due to its limited distribution and commercial farming surrounding its habitats. There isn’t much information about this species but if you think you might be interested in keeping these endangered cichlids, take a look at the Species Article by Diane Tennison. The article also has more great photos.
A couple months ago we reported that the water levels in Lake Victoria were dropping. It appears that the same is happening in Lake Malawi. Like in Lake Victoria, Lake Malawi is more than a place where cichlids come from, especially to the millions of people who depend on the lakes for their survival. According to a Malawi Kinistry of Environment and Climate Change Management, water levels have dropped about 6 feet since the 1980s. The drop in water levels is blamed on the usual suspects; population growth, climate change and deforestation. Along with the decreased water levels, fisherman have seen a significant drop in daily catches of fish.
According to the article on The Guardian, a principle secretary in the ministry was quoted saying:
An estimated 1,000 fish species rely on the fresh waters of Africa’s third-largest lake for their survival, which also provides 60% of this southern African nation’s protein requirement. The mbuna cichlids species and the famous tilapia fish, locally known as chambo, are facing extinction. Chambo is Malawi’s most popular fish.
Over the past 20 years, fish stocks have dropped from 30,000 metric tons to 2000 metric tons per year. The drop in fish stocks are more than likely related to over-fishing, but climate change and deforestation/runoff also contribute.
This video can help in determining gender in species where the differences between males and females isn’t obvious by a method called venting.
Size, color and behavior are all things that can help determine the gender of your fish. Generally, males are more colorful and larger than females. Of course, this is not always the case. In some species, the female is larger or both sexes share the same coloration. The video above made by bolly12345 from The African Cichlid Hub demonstrates the process of venting your cichlids and shows what the differences are.