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Teleogramma brichardi from the Congo River

Teleogramma brichardi

Teleogramma brichardi. Photo by Dave Hansen

Teleogramma brichardi is found in the rapids near Kinsuka in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The fast moving waters of the Congo River lead to some unusual evolutionary traits in fish. T. brichardi, like other rheophilic fish, developed a streamlined body to cope with strong river currents. Their swimbladder is also much smaller than comparably sized fish since they “skip” along the bottom as opposed to swimming.

Teleogramma brichardi

Teleogramma brichardi. Photo by Dave Hansen.

T. brichardi has been in the hobby for many years. However, a combination of few exports for the region and the difficulty of breeding them in captivity still makes them a rare sight. If you have the opportunity to obtain a group of these unusual cichlids, definitely consider giving them their own tank. Requirements for keeping Teleogramma brichardi are different than other cichlids. Make sure you read Dave Hansen’s Setting up a Rheophilic Tank article. For more information on the origins and spawning of T. brichardi, take a look at Mary Bailey’s article on the species at Cichlid Room Companion

Fish-friendly dams being developed

fish-friendly dams

The world-wide push to develop alternative forms of energy has increased to construction of dams. With so many hydroelectric projects under construction, scientists are working hard to them fish-friendly dams. In the past, dams have had a devastating impact on fish populations. A dam changes the local environment for fish or it can disrupt migration, as is the case with salmon in the Pacific Northwest. The dam’s turbines can also kill or injure fish as they pass through them.

fish-friendly dams

Changes in water pressure cause bubbles to form.

Researchers from the Pacific Northwest are using what they’ve learned to help countries like Laos, Brazil and Australia build fish-friendly dams. Dam construction in Brazil has been mentioned in this blog in the past. For more information on the efforts being made in fish-friendly dams, read the NBC News article.

Largest aquarium opens in China

largest aquarium

World’s largest underwater viewing dome

The Guinness Book of World Records has confirmed that the newly opened Chimelong Ocean Kingdom Aquarium is the world’s largest. The aquarium is part of a larger theme park on Hengqin Island in China. A total of five world records were awarded to the aquarium by Guinness including largest aquarium, largest acrylic panel, largest aquarium window (below), and largest underwater viewing dome (above). The record-breaking marine aquarium holds almost 6 million gallons and houses a whale shark exhibit. Information on all the exhibits and what they contain is hard to find. At least it is for anything in english. More pictures, information and links can be found on the Huffington Post website.

largest aquarium

World’s largest acrylic panel and aquarium window

Man-eating crocodile captured in Lake Victoria

Man-eating crocodile

Fisherman, visitors and anyone who might spend time along the Lake Victoria coast can rest a little easier after a massive man-eating crocodile was finally captured. Following a 4-day search, the 18 foot long crocodile was captured by game wardens of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The crocodile is believed to be responsible for the deaths of 6 people in the Jinja and Mayuge districts of eastern Uganda. Weighing in at an over one ton, the crocodile is estimated to be 80 years old. The crocodile has been moved to a new home 200 miles away in the Murchison Falls National Park.

Information and pictures of the man-eating crocodile story are limited, but more can be found at MailOnline and NY Daily News.

North American Discus Association

North american discus association

Periodically we use the blog to promote a local cichlid club or association. The scope of the club being bolstered is generally limited to a city, state or region. This time we are taking the opportunity to promote a club whose members are from a large area, but the focus very specific. The North American Discus Association was formed 10 years ago to promote the advancement and education of everything discus.

All discus belong to the small Genus Symphysodon originally found in the Amazon Basin. From a handful of wild discus species, the hobby has created a massive variety of colorful discus with many classes constantly evolving. Discus also have a reputation of being difficult to keep. They aren’t generally recommended for the inexperienced hobbyist, at least not without taking time to understand the requirements needed to successfully keep then. For anyone considering keeping discus or someone who already does, the North American Discus Association is a great place to find information and interact with other discus hobbyists. For more information on the NADA, visit their website at www.discusnada.org.

Four-eyed fish with 360° view

four-eyed fish

Rhynchohyalus natalensis has two sets of eyes.

What is believed to be a new species of fish has been discovered deep in the Tasman Sea. What makes the new fish unique is that it has two sets of eyes. Rhynchohyalus natalensis, aka glasshead barreleye, uses one set of eyes to watch for predators while the other set looks for prey. R. natalensis is a true four-eyed fish and is different from fish of the genus Anableps. While Anableps genus fish, pictured below, are often referred to as having four eyes, they only have two eyes that are each divided into two parts giving them a simultaneous above and below the water view.

Anableps sp.

Anableps sp.

Rhynchohyalus natalensis has two individual sets of eyes. The top set is used to see other animals silhouetted against the dimly lit waters. The bottom set of eyes detects bioluminescent flashes created by deep-sea creatures. To read more about this new discovery and see more pictures of the unusual four-eyed fish visit dailymail.co.uk’s Science and Tech webpage.

Digital aquarium technology

digital aquarium

The title, digital aquarium technology, does not mean the latest version of Fish Farmville or virtual aquarium. The digital technology I’m referring to is the type that will help you maintain and safeguard your fish. For the more tech-savvy hobbyists there are a couple different products that might help integrate fishkeeping and your latest smartphone. The first type of product is a digital manager/log. Available for both iOS and Android, these digital aquarium managers will help keep track of your tank’s inhabitants, water conditions and maintenance schedules. Whether you have an iPhone or Android device, check your app store for what is available. It may take a little searching with the right keywords to find something you can use.

The other type of product is more than an app. Using a water detector designed for general home use, you can detect water leaks before they destroy your livingroom and your fish. These water detectors can use your home’s WiFi signal to notify your smartphone that there is a leak. If temperature and humidity levels are something you need to watch, these types of devices can also help you monitor those levels too. These types of products do require a substantial initial investment, but it may be worth it.

DIY acrylic aquarium project

diy acrylic

DIY Acrylic Aquarium by Brad Newton

For a while I’ve been considering purchasing a large acrylic aquarium. I really like how clear acrylic looks compared to glass. On a whim, I stopped by a local shop to have a look at what they carried. I knew they were expensive, but I was still taken aback by the cost. The price wasn’t even the only issue. I was planning on a large shelldweller/rockdweller Tanganyikan community tank. Most of the tanks I saw had large water volumes, but they were very tall with a small footprint for what I needed. Sad and disillusioned I drove home. It wasn’t until later I remembered an article posted about 10 years ago in the Do-It-Yourself section of the library. When I first read the article a DIY acrylic aquarium seemed really cool, but at the time I was using smaller tanks. It was just easier and more practical to buy glass tanks.

Anyway, I’m really looking into the idea of a DIY acrylic tank. Not only will I be able to save some cash, but I’ll be able to build it to the dimensions I need. There won’t be a foot of wasted space at the top. If you haven’t read Brad Newton’s Building an Acrylic Aquarium article, check it out. You might just get inspired.

Crenicichla gillmorlisi, new species from Paraguay

Crenicichla gillmorlisi

Crenicichla gillmorlisi. Photo by Walter A. Gill Morlis A.

A new species of Crenicichla, aka pike cichlids, has been found in the Paraná river drainage of Paraguay. Crenicichla is a large genus with around 100 described species. These predatory fish make their homes in rivers, streams and ponds of South America. Most are located in the Amazon basin, but some can be found as far south as central Argentina. While pike cichlid species vary in size from a few inches to up to 2 feet, the new species of Crenicichla gillmorlisi reaches a maximum of around 8″.

For a hobbyist, pike cichlids can be a challenge to keep. They can be very aggressive and finding suitable tankmates can be difficult. Aquarium size is also an issue particularly with the larger species. If you are looking for a challenge and think that Crenicichla might be something you are interested in keeping, make sure you read Vinny Kutty’s Introduction to Pike Cichlids or Dwarf Pike Cichlids articles.

For complete information on Crenicichla gillmorlisi, the full description can be found on the Biotaxa.org website

Lake Malawi oil drilling

lake malawi

Lake Malawi satellite image

This week an environmental assessment study into the possible effects of drilling for oil in Lake Malawi was completed. Oil production, especially to a country like Malawi, can be a big economic boom for the region. Environmental risks should always be factored into the equation whenever drilling for oil is considered. Lake Malawi isn’t just where cichlids come from, it is a source of water and food for millions of people. That being said, a troubling detail about the environmental assessment is that it is being conducted by the same company licensed to drill for oil. The study isn’t being conducted by an independent organization that can gain from turning a blind eye to environmental dangers. To find out more about SacOil and the environmental concerns in Lake Malawi, visit OOSKAnews.

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