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Illegal gold mining threatens Amazon River tributary

illegal gold mining

Madre de Dios, Peru. Photo by Google Earth

Gold mining in the Madre de Dios region of Peru is not only threatening the region, but also poses a threat down stream to the Amazon River. Of particular concern are the illegal gold mining camps that have sprung up in the last few years. Unregulated and often ‘seat of your pants’ operations regularly dump mercury and other chemicals into the area.

Illegal gold mining

The destruction left behind by these illegal gold mining operations is clearly seen. Whatever is dumped into the region makes it way into the Madre de Dios River which eventually reaches the Amazon River. Several species of cichlids make their home in the Madre de Dios River, including Mesonauta festivus, the flag cichlid.

If you would like to read more about illegal gold mining in the Madre de Dios region, make sure to read the Environment News Service article

Below is a video showing a fly-over of the region. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a version with English commentary.

To comment on this blog, visit the South American Cichlids forum.

RoboSnail: a Roomba for your tank


Probably one of the more unusual aquarium products I’ve seen in a while, but certainly something I could use. RoboSnail can best be described as a hybrid between a Roomba and an automatic pool vacuum. According to the manufacturer, AquaGenesis International, RoboSnail prevents algae buildup on aquarium glass by automatically cleaning it once a day. The constant preventative cleaning stops algae from taking hold on the aquarium’s glass surface. This product seems like a fantastic idea, especially if you have a tank that is difficult to clean or you’re the kind of person that doesn’t like to do constant maintenance. Watching the video below I do have one huge concern. As someone who has scratched their glass by accidentally picking up some sand with a magnetic cleaner, I’d be really worried about the product doing the same and then proceeding to scratch the entire tank.

If you’d like to read more about RoboSnail, check out the product website at RoboSnail.com.

Comments can be made in the Equipment & Supplies forum.

Aquatic Experience Chicago show this weekend

aquatic experience

Billed as “Everything Aquatic Under One Roof”, the World Pet Association is having their first Aquatic Experience in Chicago this weekend. Speakers slated to give talks include Zeb Hogan, Heiko Bleher, Oliver Lucanus, Laif DeMason and Rusty Wessel. In a departure from the traditional speakers, Aquatic Experience will also be presenting a lineup of aquatic industry professionals representing manufacturers and retailers. The event is being held at the Schaumburg Convention Center, which boasts its 100,000 square foot facility. It will include a shark encounter tank, fish displays from around the world and manufacturer booths. This experience is definitely a departure from the traditional cichlid club conventions and may seem a little commercial. Nonetheless, it has a great lineup of speakers and activities. For some it might also provide an opportunity to see many of the latest products from the biggest manufacturers in the aquatic industry.

If you live in the Chicago area make sure to visit the Aquatic Experience website for more information.

Visit the General Aquaria Discussion forum for comments.

Dwarf cichlids from South America

dwarf cichlids

Defining what makes up the category of dwarf cichlids isn’t an exact science, but the species generally recognized as dwarfs can bring hobbyists many years of joy. For the most part, South American dwarfs are small (less than 5″) and prefer soft, acidic water. Species recognized as dwarfs fall into the genera Apistogramma, Apistogrammoides, Biotecus, Crenicara, Dicrossus, Microgeophagus, Nannacara, and Taeniacara. Depending on the species, a pair can be kept in a tank as small as 10 gallons, but larger tanks are advisable. If you are looking to squeeze in one more tank or only have room for a smaller tank, dwarfs might be exactly what you are looking for. In a community tank they do better with non-aggressive tankmakes and aside from spawning, they tend to not be very aggressive. They can be shy, but dither fish will help bring them out. Dwarf cichlids are also great for planted tanks.

If you’d like to try your hand at some South America dwarf cichlids, make sure to visit South American Dwarfs section of the New World Cichlids page.

To comment visit the South American Cichlids Forum

Ndole Bay scuba diving video

Scuba diving at the Ndole Bay Lodge, Lake Tanganyika.

The blog is back and what better way to kick things off than a video of the wildlife in Lake Tanganyika. This video comes from the waters of Ndole Bay on the southwestern part of Lake Tanganyika. This part of the lake is know for many beautiful cichlids species including Cyphotilapia, Cyprichromis and featherfins. These fish and many more can be seen in this video, including some that have made their home in a wreck. According to the video’s author, the tremendous variety of fish and their habitats are all around the Ndole Bay Lodge.

For comments visit the Lake Tanganyika forum

Ndole Bay

Ndole Bay area. Photo by wikus5252, Google Earth

3D Background – Customizing and Installing

3d background

An article submitted by forum member Chuck Greene (forest109) details the customization and installation of a 3D background. The article takes an in-depth look at the selection process of a background including some of the issues and decisions you will have to make. As stated in the article, 3D backgrounds are popular in Europe but haven’t caught on in the U.S., limiting their availability and size options. Once you’ve selected your background, Chuck covers topics such as painting and making modifications for filtration and water movement.

If incorporating a 3D background into your next aquarium is something you would consider, make sure to read Chuck’s Customizing and Installing article.

American Cichlid Association 2013 Convention

American Cichlid Association

The Rocky Mountain Cichlid Association welcomes back the American Cichlid Association National Convention. There is still time to register for the ACA 2013 convention being held in Denver, CO. on July 18-21. Guest speakers will include Ad Konings, Alan Rollings, Felipe Cantera, Greg Steeves and many more. The schedule includes the various guest speakers, conservation updates, microbrewery tours, midnight B.A.B.E.S. auction, kids’ decorating contest and the final Sunday auction. The ACA 2013 Convention will be the biggest cichlid event of the year, don’t miss out! For all the latest information and to register for American Cichlid Association 2013 Convention, visit 2013aca.com

Cichlids of Africa Volume II?

cichlids of africa

While cruising the interwebs looking for some Lake Victoria fish pictures I came across this image. Could this be the cover of the followup to Cichlids of Africa Volume I: Haplochromines? The original book was reviewed by Ken Boorman and his entire review can be found HERE. According to Ken’s review:  

This book brings together a collection of articles and beautiful photographs, providing the reader with a valuable reference and insight into the captive care and breeding of these vanishing jewels.

Volume II should be more of the same great content. The authors listed on the cover of “Cichlids of Africa Volume II” are Greg Steeves, Anton Lamboj and Hans Van Heusden. The first two being authors of the original book. There isn’t any other information of where and when the book will be available, but with an image of the cover out there, it shouldn’t be very long. If you are a fan of Lake Victoria Basin cichlids, you should certainly keep an eye on the AfricanCichlids.net storefront where the original book is sold. I can’t wait!

Cichlid Guessing Game topic

cichlid guessing game

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.

Paretroplus menarambo spawn video

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.

Paretroplus menarambo

Paretroplus menarambo

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