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2nd European Discus Championship video

2nd european discus

3rd Place Discus red – Marc Volders Belgium. Capture from video.

The 2nd European Discus Championship took place in Dortmund, Germany, 2014. The video below shows some of the highlights from the competition.

Discus is the common name for cichlids belonging to the Symphysodon genus. Discus originate from various rivers and lakes in the Amazon Basin. In captivity, discus have been bred to enhance particular colors and patterns like the ones seen in the video. Keeping discus is not recommended for novice hobbyists. They require more attention to water quality and diet than most other cichlid species found in the hobby. For information of discus, check out the articles written by Ryan Williams – My Experience Raising & Keeping Discus and Breeding Disucs From a Beginner’s Perspective. Discussion on discus can be done in the South American Cichlids forum.

Ptychochromis mainty from Madagascar

Ptychochromis mainty

Ptychochromis mainty from southeastern Madagascar has been described in a recent publication by Magnolia Press. Unfortunately, the article is behind yet another paywall. The first page of the article can be found HERE and some more information about P. mainty can be found on the One species a day blog.

Four specimens were collected from the Fort Dauphin region of southeastern Madagascar and are the basis for the description of Ptychochromis mainty. Most of the species of cichlids from Madagascar are at risk of extinction. Ptychochromis onilahy was once collected in 1962 and has never been seen again. A world-wide search for specimens of Ptychochromis insolitus in 2013 after the last female died in captivity led to finding 18 individuals in wild. Including P. mainty, there are 10 described species of Ptychochromis. Most are under threat due to habitat destruction or other introduced species. Fish from Madagascar can be discussed in the Lake Victoria Basin, West African, Madagascar & Asian Species section of the forum.

Astatotilapia brownae from Lake Victoria

Astatotilapia brownae

Astatotilapia brownae. Photo by Greg Steeves

Some might say that the name of the species pictured above is Haplochromis brownae, but for now I will refer to this species as Astatotilapia brownae. Many species from the Lake Victoria basin are classified under the catch-all genus Haplochromis. Over the years there has been an effort to reclassify many of these species into other genus. As far as I know, this species is still considered a Haplochromis but it is also found under the Astatotilapia name.

Originally found in Lake Victoria, this species is believed extinct in the wild. The Nile perch led to a drastic reduction in their numbers. The most recent surveys has come up with fish that appear to be A. brownae, but are misdentifications or hybrids. Poor water quality has let to visibility issues which in turn has caused many fish to spawn with the wrong species. Those who have kept this species report that these fish can be somewhat aggressive, but not as bad as some of the most aggressive Victorians. Males grow to about 4″ and should be kept with multiple females to distribute aggression. To discuss Astatotilapia brownae and other Lake Victoria basin species, visit the Lake Victoria forum.

Facial recognition in cichlids

facial recognition

Kohda et al. Images from publication. (CCAL)

A new research article has come up with some interesting finding in facial recognition by cichlids. The experiments were conducted with Neolamprologus pulcher, a schooling cichlid from Lake Tanganyika. The study found that when presented with images of different Neolamprologus pulcher, they could quickly recognize them as familiar or unfamiliar. A quick glance, < 0.5 seconds, was all that was needed for N. pulcher to identify recognizable facial features of familiar fish. The speed of recognition is comparable to that of primates, including humans. To read about the study visit PLOS.org. Discussion on N. pulcher can be done in the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.

Evolutionary traits helped with mass extinction

Evolutionary traits

Lipochromis sp. “Matumbi hunter”. Photo by Greg Steeves

Normally evolutionary traits help species survive in their environments. Drastic changes in a species’ habitat can cause certain traits to become useless. In the case of Lake Victoria cichlids, the introduction of a new predator by humans caused the mass extinction of hundreds of species. The Nile perch is a fast growing and hungry predator quickly eliminated competition and preyed on any fish in the lake.

A new study points to certain evolutionary traits in cichlids that helped them before the introduction of the Nile perch, but quickly became a liability once this new competitor arrived. Cichlids developed jaws that allowed them to eat a variety of foods. According to the study, these same jaws were not suited to compete with the large mouth or the Nile perch. Unfortunately the publication is behind a paywall, but a summary can be found on the National Geographic website.

Chuco intermedium and Paratheraps melanurus video

A pair of Central American cichlids, Chuco intermedium and Paratheraps melanurus, face off in this short video.

Both of these species are quite beautiful and can reach sizes of 10 inches or larger. Just a single pair is stunning but looking at the video you can see this tank is full of these large fish. Chuco intermedium normally make their home in rivers but can be found in calmer lagoons. C. intermedium is not particularly aggressive but will defend its offspring and territory. On the other hand, Paratheraps melanurus lives in calmer waters of slow moving rivers or lakes. P. melanurus is a more aggressive species and care needs to be taken in selecting tankmates and providing adequate hiding areas. For discussion on both of these species visit the Central American Species forum.

Chuco intermedium

Chuco intermedium (left) and Paratheraps melanurus (right). Screen capture from nijlpaard63 video

You can check out other great videos by nijlpaard63 on Youtube.

Labrochromis ishmaeli from Lake Victoria

Labrochromis ishmaeli

Labrochromis ishmaeli. Photo by Greg Steeves

This rare snail-eating cichlid from Lake Victoria is not only rare in the hobby, but thought to be extinct in the wild. Often confused with Haplochromis sp. 44, Labrochromis ishmaeli is believed to have originally inhabited the sandy-bottom waters of Mwanza Gulf in southern Lake Victoria.

Due to the often muted colors of the males and the always plain females, this species never gained much popularity in the hobby. Anyone interested in keeping a rare cichlid that is probably extinct in the wild, Labrochromis ishmaeli is a must-get fish if the opportunity arises. This cichlids can reach almost 6 inches and is peaceful when not spawning. Keeping L. ishmaeli in a tank by themselves is recommended, especially if you hope to breed them. For more information about this species visit the Labrochromis ishmaeli article by Greg Steeves. Discussion can be done in the Lake Victoria Basin forum.

Neolamprologus signatus article

Neolamprologus signatus

Neolamprologus signatus. Photo by Dave Hansen

Packed with the personality of a whale, Neolamprologus signatus is a small shelldwelling cichlid from Lake Tanganyika. Shelldwellers make their home in empty Neothauma tanganyicense shells which they horde and bury for protection and to spawn. N. signatus males reach about 2.5 inches in length with the females half and inch shorter. Males have black barring on their flanks. Females lack the barring but display a pinkish spot over their abdomen.

A new Neolamprologus signatus article has been added to the library section of the site. In it you will find a brief description of this species along with some great photos. To discuss N. signatus, visit the Lake Tanganyika species forum. Additional shelldweller articles can be found in the Shelldweller Corner.

Fish health monitor at Blue Planet Aquarium

fish health monitor

Fish Health Monitor trial is being held at Blue Planet Aquarium

A new fish health monitor developed by Dr Lynne Sneddon at the University of Liverpool is being tested at the Blue Planet Aquarium in England. The system has been in place for two months monitoring fish movement to determine the overall health of the tanks inhabitants. Using cameras, the system monitors the aquarium’s inhabitants. Healthy fish movement has be programmed into the system and when it detects unhealthy movement, the staff is notified. Initially developed for use in the laboratory, this system has applications in large public aquariums. Maybe one day the fish health monitor will be available for home use with nothing more than a camera and home computer to monitor and alert us to possible health issues in our tanks. To read more about the monitor, visit PHYS.ORG.

Metriaclima sp. “mbweca” from Lake Malawi

Metriaclima sp

Metriaclima sp. “mbweca”. Photo by Dave Hansen

Originally belonging to the genus Cynotilapia, Metriaclima sp. “mbweca” was commonly found on price lists as “afra mbweca” or “green afra”. Like other Malawi mbuna, male M. sp. “mbweca” can be territorial and does best in groups of one male and multiple females. While dominant males can be aggressive toward conspecific males, they are not known for being as aggressive as other mbuna. M. sp. “mbweca” can be kept with a variety of other cichlid species. However, care should be taken to ensure that females of other species are not similar to M. sp. “mbweca” females. A short article on Metriaclima sp. “mbweca” by Nick Andreola can be found in the Library.

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