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Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute

Tennessee Aquarium

Tennessee Aquarium River Discovery Hall

The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga features many great exhibits including River Giants and the Tennessee River Gallery. There is also the Rivers of the World gallery which includes the Amazon River, Congo River and other rivers in Africa. For those who don’t mind getting wet there are many hands-on exhibits to experience.

Along with all the great exhibits the Tennessee Aquarium has also built a 14,000 square foot facility for the advancement of conservation science. The conservation institute is not only a research facility, but an educational lab for students, conservation professionals and Aquarium members. The facility houses artificial streams to study the effects of humans on the environment as well as temperature changes on stream ecology. If you live in the Chattanooga, TN area make sure to visit the Tennessee Aquarium not only for what they have to offer but to support them in their efforts to protect the environment. For more information visit their website at www.tnaqua.org/.

Tropheus duboisi biotope video

A short video by Ugur rusen dogan of an aquarium designed to recreate the rocky Tropheus duboisi habitat in the waters around Kigoma in Lake Tanganyika.

In the wild Tropheus duboisi will spend their days grazing on the algae covered rocks. The rocks also provide territory boundaries and protection. In an aquarium a rocky setup not only gives an aesthetic sense of authenticity, but provides hiding places and territory boundaries for the aggressive nature of Tropheus. While T. duboisi are generally considered more hardy and less aggressive then other Torpheus species, they are still Tropheus. For more information on Tropheus duboisi visit the species article in the library. Tropheus can be discuss in the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.

Tropheus duboisi

Tropheus duboisi. Photo by Manfred Werner. CC by 3.0

Astatotilapia latifasciata article

Astatotilapia latifasciata

Male and female Astatotilapia latifasciata. Photo by Robert De Leon

A new article on Astatotilapia latifasciata has been added to the library. The original article by Marc Elieson can still be found here. In addition to more details about A. latifasciata, the new article includes more and larger photos.

Astatotilapia latifasciata is an interesting species originally from Lake Kyoga in the Lake Victoria Basin. With the loss of its natural habitat, A. latifasciata has only been seen in an adjacent lake, Lake Nawampassa. A. latifasciata is a colorful and peaceful cichlid making a great candidate for beginners and anyone looking to add color to their aquarium. Its gentile character works will other Victorian cichlids and even many Lake Malawi species. The new article can be found in the library. To discuss this species visit the Lake Victoria Basin forum.

Paralabidochromis chilotes Ruti Island

Paralabidochromis chilotes

Paralabidochromis chilotes Ruti Island. Female on right, male on left. Photos by Greg Steeves

Paralabidochromis chilotes in a species of cichlid found in Lake Victoria. There are two recognizable variants, the most common from Zue Island. Males have a checkerboard pattern on their body and dominant males will display greens and blues with red on the chest area. Females from Zue Island are silver with not much color. The other P. chilotes variant is from Ruti Island. While the males have a similar color pattern to males from Zue Island, the females sport a distinctive blotched pattern.

Paralabidochromis chilotes have a slightly upturned snout and as they mature their lips become enlarged. They are often referred to as the thick-lipped Victorian. P. chilotes is similar to other Lake Victoria cichlids. They are tolerant to a variety of water conditions, are generally robust, and easy to breed. P. chilotes is not as aggressive as other Victorian cichlids and does well with a variety of fish. To discuss Paralabidochromis chilotes Ruti Island visit the Lake Victoria Basin forum.

Tilapia joka from West Africa

tilapia joka

Tilapia joka. Photo by Dave Hansen

Tilapia joka is an unusual looking cichlids found in rivers and streams of Sierra Leone and Liberia. Fish from the genus Tilapia are not usually seen in the hobby, but T. joka is one of the few. Its attractive barring an small size have earned them a place in West African cichlid enthusiast’s tanks. While they grow to around 8 inches in the wild, in aquariums they tend not to exceed more than 5 inches.

Tilapia joka is a mild mannered fish and does best when kept with other less aggressive fish. A pair will bond and remain monogamous. T. joka should be kept in soft, clean water. Diet should include plant matter with some protein. Females will lay up to 200 eggs inside a cave and both parents will care for the offspring. During breeding males can become territorial. To discuss Tilapia joka visit the West African forum.

Astatotilapia stappersii from Lake Tanganyika

Astatotilapia stappersii

Astatotilapia stappersii. Photo by Adrian Indermaur. CC by 4.0

Astatotilapia stappersii is a cichlid that has been found and collected along the rivers and swamps surrounding Lake Tanganyika. The specimen pictured above was collected in the northernmost part of Lake Tanganyika along the Burundi border. Despite being found in many locations and its attractive colors, A. stappersii has not found its way commercially into the hobby. In the wild it reaches lengths of around six inches and feeds primarily on insect larva.

Little information is available about Astatotilapia stappersii. Those few hobbyists that do keep them have not made them widely available or put out much information about them. It is safe to assume that A. stappersii is a mouthbrooding cichlid that behaves similarly to other Lake Tanganyikan Astatotilapia like A. burtoni. They live the the shallow waters of wetlands, swamps and slow moving rivers the lake. To discuss Astatotilapia stappersii visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum. Hopefully this species will become more commercially available in the coming years.

FOTAS 2016 Annual Convention

fotas 2016

The Federation of Texas Aquarium Societies will be holding its annual convention in Schertz, TX on October 21-23. FOTAS is an organization which includes aquarium clubs from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Each year one of the member clubs hosts the organization’s convention. This year’s convention, FOTAS 2016, is being held by the Hill Country Cichlid Club.

Events planned for FOTAS 2016 include guest speakers, fish show, club vs club decorating contest and finishing with a large fish auction. Guest speakers include Susan Robinson, Kyle Osterholt, Dave Schumacher and Dr. Michael Kidd. Each year’s convention tends to lean heavily toward the host club’s interests. Since the HCCC is a cichlid club, expect to see a mostly cichlid oriented convention and auction. For more information visit the HCCC Events Facebook page.

Lipochromis melanopterus from Lake Victoria

Lipochromis melanopterus

Lipochromis melanopterus Makobe Island. Photo by Greg Steeves

Lipochromis melanopterus is another Lake Victoria cichlid that isn’t seen in the hobby very often, but they make a great addition to a variety of aquariums. Like other Lake Victoria Haplochromines, L. melanopterus is a hardy fish that has great color and breeds easily. Victorian cichlids are often thought to be too aggressive for beginning hobbyists, but in reality most are no more aggressive than other popular cichlids.

Male Lipochromis melanopterus have the familiar barring and bright colors of other Victorian cichlids. However, the females are orange blotched (OB) instead other the usual dull grey. To discuss L. melanopterus visit the Lake Victoria Basin forum. To learn more about Lake Victoria cichlids in general, check out the article New to the Hobby Haplochromines by Greg Steeves for information on other great species from the region.

Lake Tanganyika oil exploration deal

lake tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika. Photo: NASA

The governments of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have signed an agreement for joint exploration of oil and gas in Lake Tanganyika. It is believed that oil and gas can be found in and around the lake. Gas and oil production is an untapped resource for the impoverished nations and has the potential of improving economic conditions in the area. However, contamination of the lake and surrounding areas poses a threat to the already threatened lake ecology. Rising temperatures in the lake have already led to declines in commercial fishing production.

For more information on the agreement for oil exploration visit CNBCAfrica.com. Discussion on Lake Tanganyika can be done in the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.

Ctenochromis polli from the Congo River

Ctenochromis polli

Ctenochromis polli. Photo by Dave Hansen

Ctenochromis polli is thought to be among the first West African cichlids imported into the U.S. The first specimens were caught in Stanley Pool (Pool Malebo) but it is thought to be in several locations throughout the lower and mid Congo River. C. polli is not often found in the hobby and its original habitat is threatened by urbanisation.

In the aquarium Ctenochromis polli isn’t a very demanding fish. Males can reach 4″, while females are slightly smaller. Older, mature males can develop a nuchal hump. In the wild C. polli regularly eats insect larvae, but will adapt to most fish foods. C. polli can be aggressive and does well with mbuna and other hardy cichlids. Plenty of hiding places are recommended and subdued lighting is best, otherwise they will be very shy. To discuss Ctenochromis polli visit the West African forum.

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