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Dam construction threatens Amazon

dam construction

Amazon river heavily loaded with sediment. Photo by NASA

Dam construction continues at a fast pace to meet the growing demand for electricity in South America. It is estimated that there are over 400 existing, in construction or planned dams dotting the Amazon river basin. The dangers to the aquatic biodiversity come from an excess buildup of sediments (as seen in the picture above) and toxins like mercury used in gold mining. Dams also destroy natural ecosystems and prevent fish migration essential to reproduction. A two part article on Mongabay details the dangers to the Amazon river as a result of all the existing and future planned dams. If you are a cichlid fan, especially of New World cichlids, these new dams could threaten many of the species you love and also species yet to be discovered and collected.

Enantiopus sp. “Kilesa” from Lake Tanganyika

Enantiopus sp.

Enantiopus sp. “Kilesa”. Photo by Benjamin L. Smith

Enantiopus sp. “Kilesa” is one of those fish that is on many hobbyist’s wishlists, but rarely fulfilled. These cichlids can be found on the sandy western shores of Lake Tanganyika. The males, as seen above, are incredibly colorful. The colors and display they put on always intensifies when spawning or challenging other males. One of the reasons these fish aren’t more popular is that they can be delicate to both stress and water quality. Transporting, moving and even startling the fish can cause them to become stressed and die. Water quality is also a big issue with E. sp. “Kilesa”.

Hobbyists who make the commitment to owning these fish also need to dedicate substantial tank space to them. They do best in a species only tank with a large sandy bottom. Enantiopus sp. “Kilesa” are best kept in groups of one male and multiple females. The males will move sand around and create mounds in an effort to attract potential males. It is this behavior along with their color that makes these fish so interesting to watch. If you would like some more information on this species check out the Enantiopus sp. “Kilesa” article in the library by Benjamin L. Smith. Discussion can be done in the Lake Tanganyika forum.

Steatocranus bleheri article

Steatocranus bleheri

Steatocranus bleheri. Photo by Dave Hansen

The article titled A Rheophilic Suprise, Steatocranus bleheri by Dave Hansen has been added to the library. West African cichlids are often underrepresented, especially when it comes to good information and first hand experience. Along with some general Steatocranus genus information, the article details the author’s experiences with Steatocranus bleheri from juveniles to breeding adults. All this with a strange beginning into keeping this species.

If you’ve been thinking about keeping any Steatocranus species, this article is a must read. If you don’t know much about West African cichlids, A Rheophilic Suprise, Steatocranus bleheri is a great introduction. You might just find yourself planning a new tank.

Paralabidochromis chromogynos from Lake Victoria

Paralabidochromis chromogynos

Paralabidochromis chromogynos, Zue Island, Lake Victoria. Photo by Greg Steeves

The color patterns of Paralabidochromis chromogynos can best be described as amazing. Not just because the piebald pattern is so interesting, but describing one particular piebald does an injustice to all other piebalds. There is just so much variation in their colors. Some bodies have plain black and white blotching patterns while others have a mixture of red, green, black and orange. Surrounding the body are colorful fins with iridescent blue, reds and yellows.

Paralabidochromis chromogynos is a typical Lake Victoria cichlid when it comes to care. They are hardy and breed easily. Groups of a single male and several females are best since males can be rough on each other. Because they aren’t overly aggressive to other species, they do well with a variety of fish. To find out more about P. chromogynos, read the Species Article by Greg Steeves. Discussion on this species can be done in the Lake Victoria forum.

Pundamilia sp. “blue bar” article

Pundamilia sp.

Pundamilia sp. “blue bar”. Photo by Dave Hansen

An article on Pundamilia sp. “blue bar” has been added to the site’s library. For hobbyists not familiar with the genus Pundamilia, it is made of of some incredibly colorful fish from the Lake Victoria Basin.

The article starts off with some detail on the Pundamilia genus, but then jumps right into to describe Pundamilia sp. “blue bar”. Including its collection point, physical characteristics and temperament. Although aggressive among themselves, P. sp. “blue bar” is mild tempered towards other species. If this species is something you would consider keeping, make sure to read the Species Article. A special thanks to Greg Steeves for allowing us to use his article.

Neochromis sp. “madonna”

Neochromis sp

Neochromis sp. “madonna”. Photo by Dave Hansen

Another out of the ordinary fish from the Lake Victoria Basin. Neochromis sp. “madonna” is native to Lake Kyoga, which is north of Lake Victoria. Lake Kyoga is an unusual lake. Despite covering 660 square miles, its maximum depth is around 6 feet. The shallowness of Lake Kyoga has made it especially vulnerable to water hyacinth which has affected many lakes in the basin. Neochromis. sp. “madonna” is a typical Victoria cichlids. Hearty and easy to breed, but also with an uncertain future in the wild. Check out the short species article by Greg Steeves in the library.

Central American cichlid reclassifications

central american

Maskaheros argenteus. Formally of Paraneetroplus and Vieja. Photo by Citron / CC-BY-SA-3.0

A recently published article details naming revisions to many popular Central American cichlid species. Using previously compiled DNA sequencing and morphological characters, the study has reclassified many species and even create several new genera. Affected species include fish from common genera like Paraneetroplus, Herichthys, Thorichthys and Vieja. Some species have been shifted around to an existing genus while others have been put into the new genus names.

Those familiar with Central American cichlids should take a look at the article found on mapress.com/zootaxa to see if fish you keep or are interested in have been affected. Discussion can be done in the Central American Cichlids forum.

Lake Malawi diving video

A short video of a dive in Lake Malawi. Video’s author describes the location as Nakatenga Rock. Possibly Nakantenga Island in the southwest part of the lake?

Regardless of the location, the footage shows just how many different types of cichlids, especially mbuna, inhabit the large rocks. The water’s color is very green and I don’t know if its just a white balance issue or if it’s actual conditions. The picture below shows a screen capture with a quick color correction. Judge for yourself.

The large rocks along the shores of Lake Malawi are home to a great variety of cichlid species. Mbuna is a term meaning rock-fish and is used to describe the colorful fish that live around rocks. Most are herbivores that spend most of their time picking at the algae growth on rocks. For more information on mbuna, check out the Haps Vs. Mbuna article in the library.

lake malawi

Screen capture from video with slight color correction.

Sciaenochromis fryeri from Lake Malawi

Sciaenochromis fryeri

Sciaenochromis fryeri. Photo by Robert De Leon

Commonly known as the electric blue hap, Sciaenochromis fryeri is a favorite Lake Malawi Haplochromine. Its bright blue color and predatory appearance can make it the highlight of any aquarium. Make no mistake, this cichlid is a carnivore and will eat any fish that it can fit into its mouth. Tankmates should include other fish that share the same dietary requirements. S. fryeri should not eat foods high in plant matter. Not particularly aggressive, but other males and similarly colored fish can be targets. Large tanks are a must as males can get to about 8″ and they like to cruise the tank.

To learn more about Sciaenochromis fryeri, read the species article by Marc Elieson and Brett Harrington. Discussion on S. fryeri can be done in the Lake Malawi Species forum.

Haplochromis lividus from Lake Victoria

Haplochromis lividus

Haplochromis lividus. Photo by Greg Steeves

Another beautifully colored and out of the ordinary fish from Lake Victoria. The Haplochromis lividus pictured above is from Murchison Bay in the northern part of the lake. Its current status there and throughout the lake is currently unknown and possibly extinct in the wild. Although originally threatened from the introduction of the Nile Perch, H. lividus‘ current threat is that it will spawn itself to extinction. The reason being is the decreased water clarity of Lake Victoria. As it becomes cloudier due to pollution and agricultural runoff, many species are becoming confused and hybridizing with other species.

The best chance for the survival of Haplochromis lividus now rests in the hands hobbyists. They do well in captivity and like other Lake Victoria species are prolific spawners. Males reach a size of about 4 inches and females are smaller. In the wild, they would spend most of the day grazing on algae so a diet high in plant matter is recommended. This species, like many others from Lake Victoria, is part of the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program. To discuss Haplochromis lividus visit the Lake Victoria Basin, West African, Madagascar & Asian Species forum.

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