Originally collected in 1852, Wallace’s Pike Cichlid died during transport to England. It wasn’t until 160 years later that the specimen collected in the upper Rio Negro was identified from its drawings. The new species name of the 160 year-old mystery is Crenicichla monicae. The drawings were matched to 3 specimens collected by the Swedish Amazonas Expedition in 1923–1925. Unfortunately, the publication with more information is behind a paywall at BioOne.org.
Pike cichlid is a common term to describe fish belonging to the genus Crenicichla. Species of Crenicichla range in size from 3 inches all the way to the 20 inches. Crenicichla are predators with a large mouth and elongated body. They make their home in rivers, steams and lakes in South America. The library has several articles on Crenicichla, but for those looking for more information on the genus, check out the Introduction to Pike Cichlids article by Vinny Kutty.
Metriaclima sp. “Msobo”; Male top, female bottom. Photos by Robert De Leon
Metriaclima sp. “Msobo” is a mbuna species that inhabits the rocky coastline on the Northeast part of Lake Malawi. Since arriving in the hobby, this species has seen many different names including Pseudotropheus “msobo deep”, Msobo Magunga and Deep Tanzania. For now the official name has settled as Metriaclima sp. “Msobo” but don’t be surprised if you see variations of the name on stock lists.
A noticeable characteristic of M. sp. “Msobo” is that the colors of the male and female resemble that of Pseudotropheus saulosi. Males have a dark blue and black color that develops as they age and become dominant while females remain yellow/orange. Like P. saulosi, M. sp. “Msobo” is a herbivore that is best kept in groups of one male and multiple females. However, while P. saulosi is relatively docile compared to other mbuna, M. sp. “Msobo” is very aggressive and larger. Males will harass other fish in the aquarium to claim their territory and will not tolerate other males of the same species. Females take constant abuse from the males and can also dish it out. Docile species should not be kept in the tank with M. sp. “Msobo” and a minimum of a 4 foot tank with lots of hiding places is recommended. If you have a tank with other aggressive fish and are looking for add a splash of color, M. sp. “Msobo” may be right for you.
Found throughout Lake Victoria, Psammochromis riponianus is one of those species that has been in the hobby since the 1990′s but never really gained widespread popularity. This species has made a comeback in Lake Victoria since the population decline of the Nile Perch. Unfortunately, poor water visibility in the lake poses a crossbreeding threat for the species.
A new article by Greg Steeves sheds some light on Psammochromis riponianus. The article includes a brief history on the species, collection locations and some tips on keeping and breeding the species. If P. riponianus is a species you are interested in or would like to learn more about, visit the Species Article in the Library. Discussion on P. riponianus can be done in the Lake Victoria Basin forum.
Sarotherodon knauerae was discovered about 5 years ago in the small, isolated Lake Ejaghan. Unlike other lakes in the region, Lake Ejaghan did not form inside a volcanic crater. Instead, the oval shaped Lake Ejaghan is most likely the result of a groundwater solution basin formed during the last Ice Age.
Lake Ejaghan does not have an inflow and its outflow is separated from the Munaya River by a waterfall. These features separated Sarotherodon knauerae from other fish in the region. S. knauerae is the smallest of all Sarotherodons reaching only about 3″. Rarely seen in the hobby, S. knauerae is endangered by pollution and sedimentation. In the lake, S. knauerae feeds on the detritus and spends most of its time in the shallower waters of the lake. To discuss Sarotherodon knauerae, visit the Lake Victoria Basin, West African, Madagascar & Asian Species forum.
Thoracochromis brauschi is a species found in the Fwa River region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (aka Zaire until 1997). There are several species of cichlids in the Fwa River, but T. brauschi is the best known in the hobby.
Thoracochromis brauschi, often called the “blood throat” cichlid, is rarely found on stock lists despite its attractive and unique coloration. Males display a bright red color from the bottom of their mouth all the way through their pelvic fins. Females are drab and do not display the “blood throat” colors. T. brauschi is a mild mannered fish that rarely displays aggression toward other species. This makes them great additions to many community setups. To find out more about Thoracochromis brauschi check out the Species Article by Greg Steeves. Discussion on this species can also be done in the Lake Victoria Basin, West African, Madagascar & Asian Species forum.
Male Gymnogeophagus lipokarenos with pronounced hump. Photo from publication.
Five new Gymnogeophagus species have been described in the Brazilian Neotropical Ichthyology journal. Gymnogeophagus are known as eartheaters for their specialized feeding behavior and are found in river basins of southern Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.
The Cichlid-Forum staff would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays. It’s been another terrific year and we would like to wish every forum member, participant and visitor a festive and safe holiday season.
I would like to take a moment to thank all the moderators who keep the forum running. Without your time and devotion this site would not exist today. Also, thanks to the support staff that addresses all of our issues. Here is to another great year in 2016.
Lipochromis sp. “Matumbi hunter”. Photo by Greg Steeves.
Lipochromis sp. “Matumbi hunter”, like some other Lipochromis, is a paedophageous. They feed off of other fish’s eggs and young. While Lipochromis sp. ‘Mwanza’ engulfs a female’s mouth and sucks out her eggs, L. sp. “Matumbi hunter” uses a ramming technique to force females to spit out their eggs. Greg Steeves has written a short article describing the Lipochromis and recounting when he witnessed L. sp. “Matumbi hunter’s” feeding technique. The new L. sp. “Matumbi hunter” article can be found in the library along with a couple more pictures. You might also want to check out the L. sp. ‘Mwanza’ article by the same author. Discussion on all Lipochromis can be done in the Lake Victoria Basin forum.
Aulonocara baenschi is a stunning peacock from Lake Malawi. Males sport a bright yellow body with blue around the cheeks. Like all Aulonocara, only the males display bright colors while the females are brown with some vertical banding. A. baenschi is a little smaller than the other peacock species. In the wild along the shores of Nkhomo Reef, A. baenschi feeds be sifting through the sand looking for small creatures. In the aquarium, sand is recommended so this behavior can be seen. Males will also excavate a small depression in the sand for spawning.
In addition to a sandy substrate, a few rock formations will provide females some cover. Aulonocara baenschi should be kept in groups of one male and multiple females. Although not very aggressive, multiple males are not recommended. Other species of Aulonocara should be avoided as females look very similar and crossbreeding is a possibility. A diet high in protein is best. Discussion on Aulonocara baenschi can be done in the Lake Malawi Species forum.
The different subspecies of Pseudocrenilabrus philander are widely distributed throughout Central and Southern Africa. Currently only 3 subspecies have been identified, P. p. philander, P. p. dispersus and P. p. luebberti. There may be up to a dozen separate populations throughout Africa. The picture above is supposed to be from Guma Lagoon in Botswana. To discuss Pseudocrenilabrus philander, visit the Lake Victoria Basin, West African, Madagascar & Asian Species forum.