We are working hard to keep the Reviews section of Cichlid-Forum updated. That includes the latest products and retailers. Reviews are a great way for all hobbyists to find new products and decide which products to purchase. However, without your help the product and retailer reviews won’t be helpful. If you’ve shopped with a new retailer or have tried a new product, stop by and give your review. If you find that what you are looking for isn’t there, submit a request and we will do our best to add it in a timely manner. Recently we’ve added the newest products from New Life Spectrum. Stop by, give your reviews and find out about their new line of medicated and algae pellets and gels.
Lipochromis sp. ‘Mwanza’ about to feed from an Enterochromis sp. ‘blue obliquidens’. Photo by Don Greg Steeves
The cichlids of Africa have evolved many distinct feeding behaviours. Some have specialized mouths and teeth for algae on rocks. Other species sift through the sand for organisms buried within it. Perhaps the most unusual feeding mechanism is employed by several species found in all three of the major African lakes. Paedophage cichlids are those that specialize in eating the young of other fish. They don’t just prey on young fry, they seek out and take fish from mouthbrooding females either by ramming the fry loose or by attaching themselves to the mother’s mouth and extracting the fry. Don Greg Steeves has witnessed both of these behaviours and was able to photograph one of these events. His article titled “Lipochromis sp. ‘Mwanza’ – Caught in the Act” can be found in the Library section and is the latest addition to an already extensive collection of species profiles.
The Texas Cichlid Association is having their annual Fall Show and Auction this September 26-28th. That is just two weeks away and registration is only $10 for the entire weekend. Confirmed speakers include John Nicholson and Greg Steeves. The event will include a fish show and entries will be accepted until Monday the 22nd. For class information, visit the Show Classes page. Sunday will be all about an auction. Expect to see many hard to find fish including C.A.R.E.S. species. If you live in Texas or Oklahoma, this is a show you shouldn’t miss. For more information visit the Texas Cichlid Association website – www.TexasCichlid.org/.
A great new product that offers the best of both worlds when it comes to cleaning your aquarium glass or acrylic. The Flipper aquarium cleaner has a soft cleaning pad on one side and on the other a scrapper for tougher jobs. As you can see from the demonstration on the video below, you can flip the Flipper without even getting your hands wet. The product comes with two different types of replaceable blades. A metal blade for glass aquariums and an ABS blade for acrylic aquariums. The soft cleaning pad can be used on both types of aquariums. For more information about the Flipper aquarium cleaner, visit FlipperCleaner.com.
Cichlid genome sequencing shows mechanism of evolution
The study showed that nature uses a variety of ways for animals to evolve in different environments. The cichlid genome sequencing is of special interest to scientist due to the evolutionary diversity that they have shown in a short period of time. Cichlids from the 3 main African lakes, along with 2 species of river cichlids were used in the sequencing. The research article can be seen on the online edition of Nature in pdf format.
Another book review by Pam Chin has been added to the Cichlid-Forum library. This review is for Featherfins in their Natural Habitat by Ad Konings. Featherfins is a term used to identify several species of fish from Lake Tanganyika. These fish are beautiful and delicate cichlids that are popular with advanced hobbyists. They require large tanks in order to build their nests and do best if other aggressive fish aren’t around. Males will display amazing colors while courting females. If you are a featherfin fan or are interested in learning about these amazing fish, take a look at Pam Chin’s review of Featherfins in their Natural Habitat.
Ophthalmotilapia nasuta Kipili. Photo by Jocke Sternborn CC BY-SA 3.0
New Life Spectrum, a popular food for cichlids, has developed a couple of medicated formulas to treat some of the most common fish ailments. NLS Ick-Shield for the treatment of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, a single-celled parasite that appears as tiny white dots on the fish commonly known as Ich/Ick. Hex-Shield is intended to treat Hexamita and Spironucleus, commonly known as Hole in the Head disease. Having fish directly ingest the medication is better than treating the entire tank by volume. However, this medication would only be effective if the fish aren’t too sick to eat.
Information on the new foods isn’t available on the New Life Spectrum, but NLS does have some information on their Facebook page. Detailed information can be found in the Cichlid-Forum library section on Ich/Ick and Hole in the Head.
Elephants in Serengeti National Park. Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen CC BY-SA 3.0
There is a push in Tanzania, if successful, would expand the Serengeti National Park all the way to Lake Victoria. Currently, there is a strip of land between Lake Victoria and the Serengeti park. The park has been experiencing a drought and the reliability of local water sources is questionable in the future. The plan would enable the wildlife to reach the shores of Lake Victoria for water. The plan does call for the relocation of thousands of residents, but it is believed that the overall effect on the regions economy would be positive.
Not covered in the eTurboNews article is what this might mean for Lake Victoria. The park’s wildlife would benefit from access to the lake, but what about the wildlife within the lake? I’m not an expert in any way and I my opinion is purely speculation, but I believe that this can have a positive effect on Lake Victoria. I doubt that animals drinking from a small part of the shore will cause damage to the lake as a whole. The Serengeti National Park is a flagship symbol for Tanzania. Anything that is good for the park is good for the local economy, including preserving the lake’s water. Tourism money is very important and if helping to preserve the lake insures that the money keeps coming in, then it can only be good for Lake Victoria.
Haplochromis vanheusdeni juvenile. Photo from journal article.
A journal article has been written describing a new species from the Great Ruaha River drainage in Tanzania. Haplochromis vanheusdeni can be found in the fast-moving waters of several streams and in a stretch of the Great Ruaha River. This mouthbrooder spends its time in the rocky or debris covered areas of the river. It appears to feed on small organisms in the sand and debris as well as any floating food particles that passed by. Larger individuals were about 3.5″ long in the wild. Groups of up to 10 H. vanheusdeni could inhabit a small area, but large males and brooding females would defend small territories.
If rheophilic cichlids are your thing, keep an eye out for this species. They are already being bred in captivity and brood sizes are between 20-40 fish. To read more about Haplochromis vanheusdeni, visit Africhthy.org for a copy of the article in PDF format. If you would like to learn about keeping rheophilic cichlids, take a look at the library article titled Setting up a Rheophilic Tank by Dave Hansen Esq.
Stationary videos showing the same cichlid bowers from different angles in Lake Tanganyika.
The same people that brought you the hours-long Battle of the Shells documentary uses the same technique to capture bower-building cichlids. Instead of swimming around and filming cichlids in their natural habitat, these videos are shot from a stationary position. Fish are more likely to display their natural behavior if there isn’t a person swimming around close to them. Also, a stationary camera can shoot hours of uninterrupted video.
The cichlids identified in the video are Aulonocranus dewindti and a Callochromis species. Males of both species build bowers or nests in order to attract females. Spawning takes place within or on top of the bower. The Library section of this site have several articles on species that build bowers, even in tanks. Cichlid bowers are build by Opthalmotilapia heterodonta and Callochromis pleurospilus to name a few.