Originally thought to have been wiped out after the introduction of Nile perch, several Yssichromis species have made a comeback in Lake Victoria. Thanks to their ability to adapt, a few of the species survived and flourished by moving to habitats that provided cover or mixing in with schools of other fish. Despite the good news, some species didn’t fare so well and are critically endangered or considered extinct in the wild.
A new article titled ‘The Little Known Arrow-fish; Yssichromis’ by Greg Steeves has been added to the library. In it you will find descriptions of the different species of Yssichromis. Only a few of the species have made it into the hobby, but with their interesting colors, behavior and mild temperament they make a great addition to many setups. Check out the new arrow-fish article in the library. To discuss these species visit the Lake Victoria forum.
Cleanup at spill site. Photo via twitter @vozdelatierra
Two oil spills have dumped 2000 to 3000 barrels of oil into two separate rivers in the Peruvian Amazon. Both spills occurred within 10 days of each other into tributaries of the Amazon River. This isn’t the first time oil has spilled by PetroPeru, the state-owned petroleum company. In 2014 there was a 3000 barrel oil spill into the Marañón River, also an Amazon tributary. All the oil spills have resulted in wildlife deaths and contaminated water supplies for inhabitants of the region. All the oil spills have been attributed to poor pipeline maintenance and lax attention to preserving the local ecology. For more information visit the ZME Science website.
‘Lamprologus‘ sp. “Ornatipinnis Zambia”. Photo by Dave Hansen
‘Lamprologus‘ sp. “Ornatipinnis Zambia” is one of the wonderful species of shell dwelling cichlids from Lake Tanganyika. Shell dwellers make their homes in empty Neothauma tanganyicense shells. The shells offer shell dwelling cichlids not only protection, but also a place to lay eggs, raise fry and declare territories. Different species of shell dwellers bury the shells in different ways. Some species will dig a pit around the shells while others will bury the shell. ‘L.‘ sp. “Ornatipinnis Zambia” buries its shell leaving only a tiny entrance visible.
‘Lamprologus‘ sp. “Ornatipinnis Zambia” is not as common in the hobby as other species, but its behavior is just as entertaining. To find out more about Lake Tanganyika shell dwellers check out the Shelldweller Corner in the Library. To discuss ‘L.‘ sp. “Ornatipinnis Zambia” visit the Lake Tanganyika forum.
A legendary boiling river has been found in the Amazon forest. While there are no cichlids in this river, or probably any fish whatsoever, the story is still interesting. Despite the legends of a boiling river deep in the Amazon jungle, scientists believed that there wasn’t volcanic activity in the region to create high temperature waters. It is believed that the hot water is the result of cracks and faults that allow heated water to rise from deep in the earth’s crust.
For more information, pictures and a video on the discovery near Mayantuyacu, Peru visit the article on the Daily Mail website.
The Aquatic Gardeners Association is an organization geared toward beginner and advanced hobbyists. The AGA publishes an English language quarterly journal available to the association’s members. The AGA also has an international aquascaping competition where participants enter their creations in various categories.
If you’re into aquatic gardening or just enjoy the beautiful creations, make sure to check out last year’s winners on the AGA 2015 contest page. You’ll find the different categories which link to the entries and winners. There is also a Biotope Aquascape category showing the different environments including those where you’d find cichlids. Thanks to DJRansome for bringing Aquatic Gardeners Association contest to my attention. Discussion on aquarium plants can be done in the Aquarium Decoration forum.
Often referred to as the blue-lipped blockhead, Steatocranus irvinei isn’t often seen in the hobby. Originally from the Volta River Basin in Ghana, this West African cichlid is very drab. Despite the lack of color, many Steatocranus fans find beauty in their unique appearance and are endeared with their behavior.
Although several species of Steatocranus do well in community tanks, Steatocranus irvinei does have an aggressive streak and will harass other fish. They need large tanks and do best in a species only tank or with other fish that can take care of themselves. To learn more about Steatocranus check out the article by Dave Hansen Steatocranus: A Genus Review. You can discuss S. irvinei and other West African cichlids in the Lake Victoria Basin, West African, Madagascar & Asian Species forum.
Pundamilia sp. “red head” Zue Island. Photo by Greg Steeves
On the southern side of Lake Victoria there are two locations where Pundamilia sp. “red head” where originally found, Zue Island and Mabibi Island. The Zue Island P. sp. “red head” spends its days grazing the rocks along the shore. It is the only Pundamilia species at this location and its been said that they don’t compete well with other Pundamilia.
In the aquarium, Pundamilia sp. “red head” are often bullied by aggressive fish, especially other Pundamilia species. Suitable tankmates include Neochromis rufocaudalis, Xystichromis sp. “flameback”, or Haplochromis sp. “Kenya gold”. Other fish may work as long as they are not too aggressive and differ in color and body shape. Diet is also a consideration when picking tankmates. P. sp. “red head” needs a diet high in vegetable matter, perhaps more than other other Pundamilia species. Finding P. sp. “red head” on stock lists can be difficult but not impossible. Males are beautifully colored, sporting red, yellow and green. They would make a great addition to suitable aquariums and are best kept in groups of one male to multiple females. To discuss Pundamilia sp. “red head” visit the Lake Victoria forum.
A short Nandopsis tetracanthus video by Lee Nuttall of The Central Scene – North & Central American Cichlid Keeping magazine.
Nandopsis tetracanthus is a beautiful cichlid found throughout Cuba. It lives in rivers, streams, and lagoons. N. tetracanthus also has a high tolerance of salt water. In the wild this species is under pressure since the introduction of Oreochromis mossambicus, a type of Tilapia.
In the aquarium, Nandopsis tetracanthus can be a handful. Not only do the males reach 10+ inches, but they are extremely aggressive toward their own kind and other species. Females are sometimes killed by their male partners. Males are larger and have a golden/silvery color while the females have a well defined black and white pattern. Females can lay hundreds of eggs on a flat surface and the pair will protect the fry while they are small. To discuss N. tetracanthus visit the Central American Cichlids forum.
Female Nandopsis tetracanthus with fry. Screen capture from video.
Prognathochromis perrieri has not been seen in its native waters of Lake Victoria since the mid 1980s. Surveys during the early 80s saw its decline and disappearance. Since then, other surveys have seen a comeback of other species in the area, but not P. perrieri. Fish that could possible be P. perrieri have been caught, but are most likely hybrids or simple misidentification. Although the Nile Perch decimated their numbers, poor water clarity probably caused the remaining population to hybridize.
A study attempting to determine what the Rift Valley of east Africa looked like during the mid to late Miocene Epoch (11 to 16 million years ago) found that cichlids made up the majority of fish species in the area, like they do today. Cichlid fossils ranged is size from under an inch to about 6 inches. Although the study wasn’t about cichlids, their fossils helped to paint a picture of what the landscape was like during that period. The amount of cichlid fossils and the sediments surrounding them told of catastrophic events and changing water levels during that time.
The study also identified several new species of cichlids. Future studies hope to identify the relationship between the fossilized fish and the fish found today. The complete publication is behind a paywall, but a summary can be found at the PHSY.ORG website.