A study involving Amatitlania nigrofasciata, commonly known as the convict cichlid, has shown a flaw in past aggression studies. It seems that some fish aren’t so easily fooled by their own reflections. Mirrors have been used in studies to evaluate the aggressiveness of certain species. A. nigrofasciata’s seems to realize that its reflection is not a rival and it behaves accordingly. Because the convict cichlid does not display the same type of behavior toward its own reflection than it does a real rival, it might indicate that fish have a much higher cognitive ability than what scientist previously thought. If that is the case, it could jeopardize behavior studies involving mirrors.
To read more about the study, visit Nature World News. If you would like to learn more about Amatitlania nigrofasciata, read the Species Article by Brett Harrington.
A recent study by Gordon Burghardt at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has found that fish, in particular Tropheus duboisi, like to play too. Playful behavior is often only associated with mammals, but play can also be seen in reptiles and invertebrates.
In a statement by Burghardt:
“Play is repeated behavior that is incompletely functional in the context or at the age in which it is performed and is initiated voluntarily when the animal or person is in a relaxed or low-stress setting,”
Out of the many cichlid species looked at, Tropheus duboisi seemed to enjoy play the most. As is all too common now, the study is behind a pay wall. Fortunately you can find a little information about it here and here. If you want to know more about T. duboisi, take a look at the Species Article.
The evolution on egg-spots on mouthbrooding cichlids has finally been explained. A recent scientific article details how the rapidly evolving Haplochromis cichlids developed their characteristic anal fin coloration. If you’ve kept Lake Victoria or Lake Malawi cichlids then you are familiar with the brightly-colored circles on the anal fin of most male fish. Those spots are part of the reproductive process of many mouthbrooding cichlids and are crucial in egg fertilization.
Yssichromis piceatus is a open-water schooling fish that at one time was found throughout Lake Victoria. Unfortunately, it was driven to extinction in the lake by the Nile Perch. Fortunately the species survives in the hobby, but is very rare. Despite being on the C.A.R.E.S. list and the Lake Victoria Species Survival Plan, breeding of this species has proven harder than most other Victorian species. If you run across a hobbyist who has successfully bred this species, make sure to congratulate them. If you are willing to dedicate a tank and time to them, consider raising a group. Information on Yssichromis piceatus is somewhat limited, but some can be found on the Species Profile along with a couple more pictures.
Below is a short video of Yssichromis piceatus in a species tank.
On September 2013 a group of 32 captive bred Pseudotropheus saulosi were released into their original habitat. The video below shows a second group released this year.
At one time Pseudotropheus saulosi were everywhere in the waters around Taiwanee Reef in Lake Malawi. The population of P. saulosi has decreased dramatically and it can sometimes be difficult to spot them at all. A quick count of P. saulosi was done before both releases. Although there were more specimens this year compared to last year, Ad Konings believes that the increase was due to less demand for wild-caught specimens.
For more information on the release program, visit the Cichlid Press article. If you would like to learn more about Pseudotropheus saulosi, check out the Library Article by Paul Barber.
Male and female Ps. saulosi. Photo by Gerard Delany
The Annual Federation of Texas Aquarium Societies (FOTAS) 2014 convention is only 2 weeks away. This year’s host organization, the Hill Country Cichlid Club, will be holding the FOTAS 2014 convention in Schertz, TX (just north of San Antonio). The three day event will feature a fish show, auction and banquet. Guest speakers will include Pam Chin, Jose M. Gonzales, Kathy England and Steve Edie.
Since FOTAS isn’t a cichlid only association, the event will feature all types of fish. However, the overall feel of the event will be skewed toward cichlids since the host organization is a cichlid club. Best of all, attending the event is free except for the Saturday banquet. That means the fish shows and speaker presentations are free to anyone. The $25 banquet tickets must be purchased by October 22nd. The entire event will be from October 24th and ending after the auction on the 26th. For more information on FOTAS 2014 and to purchase banquet tickets, visit the FOTAS 2014 Convention Page.
The blog about modular LED lighting fixtures reminded my of a DIY LED conversion article that hadn’t been published to our Library yet. For hobbyist who prefer to save some money and don’t mind getting their hands dirty, this DIY article is just for you. With some research and determination, it is possible to convert your existing fluorescent lighting fixtures to more efficient and longer lasting LED lighting. Before you decide your are going to do the DIY LED conversion, read David Fair’s DIY article carefully to make sure your are comfortable with the procedure.
The conversion will not only result in less heat from your fixtures, but you’ll get more light with less electricity.
A video showing a pair of Altolamprologus calvus spawning.
Another great video from PISCES. This one captures a pair of Altolamprologus calvus spawning in a shell. Videos showing Altolamprologus in the act aren’t that common since they tend to be very secretive when it comes to spawning. Most hobbyists that have successfully spawned this species only discover that it has happened after searching for the female that is hidden away protecting the eggs. Females will usually lay their eggs in a small cave or crevice too small for the larger males to enter. Once the eggs are laid, the male will maneuver into position to fertilize the eggs. The video shows how the female has chosen a small shell to lay her eggs, one that is too small for the male to enter. The male can be seen positioning himself to fertilize the eggs.
Changing weather patterns and higher surface temperatures are being blamed for dropping Lake Victoria water levels. These new warnings come on the heals of news about the Aral Sea, which has all but disappeared. For any skeptics who don’t think it could happen to the world’s largest tropical lake and the source of the Nile River, it has happened before. About 17,000 years ago a megadrought left Lake Victoria dry for about 2600 years. Since then Lake Victoria has become the source of food and water for millions of people. Despite the good news of pockets of cichlids once thought extinct surviving in the shallow swamp lands surrounding the lake, a continued drop in the water levels will eliminate their safe haven.
For more information on the threat to the Lake Victoria water level, visit the article on Inter Press Service.
LED light fixtures are becoming more common in the aquarium hobby. Unfortunately LED lighting is more expensive than the traditional fluorescent fixtures. However the benefits of LED over fluorescent are considerable. LED lights consume less energy, produce more light, generate less heat and the bulbs last much longer. Like all lighting, LED light fixtures can fail over time and that meant having to replace the entire fixture. However, Zoo Med has come out with a line of modular LED fixtures that not only offer the ability to replace the specific component that fail, but it is possible to mix and match the type of lighting that the fixture creates. The different LED types include a general light, plant and daylight modules. A demonstration of the AquaSun® LED Aquarium Fixture and Modules can be seen below.
If you have used this type of lighting fixture, make sure to stop by the Reviews Section and leave a review of AquaSun® LED line.