Four countries surround Lake Tanganyika, Burundi on the northeast, Tanzania
on the East, Zambia on the south, and Congo (formally Zaire) on the west.
The mineral content of the lake is extremely high. It is so high that
it precipitates and forms underwater flows that coat the rocks. The lake
has been measured at pH values above 9.0. If the water in your aquarium
is above 7.0, this will be satisfactory. Frontosa and other tanganyikan cichlids seem to adapt well as long as you are above this level.
The temperature of the water varies only about 6 degrees Fahrenheit from
the surface to 3000 feet and experiences no yearly turnover like many
lakes. Temperature from 130 feet to 320 feet is approximately 76 degrees
Fahrenheit. This is probably the perfect temperature of the Frontosa tank.
Since fry are usually found shallower, 78 degrees for them would probably
Lake Tanganyika contains three major basins which all formed separately
and joined when their waters rose over time. All rivers except one, the
Lukuga flow into the lake. 95 percent of the water lost from the lake
is through evaporation.
The most successful family of fish in Lake Tanganyika, the Cichlidae,
has about two hundred species and all except a few are found only there (endemic).
Frontosa are, of course, a member of this family. The lake also contains
one of the only freshwater jellyfish, numerous mollusks, sponges, and
aquatic snakes that are endemic as well.
Lake Tanganyika Fishery Resources provide employment and food directly
for more than 40,000 fishermen and their families. Indirectly, more than
20 million people have access to the natural resources, fish and water,
of the lake which also facilitates transport and communications.
Traditional fishermen using scoop nets and beach seines, the advanced
fishermen using catamaran liftnets, as well as the decreasing industrial
sector using purse seines, all have the two clupeids (S. tanganyicae.
L. miodon) and the predatory nile-perchs (mostly L. stappersii) as their
target species. Cichlids are caught and eaten, but are not the
main prey of the fishermen.
February through April are the rainy months for the lake. Water visibility
is probably at its worst during this time. June through August has the
coolest air temperature. The lake becomes clearer but occasional algae
blooms may occur. September through November is a good time for lake visibility
(one of the clearest lakes in the world!), but the air temperature is
extremely hot. Since Lake Tanganyika is just south of the Equator, the
longest days occur in December-January. The one thing that surprises you
when you are near the equator is though it is extremely hot, the summer
days do not compare in length to those in the temperate zones. □
Herrman, H., AQUALEX Tanganyika Cichlids,
Dahne Verlag GmbH, Copyright 1996
Konings, A., TANGANYIKA CICHLIDS in their
natural habitat, Cichlid Press, Copyright 1998