Lake Tanganyika Katete area video

A short video from LightSearch showing the boulder-filled waters of southern Lake Tanganyika.

The vast differences of habitats in Lake Tanganyika almost make it seem as if they couldn’t belong in the same lake. This lake has everything from endless sandy terrains to rocky cliffs, or in the case of Katete, boulders all over the bottom. The different biotopes drive the nature of the fish that live within them. The video above shows several species that thrive among the rocks for protection or a food source. Lots of juvenile fish can be seen hugging the rocks along with mature herbivores grazing on algae. Discussion on Lake Tanganyika species can be done in the lake’s forum.

lake tanganyika

Tropheus sp. “Red” Nkamba Bay Chilanga, close to Katete. Photo by Dave Hansen.

Hybrid cichlid self-fertilizes

hybrid cichlid

Pundamilia x Neochromis hybrid cichlid. Photo from publication

A recent publication details how a female hybrid cichlid, in this case a cross between a female Pundamilia pundamilia and a male Neochromis omnicaeruleus, developed male reproductive organs and self-fertilized. While very rare, self-fertilization does happen among vertebrate species. The hybrid cichlid was the offspring of two somewhat closely related Lake Victoria Basin species. This female went on to have a total of 14 different broods while isolated. Of all those broods only 17 offspring reached maturity, 2 males and 15 females. The results of testing on all the fish in this study are found on the Royal Society Publishing website.

HCCC meeting and rare fish auction


Haplochromis sp. “KK Beach”. Photo by Greg Steeves

The Hill Country Cichlid Club will be hosing a very special meeting on April 23rd. Guest speaker will be Jose Gonzales and will probably involve Madagascar cichlids and/or endangered species. That is not all, the HCCC meeting will also include a rare fish auction and a tour of the Water Garden Gems in Marion, TX. The rare fish auction will include Haplochromis sp. “KK Beach” (pictured above), Thoracochromis sp. “flavententis”, Mbipia lutea, and many other out of the ordinary species. For more information on this upcoming HCCC event visit their Facebook Event Page.

If you live in South Texas or can find a way to make it to Marion, TX area (about 30 miles from downtown San Antonio), this Hill Country Cichlid Club event will be well worth it.

Astatotilapia burtoni in genetic study

Astatotilapia burtoni

Astatotilapia burtoni. Photo be Dave Hansen

Astatotilapia burtoni is a mouthbrooding cichlid from Lake Tanganyika that can also be found in surrounding rivers and bodies of water. Despite its wide distribution, A. burtoni isn’t often seen in the hobby.

Astatotilapia burtoni has also been the subject of several scientific studies including the role of hormones in social status and sound in reproduction. Recently a study at Stanford University found that a single brain receptor is crucial for successful reproduction. This same type of receptor is found in other animals, including humans. The original study is behind a paywall, but a summary and link to the study can be found at the Stanford News website. To discuss A. burtoni visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.

Cichlid Clubs event page

cichlid clubs

An informative, yet underutilized, feature of this site is the Cichlid Clubs event page. In it, individuals can update upcoming events for their local clubs. The events page can then be sorted by state to find local organizations and their events. If you haven’t used the Cichlid Clubs event page or have forgotten about it, make sure to stop by and update your local club.

Here is an incomplete list of events taking place in the next couple months:

  • Greater Detroit Aquarium Society Spring Auction – 3/19/16
  • Texas Cichlid Association Swap Meet – 3/22/16
  • Michiana Aquarium Society Spring Auction – 4/2/16

Make sure to update your club’s events!

Vanishing lakes of the world

vanishing lakes

Lake Poopó in Bolivia. Photo by NASA

A depressing article by New Scientist magazine tells the story of vanishing lakes around the world. Pictured above was Bolivia’s second largest lake that has recently dried up. Granted Lake Poopó was very shallow and it has dried up before, but this time it is unlikely to fill again. Its source of water, Lake Titicaca, and the river that feeds it have their own troubles.

Lakes in Europe, Australia and Africa aren’t doing much better. The general consensus as to why lakes are in trouble is due to various factors including climate change, increased use of water for irrigation and silt buildup in rivers that feed into lakes. It is believed that Lake Tanganyika’s reduced fish yields are due to warming water temperatures. For more in-depth information on the vanishing lakes check out the article on New Scientist.

Metriaclima pulpican from Lake Malawi

Metriaclima pulpican

Metriaclima pulpican. Photo by Dave Hansen

This attractive Lake Malawi mbuna has gone through a series of names (Cynotilapia pulpican. Pseudotropheus sp. “Kingsizei”), but is currently classified as Metriaclima pulpican. Like other mbuna, M. pulpican is a herbivore and should be fed a diet high in vegetable matter. This species is aggressive and it’s recommended to be housed with other fish that can take care of themselves. While females are somewhat drab, males take on nice black stripes on a powder blue body. Similarly colored mbuna like Pseudotropheus demasoni or Ps. saulosi should not be housed with Metriaclima pulpican. For more information, visit the Species Article or the Lake Malawi Species forum.

Thoracochromis sp. “Lake Albert”

Thoracochromis sp

Thoracochromis sp. “Lake Albert” dark morph. Photo by Greg Steeves

Lake Albert, like most lakes in Africa other than the “big three”, doesn’t get much recognition. In reality, Lakes Victoria, Tanganyika and Malawi are the largest of 10 lakes that make up the African Great Lakes. In Lake Albert we find can Thoracochromis sp. “Lake Albert” among other cichlid species. Pictured above is the common dark morph of the species. Other males of the T. sp. “Lake Albert” species are light in color with a yellowish body and red head.

There isn’t much information about Thoracochromis sp. “Lake Albert” and it has only recently started appearing in the hobby. Most likely its behavior is similar to other Thoracochromis like Thoracochromis brauschi. Hopefully we will start seeing more T. sp. “Lake Albert”. To discuss this species and other species from the Lake Victoria Basin visit the Lake Victoria Basin forum.

Perissodus microlepis lefty or righty

Perissodus microlepis

Perissodus microlepis. Photo from publication

Research to determine if side-dominance is something fish are born with or if it develops over time was conducted on Perissodus microlepis. P. microlepis is a scale-eating cichlid from Lake Tanganyika. Adult cichlids on this species have a preferred side of attack, righty or lefty, and as the picture above shows it can be seen by the shape of their mouths. Researchers were able to determine that the preference becomes more developed as the fish matures.

The question is whether Perissodus microlepis is born lefty or righty or if it develops over time, changing the shape of the jaw. According to the publication, morphology precedes the leaned behavior which then skews the mouth even further. To learn more about this study visit PLOS.ORG. To discuss Perissodus microlepis, visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.

Yssichromis genus article


Yssichromis piceatus. Photo by Greg Steeves

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.