Rare achievement on Amazon River

West Hansen and support team. National Geographic.

West Hansen, an Austin, TX native, has accomplished something that very few people have ever done. Hansen is only the eighth person to have navigated the entire length of the Amazon river on a kayak. To put it into perspective, 12 people have walked on the moon and more people summit Mount Everest on a single day. It took Hansen 111 days to make the trip beating the previous record by 29 days. His journey took him from many class 5 rapids to 30 foot waves where the Amazon River meets the Atlantic ocean. During calm stretches of his journey, he was held up by gunmen 5 times. Keep an eye out for an upcoming television show and documentary on Nat Geo TV. Read more about West Hansen’s journey on The Amazon Express 2012 blog.

Do I want to go to the mall? Yes I do!

I’ve never been a fan of malls, especially during the holiday season. Come to think of it, its been at least 5 years since I’ve been to one. However, if I could go to this mall, I’d find excuses to visit. The Dubai Aquarium and Under Water Zoo is located within the over 5 million square feel Dubai Mall. Cage snorkeling, shark diving, 150 foot aquarium tunnel and a 2,500,00 gallon aquarium can all be seen while others shop.

Out of the Ordinary: Gobiocichla wonderi

Gobiocichla wonderi by Dave Hansen

The uniquely shaped Gobiocichla wonderi make their home in the waters of the Niger River Delta and on the Cameroon side of the Cross River. Their slender bodies and small swim bladder are adapted for the fast moving waters of their habitats and rarely swim out in the open. Some hobbyists recommend the placement of a powerhead in the tank to imitate a river current. G. wonderi can also be very aggressive presenting some difficulty for hobbyist. Those that have kept this species say they are a joy to watch as the hop along the rocks and substrate. For more information, pictures and tank setups, check out the Gobiocichla wonderi article.

Nimbochromis livingstonii hunting in an aquarium

It may appear that this fish is sick, but in reality it is hunting. Nimbochromis livingstonii’s color pattern and behavior is supposed to look like that of a dead or dying fish in the hopes of attracting a potential meal. Fish approach the “dead” N. livingstonii thinking they might find an easy meal, but instead end up being the meal. N. venustus, a close relative of N. livingstonii, also shares a similar color pattern and the same hunting strategy. For more information of these two fish, check out their species articles: N. livingstonii and N. venustus.

A heater that is much less likely stick on and cook your fish!

Cobalt Aquatics has introduced a new heater into its expanding product line. The Accu-Therm Heater is fully submersible and features triac and magnet technology. What does that mean?? It means that this heater is much less likely to stick on and cook your fish! We are not aware of another heater with this break-through technology. A ceramic heat radiator and a durable borosilicate glass housing ensures even heat distribution and superior heat and shock resistance. Accu-Therm heaters also have an easy to set thermostat with an ON/OFF indicator light. For more information visit the Accu-Therm product page.

Club Profile: Greater Chicago Cichlid Association

The Greater Chicago Cichlid Association has been serving Northeastern Illinois hobbyists for almost 38 years. Since their first meeting, the GCCA has grown into one of the nation’s largest cichlid clubs. Members of the GCCA can enjoy the club’s Cichlid Chatter publication, Breeders Award Program, extensive Lending Library, member-only rare fish auctions and lots more. Non-members can take advantage of their informative articles, classifieds, auctions and meetings. For more information, visit the Greater Chicago Cichlid Association website.

Madagascar cichlids

Cichlids from Madagascar don’t always get much love so here is a video showing two different species, Ptychochromis oligacanthus and Ptychochromis grandidieri. Each pair is guarding eggs or fry. You can also see a third species, Paratilapia polleni, for a brief moment in the background. All three species coexisting and breeding in the same tank.

Cichlid fossils show early ability for change

The oldest know cichlid fossils date back 45 million years and were found in Mahenge, Tanzania. The fossils are made up of different cichlids that lived in a small crater lake centrally located between modern day Lakes Victoria, Malawi and Tanganyika. The fossils are complete and well preserved and demonstrate that cichlids 45 million years ago, like the cichlids today, were able to rapidly evolve from a common ancestor to fit different the niches of their environment. More information can be found in Dr. Alison Murray’s publication “The oldest fossil cichlids (Teleostei: Perciformes): indication of a 45 million-year-old species flock” (PDF).

Did you know…

Lamprologus lethops

Of all the many different cichlids, there is only one known species that is naturally blind and non-pigmented. The elusive Lamprologus lethops is endemic to the Congo River and can be found in river canyons with depths of over 500 ft. Not much is know about this species but it appears to be closely related to Lamprologus tigripictilis, which isn’t blind and has pigment.

Enantiopus sp. “kilesa” spawn

This isn’t the best quality video of a pair of spawning Enantiopus sp. “kilesa” and it’s a little short, but the male is stunning. Despite the dirty glass, the blues and yellows on the male area exceptional. Well worth the 1:19 to watch the entire clip. Another plus: no loud music or filter noise.