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Central American cichlid reclassifications

central american

Maskaheros argenteus. Formally of Paraneetroplus and Vieja. Photo by Citron / CC-BY-SA-3.0

A recently published article details naming revisions to many popular Central American cichlid species. Using previously compiled DNA sequencing and morphological characters, the study has reclassified many species and even create several new genera. Affected species include fish from common genera like Paraneetroplus, Herichthys, Thorichthys and Vieja. Some species have been shifted around to an existing genus while others have been put into the new genus names.

Those familiar with Central American cichlids should take a look at the article found on mapress.com/zootaxa to see if fish you keep or are interested in have been affected. Discussion can be done in the Central American Cichlids forum.

Lake Malawi diving video

A short video of a dive in Lake Malawi. Video’s author describes the location as Nakatenga Rock. Possibly Nakantenga Island in the southwest part of the lake?

Regardless of the location, the footage shows just how many different types of cichlids, especially mbuna, inhabit the large rocks. The water’s color is very green and I don’t know if its just a white balance issue or if it’s actual conditions. The picture below shows a screen capture with a quick color correction. Judge for yourself.

The large rocks along the shores of Lake Malawi are home to a great variety of cichlid species. Mbuna is a term meaning rock-fish and is used to describe the colorful fish that live around rocks. Most are herbivores that spend most of their time picking at the algae growth on rocks. For more information on mbuna, check out the Haps Vs. Mbuna article in the library.

lake malawi

Screen capture from video with slight color correction.

Sciaenochromis fryeri from Lake Malawi

Sciaenochromis fryeri

Sciaenochromis fryeri. Photo by Robert De Leon

Commonly known as the electric blue hap, Sciaenochromis fryeri is a favorite Lake Malawi Haplochromine. Its bright blue color and predatory appearance can make it the highlight of any aquarium. Make no mistake, this cichlid is a carnivore and will eat any fish that it can fit into its mouth. Tankmates should include other fish that share the same dietary requirements. S. fryeri should not eat foods high in plant matter. Not particularly aggressive, but other males and similarly colored fish can be targets. Large tanks are a must as males can get to about 8″ and they like to cruise the tank.

To learn more about Sciaenochromis fryeri, read the species article by Marc Elieson and Brett Harrington. Discussion on S. fryeri can be done in the Lake Malawi Species forum.

Haplochromis lividus from Lake Victoria

Haplochromis lividus

Haplochromis lividus. Photo by Greg Steeves

Another beautifully colored and out of the ordinary fish from Lake Victoria. The Haplochromis lividus pictured above is from Murchison Bay in the northern part of the lake. Its current status there and throughout the lake is currently unknown and possibly extinct in the wild. Although originally threatened from the introduction of the Nile Perch, H. lividus‘ current threat is that it will spawn itself to extinction. The reason being is the decreased water clarity of Lake Victoria. As it becomes cloudier due to pollution and agricultural runoff, many species are becoming confused and hybridizing with other species.

The best chance for the survival of Haplochromis lividus now rests in the hands hobbyists. They do well in captivity and like other Lake Victoria species are prolific spawners. Males reach a size of about 4 inches and females are smaller. In the wild, they would spend most of the day grazing on algae so a diet high in plant matter is recommended. This species, like many others from Lake Victoria, is part of the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program. To discuss Haplochromis lividus visit the Lake Victoria Basin, West African, Madagascar & Asian Species forum.

Sarotherodon lohbergeri mouthbrooding video

Great video from the Chester Zoo showing the rare Sarotherodon lohbergeri with a mouthful of eggs.

Sarotherodon lohbergeri is one of those species of cichlids that isn’t seen in the hobby very often. Like the other species of cichlids from Lake Barombi Mbo, S. lohbergeri comes from an isolated volcanic crater lake. It’s the isolated nature of small crater lakes like Barombi Mbo that brings about species of cichlids not found anywhere else. Aside from the isolation, Lake Barombi Mbo is a hostile environment for its inhabitants. Low oxygen levels and the ever present danger of deadly CO2 releases from the volcano have created a unique environment for any fish. You can read more about the lake in the article Insight on Barombi Mbo, Cameroon by Greg Steeves.

Sarotherodon lohbergeri

Myaka myaka and Pungu maclaneri also from Lake Barombi Mbo. Photos by Dave Hansen

Julidochromis transcriptus have transitive inference

Julidochromis transcriptus

Julidochromis transcriptus “kissi Bemba”. Photo by Dave Hansen

A new study using Julidochromis transcriptus showed that these Tanganyikan cichlids have the ability to make decisions about unknown factors based on experiences and observations. They can conclude the outcome of a fight against an opponent they’ve never fought based on transitive inference. This type of decision making ability was not though possible from fish.

In the experiment, two Julidochromis transcriptus were put together and allowed to fight until a winner was determined. The loser was separated but able to see the fish it fought. If the fish it fought lost to a third fish, the original loser would avoid a confrontation with the third fish. If the original losing fish was put together with a winning fish from a fight it did not witness, it would not avoid confrontation. To read more about this study, see the article in Frontiersin.org.

Telmatochromis sp. “red cheek”


Telmatochromis sp. “red cheek”. Photo by Dave Hansen

Telmatochromis sp. “red cheek” has not been formally described but its colorful cheeks and personality have made it very popular with hobbyist. Finding them in stores or online can be difficult but not impossible. Unfortunately, there isn’t much information about this particular variant. Like other Telmatochromis, the sp. “red cheek” is a shell dwelling Tanganyika cichlid. What they lack in size they make up with attitude. These fish can be aggressive, particularly when guarding their home or young fry. Because of their physical differences, they can be kept in tanks with another shell dwelling species like ‘Lamprologus’ provided that the tank is large enough to accommodate them. To discuss Telmatochromis sp. “red cheek”, please visit the Lake Tanganyika forum.

West African cichlids video

A short video on west African cichlids. It appears to be promoting a west African cichlid event held last year.

Normally Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika footage get all the attention. However, there is a video out there that is perfect for fans of west African cichlids. Above is what I assume is a series of short clips from the video. It contains specimens of Tilapia, Sarotherodon, Hemichromis and many other species. The underwater footage shows different species in their natural habitat protecting their territories and offspring. If anyone knows where this video can be purchased, make sure to let other west African fans know in the West African forum.

west african cichlids

Tilapia joka from West Africa. Photo by Dave Hansen

Haplochromis cyaneus from Lake Victoria

Haplochromis cyaneus

Haplochromis cyaneus. Photo by Greg Steeves

Haplochromis cyaneus, originally known as Haplochromis sp. “blue rockpicker”, was found in the southeastern part of Lake Victoria. The collection points for this fish was around Makobe Island. Unfortunately, like many species from Lake Tanganyika, H. cyaneus has not been seen in its native waters for a few years. To make matters worse, the species has also been disappearing from the hobby.

It is these situations where organizations like the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program are so important. When it may already be too lake to preserve the fish in its native habitat, hobbyists can insure the continued survival of the species by housing, breeding and distributing fish. You can read more about the C.A.R.E.S. in the article by Lee Ann Steeves; C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program.

A special thanks to Greg Steeves from AfricanCichlids.net for his wonderful Haplochromis cyaneus photograph.

Species Profiles getting more content

species profiles

The Species Profiles section is adding new content! Over that last couple months, many new images have been added to the already great catalog of images. There have also been some corrections to reflect reclassification of species and all new profiles. These changes happen periodically and here at Cichlid-Forum try to keep up. Comments have also been updated on some species.

The Species Profiles section has been here since the site began. You’ll notice the new images reflect improvements in digital photography quality. You may not find new pictures for specific species, but hopefully over time, they will be added to all species. Check out the Profiles, you might just find that the fish you’ve been interested in has a new picture.

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