A new study has been published on the formation of the East African Rift Valley. The findings, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, confirm that the East African Rift Lakes were formed when tectonic plates moved apart. Lake Malawi, pictured above, was created as a result of the rift between the tectonic plates in a relatively short period of time. These rapid and constant changes, both in the geology and environment have led to the incredible diversity of life in Lake Malawi.
The Rift Valley study published in the Journal of Structural Geology is behind a paywall. However, write-up can be found on PHYS.ORG.
On behalf of the entire Cichlid-Forum staff we would like to wish every member and site supporter Happy Holidays! Its been another terrific year and we are looking forward to 2017.
A special thanks from me to all the Cichlid-Forum moderators and support staff. Without your daily contributions this site would not exist.
Pictured above is a pair of ‘Lamprologus’ brevis, formally Neolamprologus brevis. The male is Santa and the female is the elf. Original photo by Dave Hansen, sans the hats. To learn more about these delightful shelldwellers read the Species article by Eric Ryan. To discuss this species or any other shelldweller species visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum. Happy Holidays to everyone!
Pundamilia nyererei Mwanza Gulf. Photo by Greg Steeves.
When I think of Lake Victoria cichlids the species that usually comes to mind is Pundamilia nyererei. Their bright colors they so eagerly display make them a treat to watch. P. nyererei are hardy fish that adapt well to a variety of water conditions and foods. They can be aggressive, but usually only toward their own species making them well suited for tankmates with a variety of temperaments. They also reach sexual maturity fairly quickly and breed often.
Pundamilia nyererei males have great coloration but depending on the variant, the color patterns do change. Red is found in most of the variants, but yellows, blues, blacks and greens vary depending on the collection point. A quick look at the Pundamilia genus gallery will give you an idea of the variety of colors available with this species. Before you go out and fill your tank with these Victoria beauties their are a few things to keep in mind. Male P. nyererei can be very aggressive toward other P. nyererei males and the females also take a lot of abuse. A single male with multiple females is recommended for anything smaller than a 4 foot tank. Different variants of P. nyererei should never be housed together as the dominant male will spawn with any P. nyererei female, regardless of where they are from. To discuss Pundamilia nyererei visit the Lake Victoria Basin forum.
Petrochromis sp. “Texas Red” (Ubwari). Photo by Ad Konings
Having a reputation for being aggressive, Petrochromis live up to it. Their aggression is only compounded by their cost and housing requirements, making them a challenge even for experienced hobbyists. Petrochromis sp. “Texas Red” (Ubwari) is no exception. Its unusual color pattern make them an distinctive and attractive fish. Before deciding that you would like to take the plunge into the world of Petros, there are some things you should know.
Cyprichromis sp. “Leptosoma Jumbo”. Photo by Ad Konings
Cyprichromis leptosoma come in many varieties. Different areas along the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika produce different color and size variants. Pictures above is a Cyprichromis sp. “Leptosoma Jumbo” from Chikalakate. Jumbo variants can reach over 5 inches length while the regular C. leptosoma rarely exceed 4 inches. Regular size variants are what is mostly found in the hobby. To see the many different color patterns check out the Tanganyika Cyprichromis Profiles section.
In the wild Cyprichromis leptosoma school in the thousands. They spend their entire lives in the open water feeding on plankton and even spawning in open water. In the aquarium C. leptosoma are peaceful and do best with other species that aren’t aggressive. They are a favorite of Lake Tanganyika community tanks since they fill the often ignored top part of the aquarium. To truly enjoy their behavior, they are best kept in groups of at least 8. Large tanks are also needed so they can swim as a group. This site’s library has several articles including Cyprochromis by Eric Glab, Cyprichromis leptosoma and Cyprichromis leptosoma “Utinta” by Marc Elieson. To discuss Cyprichromis leptosoma visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.
As traditional lighting like incandescent or fluorescent is being replaced by more energy efficient LED lights, it is no surprise that it will become the norm in aquariums. In the past conversions were done between older T12 bulbs to smaller and more efficient T8 or T5 fluorescent tubes. When LED lights become more common the dilemma was between buying an expensive new lighting fixture or undertaking a long and sometimes difficult DIY project. Here is a DIY LED Conversion article by David Fair. Fortunately LED retrofit kits have become more user friendly.
Products like Elive’s Elite LED tubes make LED retrofits as easy as replacing a fluorescent bulb. Just insert the LED tube into the existing fluorescent sockets, attach a couple supports and your done. Other retrofit kits are also simple, but don’t use the existing fluorescent sockets. Instead they are attached to the underside of the fixture with screws. To discuss LED retrofit kits visit the Equipment and Supplies forum.
Sarotherodon knauerae is a unique cichlid found in Lake Ejagham located in the western region on Cameroon. Unlike many of the other lakes in the area, Lake Ejagham is not a crater lake. The lake is also isolated, lacking an inflow and its only outflow connects to the Munaya River. Fish from the Munaya River aren’t able to reach Lake Ejaham due to a waterfall. It is believed that only 7 endemic species of fish are found in the lake.
Although not many hobbyists have kept Sarotherodon knauerae, most report that this species is extremely peaceful and hardy. They do well with a diet of standard flakes and are tolerant to a variety of water conditions. S. knauerae has an interesting copper coloration not seen in many species. Its peaceful nature and hardiness make it an idea fish for beginning hobbyists, and also for advanced hobbyists looking to keep and unusual and uniquely colored fish. To discuss S. knauerae visit the West African Species forum.
Closeup Boulengerochromis microlepis. Photo by Ad Konings
Commonly known as the Emperor Cichlid, Boulengerochromis microlepis is a giant from Lake Tanganyika. Reaching sizes of 20 inches in length and rumored to reach up to 3 feet, B. microlepis is the largest known cichlid. Due to its size, it is unlikely that anything other than a juvenile will be seen in the hobby. Outside of Lake Tanganyika adult B. microlepis can sometimes be found in public aquariums.
In the lake Boulengerochromis microlepis are found along the rocky shores when they are very young. As B. microlepis mature they make their way into deeper waters reaching depths of 100 yards or more. They prey on smaller fish and will consume anything they can fit into their mouths. When not spawning, adult B. microlepis form small groups and swim around looking for food. Spawning takes place in a sandy dugout and can number in the thousands although very few offspring reach maturity. Both parents will care for the young until they are large enough to swim off on their own. To discuss Boulengerochromis microlepis visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.
Another beautiful Victorian cichlid, although not from Lake Victoria, is the Haplochromis sp. “ruby”. The Lake Victoria Basin is made up of many lakes, streams and swamps surrounding the much larger Lake Victoria. Cichlids from this area are collectively referred to as Victorian cichlids. H. sp. “ruby” is found in Lake Kyoga and also in the much smaller Lake Nawampassa.
Haplochromis sp. “ruby”, also known as H. sp. “ruby green”, can grow to around 4″ in length. The males sport the bright red, green and blue coloration, especially when spawning or showing dominance. Although they can be aggressive toward their own species, H. sp. “ruby” males aren’t too tough on their own females. Despite not being as aggressive as other Victorian cichlids, they are best kept in groups of one male to multiple females. For more information on this species visit the Species Article by Marc Elieson. To discuss Haplochromis sp. “ruby” visit the Lake Victoria Basin forum.
A 24/7 live stream of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.
One of the largest aquariums in the world is the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium located in Okinawa, Japan. The aquarium houses over 2.5 million gallons of water in 77 tanks. Visitors are treated to spectacular marine displays and unarguably the best being the Kuroshio Sea exhibit. This exhibit houses whale sharks, manta rays, and schooling fish in almost 2,000,000 gallons of water. The Churaumi Aquarium has recently made the exhibit available to everyone via a live stream. Take a few moment or the entire day to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Kuroshio Sea exhibit. Watch as divers clean the glass tank or the multiple whale sharks slowly make their way around the tank. For more information visit the Churaumi Aquarium website.