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There’s gold in them thar lake

Finding gold can be a boom to any region. Especially when economic hardship has been the norm for generations. The Lake Victoria Mining Company has announced another positive result from initial metallurgical gold recovery tests. An environment impact assessment study are soon to follow. As shown in the picture above, several gold mining projects are currently underway or being developed. Hopefully efforts will be made to ensure the mining operations won’t have a negative effect on the lake (i.e. mercury being carried off into the lake). For more information on the latest gold discovery announcement, visit the Market Watch article.

Bringing out Tropheus’ natural feeding behavior

This video shows a great technique for getting Tropheus to feed like they do in the wild. It probably also works for other grazing cichlids like mbuna. What this hobbyist did was pull a flat rock from his tank and while it was wet, sprinkled it with spirulina flakes. When the rock dries, the flakes will stick to it. Then its just a matter of putting the rock back into the tank and watching.

Did you know…

Egg-spots on Astatotilapia burtoni.

We’ve all seen egg-spots on mouth-brooding cichlids, particularly on male haplochromines. The assumption has always been that the egg-spots spur the female cichlid to “pick up” the eggs and as a result, fertilize the eggs in her mouth. However a new study has found that egg-spots play less of a role in courtship and reproduction than thought. For instance, males with no egg-spots produce just as many fry as males with many egg-spots. Females appear to not need to be tricked into picking up the fake eggs for fertilization to occur. Also, females seem to show no preference in the amount of egg-spots in males. The one place where egg-spots do matter seems to be between males. Males with fewer egg-spots are often the target of aggression by males with more egg-spots. The question seems to be, why are egg-spots even there? Details of the study can be found on PLOS ONE.

Piranha’s have a mean bite

Jaw of the piranha. Andrewself

Although not a cichlid, piranhas make their homes in the Amazon River Basin. Research has shown that pound for pound, piranha’s have more bite force than any other animal. Great white sharks, hyenas, alligators and even Tyrannosaurus rex can’t match the relative strength of a piranha. For more information on this study and how it was conducted, visit The Australian news article.

Rare view of Neolamprologus leleupi spawn

This video shows a female Neolamprologus leleupi laying her eggs. She probably got a little confused or just lacks experience, but it gives us a rare glimpse at the egg laying process. You can see the female lay her eggs and then a male comes in to fertilize. At one point a different male also tries to fertilize the eggs. All the while, she is having to fight off other fish who only see a meal.

Zoo Med announces new line of external canister filters

Zoo Med Labs has rolled out a new line of external canister filters for aquariums up to 50 or 75 gallons, depending on model. The Macro 50 and Macro 75 canister filters will feature a slim profile while still offering mechanical, chemical and biological filtration. Both models will also include easy priming, removable hose connectors, adjustable flow and anti-vibration bushings for quiet operation. For more information, visit Zoo Med

Fish cages in Lake Victoria

Floating fish cages. Tom Otieno

Dwindling fish stocks and water hyacinth have taken a toll on the fishing industry in Lake Victoria. To turn things around there have been various plans to help boost the stocks of tilapia and Nile perch. Both of these non-native species are to blame for the rapid decline in native cichlid populations after their introduction in the 1950s. Fisherman, with the help of the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, have begun using floating cages to raise fish for human consumption. These cages have led to good profits for the fish farmers and a reliable fish harvest for locals. This may not be a surefire solution for the native cichlids of Lake Victoria, but it is a step in the right direction. These cages can lead to increase food production while keeping predatory fish separated from native fish. As an additional benefit, this will stress the importance of keeping Lake Victoria’s waters clean so it can be a food source for the region. For more information, visit the businessdailyafrica.com article.

Frontosa in the wild

There aren’t many in the wild videos showing Cyphotilapia frontosa. This video shows about 3 minutes of various clips from the Kigoma area. I guess the combination of depth and poor light make filming difficult. Just shy of the two minute mark you get a look at the diver’s watch. I’m not familiar enough with diving gear to know if its just keeping time or if it also indicates depth. Enjoy.

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.

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