Predicting which way plants or animals will evolve as their environment changes is very difficult. However, a Eawag study of African lake cichlids has shown that certain internal and external factors can lead to high rates of specialization and biodiversity. These factors are both present in the many African lakes and the cichlids themselves making the process of specialization very predictable. For more information on this study visit Eawag Aquatic Research.
Looks like us fish people are becoming more mainstream (no pun intended)! Although he’s just an actor, you have to love this commercial for Velveeta Shells & Cheese. “You know that guy that owns that aquarium store. He’s not going to sell you some labradoodle. He’s going to sell you TROPICAL FISH….” Yep, that’s a shot of some Mbuna!
If you have been long enough in this hobby, at some stage you will have heard warnings that small bubbles, often referred to as ‘microbubbles’ can be harmful for fish. Since I like my tanks to be heavily oxygenated, they typically contain lots of those allegedly harmful bubbles. I have never noticed any adverse effects. In addition, some fish will encounter lots of bubbles in their natural environment – Plecos from the rapids of South American rivers and Tropheus from the shallow surf zones of Lake Tanganyika come to mind. Personally, I have put the microbubble warning into the urban myth drawer, but we currently have a discussion about this subject in the Tanganyika Forum. What are your experiences with microbubbles?
Despite the mass extinctions caused by the introduction of the Nile perch into Lake Victoria, some haplochromines species have managed to survive by living in the lake’s most inhospitable areas. By escaping to the low oxygen and highly acidic waters surrounding wetlands, some cichlid species thought extinct have survived in the narrow band between predators and toxic waters. The poor water conditions and thick tangle of detritus and reeds keep the Nile perch away. For more information on this important discovery visit The New York Times article.
The Living Planet Aquarium will be breaking ground on its new facility this month and is expected to open December 2013. The new facility will be 136,000 square feet with 44-62 exhibits and 1 million gallons of water. The $20 million were funded by donors, grants, corporate sponsors and financing. The new facility will be in Draper, Utah but the current facility in Sandy, UT will remain open until September 2013. For more information visit The Living Planet Aquarium website.
From the Discovery Channel’s Mutant Planet series, comes this video of ‘Lamprologus’ callipterus. This shell dweller from Lake Tanganyika is not only famous for stealing shells, but also for the extreme size dimorphism between males and females. On average, males are 13 times heavier than their female counterparts. These large males can have as many as 30 of the smaller females in its harem.
Melanochromis mpoto at Chitande Island, Lake Malawi (Adrianus Konings / Jay Stauffer / Zootaxa)
Small, slim, muscular and very aggressive can be used to describe this Haplochromine from Lake Malawi. On April 5th of this year, Dr. Jay Stauffer from Penn State University and Adrianus Konings from Cichlid Press announced the discovery of Melanochromis mpoto. Measuring up to 9 cm in length, males have a cyan blue coloration and females are brown with a hint of blue. M. mpoto has a wide distribution in the northern part of Lake Malawi. For more information on this species visit Sci-News.com.
20,000 gallon aquarium with African cichlids and hippos?