OB Peacocks have been in the hobby for some time. Their orange-blotched pattern and peacock-like displays make them an attractive fish. However, despite their body shape and common association with Aulonocara species from Lake Malawi, these fish are not native to the lake. OB Peacocks are a crossbred species. The original species used to create OBs is unknown, but at least one species of Aulonocara and probably an OB Lake Malawi mbuna are in the mix.
Yssichromis sp. “blue tipped”. Photo by Greg Steeves
A strikingly colored cichlid first discovered in Lake Victoria, Yssichromis sp. “blue tipped” isn’t often found in the hobby. It’s dark blue, almost black body contrasts with the yellow or sometimes red tips of the fins. Like many cichlids from Lake Victoria, Y. sp. “blue tipped” is hardy and does well in the aquarium. Spawning is easy and once it begins, it can be regular. Males reach about 4 inches and females are slightly smaller.
Perhaps on the of the reasons Yssichromis sp. “blue tipped” hasn’t gained much popularity in the hobby is that for every well colored male there are a multiple dull colored females and sub-dominant males. When seen as juveniles or in stressed conditions Y. sp. “blue tipped” is usually a dull silver with dark splotches. It is when a dominant male is in full display that the great colors this species is known for can be seen and admired. If this rare and wonderful fish is something you would be interested in check out the Yssichromis sp. “blue tipped” article by Greg Steeves or visit the Lake Victoria Species forum to learn more about them.
2 new Labeotropheus species. Photo from publication
A recent publication in BioOne proposes two new Labeotropheus species. Currently there are only two species in the genus, Labeotropheus fuelleborni and L. trewavasae. The new proposed species are L. chlorosiglos and L. simoneae. The proposed species are isolated groups of Labeotropheus from around Katale Island in northwestern Lake Malawi.
Unfortunately, the paper describing these two species is behind a paywall. Hopefully more information and images will become available if these two new Labeotropheus species are recognized. There are other populations of Labeotropheus that are isolated and have potentially diverged enough to be considered new species opening the door for even more new Labeotropheus species. To discuss Labeotropheus visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.
There are a series of volcanic crater lakes in the West African country of Cameroon. One of the largest, Lake Barombi Mbo, is home to a variety of cichlids unique to its waters. An article by Greg Steeves titled Insight on Barombi Mbo, Cameroon gives a synopsis of the unusual cichlids found in this deadly lake. One of these species is Myaka myaka, and a profile have been added to the library.
The plan was to have an article describing the Myaka myaka and detailing the best method to spawn this species. Unfortunately, like many others who have kept M. myaka, spawning these fish has proven elusive. Despite the setback, the article gives a short description on keeping M. myaka. These fish are unique, aggressive and a joy to watch. For more information check out the new Myaka myaka library article. To discuss this species visit the West African species forum.
An unusual aquarium design by Zoo Med may open up new possibilities for breeders or those looking to maximize their tank’s footprint. At only 10 inches tall, Zoo Med’s Low Boy Aquarium is billed as a breeder tank (50 gallons – 48″ x 24″ x 10″). Its low height will make it easy to stack multiple tanks and the large footprint will work well for larger fish that need space.
The Low Boy aquarium’s large footprint relative to its height works well for several cichlid species. Lake Tanganyika shelldweller and rockdweller species instantly come to mind. Many species hug the ground and don’t need to dwell more than a few inches off of the ground. It would be great if new models of the tank would be produced, especially something that isn’t so deep front to back. Maybe a 48x12x10 size? For more information on the Low Boy visit the Zoo Med website.
‘Lamprologus’ brevis male and female. Photo by Dave Hansen
Another interesting shelldweller species from Lake Tanganyika is the ‘Lamprologus’ brevis. What these little fish lack in size they make up for in behavior and attitude. In the wild, ‘L’ brevis is widely distributed throughout the lake forming colonies among discarded snail shells. Color variants of the species have developed in different parts of the lake.
In the aquarium, ‘Lamprologus’ brevis provide endless hours of entertainment as they bury their shells and rearrange their aquascape. A single pair can be kept in a tank as small as 10 gallons, but a larger aquarium with a group or other species is more entertaining. These little fish can be quite aggressive in defending their territory and will not hesitate to bite your hand if it gets too close. Females are smaller then males and will bury a shell in the sand. Once a male is attracted, the female will lay her eggs and the male will fertilize them. After that, the male moves on while the female will protect the brood until they are old enough to take care of themselves. For more information on ‘Lamprologus’ brevis check out the Species Article by Eric Ryan or visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.
Sediment core samples have shown that in the last 150 years Lake Tanganyika’s water temperatures have been rising. This steady increase in water temperatures, not commercial fishing, has had the largest impact on fish populations in the lake. Rising water temperatures, particularly at the surface, have led to a drop in oxygen levels at all depths of the lake. For more information on the study check out the links above. To discuss fish from Lake Tanganyika, visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.
Commonly known as the African butterfly cichlid, Anomalochromis thomasi is found in small streams of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Males can reach sizes of about 3 inches while females are slightly smaller. Their size makes them a great choice for anyone looking for a dwarf species or with limited tank space. A minimum of 20 gallons is recommended for a single pair. They are colorful, peaceful and fun to watch.
In the aquarium Anomalochromis thomasi are easy to maintain. Water requirements aren’t too strict and they aren’t fuzzy eaters. Once a pair forms, the female will lay eggs on a flat surface for the male to fertilize. The pair will then defend the area from other fish. Food high in protein is recommended to encourage spawning. For more information on this wonderful little cichlid visit the West African Species forum.
A short video in the waters around Nakantenga Island in Lake Malawi.
The video was taken just this year by Pam Chin. Pam is well known around the hobby. She is an Honorary Life Member of the Pacific Coast Cichlid Association and has served on the American Cichlid Association’s board. Pam was also one of the founding members of Babes in the Cichlid Hobby which raises money for cichlid conservation and research.
The video shows the abundance of cichlids that can be seen while out for a swim around Nakantenga Island in the southern part of Lake Malawi. Nakantenga is right next to another location known for a variety of cichlids in the hobby, Maleri Island. For more videos from Pam’s trip to Lake Malawi visit her YouTube Channel. To discuss Lake Malawi cichlids visit the Lake Malawi Cichlids forum.
The rumors and speculation can finally be put to rest. Cichlids of Africa Volume II is finally out and a limited amount copies are available before full distribution is set up in the U.S. The book is available in Europe directly from one of the authors, Anton Lamboj. In the U.S., the book is available through another of the authors, Greg Steeves.
The original, Cichlids of Africa Volume I, covered many species that normally aren’t seen in cichlid publications. Specifically, Volume I was about cichlids from Lake Victoria and surrounding lakes. A review can be found HERE by Ken Boorman.
Cichlids of Africa Volume II also covers Lake Victoria region cichlids but also includes West African riverine cichlids. Both areas have beautiful, unique and out of the ordinary cichlids, but are underrepresented in print work. The authors, Greg Steeves, Anton Lamboj and Hans van Heusden have put together amazing information and photographs in this book. Hopefully we will have a full review posted in the library soon.