A great video showing a pair of Red Spotted Severum spawning. Video courtesy of Jim Cumming
The Red Spotted Severum is variant of Heros efasciatus, not a Heros severus. More specifically, the Red Spotted variant is a line bred Gold Severum for the red coloration. The different color variants differ from the wild-caught H. efasciatus, but are still the same species. The striking differences in color is very similar to what has been done with discus cichlids, where the wild species looks considerable different than the line-bred variants.
In the wild, Heros efasciatus can reach 12 inches in size. However, in an aquarium they don’t get that large (8″-10″). That being said, these fish can still get quite large and a pair is best kept in at least a 75 gallon tank. For breeding, it is recommended to get a group of these fish. As they mature, a pair will form. Breeding usually takes place on a flat surface. As seen in the video, the female will lay the eggs and the male then fertilizes them. Once the eggs hatch after a few days, the fry are usually moved to a small depression where both parents will guard them. For more information on Red Spotted Severum or any of the other variants, visit the South American Cichlids forum. Make sure to visit Jim Cumming’s Youtube channel for other great videos.
One of the larger species of Julidochromis from Lake Tanganyika is the Julidochromis regani. Although they are said to grow quite large in the wild, their maximum size is the aquarium is around 6 inches. The other Julidochromis species tend to spend all their time in and around rocks and caves, but J. regani is comfortable over sandy shallows in search of crustaceans and mollusks.
In the aquarium Julidochromis regani’s behavior is similar to the other species in the genus. Julidochromis will pair up as they mature and the bond usually lasts a lifetime. If one fish in the pair dies, it isn’t uncommon for the other fish to die shortly after. Despite the strong bond, stress and sudden changes in the tank environment can break up a pair. To form a pair it is best to introduce a group of juvenile fish into an aquarium. Once a pair forms, other fish should be removed as the pair will not tolerate other J. regani in the tank. To learn more about Julidochromis regani or Julidochromis in general visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.
The Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, MN just opened their newest exhibit. The Unsalted Seas exhibit is home to the largest sturgeon touch-tank in North America and also displays their African Rift Lakes tanks. The Amazing Amazon exhibit also has a variety of New World cichlids which make their home in the Amazon Basin. Another interesting and educational exhibit is the Aquatic Invaders section. It explains how invasive species make it into new waters and their impact on the local ecology.
The Great Lakes Aquarium is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation serving the community and part of its mission is to inspire people to explore and connect with the waters of the world in a effort to value and protect them. It is also a great place to visit, enjoy and learn. If you are in the Duluth, MN area make sure to plan a visit. For more information visit GLAaquarium.org.
Paraneetroplus synspilus can be found in the Usumacinta River system of Southern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. This fish can be found under several names, both scientific and common. They include Vieja and Cichlasoma synspila, redhead cichlid and quetzel cichlid.
In the aquarium Paraneetroplus synspilus can reach sizes in excess 12 inches. Males and females look similar, but males are usually larger. Large, mature males will develop a hump on their head. P. synspilus is a rather peaceful species but like many other fish, breeding brings out aggressive/territorial behavior. They can be kept with a variety of other large New World species. Breeding takes place on a flat rock and spawns result in hundreds of eggs. To discuss Paraneetroplus synspilus visit the Central American Cichlids forum.
Another species of cichlid that grow a hump on their head is Cyrtocara moorii from Lake Malawi. The nuchal hump is similar to that of the Cyphotilapia frontosa from the previous blog, but these fish have no relation and are an example of convergent evolution.
In the wild Cyrtocara moorii is widely distributed throughout Lake Malawi. They spend their time sifting the sandy bottom for food at about 10 to 50 feet in depth. Despite being found in many locations, C. moorii are rarely spotted. It was first imported in the late 1960′s and has been in the hobby ever since.
In the aquarium Cyrtocara moorii is a gentle giant. Rarely aggressive unless provoked or spawning. Care should be taken to ensure tankmates aren’t aggressive, especially if you are hoping for them to spawn. C. moorii is very slow growing but males will eventually reach 10+ inches. Females will be a few inches smaller. A large tank is a must for these fish and a sandy substrate is recommended to encourage natural feeding behaviors and spawning. For more information of this species check out the Species Article by Marc Elieson or visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.
Cyphotilapia frontosa are not the largest cichlids in Lake Tanganyika, but it is the largest species regularly collected from the lake. Reaching upwards of 16 inches, a tank full of adult C. frontosa is a site to see. As male C. frontosa mature they develop an impressive hump on their forehead.
In the aquarium Cyphotilapia frontosa need lots of room. They are best kept in groups and when mature a 6 foot tank is best. Sexing C. frontosa can be difficult and is best done by venting each fish. If you think you would like to invest the time, effort and expense of keeping this beautiful fish, check out the Frontosa Corner in the library for articles about proper care, sexing, feeding and even collecting. Discussion can be done in the Lake Tanganyika forum.
Sympatric speciation happens when different species evolve from a common ancestor without any geographic barriers to separate them. Each new species still inhabits the same areas and can come in contact with each other. Because there are no geographic barriers keeping groups apart, this type of evolutionary process can be difficult due to inbreeding.
Researchers working in crater lakes in Nicaragua have published research article providing empirical evidence of sympatric speciation. Two closely related species of Central American cichlids, Amphilophus citrinellus and A. labiatus are given as examples of sympatric speciation. To read more about this research visit the article on the Public Library of Science website. A summary of the publication can be found on the ScienceDaily.com.
Fish caught with mosquito net. Source RIPPLE Africa Fish Conservation quick guide PDF.
RIPPLE Africa is working to ensure the future of fish stocks in Lake Malawi. While preventing the depletion of fish species used for food they are also protecting cichlid species. As over-fishing has led to a reduction of catches by as much as 90%, many locals have resorted to larger nets with smaller mesh sizes. In many cases, mosquito nets are used along the shore. The result has been that smaller and smaller fish are being caught. The small mesh sizes are also catching unintended fish, like young cichlid fry.
RIPPLE Africa is working at the local level with community-run conservation committees which enforce local bylaws and even provide a 3-month no fishing season. More information on this initiative can be found on TheDailyMeal.com and on the RIPPLEAfrica.org website.
Screen capture from Google Earth of an island off of Kipili in Lake Tanganyika.
Google Earth and Maps has recently gotten an image resolution update. Along with the update the service has also made images available without cloud cover. While this isn’t exactly cichlid related, having the ability to see the locations where fish are collected in high resolution is worth taking a look. The higher resolution allows you to see the rock formations just below the surface as well as small fishing craft lined up along the coastlines. With the Google Earth application, user submitted images of locations can also be viewed to get a real appreciation of the area. To read more about the 700-trillion pixel update check out the article on TheAtlantic.com.
Often called the six-barred Lamprologus or gold sexfasciatus, Neolamprologus sexfasciatus is one of those cichlids Lake Tanganyika enthusiasts often consider keeping. However, seeing and wanting a fish doesn’t always translate into owning them. Similar in appearance to Neolamprologus tretocephalus, N. sexfasciatus has the same shape and barring but with the added gold/yellow color. In the wild this species is aggressive and predatory, feeding on other fish.
In the aquarium Neolamprologus sexfasciatus can be difficult to keep and breed. Their aggression and dietary requirements make them incompatible with many species. Tanks should be at least 4 feet long with plenty of rocky cover for a single pair of N. sexfasciatus. Forming a breeding pair can be difficult. A male and female can’t be put together and expect them to get along, much less breed. Pairs should be formed by keeping a group of young N. sexfasciatus. If a male and female are compatible, they will pair up for breeding. Other N. sexfasciatus will not be tolerated. If a pair does breed by laying eggs in a cave, the male will become hyper-aggressive toward any fish. Once the fry are old enough to be on their own the pair will break up and the female will be a target of male aggression. If you are considering adding Neolamprologus sexfasciatus to one of your tanks visit the Lake Tanganyika Forum for more information.