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Copadichromis borleyi from Lake Malawi

Copadichromis borleyi

Copadichromis borleyi. Photo by Ed Schipul (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Copadichromis borleyi are found throughout Lake Malawi in shallow, rocky areas. Large groups will congregate around boulder formations to feed on plankton. Depending on the location in the lake, the male’s coloration can vary. While C. borleyi‘s head is blue, the body can be red, yellow and anything in between. Females are silver-ish with 3 black spots on each side.

Copadichromis borleyi is generally docile in aquariums, although they will defend an area while breeding. Tankmates should not be overly aggressive. Other haps or Aulonocara are ideal and even some of the calmer mbuna or Lake Tanganyika cichlids. A rocky area with sand will be staked out by the dominant male. When breeding, the male will build a bower in the sand and attract females. One male to multiple females is best. To discuss C. borleyi visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


Chilotilapia euchilus from Lake Malawi

Chilotilapia euchilus

Chilotilapia euchilus. Photo by Ad Konings

Found throughout Lake Malawi, Chilotilapia euchilus has a distinctive feature not seen in many other species. Commonly known as Malawi Thicklip (or some variation on the name), this species has also been called Haplochromis euchilus and Cheilochromis euchilus. Males can reach upwards of 10 inches in length while females are a little shorter. Males also display impressive blues, yellows and reds. Females are a golden silver color with two dark stripes. In the wild, C. euchilus uses its over-sized lips to seal crevices in the rocks and suck out small invertebrates or fry.

In the aquarium Chilotilapia euchilus is generally mild-mannered, but not to members of its own species. Very large tanks are recommended when keeping mature adults. One male to multiple females is best. Tankmates should be other large species that don’t have a similar appearance. Its distinctive lips aren’t as pronounced is tank-raised specimens. To discuss C. euchilus visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


Spathodus marlieri from Lake Tanganyika

Spathodus marlieri

Spathodus marlieri. Photo by Ad konings

Goby is a general term for several genus of cichlids from Lake Tanganyika. Gobies have a deflated swim bladder that makes them less buoyant. As a result, they tend to hug the rocks and “hop” around instead of swimming. The goby group is made up of three different genera and Spathodus marlieri is one of the two Spathodus species. Like other gobies, S. marlieri are found in shallow, rocky waters individually or in pairs. They feed on algae and microorganisms found living in the algae. Males S. marlieri can reach about 4 inches in length while females are a little smaller. Males will also develop a hump as they mature.

Spathodus marlieri has several characteristics that differentiate it from other gobies. Unlike Eretmodus, S. marlieri is not a bi-parental mouthbrooder. Only the female S. marlieri will carry the fertilized eggs. S. marlieri also tend to swim a little more, and hope less, than other gobies. Despite the differences, some characteristics remain the same. Spathodus marlieri form a bonded pair and do not tolerate other S. marlieri in their territory. A diet high in plant matter is a must. Pairs are best formed by obtaining a group of juveniles and letting mature take its course. Other fish should be removed promptly once a pair forms. A general article by Eric Glab titled The Goby Cichlids can be found in the library. To discuss S. marlieri visit the Lake Tanganyika Species froum.


Champsochromis spilorhynchus from Lake Malawi

Champsochromis spilorhynchus

Champsochromis spilorhynchus. Photo by Ad Konings

Champsochromis spilorhynchus is a pursuit predator found throughout Lake Malawi. Reaching over a foot in length, C. spilorhynchus will chase down anything it can fit into its mouth. Its prey consists mostly of haplochromines and mbuna. Males are slightly larger than females and have blue coloration with red on the anal fin. The only other member of the Champsochromis genus is C. caeruleus, also a large and sleek pursuit predator.

In the aquarium Champsochromis spilorhynchus needs lots of space. A six foot tank is a minimum size for a mature adult. Decorations or rocks are unnecessary since this species prefers open waters, but sand is recommended as a substrate. Although not generally aggressive, tankmates should not be anything smaller than half of C. spilorhynchus‘ size. Mbuna and small haps will be eaten. Other large, non-aggressive predators are best. Since C. spilorhynchus is generally a loner, groups larger than one male and two females are not recommended. To discuss this species visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


Pseudosimochromis curvifrons from Lake Tanganyika

Pseudosimochromis curvifrons

Pseudosimochromis curvifrons. Photo by Ad Konings

Not as well known as the popular Tropheus, Pseudosimochromis curvifrons is a colorful, grazing herbivore found throughout Lake Tanganyika. Aggressive and territorial, P. curvifrons make their home in shallow, rocky areas along the shore. Unlike Tropheus, P. curvifrons do not congregate in large groups. Instead they are found in pairs or small groups. Adult males are colorful while females and young adults are mostly silver with vertical bars. Both sexes have a very blunt face and a wide mouth.

In the aquarium Pseudosimochromis curvifrons can be difficult to manage. Males are extremely territorial and will not tolerate other males. Even other species can expect a fair amount of aggression. Females can be a handful too. Best kept in groups of one male to multiple females. Plenty of rocks should be provided to provide cover. A diet high in plant matter is a must. To discuss this species visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.


Canadian Association of Aquarium Clubs Convention

Canadian Association

The Canadian Association of Aquarium Clubs is having their annual convention next week in Burlington, Ontario. Founded in 1959, the CAOAC is an association of member aquarium, reptile & amphibian, pond & water garden, and similar clubs or societies from across Canada. Through the CAOAC, member organizations can work together for the common good and good of the hobby.

The Canadian Association of Aquarium Clubs Convention is scheduled for May 18th through the 20th, Victoria Day Weekend. Speakers include Greg Steeves, Rick Borstein, Jeff Cardwell, Mike Hellweg and Bryan Chin. Cichlid fans will enjoy Steeves’ talk on Haplochromines and Cardwell’s talks on Discus and Angelfish. Along with the speakers there will be a fish show and auctions. For more information on the CAOAC convention visit https://www.caoac.ca/convention.html. If you are in the Burlington, ON area this is an event cichlid fans shouldn’t miss.


Synodontis multipunctatus and cichlid coevolution

Synodontis multipunctatus

Synodontis multipunctatus. Photo by Mario Rubio García (CC BY 2.0)

Synodontis multipunctatus, aka cuckoo catfish, is a parasitic brooder that uses other fish to raise and protect their offspring. S. multipunctatus exploits Lake Tanganyika mouthbrooders by swooping in and laying its own eggs while the female cichlid is picking up her own eggs. The female cichlid will then continue to carry the parasitic eggs; who in turn hatch early and eat the developing cichlid offspring. In some cases, the female cichlid will protect the S. multipunctatus fry even after they’ve been released.

A new study published in Science Daily shows a link in the coevolution of Synodontis multipunctatus and cichlids from Lake Tanganyika. Researchers raised both S. multipunctatus and cichlids for the study. Cichlids included species from Lake Tanganyika and species from other waters where S. multipunctatus is not found. The results of tests showed cichlid species that coevolved with S. multipunctatus were more likely to avoid picking up parasitic eggs than cichlid species not from Lake Tanganyika. Coevolved cichlids were also more likely to learn to avoid S. multipunctatus, while species from other waters didn’t learn. The tests appear to show that the coevolution of the cuckoo catfish and Lake Tanganyika cichlids has resulted in an evolutionary ability to identify and learn that is not found in other cichlids. For more details on the study visit ScienceDaily.


Lobochilotes labiatus from Lake Tanganyika

Lobochilotes labiatus

Lobochilotes labiatus. Photo by Ad Konings.

The only member of the genus, Lobochilotes labiatus is a large cichlid living throughout Lake Tanganyika and in the Malagarasi River delta. Usually found in rocky areas, L. labiatus uses its unusually large lips to find food in the cracks and crevices where it finds a variety of invertebrates and some plant matter. Reaching upwards of 16 inches, this species is one of the largest cichlids from Lake Tanganyika and a mouthbrooder with spawns numbering in the 100s.

Not often seen in the hobby, Lobochilotes labiatus‘s size and aggression play a role. Tanks should be at least 6 feet in length for adults. They can be aggressive and territorial toward other species and are especially aggressive toward conspecifics. One male to several females is recommended. The female will protect the young for quite some time after releasing them. To discuss this species visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.


Lake Victoria extinctions in new report

lake victoria

Pundamilia nyererei from Lake Victoria. Photo by Kevin Bauman (CC BY 1.0).

A new report put out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has some bad news about Lake Victoria. The lake’s native species are no strangers to mass extinctions. The introduction of the Nile Perch over half a century ago led to the extinction of many of the lake’s native cichlid species. Now pollution from industry and agriculture, over-fishing, and non-native species are putting up to 76% of endemic species at risk of extinction.

The IUCN Red List report on Lake Victoria can be found in its entirety on the India Environmental Portal in PDF format. Discussion on cichlids from the lake can be done in the Lake Victoria Basin forum.


Ctenopharynx pictus from Lake Malawi

Ctenopharynx pictus

Ctenopharynx pictus. Photo by Ad Konings

Ctenopharynx pictus isn’t a cichlid you will often see in the hobby. Originally found at various locations throughout Lake Malawi, this species prefers soft, sandy bottoms anywhere between 20 to 60 feet in depth. C. pictus feeds on small invertebrates by sifting through the sand. Males reach over 5″ in length while females are about an inch shorter. Males will display the blue coloration with yellow on the chest. Females and sub-adult males are silver with 3 characteristic spots on their sides. Ctenopharynx is a small genus currently only made up of 3 names species.

In the aquarium Ctenopharynx pictus should be fed a diet high in protein. Soft sand should be provided so they can display their natural behavior. Although not generally aggressive toward other species, C. pictus can be toward its own kind. This species occasionally appears on stock lists and auctions, sometimes by the name Haplochromis pictus. To discuss this species visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


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