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Crenicichla dandara newly described

Crenicichla dandara

Crenicichla dandara, female (A) and juvenile (B). Photos by Oliver Lucanus/Publication

Formerly known as Crenicichla sp. ‘Xingu III’, the newest described pike cichlid has been named Crenicichla dandara. This species is a member of the lugubris group, the largest-sized pike cichlids. C. dandara males can reach upwards of 12 inches. Found in the rapidly moving waters of the Xingu River of northern Brazil, C. dandara spends its time among large rocks where it hunts for prey. As shown the the picture above, juveniles have a brown/grayish color while adults are dark, almost black throughout most of their body.

Crenicichla dandara was named after the Afro-Brazilian warrior Dandara, who with her husband Zumbi, fought against slavery in Brazil. The complete description of the new C. dandara species can be found ResearchGate.net. More general information on pike cichlids can be found in the New World Cichlids library section. For discussion visit the South American Cichlids forum.


Lepidiolamprologus elongatus from Lake Tanganyika

Lepidiolamprologus elongatus

Lepidiolamprologus elongatus. Photo by Ad Konings

A true predator from Lake Tanganyika, Lepidiolamprologus elongatus can be found throughout the lake along rocky shores hunting for prey. L. elongatus is sleek, fast and powerful. Reaching over 13 inches in length, this species can chase down and eat anything it can fit into its mouth. Aggressive and territorial, L. elongatus is usually seen alone unless it is with its mate. This substrate spawner can lay hundreds of eggs at a time.

Although found in the aquarium trade, Lepidiolamprologus elongatus isn’t a popular fish for several reasons. Its large size along with its aggressive and territorial nature means they don’t play well with others. Not only is L. elongatus aggressive toward its own species, but they doesn’t tolerate other species very well either. Even spawning partners can be the focus of aggression. Best kept in large tanks with rocks for cover. A group of juveniles is the best way to develop a pair. Extras should be removed promptly. To discuss Lepidiolamprologus elongatus visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.


Cannibalism in biparental cichlids


Female Neolamprologus caudopunctatus. Photo credit Michael Bernkopf-Vetmeduni Vienna

Research in cichlid cannibalism, specifically what triggers a cichlid to go from caregiver to cannibal, was conducted by the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. Some interesting and surprising conclusions were reached.

In short, in order for a cichlid not to revert to cannibalism it must perceive that its eggs are continuously in its care. Once its eggs are gone, it is no longer a parent and will eat eggs and fail to recognize eggs as its own. It was also determined that females are more likely to engage in cannibalistic behavior than males. For complete information on this study, its methods and conclusions visit Science Direct for the full article. To discuss this behavior, in particular by Neolamprologus caudopunctatus, visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.


Buccochromis rhoadesii from Lake Malawi

Buccochromis rhoadesii

Buccochromis rhoadesii. Photo by Ad Konings

Buccochromis rhoadesii is another large piscivore from Lake Malawi. Mature males can reach almost 14 inches in length while females are a little smaller. Found mostly in sheltered bays over muddy bottoms, B. rhoadesii is widely distributed in the lake. Like other predators, this species is usually solitary but has been observed in loose groups.

In the aquarium Buccochromis rhoadesii is peaceful. Males can at times be aggressive toward their own species, but usually nothing more than some chasing. Because of its size and its cruising nature, a large tank is required. Although rarely imported, this species is generally available in the hobby. Often going by the name Yellow Lepturus. If keeping a male and several females, a 6 foot tank should be a minimum length. Food high in protein is recommended. Smaller fish that will fit in B. rhoadesii‘s mouth should be avoided. To discuss this species visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


Greenwoodochromis christyi from Lake Tanganyika

Greenwoodochromis christyi

Greenwoodochromis christyi. Photo by Ad Konings

Found mostly in the deep waters of Lake Tanganyika, Greenwoodochromis christyi is a rarely seen predator that feeds mostly on invertebrates and smaller fish. G. christyi‘s sides are dotted with iridescent spots which make more sense than bright colors in the dimmer deep waters. They have a large, upturned mouth and laterally compressed body similar to that of Altolamprologus. The genus Greenwoodochromis is small with only a couple named species.

Not often seen in the hobby, Greenwoodochromis christyi have found their way into some hobby’s tanks. Sexing this species is difficult as both males and females are very similar. Perhaps it is best to start with some juveniles and let a pair form. Others should be promptly removed since the pair will not tolerate them. This species can also be aggressive toward other species. Lighting should be dim or they will become very shy. Overly active tankmates are not recommended. Of course, anything small enough to be eaten will be eaten. G. christyi is reported to be a bi-parental mouthbrooder; both parents will take turns holding the eggs/young until they are ready to be on their own. To discuss this species visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.


Aristochromis christyi from Lake Malawi

Aristochromis christyi

Aristochromis christyi. Photo by Ad Konings

A large predator from Lake Malawi, Aristochromis christyi can be found in transition zones between rocks and sand. Although found throughout the lake, actually spotting A. christyi is rare. The only member of the genus which gets its name from the shape of the nose and high-set eyes giving them an aristocratic look. A. christyi‘s primary diet consists of young mbuna, but with its large-opening mouth, even mature mbuna are on the menu. A. christyi is not a fast predator, preferring to stick its mouth into crevices or turning on its side and slowly approaching unsuspecting pry.

Since Aristochromis christyi will eat anything it can fit into it large mouth, tankmates should be carefully considered. Reaching 12 inches in length, other large Lake Malawi predators are recommended. Space and dietary requirements should also factor in. While male A. christyi will tolerate females of its species, other males are not welcome. One male to multiple female A. christyi is best. To discuss this species visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


Chalinochromis popelini from Lake Tanganyika

Chalinochromis popelini

Chalinochromis popelini. Photo by Dr. David Midgley (CC BY-SA 2.5).

Found along the rocky shores of southern Lake Tanganyika, Chalinochromis popelini shares some of the traits common to Julidochromis. C. popelini are usually alone or in pairs, feeding on small invertebrates living in the aufwuchs covered rocks. This cave spawner is very protective of its territory and will not allow other C. popelini in their area.

Not as popular as Julidochromis, Chalinochromis popelini has a similar appearance and behavior. They stay close to the rocks for protection and spawning. A pair will lay upwards of 100 eggs inside a cave and both parents will protect their fry through multiple spawns. It is common to see a pair with different size fry in their territory. The best way to obtain a pair of C. popelini is to have them come together naturally. A group of 6 juveniles is recommended. Once a pair forms and separates from the group, it is best to remove the remaining fish. Once the pair starts breeding, it will not tolerate any other C. popelini to remain nearby. To discuss this species visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.


Tramitichromis intermedius from Lake Malawi

Tramitichromis intermedius

Tramitichromis intermedius. Photo by Ad Konings

A peaceful hap from Lake Malawi, Tramitichromis intermedius can be found throughout the lake over muddy or sandy sediment filled bottoms. Feeding by sifting sand and debris, T. intermedius’ diet consists mostly of insect larva and other invertebrates. Mature males can reach over 6 inches in length while females are a little shorter. The striking blue, yellow and green coloration is usually only seen on dominant males. This species differentiates itself from Tramitichromis sp. “Intermedius” by the positioning of spots on the flank and the shape of the face. Despite the differences, confusion in the trade is common.

The gentle nature of Tramitichromis intermedius needs to be taken into account when considering tankmates. Aggressive or highly active species should be avoided. A large aquarium with plenty of soft sand is a must if you want to see their natural behavior or get them to breed. Dominant males will dig out a small pit and display in order to attract females. One male to multiple females is recommended. Food should be high in protein with some plant matter included. Females will hold the eggs until they mature enough to be released. To discuss T. intermedius visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


Maskaheros argenteus spawn video

A short video of an impressive pair of Maskaheros argenteus spawning by scalare1973 Cichlids.

Found along various rivers in southern Mexico and Guatemala, Maskaheros argenteus prefers ponds or slow moving waters. Feeding mostly on crustaceans and some plant matter, M. argenteus can reach a foot in length. Females are usually smaller. Although tough to distinguish the sexes when they are young, once matured the males will be larger and will eventually develop a hump on the forehead as seen in the video. This species has gone by the names Paraneetroplus argenteus and Vieja argentea, but is commonly known as White cichlid.

In the aquarium Maskaheros argenteus can be difficult. Aggression is common and intense when spawning. Their size and temperament make a large tank a must for adults. Spawning takes place in the usual egg-layer fashion. The territory and young offspring are vigorously defended by the parents. To discuss this species visit the Central American Cichlids forum.

Maskaheros argenteus

Maskaheros argenteus. Screen capture from video


Sciaenochromis psammophilus from Lake Malawi

Sciaenochromis psammophilus

Sciaenochromis psammophilus. Photo by Ad Konings

Sciaenochromis psammophilus is a Lake Malawi hunter found in various locations throughout the central and western parts of the lake. Unlike its popular cousin Sciaenochromis fryeri, S. psammophilus is rarely seen in the hobby. This is probably due to the species’ solitary nature. Despite having been spotted at several locations in Lake Malawi, they are never found in large numbers. Reaching only about 5 inches in length, S. psammophilus isn’t as large as S. fryeri. In the wild S. psammophilus spends its days cruising alone over the sandy bottom looking for smaller fish or invertebrates to eat. Its slender body, large eyes and mouth make it a formidable predator for anything small enough to be eaten.

In this aquarium Sciaenochromis psammophilus needs a large tank. Males can be quite aggressive toward other S. psammophilus. Any tankmates small enough to fit in its mouth will be eaten. A food high in protein is recommended. To discuss this species visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


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