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Great Rift Valley Adventures

great rift valley

Kaya Mawa resort on Likoma Island, Malawi.

Anyone thinking of visiting one of the rift lakes or is in need of help convincing a significant other, here are some ideas of what there is to do. The Great Rift Valley is a geographic trench running from Syria to Mozambique. Created by plate tectonics and dotted with active and dormant volcanoes, this geological region helped create Africa’s Rift Lakes. While Lake Malawi or Lake Tanganyika would be enough for a great vacation, other sites like the Jade Sea Lake Turkana in Kenya or Nyungwe National Park would add to the experience. Everything from wildlife, whitewater rafting and mountain climbing to make your trip more exciting. For more information on some Great Rift Valley adventures, visit theguardian.co.uk.

great rift valley

Navbiotum Volcano, Lake Turkana, Kenya. Photo: Richard Du Toit/Minden Picture

New Cobalt Discus Flakes

Cobalt discus flakes

Cobalt Aquatics has recently introduced new lines of flake food flavors. Cobalt Discus Flakes, co-developed with the renowned discus expert Discus Hans, is just one of the new offerings. Cobalt Discus Flakes is a powerful new food with a mix of beef heart, krill, spirulina, earthworm, garlic and high quality salmon meal. Designed to keep discus in top condition and color. All Cobalt Flake foods feature Cobalt’s BLUE flake, which has triple concentration of vitamins that help support a healthy immune system. In addition, Cobalt flakes are packed with Probiotics that support a healthy digestive system.

For more information of Cobalt Discus Flakes and other new and innovative products, visit the Cobalt Aquatics website.

Fish pond do-it-yourself video

For anyone considering a fish pond in their backyard, this video will give you an idea of what is required.

A cichlid pond can be a great way to not only keep more fish, but add a nice feature to your backyard. Aside from building and filtering your pond, there are a few considerations in having it stocked with cichlids. For instance, while some fish can tolerate cold temperatures, cichlids may not survive the winter. You need to have a plan for what you will do with the fish during the cold months. If you plan to periodically share your pond-grown cichlids with others, pay close attention to what you stock in your pond. Species that are likely to hybridize with each other should not be put together.

For some articles on keeping cichlids outdoors, take a look at Raising Cichlids Outside by Greg Steeves and My Frontosa Pond by Lee McLeod.

Platytaeniodus sp. “red tail sheller”


Platytaeniodus sp. “red tail sheller”. Photo by Dave Hansen

Today’s out-of-the-ordinary species is a fish that goes by the name Platytaeniodus sp. “red tail sheller”. It is believed to have been collected near Hippo Point on the Kenyan shoreline of Lake Victoria. Of course, with all of Lake Victoria’s problems, it’s questionable if this species can still be found there. As the name implies, this species should eat snails. However, in the various profiles I have read, nobody has seen this behavior in an aquarium. As with other Victorian species, P. sp. “red tail sheller” spawns easily and at a young age. Broods tend to be small between 6-12 fry. Its deep blue body and red tail make it a beautiful addition to an aquarium. If you think you might be interested in keeping this fish, take a look at the Species Profile by Greg Steeves

Cichlasoma dimerus breeding pair caring for fry

A breeding pair of Cichlasoma dimerus looking after their many fry.

This South American cichlid can be found in the Paraguay-Paraná River System. This river system flows through various countries including Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina. Cichlasoma dimerus appears to breed easily with spawns numbering the the hundreds of fry. C. dimerus isn’t a large fish with males rarely larger than 5″. Aggression is relatively low but they can be aggressive when protecting their fry. The pair share in the egg and fry caring responsibilities. After hatching, the fry are regularly moved by the parents. Even once the fry are free-swimming, they parents regularly round them up to keep them together and well protected.

For more information on Cichlasoma dimerus, visit the Species Article by Kaycy Ruffer.

Cichlasoma dimerus

Cichlasoma dimerus. Screen capture from video.

Lake Victoria water receding

Lake Victoria

Receding lake. Photo by Maria Wamala

As if Lake Victoria doesn’t have enough problems with pollution and the invasive water hyacinth. Now it appears that the lake’s water level is dropping. As the wetlands surrounding the lake dry up, excess nutrients are released into the lake causing algae blooms and further growth of water hyacinth. These same wetlands also helped keep eroded soil from silting the lake. The reasons why Lake Victoria is shrinking are complex but the result is simple; less water is entering the lake.

Lake Victoria has had a history of drying up. It is believed that in its history the lake has gone dry at least 3 times. Most recently about 16,000 years ago. For more information on past droughts, visit Science on NBCNews.com. To read more about the recent changes in water levels, its reasons and what can be done, visit NewVision.co.ug.

Crop water used for cichlid farming

crop water

A warm spring that is used to irrigate farmland has found one more “crop” to raise. A ranch near the Nevada/Utah border has started raising cichlids in outdoor pools filled with water that eventually is sent to the fields. While most fish farms are located in warm weather areas, the water surfacing from a natural spring keeps the cichlids warm despite winter temperatures of -20 degrees. In an area of the country where water resources are very important and often disputed, a cichlid enthusiast has managed to farm cichlids without sacrificing water meant for crops.

For more information on this ingenious use of crop water, visit the Millard County Chronicle Progress website.

Tapajos River, Brazil underwater video

Here is a video of some of the wildlife in the Tapajos River, Brazil.

A major tributary of the Amazon River, the Tapajos River accounts for 6% of the water in the Amazon Basin. Although some stretches of the river can be up to nine miles wide, other parts are slow moving with lots of vegetation. It is in these areas where this video was probably shot. In the footage you can see Pterophyllum sp., Pike cichlids and Mesonauta. Parts of the river are threatened by proposed dams. Brazil gets most of its energy from hydroelectric power and the need for more dams is only expected to increase.

Tapajos River

Tapajos River. Photo by Luciano Passos Cruz

Two new Mysis flake blends from Cobalt Aquatics

two new mysis

Mysis and Mysis-Spirulina flake blends

Cobalt Aquatics has introduced two new Mysis flake blends. The first, Mysis Flake, is a Mysis based formula for all tropical and marine fish. Its highly palatable formula helps both freshwater and marine finicky fish to eat prepared foods. The second formula, Mysis-Spirulina Flake, ads Spirulina to the mix. Spirulina is a filamentous blue-green algae that is rich in raw protein and vitamins. This formula is also great for finicky fish. Both flake formulas are loaded with Omega 3’s (EPA/DHA) and Astaxanthin for consistent growth and superior color. All Cobalt Flake foods feature Cobalt’s BLUE flake, which has triple concentration of vitamins that help support a healthy immune system. In addition, Cobalt flakes are packed with Probiotics that support a healthy digestive system.

For more information on these two new Mysis flake blends and other products, visit the Cobalt Aquatics website.

Ad Konings speaking at EACG

Ad Konings

Ad Konings. Credit: Cichlidpress.com

Ad Konings, the renowned Rift Lake and Central American cichlid expert will be paying a return visit to the East Anglia Cichlid Group. Ad will be talking about conservation work occurring in many areas of Lake Malawi. As some cichlid species are already threatened, it is extremely important to continue these ventures, thanks to the Stuart M. Grant Cichlid Conservation Fund. His second presentation will be ‘Tropheus and Petrochromis from Tanganyika’. Ad took nearly 1000 underwater photographs on his recent trip to Lake Tanganyika, so expect to see some of them.

For more information on Ad Konings and the Stuart M. Grant Cichlid Conservation Fund, visit Cichlid Press.

If you would like to attend the EACG meeting/auction, visit the EACG website.

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