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Pundamilia nyererei “Makobe Island” article

pundamilia nyererei

Pundamilia nyererei “Makobe Island”. Photo by Robert De Leon

A new article has been added to this site’s library. Written by Greg Steeves, the article gives some insight on what it takes to successfully keep, breed and raise Pundamilia nyererei “Makobe Island”. Greg is a frequent contributor to Cichlid-Forum as well as to the hobby as a whole. He has one of the biggest collections of Lake Victoria region cichlids in the nation. Greg often gives presentations at cichlid conventions and other events throughout the country, make sure to catch one of them.

Pundamilia nyererei “Makobe Island” is one of the many variants of P. nyererei found throughout the lake. The different variants, found in different locations, each have their own color patterns. The Makobe Island variants have bright red on their backs with yellows and blacks on the rest of their body. Arguable, P. nyererei “Makobe Island” is one of the most attractive of all the variants. Like other P. nyererei, those found around Makobe Island are extremely aggressive and tankmates need to be chosen wisely. The different variants should never be kept together since crossbreeding will occur. For more information on keeping and breeding Pundamilia nyererei “Makobe Island” check out the new article in the library. Discussion can be done in the Lake Victoria Basin forum.


Coptodon bakossiorum from Cameroon

Coptodon bakossiorum

Coptodon bakossiorum. Photo by Dave Hansen

Coptodon bakossiorum, formerly known as Tilapia bakossiorum, is a rare cichlid endemic to the crater Lake Bermin. Like other crater lakes in Cameroon, Lake Bermin is one of the many in the region susceptible to CO2 “burping”. CO2 releases like in Lake Nyos have caused mass deaths of fish, livestock and people. This potential for natural disaster along with pollution and sedimentation have put C. bakossiorum‘s native waters at risk.

As Coptodon bakossiorum matures, the bottom half of their bodies turn a bright red. Although not seen much in the hobby, this species is occasionally available from importers, breeders of West African cichlid enthusiasts. Some information on West African crater lake cichlids can be found in the library article Insight on Barombi Mbo, Cameroon by Greg Steeves. To discuss Coptodon bakossiorum visit the West African Species forum.


Neolamprologus leleupi from Lake Tanganyika

Neolamprologus leleupi

Neolamprologus leleupi. Photo by Dave Hansen

Neolamprologus leleupi is found throughout rocky areas of Lake Tanganyika, making their home in small caves and crevices. N. leleupi feeds on invertebrates found in the rocks and surrounding areas. Depending on their collection point, the color variation of N. leleupi can go from bright yellow to orange and even brown. The yellow and orange variety is most often seen in the hobby.

Neolamprologus leleupi can be easy to keep and their color make them a great addition to many tank setups. Rocks or some type of cave is strongly recommended to make N. leleupi feel comfortable. As individuals, they aren’t aggressive toward other fish, but are very aggressive toward their own species. A male and female will bond for breeding and raising their young, but a match is never a guarantee. It is best to get a small group of juveniles and once a pair forms, the rest should be removed. Breeding and egg laying takes place in a cave or crevice. A pair will be aggressive when taking care of their young. There is a short article on N. leleupi in the library. To discuss this species visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.


Plecodus straeleni from Lake Tanganyika

Plecodus straeleni

Plecodus straeleni. Photo by Ad Konings

Plecodus straeleni is another dedicated scale-eating cichlid species from Lake Tanganyika. Not only does most of its diet consists of other fish’s scales, P. straeleni‘s appearance is intended to mimic the less predatory and aggressive Neolamprologus sexfasciatus and to some extent Cyphotilapia species. P. straeleni hunts alone along rocky areas in deeper waters using its docile appearance to approach other cichlids species until it is close enough to take a bite out of their scales. Digestive tract examinations of P. straeleni have shown a variety of cichlid species’ scales. Of those scales found, less than 1% belong to cichlids that P. straeleni mimics. Perhaps it’s because the mimicking doesn’t work well with N. sexfasciatus or Cyphotilapia species.

Plecodus straeleni isn’t often seen in the hobby. These fish can reach over 6 inches in length and their natural behavior can be detrimental to tankmates. Since they are loners except when breeding, they don’t tolerate other members of the same species. To discuss P. straeleni visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.


Metriaclima koningsi from Lake Malawi

Metriaclima koningsi

Metriaclima koningsi. Male and females. Photos by Alf Persson

Metriaclima koningsi, formally known as Metriaclima sp. ‘membe deep’, has been officially named and described. Named after Ad Konings, M. koningsi is found around the islands of Likoma and Maingano in Lake Malawi. This species has a similar color pattern to Pseudotropheus sp. “polit” but can also be more blotchy like Metriaclima sp. “Msobo”. M. koningsi males have the blue and black coloration while females and young males are yellow/orange.

The species’ description can be found on the Mapress site, but it is behind a paywall. Metriaclima koningsi can be quite aggressive, especially with members of its own species. Best kept in groups of one male to multiple females. Like other mbuna, their diet should include plenty of vegetable/plant matter. An adequate tank size is recommended with lots of hiding places. Other species, like Chindongo (Pseudotropheus) saulosi and M. sp. “Msobo” should not be tankmates since the females look very similar. To discuss this newly named species visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


Cunningtonia longiventralis from Lake Tanganyika

Cunningtonia longiventralis

Cunningtonia longiventralis. Photo by Ad Konings

Found along the rocky shores of Lake Tanganyika, Cunningtonia longiventralis is a featherfin and the only member of its genus. First described over 100 years ago, C. longiventralis gets its name from its long pelvic fins. Males have a beautiful blue coloration while females are mostly drab. Some color variation can be found between the different collection points. Although widespread throughout south Lake Tanganyika, this species isn’t very abundant and is rarely collected.

Not often seen in the hobby, Cunningtonia longiventralis can be obtained by the determined hobbyists. Care should be taken when choosing tankmates. Like other featherfins, C. longiventralis may not do well with aggressive or overly active species. Spawning takes place on mounds constructed by males to attract females. To discuss C. longiventralis visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.


Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center

virginia aquarium

Virginia Aquarium Red Sea Habitat exhibit

Located in Virginia Beach, the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center offers great activities and attractions for anyone looking to do something fun. As a special bonus for the locals, Hampton Roads residents can receive 50% off admission for the month of January. Details can be found HERE.

Although mainly geared toward marine exhibits, the Virginia Aquarium does on occasion have freshwater exhibits. Year-round the aquarium has various marine exhibits including sharks, rays and several types of mammals. The aquarium also offers an adventure park, boat trips, conservation information and a National Geographic 3D theater. Lots of fun for the entire family or anyone looking to spend a day relaxing and enjoying the facilities. For more information visit the Virginia Aquarium website.


Feather star swimming video

A short video showing a feather star swimming.

Definitely not a cichlid or even a freshwater creature, but impressive enough to post a video. This is a crinoid and they’ve been around for at least 300 million years. They are usually found on rocks where they feed on food particles with the help of their arms. Related to starfish and sea urchins, crinoids come in many different shapes, colors and sizes. Some spend their entire lives attached to a rock and appear to be a flower with a stalk. These stalked crinoids are commonly called sea lilies. Other crinoids can walk and swim and are referred to as feather stars. All types of crinoids are usually found in deep waters.

feather star

Multiple crinoids. Photo by Alexander Vasenin. (CC BY-SA 3.0)


Perissodus eccentricus from Lake Tanganyika

perissodus eccentricus

Perissodus eccentricus. Photo by Ad Konings

One of the many scale-eating species from Lake Tanganyika, Perissodus eccentricus is found in deeper waters ranging between 200 to 300 feet. Occasionally, the species has also been seen in the shallows along the southern rocky shores of the lake. Although scale-eating cichlids are found in all three of the major east African lakes, the majority of species whose primary diet is scales are found in Lake Tanganyika. The development of the scale-eating specialization is not completely understood, but the physiological and behavioral characteristics of some scale-eaters are fairly complex.

Although described more than 40 years ago and its occasional commercial availability, Perissodus eccentricus isn’t often seen in the hobby. Most likely due to its natural feeding behavior and what it would mean to its tankmates. Males can reach upwards of 7 inches in length. To discuss P. eccentricus visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.


Limnochromis auritus from Lake Tanganyika

Limnochromis auritus

Limnochromis auritus. Photo by Ad Konings

Limnochromis auritus is widely dispersed throughout Lake Tanganyika and found at depths of up to 400 feet. L. auritus feeds primarily on invertebrates living in the fine sand. This species is a mouthbrooder, but one of the handful of species where both parents do the brooding. The females hold for about 10 days and then pass the developing fry to the male until they are ready to be released. Both parents then guard and hold the fry until they are old enough to be on their own.

Although Limnochromis auritus have been in the hobby for quite some time, the species has never really gained popularity. Commonly known as the Spangled cichlid, they can grow to over 6 inches. The species is not overly aggressive, but does need a soft, sandy substrate, and a good size tank. A diet high in protein is recommended. To discuss L. auritus visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.


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