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Risk management in fish: How cichlids prevent their young from being eaten

The scientists present findings that suggest parents of fish exchange young with other parents to reduce the chances that their entire brood will be predated.

To read the full article How cichlids prevent their young from being eaten.

Risk management

Neolamprologus caudopunctatus. Photo by Stefanie Schwamberger

Lamprologus multifasciatus timelapse

Great timelapse video of a group of Lamprologus multifasciatus digging around their shells.

Anyone who has kept a group of Lamprologus multifasciatus knows how quickly these little fish can rearrange carefully planned aquascaping. Leave them alone for a few hours and they completely change everything. The video does not mention how long the timelapse took place in real-time, but I’m guessing a day or two.

L. multifasciatus is a shell dweller from Lake Tanganyika and the smallest known cichlid. Fully grown males reach about 2″ in length and females are about half that size. The species name comes from the multiple verticle stipes on its body. These stripes, along with its blue eyes, make L. multifasciatus a beautiful and unique fish. They make their homes in neothauma snail shells which can be found discarded by the thousands on the sandy bottom of the lake. Unlike other shell dwellers, L. multifasciatus does not bury its shell. Instead they dig under their shells creating a depression in the sand.

For more information on L. multifasciatus and other shell dwellers, visit the Shell Dweller Corner.

Lamprologus multifasciatus

L. multifasciatus male with a couple females in the background. Photo by Diane Tennison.

Fish deaths blamed on algae bloom, low oxygen

Fish deaths

Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Brazil. Photo by Christophe Simon.

Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas is a lagoon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It will also be the site of the 2016 Olympic rowing events. City officials are rushing to clean up more than 80 tons of dead fish floating on the surface. The fish deaths were originally reported to be the result of heavy rains which washed plant matter into the lake, causing an algae bloom. It is now believed that a sewage problem was the major contributor to the algae bloom. Although we often associate algae with releasing oxygen, blooms will eventually run out of nutrients. The excess algae quickly dies off causing reduced oxygen levels.

Algae blooms can occur naturally, but their frequency, duration and intensity are increased by nutrient pollution. Industrial and agricultural runoff raise nitrogen and phosphorus levels. Of course, sewage from populated areas can cause algae blooms. Lake Managua is an example of what pollution can do to a lake.

For more information on the fish deaths in Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, check out the Rio Times article.

Oregon Coast Aquarium needs volunteers

Oregon Coast Aquarium

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a world-class marine educational attraction nestled on beautiful Yaquina Bay in Newport, OR. The Aquarium is a living classroom for all learning styles and ages and is currently looking volunteers. Opportunities for volunteers include serving as interpretative guides, greeting, working the grounds, community outreach and helping with special events. Volunteering at the aquarium requires no special education or background, just a willingness to learn and commit to 100 hours per year.

Oregon Coast Aquarium volunteers will receive a variety of benefits including training, college credit, discounts, lectures by staff and guest speakers, and free passes for you and your family. If you live in the Newport area and think you might want to volunteer, visit the Volunteer at the Aquarium page for more information.

Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi

Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi

Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi. Photo by Dave Hansen

Today’s out of the ordinary fish is a dwarf cichlid native to the Congo region of West Africa. In the wild, Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi lives along the banks of small ponds, drainage ditches and creeks. As seen in the picture above, P. nicholsi is very colorful. The head is a yellow/golden with blue and red throughout the body. Hobbyists have had different experiences with aggression. Some have kept P. nicholsi with a variety of fish while others have found them to be quite aggressive. Make sure you have tank options if you decide to keep these fish. A maternal mouthbrooder, P. nicholsi generally breeds easily but broods aren’t very large.

For more detailed information on this West African Dwarf cichlid and the Genus Pseudocrenilabrus, read the P. nicholsi article.

DIY aquarium in under 3 minutes

For anyone looking for some inspiration on a DIY aquarium project, take a look at this video. Depending on your taste in music, you might want to lower the volume.

This is a condensed version of a DIY aquarium with no instructions. However it shows what someone can do in their home if they are willing to do some research and take on this type of project. For anyone who might want to try this, make sure you visit the Do It Yourself section of the Library. In it you will find many articles on how to build everything from acrylic and plywood aquariums to tank stands and covers.

I’m just guessing, but I see a lot of the same elements as Joe Salvatori’s article; Building a 1700 gallon Shark Tank. Take a look at the article for some detailed instructions on the process, including filtration.

DIY aquarium

Joe Salvatori’s 1700 gallon shark tank

Climate change affecting Lake Tanganyika

Climate change

Lake Tanganyika. NASA

National Geographic has recently published an online article on the effects of climate change on Lake Tanganyika. Despite being the second largest freshwater lake in the world in terms of volume, Lake Tanganyika has experienced an increase in water temperatures.

Studies have found that the increase in temperature of 1 degree Celsius has resulted in 20% reduction of the lake’s biological productivity. This reduction not only affects cichlids in the lake, but also the millions of people that depend on the lake for food and fresh water. To learn more on this study, its results and the impact it will have on the lake, make sure to read the National Geographic article on climate change and its impact on Lake Tanganyika.

Aquarium webcams we can all enjoy

aquarium webcams

The Vancouver Aquarium Jelly Cam

Several aquariums and zoos are streaming their exhibits live for everyone to enjoy. These aquarium webcams offer a small glimpse of what the exhibits have to offer. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find one that provides views of their cichlid exhibits. You can find hobbyists that set up webcams of their tanks, but more often than not the webcams are off-line or there isn’t much to see. Despite the lack of cichlid representation, the webcams at some of the public aquariums are impressive to watch and offer some variety. The Vancouver Aquarium currently streams several exhibits including a jellyfish, beluga whales, penguins and sea otters.

aquarium webcams

Monterey Bay Aquarium Open Sea Webcam

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has an amazing webcam featuring their 1 million gallon, open-ocean exhibit. In it you can see hammerhead sharks, bluefin tuna, pelagic rays and giant green sea turtles swimming together. In the bottom right corner of the still picture above is a swirling mass of some type of fish. Every once in a while a shark swims into it and scatters the smaller fish. Other Monterey Bay Aquarium webcams include a kelp cam and penguin cam.

Other webcams: Aquarium of the Pacific.

If you know of any public aquariums offering webcams, please add a link in the comments.

The Vivarium & Aquarium News

Vivarium & Aquarium News

The Vivarium & Aquarium News has just launched their first issue. The Vivarium & Aquarium News is a free online reptile, amphibian and aquarium publication from your friends at Zoo Med. Expect to see great articles including a section called “New on the Market” where you will find the latest news on new fish species.

Gary Bagnall, CEO of The Vivarium & Aquarium News;

We are publishing this new online magazine in cooperation with our friends at Terralog and Aqualog in Germany. This new partnership will give the magazine an “international” flair incorporating articles from some of the most acclaimed reptile and aquarium hobbyists worldwide. Because this will be more of a serious “hobby” publication than “entry level” publication, you will find many of the articles to be very in-depth and written by hobbyists that have actually traveled to the home range of the species they are writing about! There is also a section in each issue showing “new species” (and color morphs) that have recently come available to the marketplace. We hope you enjoy our first issue and please drop us an email with any comments or suggestions you may have.

You can read The Vivarium & Aquarium News online or download an app for your smartphone.
Vivarium & Aquarium News

Giant isopod hasn’t eaten in 4 years

Giant Isopod

Bathynomus giganteus

The term Giant isopod is used for as many as 20 species of large crustaceans in the Genus Bathynomus. Giant isopods are important scavengers in the deep-sea and are most commonly found 500 to 7000 feet underwater. At these depths, food is scarce and they have adapted to surviving without food for long periods. This ability to survive without food has been witnessed at the Toba Aquarium in Japan. An isopod originally caught off the coast of Mexico and kept at the Toba Aquarium has not eaten a meal since January 2009. According to aquarium officials, after its large meal over 4 years ago the isopod has refused to eat. It goes as far as examining food, but will not eat. Needless to say, aquarium officials are concerned.

To get a perspective on the size of these overgrown pill bugs (which they are related to), take a look at this video:

For more information on this story, visit NPR.org.

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