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Dimidiochromis kiwinge from Lake Malawi

Dimidiochromis kiwinge

Dimidiochromis kiwinge. Photo by Ad Konings

Found throughout Lake Malawi, Dimidiochromis kiwinge is a large and aggressive predator that often hunts in large packs. Its preferred prey is the small Malawi sardine, but D. kiwinge will gladly consume any fish that will fit in its mouth. Males build sand bowers for breeding and many males often build their bowers nearby creating large groupings. When spawning, D. kiwinge can be very territorial and aggressive, but that behavior usually only lasts until spawning season is over.

Due to their size, Dimidiochromis kiwinge is rarely seen in the hobby. Males can easily reach over 13 inches in length making them suitable for only the largest of aquariums. They need room to roam and although they are predatory in nature, being well fed in the aquarium will mellow their normal behavior. A sandy bottom with some rocks is recommended to recreate their breeding environment. A diet high in protein is a must. Successful spawning in the aquarium is rare, but not impossible. To discuss this species visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


Happy Holidays 2017 from the C-F staff

happy holidays

Neolamprologus tretocephalus. Photo by Dave Hansen. Antlers by Mom-EsPeace

The staff at Cichlid-Forum would like to with everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holidays. Our special Neolamprologus tretocephalus x reindeer would also like to wish his extended Cichlidae Family the best for the coming holidays and new year.

Neolamprologus tretocephalus is an aggressive and territorial cichlid found in the shallow waters of Lake Tanganyika. Similar in appearance from Neolamprologus sexfasciatus, but N. tretocephalus only has 5 vertical bars and lacks N. sexfasciatus’ yellow coloring. A large aquarium with is a must for N. tretocephalus and at most kept as a single pair. Tankmates must be different in color patterns and able to take this species’ aggressive nature. For more information on Neolamprologus tretocephalus visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.

Happy Holidays!


Otopharynx selenurus from Lake Malawi

Otopharynx selenurus

Otopharynx selenurus. Photo by Ad Konings.

Otopharynx selenurus is an opportunistic scavenger that can be found throughout Lake Malawi. It prefers to trail behind sand-sifting cichlids that are busy searching for food. Anything that is dug up and missed by these cichlids is picked up by O. selenurus. Since it relies on others to dig up the sand, O. selenurus is usually found over sandy waters at depths between 10 to 75 feet.

Not usually available in the U.S., Otopharynx selenurus seems to enjoy more popularity among European hobbyists. Sometimes found under the name Haplochromis nussae, O. selenurus can get quite large. Males have been known to reach over 8 inches in the aquarium. Since they are best kept with multiple females, a large aquarium with sandy substrate is a must. A diet high in protein is recommended. To discuss this species visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


Ectodus descampsii from Lake Tanganyika

Ectodus descampsii

Ectodus descampsii. Photo by Ad Konings.

Ectodus descampsii can be found in various parts of Lake Tanganyika. This species spends its days searching for food in the coarse, sandy bottoms along the shore where it finds small organisms and algae. Aside from a large black dot on their dorsal fin, E. descampsii is mostly silver in color. Closely related to featherfins species, E. descampsii shares some of the same characteristics. These fish are easily scared and don’t do well with aggressive or overly active fish. E. descampsii is the only officially described species in the Ectodus, but there is a Ectodus sp. “Descampsi North”.

In the aquarium Ectodus descampsii should be provided with plenty of room, a sandy bottom and only calm species as tankmates. Best kept in species only tanks if you want to see them demonstrating their normal behavior. E. descampsii will spend most of the day scooping up sand in search of food. In the wild this species lives in large groups so it is best to have a good size group in a tank. Dominant males will stake out a territory and dig pits in order to attract females. Subdominant males are known to get in between a spawning pair in order to attempt to fertilize some of the eggs. Successful spawns are difficult in aquarium conditions. To discuss Ectodus descampsii visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.


Deforestation and declining fish in the Amazon River


Satellite image of Amazon River. Photo by NASA

A new study published in the journal Fish and Fisheries has linked fish population to the amount of forest surrounding the body of water in the Amazon River basin. Although the study isn’t cichlid specific, it can be assumed that cichlid populations are also affected by deforestation in the Amazon region. Although the negative effects of reducing the amount of rain forest is know, it doesn’t always have a direct and monetary impact in the local area. Since the Amazon River is a source of food and income in the area, declining fish populations will have an economic impact in the area. This impact can be measured and used to offset the economic benefits of deforestation. As an added benefit native cichlid species will be protected as well. To see the study visit SCRIBD.


Otopharynx argyrosoma from Lake Malawi

Otopharynx argyrosoma

Otopharynx argyrosoma. Photo by Ad Konings

Found throughout Lake Malawi, Otopharynx argyrosoma spends its days in the sandy-bottomed shallows. O. argyrosoma sifts through the sand in order to feed on small crustaceans and other invertebrates. Males will build bowers to attract females and define their territories. Over-fishing with trawl nets has reduced populations in certain parts of the lake.

Not common in the hobby, but available from time to time. Often going by the names Haplochromis eucinostomus and H. longimanus. There is also some confusion with other species. However, Otopharynx argyrosoma has red spots on its flank. Males can reach over 6″ in length. Aquariums should be appropriately sized and have sandy bottoms. A diet high in protein is recommended. For more information visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


Tropheus sp. “Black” Kifumbe

tropheus sp

Tropheus sp. “Black” Kifumbe. Photo by Ad Konings

Tropheus sp. “Black” Kifumbe is one of the many variants in the “Black” group of Tropheus. Found along the western shore of Lake Tanganyika, T. sp. “Black” Kifumbe makes its home along the rocky shore feeding on algae. Tropheus species are usually found in large groups. Males tend to be very territorial when protecting their feeding areas and spawning. This behavior carries over into the aquarium.

Special attention is needed when it comes to feeding and dealing with Tropheus‘ aggression. Food needs to be high in plant matter to prevent digestive issues which can lead to death. Stress, resulting from aggression, can also lead to the same results. Tropheus are best kept in large groups with plenty of room and cover. Once a hierarchy is achieved, aggression isn’t a major problem. Tropheus are generally not recommended for beginning hobbyists. For information on Tropheus species check out the Tropheus Corner section of the library. To discuss Tropheus sp. “Black” Kifumbe visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.


Mbipia sp. “porthole” from the Yala Swamp

Mbipia sp

Mbipia sp. “porthole”. Photo by Greg Steeves

Originally collected from Yala Swamp on the northeast shores of Lake Victoria, Mbipia sp. “porthole” made its appearance in the hobby over 10 years ago. References to this Mbipia species variant go back even further. It gained some popularity among Lake Victoria species enthusiasts, but was never widely embraced. Unfortunately, M. sp. “porthole” seems to have disappeared entirely from the hobby. There hasn’t been any mention of the species for many years and even the biggest Lake Victoria enthusiasts haven’t kept them for some time. With the conditions in Yala Swamp, it is possible that M. sp. “porthole” is lost in the wild as well.

Mbipia sp. “porthole” is very similar to Mbipia lutea, but lacks M. lutea’s barring. M. sp. “porthole” is like other Lake Victoria species. They are hardy, aggressive fish that breed often. Best kept in groups of one male to multiple females. To discuss this possibly lost species visit the Lake Victoria species forum.


Tropheops sp. “olive” from Lake Malawi


Tropheops sp. “olive”. Photo by Ad Konings

Found along the northern shores of Lake Malawi, Tropheops sp. “olive” is a colorful, algae grazing mbuna. Although variations in color can be found among locations, males are usually yellow while females are silver with black bars. T. sp. “olive” isn’t often exported, they can be found on stock lists periodically.

Like other Tropheops, T. sp. “olive” is very aggressive. Males won’t tolerate other males and females are treated roughly too. Best kept in tanks with plenty of cover and in groups of one male to multiple females. Tankmates should include other mbuna with similar temperament and dietary needs. A diet high in spirulina is recommended. Other mbuna species should not be closely related to minimize aggression and possible cross-breeding. To discuss Tropheops sp. “olive” visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


Pundamilia sp. “red head” library article


Pundamilia sp. “red head”. Photo by Greg Steeves

Pundamilia sp. “red head” is another colorful species from Lake Victoria that has yet to be officially described. Surprisingly, this species hasn’t gained much popularity in the hobby. Its bright red coloration and relatively mild temperament would make it a great addition to many tank setups.

A species article by Greg Steeves has been added to the library. In it you will find some background on the species as well as some care recommendations. Hopefully more information will become available on Pundamilia sp. “red head” once it is properly described and widely available. Discussion can be done in the Lake Victoria Basin forum.


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