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Drastic decline in native Madagascar cichlids

Paretroplus maculatus. Photo by Paul Loiselle

A collecting expedition to Madagascar by John S. Sparks, curator of ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History, resulted in some disappointing results. Native cichlids, even the most common species, were hard to find in several bodies of water. In some cases, only introduced tilapia were caught. Some good news is that cichlids have been found in a couple of lakes that have been surveyed. For more information on the Madagascar cichlid collecting expedition, visit the NY Times science blog by John S. Sparks.

Omega One announces Alaskan line of frozen foods

We like the convenience of the 70 mini cubes in a pack, not to mention the reduced gel and no fillers. Omega One has also figured out how to put a small bubble of oxygen in the middle of each cube so that they float better during feeding. Pretty cool! The Alaskan line includes five different freshwater foods, including Discus and Cichlid. Read more here.

Hill Country Cichlid Club auction = Rare Victorians

Platytaeniodus sp. ”Red Tail Sheller” by Dave Hansen

The Hill Country Cichlid Club will be having on auction on Sunday, November 11th. If you live in South Texas or plan to be in the area for the weekend, make sure to stop by and take advantage of this event. Like many fish club auctions, fish can be found at great prices. What’s special about HCCC auctions is the types of fish that are available. The HCCC is the U.S. flagship club for the C.A.R.E.S Preservation Program and you can expect to see many rare and endangered C.A.R.E.S fish species. For more information on the auction, visit the HCCC events page.

Battle of the Shells documentary trailer

The is a trailer for the Guerra das Conchas (Battle of the Shells) documentary. The documentary is in 7 parts, narrated in Portuguese with English subtitles and when all the parts are combined, almost 3 hours long. If you are really into shell dwellers or what to see some of their interesting behavior, this documentary series is worth your time. To watch all the episodes, visit the Battle of the Shells Playlist.

After flooding and power loss, N.Y. aquarium considers evacuation

Strike that headline, here is an UPDATE: The following statement was issued by Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President of Zoos and Aquarium, Bronx Zoo Director:

Last evening, we restored power and life support systems to the last remaining exhibits at the New York Aquarium. Assuming we can maintain this generator power, we have no immediate plans to relocate any animals.

Since power went down during the storm and the ocean surged past the Coney Island Boardwalk, we have been working to pump out water from electrical and mechanical areas. The salt water from the surge caused extensive damage to this equipment, making the restoration effort more difficult

The aquarium staff has done an extraordinary job staying at the aquarium to care for the animals. The animal and veterinary staff provided all the necessary care to the fish, invertebrates and mammals as we worked to restore systems and power to the 14-acre facility. The dedication of the aquarium staff, led by Director Jon Dohlin, is a testament to their commitment to the animals.

We have received an outpouring of support during this past week which brought hardship across our city and region. We thank everyone who has sent us assistance and encouragement. We have a long way to go toward assessing the damages and doing what we need to do to reopen the aquarium.

Cichlids in disguise for tasty treats

A couple cichlid species and their peculiar talents; Sciaenochromis fryeri and Perissodus microlepis.

Out of the Ordinary: Astatotilapia desfontainii

Astatotilapia desfontainii – Courtesy of AfricanCichlids.net

Our first Out of the Ordinary species comes suggested by Dave of Dave’s Rare Aquarium Fish. Astatotilapia desfontainii were thought to be extinct for over 100 years until they were accidentally rediscovered by killifish hobbyist in Tunisia. These hobbyists were trying to save a rare species of killifish only found in a particular drying creek. Along with the killifish, they brought back some Haplochromines which turned out to be Astatotilapia desfontainii. With the creek now gone, A. desfontainii is once again believed to be extinct in the wild but still alive in the hobby.

Infrared vision in a cichlid fish

Biologist from the University of Bonn have made an interesting discovery. It appears that the West African dwarf cichlid, Pelvicachromis taeniatus, can see in the near infrared range. For more information on this discovery, visit the English translation on the AlphaGalileo Foundation website. The original German language version of the article can be found on the University of Bonn website.

Did you know…

We often generalize many cichlids as being from Lake Victoria. However, many of them are actually from different lakes in the Lake Victoria Basin. The Lake Victoria Basin is a collection of lakes, rivers and swamps. Some of the other lakes in the basin are Lake Kyoga & Nawampasa, Lake Albert, Lake George, Lake Edward, Lake Kivu and Lake Kanyaboli. Several of the most colorful and most sought after Victorians aren’t from Lake Victoria, but from the other lakes. They include the Xystichromis sp. “Kyoga flameback” (Lake Nawampassa) and Xystichromis phytophagus (aka Xmas Fulu, Lake Kyoga).

Rare look: Synodontis petricola spawn

A rare look at the usually secretive spawn of Synodontis petricola. If you look closely you can see the tiny eggs as they are expelled from the female after the male “rams” her side.

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