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Aquatis – largest freshwater aquarium in Europe


European Cichlid-Forum members will be glad to know that Aquatis, the largest freshwater aquarium in Europe, has opened its doors this past weekend. Originally envisioned over 15 years ago, the project is finally completed and open to the public, although not all the exhibits are fully stocked. Located in Lausanne, Switzerland, Aquatis boasts both permanent and temporary exhibits from Europe, South America, the Congo River and the African Rift Lakes.

Unlike other public aquariums which are usually geared toward marine fish, Aquatis is all about freshwater ecosystems. Freshwater exhibits are more than a second thought or temporary exhibit. The first floor of the facility displays fish and ecosystems from across Europe while the second floor encompasses African, Australian, Asian and South African river ecosystems. If you live close-by or plan to visit the Lausanne area make sure to visit. For more information check out https://www.aquatis.ch/en/.


Tropheops gracilior from Lake Malawi

Tropheops gracilior

Tropheops gracilior. Photo by Ad Konings

Found around the southern shores of Lake Malawi, Tropheops gracilior prefer the sediment-rich rocky habitats that afford food and caves for protection and reproduction. Males will dig out nests withing the rocks and attract females for spawning. Males are very aggressive when it comes to protecting their caves. T. gracilior feeds on algae and invertebrates found on the rocks.

Although not very popular, Tropheops gracilior can be found in the hobby. A sandy bottom and plenty of rocks are recommended. Their protective nature will carry over into the aquarium so expect some aggression from the males. Best kept in groups on a single male to multiple females. A diet rich in plant material like spirulina is recommended. To discuss T. gracilior visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.


Blue Planet II airing soon

blue planet ii

The sequel to the British nature documentary The Blue Planet (2001) will be airing in less than two weeks. Anyone who hasn’t seen the original series has really missed out on some spectacular footage. Blue Planet II is expected to be even better. Just like the original, the follow up series is narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

Although the series is not expected to cover anything cichlid related, any fish fan will enjoy the breathtaking footage of all types of ocean life. With music by Hans Zimmer and Radiohead, Blue Planet II isn’t just a visual experience. Make sure to check your local listings for when the 7 episode series begins to air. In the meantime, check out The Prequel video.

More information on the series can be found on BBC Earth.


Ohio Cichlid Association Extravaganza

ohio cichlid association

The Ohio Cichlid Association is holding their annual Extravaganza on November 17-19, 2017 in Strongsville, Ohio. This will be the club’s 23 year of cichlids and catfish. The event will include lectures, fish show competition, swap meet, and auction. Various speakers are schedule to appear including Wolfgang Staeck, Daniel Konn-Vetterlein, Anton Lamboj, Mo Devlin, and Ad Konings. Topics will include cichlids, plecos and photography.

The Ohio Cichlid Association has always promoted the enjoyment of the cichlid hobby. It also supports research, education, and conservation projects through the OCA Jim Smith Fund. If you live in the Cleveland area or can make it out their the weekend before Thanksgiving consider attending the Extravaganza. For more information visit http://www.ohiocichlid.com/extravaganza.


Haplochromis sp. “Kisuule” from Lake Victoria

Maturing Haplochromis sp. "Kisuule". Photo by Greg Steeves

Maturing Haplochromis sp. “Kisuule”. Photo by Greg Steeves

Despite all the loses of native species since the introduction of the Nile Perch to Lake Victoria, new fish like Haplochromis sp. “Kisuule” are still being found. H. sp. “Kisuule” has yet to be officially described, but some people have said it closely resembles fish from the Enterochromis genus. Until then, H. sp. “Kisuule” will sit in the favorite Lake Victoria catch-all genus.

Not much is known of this new fish since being collected by Lawrence Kent. The picture above is of one group given to Greg Steeves of AfricanCichlids.net. Although not fully mature, pictures of the species show outstanding colors. Hopefully H. sp. “Kisuule” will make it into the hobby. To discuss this species visit the Lake Victoria Basin forum.


MOAI Robot for your Aquarium

Moai robot

Another tech product for your aquarium that may be available soon is the MOAI Robot. This device incorporates two types of tech that have appeared on this blog; glass cleaner and webcam. The MOAI, which can be pre-ordered on www.moaidevices.com/, is an automated glass cleaner that can also record video and take pictures. Both of these features can be controlled remotely through a cellphone app.

While many hobbyists may see a product like the MOAI Robot as an unnecessary and expensive item, others may find the functions of this device to be worth the cost. Especially for those that are too busy to keep their showtank in pristine condition or are away from home when the lights are on. According to the MOAI website, the robot can be controlled remotely for viewing or set to take photos at predetermined times. Great for those who want to check up on their fish when away. See the short demo video below and visit the www.moaidevices.com/ for more information.


Pelvicachromis sacrimontis from West Africa

Pelvicachromis sacrimontis

Female Pelvicachromis sacrimontis. Photo by Mummymonkey, (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Found somewhere in southeastern Nigeria, the exact collection points of Pelvicachromis sacrimontis are unknown. Originally thought to be a variant of Pelvicachromis pulcher, P. sacrimontis is its own species. Reaching 4 inches in length, this species is commonly called “giant krib”.

Pelvicachromis sacrimontis are best kept in pairs. Both males and females can be aggressive, especially when breeding. Spawning takes place in a cave. Both parents will look after the young fry once hatched. A diet of quality flakes is good, but live foods are preferred. For more information and to discuss P. sacrimontis visit the West African Species forum.


FOTAS 2017 annual convention

fotas 2017

Celebrating their 65th annual convention, the Federation of Texas Aquarium Societies (FOTAS) will be hosted by the Houston Aquarium Society and the Houston Cichlid Club. FOTAS is a collection of aquatic organizations based throughout Texas and Oklahoma. Annual conventions rotate among the member organizations and have been held annually since 1953. This year’s FOTAS 2017 convention will held at the Hilton NASA Clear Lake hotel in Houston, TX October 20-22.

The FOTAS 2017 convention will include speakers, a fish show, awards banquet and an auction on the final day. Vendor tables will also be set up during the entire event. Not all FOTAS member clubs are cichlid related so expect to see a variety of fish and goods on display. For more information, registration, hotel discount and tank rentals visit the event website.


Placidochromis sp. “phenochilus Tanzania”


Placidochromis sp. “phenochilus Tanzania”. Photo credit: Placidochromis phenochilus.jpg, © MdE at Wikimedia Commons, GFDL 1.2+ or CC-BY-SA 3.0

Placidochromis sp. “phenochilus Tanzania” is a unique fish found along the Tanzanian coast of northern Lake Malawi. Commonly known as the Star Sapphire Cichlid, it gets its name from its blue color and bright white blotches. This yet-to-be officially described species is similar to Placidochromis phenochilus, but with a couple obvious differences. P. sp. “phenochilus Tanzania” does not develop the bright white lips of P. phenochilus. Also, P. sp. “phenochilus Tanzania” has the characteristic white blotching not seen on P. phenochilus.

In the lake Placidochromis sp. “phenochilus Tanzania” spends most of its day feeding over the sandy bottom. Its feeding behavior is unusual as it follows other sand-sifting fish species when they feed. Any small invertebrates missed or expelled through the gills of the other fish are scooped up by P. sp. “phenochilus Tanzania”.

The white blotching is what makes Placidochromis sp. “phenochilus Tanzania” stand out from other species. As male P. sp. “phenochilus Tanzania” mature they begin to develop their blue color. As they get older, the white blotches begin to appear. The pattern and amount of blotches is unique to each fish. This species can get quite large in the aquarium. Best kept over a sandy substrate in groups of a single male to multiple females. A short article by Marc Elieson can be found in the library. Discussion can be done in the Lake Malawi Species forum.


Platytaeniodus sp. “red tail sheller” video

A short video and species description by Greg Steeves of the Lake Victoria snail eating cichlid Platytaeniodus sp. “red tail sheller”.

Originally found throughout Lake Victoria, Platytaeniodus sp. “red tail sheller” is one of the many species that has suffered from the introduction of the Nile perch. Despite the pressure of the invasive species, P. sp. “red tail sheller” has survived in certain areas. In the wild P. sp. “red tail sheller” feeds on small mollusks found in the sand and crushes them with its powerful jaws.

Platytaeniodus sp. “red tail sheller” can occasionally be found in local fish shops or online. Often going by “blue neon”, the name accurately describes its coloration. When on display, males will have a bright blue body and red tail. Female colors are more subdued. For more information check out the Species Article by Greg Steeves or visit the Lake Victoria Species forum for discussion.

Platytaeniodus sp

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


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