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World of Wildlife Aquarium opening

world of wildlife

World of Wildlife Great Oceans Hall exhibit.

This weekend is the opening of the new World of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Mo. Along with wildlife galleries, WoW boasts of having 1.5 million gallons of freshwater and saltwater exhibits. Their largest exhibit, pictured above, is a circular 300,000 gallon “open ocean” habitat. Freshwater swamp and rain forest river exhibits are also on display along a mile-long journey through the aquarium.

Local aquariums offer communities a great way to expose young people to the wonders of aquatic wildlife and a great way to get future hobbyist involved not only in keeping fish, but also in conservation efforts. World of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium also offers a conservation attraction and education center. For more information on Wow, visit their website at www.wondersofwildlife.org. If you are in the Springfield, Mo. area take a day and visit.

 

Labidochromis sp. “blue bar” from Lake Malawi

Labidochromis sp

Labidochromis sp. “blue bar” from Namalenje Island in Lake Malawi. Photo by Ad Konings

A species that has yet to be described, Labidochromis sp. “blue bar”, can be found around Namalenje Island in southwestern Lake Malawi. This species is another Labidochromis that just hasn’t been imported often and does not have the notoriety of the hobby favorite Labidochromis caeruleus.

If we make assumptions about its general appearance, Labidochromis sp. “blue bar” may be very similar to L. caeruleus in both diet and behavior. L. sp. “blue bar” is likely to be an omnivore that displays some aggression but not to the level of other mbuna. Hopefully this species with its copper and blue color will make it into the hobby soon. To discuss L. sp. “blue bar” visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.

 

Cichlid health library articles

cichlid health

Chindongo (Pseudotropheus) demasoni. Photo by Dave Hansen

Water quality, adequate diet and quarantine tanks help reduce the chances of illness, but sometimes your fishes get sick. Hobbyists rarely think about fish diseases until something goes wrong. However, good cichlid health can sometimes be illusive through no fault of our own. When something does go wrong the Health sections of the library and forum are two great resources.

In order to understand cichlid health and the ailments that affect them, the library has several articles on the most common diseases and their treatment. It is important to keep in mind that a stressed fish is more susceptible to diseases. When it comes to fish, prevention is always better (and cheaper) than the cure.

 

Spectral analysis helps explain speciation

spectral analysis

Pundamilia nyererei. Photo by Robert De Leon

The vast diversity of cichlid species, especially within the confines for a lake or river, has intrigued scientists. Various hypothesis have been put to the test and while they help explain some of the diversity, there are still many questions that need to be answered. One question is how species can differentiate within a area when there is not physical barrier between them. To answer that question scientists have used spectral analysis to determine if visual sensory inputs were enough to lead to speciation.

Lake Victoria cichlid species around Makobe Island were found to intermingle and despite being very similar, they have become two separate species. By using spectral analysis, scientist have determined that light wavelengths at different depths affect fish coloration differently. The two species, Pundamilia nyererei and Pundamilia pundamilia, spent more time in depths that accentuated their different color patterns. To read more about the research check out the article on News Medical. To discuss the species mentioned in the article visit the Lake Victoria Species forum.

 

Pterophyllum leopoldi from South America

Pterophyllum leopoldi

Pterophyllum leopoldi. Photo by Hodowlaniec. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

One of the three recognized angelfish species, Pterophyllum leopoldi is also the smallest. Reaching no more than a couple inches in length, P. leopoldi can also be the most aggressive of the relatively docile genus. The species can be found at multiple locations in slow moving waters of the Amazon River and its tributaries. In the wild P. leopoldi feeds mostly on small insects and plant matter found in the detritus which collects on the bottom.

In the aquarium Pterophyllum leopoldi need a fair amount of cover in the form of plants and driftwood to recreate their natural environment. Tank raised specimens do well on quality flakes, but wild specimens might be picky and require live or frozen foods. P. leopoldi isn’t as common in the hobby as P. scalare, but possible to find. Males can be aggressive toward other males, especially when breeding. Tankmates should also be docile and not “nippy” as P. leopoldi‘s fins are long and delicate. For more information on P. leopoldi visit the South American Cichlids forum.

 

Cyprichromis leptosoma spawn video

A great video on Tom’s Tanganyika channel showing a pair of Cyprichromis leptosoma Utinta spawning.

Found throughout Lake Tanganyika in its many variants, Cyprichromis leptosoma form large schools numbering into the thousands. C. leptosoma spend their adult life in open water. Males will claim a space of water and attract females to spawn. As seen in the video above, the eggs are released and quickly caught by the female. All this while fending off some young, hungry Petrochromis. Once the fry have developed enough to be on their own the female will release them by some rocks where the young fish can find cover.

In the aquarium Cyprichromis leptosoma should be kept in large groups if you want to see their natural behaviors. Best kept with non-aggressive or predatory fish. For more information on this genus check out the articles by Eric Glab and Marc Elieson. Discussion can be done in the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.

cyprichromis leptosoma

Cyprichromis species. Photo by Aqua-Treff (CC BY-SA 4.0)

 

Xenotilapia sima from Lake Tanganyika

Xenotilapia sima

Xenotilapia sima. Photo by Dave Hansen

Xenotilapia sima, commonly known as the big-eyed Xenotilapia, is distinguishable from other species in the genus by the size of their eyes relative to their heads and by their down-turned face. Found in large groups over sandy bottoms, X. sima will spend their days sifting sand to find small invertebrates. This species is generally very skittish and relies on their color to blend into the sand.

Although not often seen in the hobby, Xenotilapia sima can occasionally be obtained. They can reach 7 inches in length and require a large tank with a sandy substrate. They are best kept in large groups and because of their shy nature, tankmates should be other peaceful cichlids. X. sima will accept quality flake or pellets, but live or frozen food should be given for optimal conditioning. Males will dig a pit to spawn, but this species is hard to breed in an aquarium. To discuss Xenotilapia sima visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.

 

Hemibates koningsi newly described

Hemibates koningsi

Hemibates koningsi. Photo by Ad Konings

After many years of being considered a variant of Hemibates stenosoma, or as a closely related unsubscribed species, Hemibates koningsi has been formally described. H. koningsi differentiates itself from H. stenosoma, the only other member of the genus, by different adult male color patterns, differences in their jaws and gills. A full description can be found on the MapPress website, but unfortunately it is behind a paywall.

In the wild Hemibates koningsi spends its time in the deeper waters of southern Lake Tanganyika where it is very abundant. H. koningsi is a predator that has been described as somewhat aggressive. Reaching sizes of 12 inches, neither species of the Hemibates genus have been seen much in the hobby. To discuss H. koningsi visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.

 

Aquatic Experience 2017 in Chicago

aquatic experience

The 5th annual Aquatic Experience will be held November 3-5 in Chicago, IL. The event brings together all types of aquatic hobbyists and manufacturers under one roof. Marine fish, freshwater fish, cichlids, plants and invertebrates will be represented.

This years also includes a 25 class American Cichlid Association Fish Competition. Registration is open today and the grand prize is $500. There is a registration fee to participate in the competition, but all competitors receive a 3-day pass to the event’s show floor.

If you live in the Chicago area or you can travel, the Aquatic Experience is a worthwhile event. For more information visit the Aquatic Experience website.

 

Nile Perch declining in Lake Victoria

nile perch

Lates niloticus (Nile Perch). Photo by smudger888 (CC BY 2.0)

The introduction of the Nile Perch (Lates niloticus) into Lake Victoria resulted in the devastation of the local ecosystem. The native Haplochromine species became food for the large, fast growing and aggressive new species. However, in recent years it appears the native species are making a comeback and at the same time the invasive species, L. niloticus, is declining. It is estimated the population has been reduced in half since the turn of the century.

It is believed that over-fishing and environmental changes have played a roll in the resurgence of the native fish population. While this may be good news for the home team and hobbyists, the Nile Perch plays a big economic role in the region. From exports to the European Union to providing protein the the local population, the Nile Perch is important to the humans around Lake Victoria. For more information check out the article on New Vision. To discuss Lake Victoria’s native cichlid fish visit the Lake Victoria Basin species forum.

 


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