Iíve been very fortunate to not only keep some beautiful and unusual cichlids but to witness some incredible behaviors as well. I was able to witness Lipochromis sp. 'Matumbi hunter' display their unique natural method of feeding by pack hunting, isolating a brooding female Astatotilapia burtoni, then ramming her buccal cavity. This caused her to expel a number of larvae. The pack then quickly swooped in for a quick snack. At that time, no one in my circle of colleagues had witnessed this firsthand. Several years later while checking the species in my fish room, I noticed something strange with the dominant male of my Neochromis greenwoodi colony. You can imagine my surprise when he spat out a cloud of well developed fry. I was able to capture this on video and fully document it in Cichlid News Magazine April 2013. Recently, another big moment occurred.
Several years ago, Laif Demason of Old World Exotic Fish arranged a shipment of wild caught Lake Victoria haplochromines. This was a big deal to those of us that dealt with these fish in our hobby. It had been over a decade since a commercial shipment of wild caught fish from Lake Victoria took place. This fish originated from the Mwanza Gulf region in Tanzania. Most fish were taken on hook and bait but arrived in good condition considering the ordeal they must have been through to make it to the US. Some fish, such as Pundamilia nyererei and Pundamilia pundamilia were easily identifiable, however others, not so much. Through several avenues, my buddy Dave Schumacher of Daveís Rare Aquarium Fish ended up with a good portion of these fish (both the known and unknown species). I was fortunate enough to be asked to help sort everything out. After much deliberation, there remained a dozen or so adult fish that could not be clearly labeled. In typical Dave fashion, he refused to sell the unknown haplochromines and told me to take them for my own enjoyment. Most hardcore hobbyists have that one tank that is for fish that donít play well with others, half of a pair whose mate might have died, or just other fish that donít have a place elsewhere. I have a 150 gallon aquarium set up for this purpose. My ďrogueĒ tank contains a dozen adult Lake Victoria cichlids, a beautiful pair of Malawian Protomeleus, and a couple large Synodontis catfish. Surprisingly, this aquarium is quite attractive and seems to have achieved some sort of cichlid zen. There is a trio of Enterochromis sp. 'blue obliquidens' in this aquarium that spawn regularly but the females never hold very long. Over the last couple years, I have been able to tentatively assign a genus to some of these wild caught rogues (or at least my best guess) with a couple Neochromis species, possibly a Harpagochromis species, a couple generalized haplochromines and a lone fish that I thought was likely some sort of paedophage. The reason for this identification was largely based on my experiences with Lipochromis parvidens. This fish has a similar weak jaw and a single row of blunt teeth that arenít exposed very much at all in the jaw. My recognition of this fish being part of the Lipochromis genus of paedophages was spot on.
Continue to next page »