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Mbipia lutea
by Greg Steeves
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Mbipia lutea "spotbar" is most definately one of the most beautiful fish I have ever seen from the Lake Victoria region. I do not have a lot of information on this fish but can tell you they are a distinct species and not a mix of two different furu species. Spotbars (as I am calling them) breed true. The second generation fry have retained the coloration and barring patterns of their grandparents. I am convinced this is a true species of cichlid. It is the name I have applied that I am not so sure about. How did I arrive at this name? Here's the tale:

While on a visit to New England in 1998, I met with Alan Wagonblott and toured his fishroom. Al had been one of the first hobbiests in New England to concentrate most of his fish keeping efforts on Victorian rock cichlids. The fish in his tanks were foreign to me. I had never heard their names, never seen any pictures of them, and knew nothing about keeping them. Suddenly I had to have some!

He directed me to a tank of about 55 gallons. In it was a group of these beautiful critters. They looked as if they had been painted. Knowing full well he would never part with his breeders, I asked if he had gotten any spawning from them. In a 10 gallon tank were a couple of dozen small fry huddled together in a corner.

Al had told me that he had acquired these fish from a member of the Michigan Aquarium society, who in turn had gotten them from a wild-caught shipment the club had arranged. These came from a region known as Yala Swamp. The contact in Michigan had called them Haplochromis sp. "crossbar".

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