Lake Victoria Basin, West African, Madagascar & Asian Species • Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

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Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby forest109 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:04 am

I have a question regarding a pair of juvenile Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. that I purchased two years ago from Dave's Rare Aquarium Fish, along with about a dozen pairs of juvenile Malawi cichlids (mbunas, haps and peacocks) to stock a 90G all-male tank. As it turned out, the pair of P. nyererei were the only M-F pair in the tank, and they bred prolifically. However, for a long time I wasn't interested in saving the fry (mainly owing to the difficulty in catching anything in the tank) until the male became sick about 6 months ago (in fact, he died just yesterday). I happened to be re-working the tank and managed to catch the female before she spit out the fry, and I now have a tank of juveniles.

The thing is, the male did not have the rainbow coloration typical of the Ruti Island variety. Rather, he was jet black, with a red fringe on his dorsal fin and a red caudal and anal fin. He wasn't what I expected, but a nice fish nonetheless, and was king of the tank from day one, so I was not displeased. I have not seen any other photos of P. nyererei that look like this, although I have seen photos of other Victorian species that look almost identical. I asked Dave about it, in case he had accidently shipped a different species, and he said he is sure they are P. nyererei Ruti Is. and this is just a different color morph of that variety. Here's a photo of the male:

Image

My question is: Is anyone familiar with a Ruti Island (or any other variant, for that matter) P. nyererei that has this coloration? I plan to keep a few of the juveniles, including the dominant male to replace the original male, and would like to distribute the others to anyone in my area who might want them, or sell them to the LFS as a last resort, but I am hesitant to do this if there is any question as to what they are. They were the only Victorians in the tank, so there isn't any question of cross-breeding. The dominant juvenile male(s) are identical in color to the adult male.

As far as the illness that eventually did in the male, I could not tell what it was. At first he just suddenly lost his appetite and would not eat for some time. Then he regained his appetite, but it was like he was either blind or disoriented. He would eat if food was dropped right in front of him, but would not chase it. Eventually he lost his appetite completely, again.
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Re: Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby DJRansome » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:11 am

I don't have Ruti Island...but my nyererei did have that coloration in a mbuna tank. Try keeping them with Victorians to see their true colors.
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Re: Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby forest109 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:09 pm

Well, the only mbuna in the tank for almost 2 years was a single L. caerulus (though I've recently added several more L. caerulus). This guy was the first male in the tank to color up, and no one messed with him. The brood of juveniles has been raised in a separate tank (so only Victorians), and the more dominant males are coloring up exactly the same as the original male.
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Re: Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby Mschn99 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:43 pm

forest109 wrote:Well, the only mbuna in the tank for almost 2 years was a single L. caerulus (though I've recently added several more L. caerulus). This guy was the first male in the tank to color up, and no one messed with him. The brood of juveniles has been raised in a separate tank (so only Victorians), and the more dominant males are coloring up exactly the same as the original male.

If you only had 1 female and thats it, he had no reason to color up. He probably did when breeding but you might not get to see that. I have mine (mwanza gulf collection point) with two males and 12 females. Because of the presence of the second male, my dominant male is always colored. Keeping two males of red mwanza is only suggested when there are a lot of females, or usually the dominant one kills the other. You have to have the females breeding and spreading his aggression out. Victorians will only show their brilliant colors when courting or when defending their territory usually. My large dayglow male wont even color up when eating, only when a female is ready to spawn or when my other male was around before i lost him.
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Re: Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby DJRansome » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:26 pm

The fish I am talking about was very colored up...too colored up. He was red-black in the mbuna tank.

In the hap tank he is pink-mint green.

In the Victorian tank he is ruby, emerald and sky blue.
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Re: Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby samaki » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:36 am

Hi the fish on the pic seems not to be a Pundamilia nyererei for me because of the body color but fishes can exhibit very dark dress pattern so if yu have a pic showing him in a diiferent mood that would help.
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Re: Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby nick a » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:06 am

I had similar looking fish in the past, similarly labeled. Never was quite sure exactly what they were tho :(
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Re: Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby samaki » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:27 am

HI Nick, I don't say it is but it could be a mix between P.nyererei and P.sp"crimson tide" because of the very dark dress.
xris :)
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Re: Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby forest109 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:15 pm

Thanks to everyone for the feedback. By the way, I inserted an incorrect file code for the photo when I first posted the topic and the photo was not visible, but have since sorted that out with the help of moderator Ripple (thanks). Regarding comments about him coloring up, by that I meant he turned black/red pretty quickly once he was placed with all the other juveniles in a new tank setup, but his coloration never varied or changed after that. He remained as in the photo whether he was showing off for the female or not, and was the dominant fish in the tank - not overly aggressive, but nobody messed with him either. He did not really defend any particular territory, but he courted the female regularly. Stressed he was not.

Regarding DJRansome's comment about his fish showing completely different coloration with different tank mates, that is interesting. I've never had Victorians before (they weren't really available when I started keeping African cichlids 38 years ago!), and had no idea they could do that. The male Africans I've had always showed just a single color pattern - bright if dominant and subdued if not - but they almost always remained in the same tank. Was your tank setup different in each case or just different fish? I have re-worked this tank a bit over the past two years (mainly replacing the gravel with sand), but he always remained the same color.

However, that got me to thinking, and I've looked more carefully at my juveniles. They are in a fairly low-light setup in the basement, and run for cover when the overhead light goes on. And...., dang if a couple of what are certainly males aren't different - more red and yellow on the sides (with a bit of a vertical bar pattern, which you can see in the adult male). The more dominant males in the tank are the same black/red as the adult, so I hadn't really noticed the others.
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Re: Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby Mschn99 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:31 pm

I have heard people talk about the ancestry of a lot of the Victorians, and im no expert on this but what i believe hearing is that many think they (all victorians) evolved from a species (cant remember the name) that is mostly black, and getting dark variants in any species is something that can happen just based on their genetic past. I had a zebra obliquiden i purchased from a local breeder. I purchased 15 fish and ended up with 7 males. They were all from the same litter and all from the same parents. One male had a darker complexion, it was strange but he had normal zebra obliquiden color, but then it was like he had a gray to black haze over it all. The more worked up the more it would show. I wonder if it could be something similar to this. None of the other 6 males were this way, and the one with the gray was not even the dominant male in the tank. My wife loved his color, i preferred the traditional.
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Re: Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby forest109 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:48 pm

I don't know enough about the ancestry of Victorians to comment on that (except to say that, as in a relatively closed system like the other rift lakes, quite a few species in each are related), but what finally got me interested in checking with Dave at DRAF as to whether or not I might have something other than P. nyererei was that I happened to run across a photo of another Victorian (different genus, in fact) that had the exact same red and black coloration. I started searching through photos of other Victorians and found a couple of others that are also almost identical in color. But, for all I know there may be other photos of those same species out there that look completely different.
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Re: Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby samaki » Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:33 am

Hi The victorians are descendants of a species flock originated in the Congolese/Nilotic rivers, they aren't originated from the H.nubilus as it was thought in the past but rather from more than one species that lived in rivers before colonizing the lake( in fact some elements show that the genus Thoracochromis may be at the origin of the victorian species flock). Yu may find at least more than 10 species with a black body and red fins, ten species with a black body and orange fins, many species with a red back and yellow flanks, many species with a red belly and so.. many of them living in differents bodies of water.
Yur fish seems too dark to be a true nyererei to me, I kept ruti island nyererei and makobe and none of them ever shown this almost entire black body
xris
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Re: Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby cantrell00 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:27 pm

In this vid, you can see a F1 Mwanza Gulf to the left... He looks like this all of the time.. 1M/4F

[youtube]RmyNRif0PLo[/youtube]
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Re: Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Is. coloration

Postby forest109 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:08 am

I was looking at some past Cichlid-Forum newsletters and saw a link to a good story on Victorians that also discusses some of the problems associated with identification, coloration, and breeding. I don't see the article listed in the library yet, but the link is:

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/m ... in_pt1.php

As for my fish, research aside I guess I'm only as certain about what I have as the dealer is, but he seems pretty confident (although they are no longer in stock). Like I said, it looks like the males in the brood are starting to color up somewhat differently. The most obvious ones are black/red like "Dad", but others are showing red, yellow and some green on their flanks. I'm sure there are some dominance issues going on, but neither seems to have the upper hand. I'd just like to give them a good home (aside from maybe hanging on to a few for myself). Since the original male is now deceased I think I'd like to keep this line going. Right now the males are up to 1 1/2 inches long and the females somewhat smaller. If anyone is interested and lives in the central VA area let me know.
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