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Malawi Cichlids in their natural habitat, 3rd edition, by Ad Konings - A review
by Brett Harrington

Malawi Cichlids in their natural habitat is the 3rd edition of Ad Konings definitive study of Lake Malawi cichlids. This revised edition illustrates and discusses more species and variants, than any of the author's previous editions, or of other Lake Malawi publications. The book contains more than 1400 high quality photographs, the vast majority of which were taken in the Lake itself.

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Konings breaks the book up into a number of different chapters. The first few provide some background; an Introduction, The lake (information about Lake Malawi), The cichlids (background on cichlids as a species flock) and Malawian cichlid taxonomy. These chapters provide the reader with some necessary information on the conditions of the lake, and the breeding, morphology and some of the specializations of the Lake Malawi Cichlids.

The remaining chapters contain the meat of the book, and break Lake Malawi down into generalized habitats of the cichlids. Each of these chapters describes in detail and illustrates the fish that inhabit these areas. One of the greatest features of this book, is the Species/Genus illustrated comparison guides. These guides provides wonderful photographic illustrations of each of the variants or species of a genus allowing one to easily identify their fish, or to tell the differences between other variants/species. Often these guides illustrate the fish surrounding a map of Lake Malawi, showing exactly where each of the different species/variants are found. In addition to these guides, there are many pages of photographs, showing different variants, female colorations and morphs of many of the different species. The book certainly is a very valuable tool for learning how to differentiate between many of the species and variants within Lake Malawi. Ad Konings books have been a key tool that I have used in learning the differences in the species, and variants, as well as being the main tool I utilize when assisting others in The Cichlid-Forum's "Unidentified Folder".

The photographs, and guides are what captures the reader at first, and most people will browse through these a few dozen times, before discovering that the book has text as well. The text portion of the book provides details on the habitat of the fish, in many cases its diet, spawning techniques, size, and unique characteristics. The text is well written, and easy to follow for even the most novice of aquarists, but also provides sufficient detail to interest advanced aquarists

It is my opinion that there are few things that one could buy that would enhance the cichlid hobby more than a good book, and Ad Konings, Malawi Cichlids in their natural habitat, 3rd edition is THE standard by which other books would be measured against. It is a book that any casual hobbyist should have, and any serious hobbyist must own, quite simply, it the best in its genre.
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  • Malawi Cichlids in their natural habitat
  • Konings, Ad
  • Cichlid Press
  • 2001
  • Large edition, hardcover (8" x 11") 3rd edition
  • ISBN 0-9668255-3-5
  • 352 pages
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