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The Little Known Arrow-fish; Yssichromis
by Greg Steeves

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I use a substrate of fine sand as it has been reported that similar cichlid species will pick up smaller pebbles in the spawning sequence (possibly mistaken them for eggs) and through the course of mouth brooding, these will destroy the embryos. Spawning occurs indiscriminately; in no particular setting in the aquarium. We have seen most spawns occur in the early evening. The developing eggs are quite fragile. At around 18 days post spawning, the fully developed fry are free swimming and released from the mothers buccal cavity. Continued care by the female ensues for two weeks after which time it is best to separate the adult from her fry. Fry survival can be touchy as well. Feeding of commercially available cyclop cysts, newly hatched Artemia, and a mature sponge filter will increase survival counts.

Unfortunately, as with some many other haplochromine cichlids, Y. piceatus is very rare in Lake Victoria. It has been in captive populations for over 20 years but has never been bred in sufficient numbers that would ensure its survival captive or otherwise.

Water Fin Fish Underwater Marine biology

Yssichromis pyrrhocephalus

Yssichromis pyrrhocephalus (Witte & Witte-Maas, 1987)

Another of the spectacular species of the open water zooplankton eaters to have escaped the Nile perch (Lates niloticus) onslaught by adjusting to another habitat, is Yssichromis pyrrhocephalus. Its range is recorded as the northern portion of Mwanza Gulf, Lake Victoria. The name is of Latin origin and translates to "fire head". It was nearly driven to extinction in the 1990's only to take residence amongst rocky habitats where it was easier to evade predation. Remarkably, the surviving individuals underwent apparent morphological changes including a decreased eye size, smaller more compact head and larger gills (Frans Witte et al., 2008). This serves as a prime example of how very adaptable haplochromine cichlids can be.

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