Taeniolethrinops laticeps builds pit shaped bowers. Photo by Ad Konings.
Another study was recently published about cichlid bowers. This study, titled “Evolution of bower building in Lake Malawi cichlid fish: phylogeny, morphology, and behavior”, tries to determine why some cichlids from Lake Malawi evolved as bower builders. Researchers not only came up with with various reasons why bowers are built, but they also tried to understand why species build them so differently from one another. For instance, Taeniolethrinops laticeps pictured above builds a pit while Taeniolethrinops furcicauda builds a tall castle. Anyway, a simple synopsis of the study can be found on Newsweek.com. If you would like to get a more detailed look at the study, visit Frontiers.
Skip to the 2:00 mark to see some of the amazing cichlid bowers. The video gives some perspective on their size and shapes.
Altolamprologus compressiceps pair. Photo by Russ Fairburn.
Altolamprologus is a Genus of cichlids from Lake Tanganyika comprised of two species; calvus and compressiceps. Their appearance is rather unique among cichlids with their laterally compressed body and upturned snout. Make no mistake, these fish are predators and they look the part. In recent years, finding adult specimens has become difficult as imports have dwindled.
For those that do have adult specimens, breeding and raising Altolamprologus can be a challenge. The species is known for exceptionally high mortality rates. Fortunately Russ Fairburn, who has been breeding them for 10 years, has put together an article to help increase survival rates. The article contains detailed information of sex ratios, water quality and foods, along with many great pictures. If breeding these species is something your are interested in or would like to just read about Russ’ experiences, check out the new article in the Breeding section of the library. For discussion on Altolamps, visit the Lake Tanganyika section of the forum.
Cyphotilapia gibberosa Mikula. Photo by Russ Fairburn (aka Razzo)
Over the last few years a new variant of Cyphotilapia gibberosa has become available as wild specimens are imported and hobbyists have been breeding them. The variant known as Cyphotilapia gibberosa Mikula gets its name from its collection point in Lake Tanganyika. The photo above and a dozen more have been made available by Russ Fairburn (aka Razzo) and can be found in the C. gibberosa Mikula Profile. Russ has graciously allowed us to use his excellent photographs and regularly contributes to the site.
Russ best describes the Mikula variant:
Mikula has been, arguably, the hottest collection point the past couple years. Mikula enthusiasts claim that fish collected at Mikula have the smallest crown of any Cyphotilapia collection point and also boast the darkest black stripes and more blue pigment than most other Zaire collection points.
An interesting video of a biotope that doesn’t get much attention. The reeds and silt areas along some shores of Lake Tanganyika are a contrast to the rocky or sandy areas we are all use to seeing. Despite the differences, some of the species often associated with rocky environments like Tropheus can be seen. Also some of the bower building species and shell dwelling species appear. The video is less than 5 minutes but worth a look. Hopefully something longer about the different species living the the reeds and silt areas of Lake Tanganyika will be put together.
Dr. Tim’s Aquatics, the makers of innovative fish products, is coming out with a new line of do-it-yourself frozen food ingredients. There are not details on their website, but the new food products appeared at the Global Pet Expo last weekend. The new line of foods will come under the name Bene-Fish-Al. The packaging will include a main ingredient and a tray to freeze the food into cubes. The main ingredients can then be supplemented with a variety of other nutritious to customize the food for your fish’s needs. The food is supposed to be high quality without many of the fillers found in some foods.
Google Maps has taken its Street View to another level. With their Trekker camera in a collaboration with the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation, various 360-degree views of the Amazon forest have been captured. Everything from a zip line ride through the forest canopy to a trek in an old forest jungle. Included in the Amazon Street View are many views of different rivers. Unfortunately there are no underwater views like the Great Barrier Reef, but hopefully some Amazon River underwater footage will be made in the future. In the meantime, the current views help to give a perspective of the size of various rivers that feed into the Amazon River. To see the new Google Maps’ Street Views of the Amazon, visit Street Views Amazon.
Path of Nicaragua canal. Image by Pedro Alvarez Group
A year ago we reported the proposed construction of the Nicaragua canal. Despite environmental concerns and a call for an international study on the effects, the canal construction has been fast-tracked and construction preparations have already begun.
The canal will cut through Nicaragua joining the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Along the way Lake Nicaragua will be used as part of the route ships will take. Lake Nicaragua is a freshwater lake that is not only a source of water for the region, but home to many cichlid species. Aside from concerns that the canal will contaminate the water supply, the canal could introduce non-native species into the waters that can threaten the local fauna. Planned dredging of the lake to make it deeper for ships also threatens oxygen levels. For more information on the concerns associated with the Nicaragua canal, visit EurekAlert.org.
Tropheus moorii Isanga is one of the few species of Tropheus from Lake Tanganyika that comes in the orange blotch color pattern. This out of the ordinary OB Tropheus is sought after by enthusiasts, but its availability is limited and often expensive. Like other Tropheus, T. moorii Isanga males and females look alike, with males being generally a little larger. They are best kept in large tanks at least 4 feet long. Because of their aggressive nature, keeping them in groups of at least 12 and providing some rock cover is a must. Diets high in vegetable/plant content will keep them healthy. Choosing tank makes for Tropheus can be difficult due to their dietary requirements and their high energy and aggression. Most of the time, it is best to keep them in species only tanks.
If you would like to discuss Tropheus moorii Isanga or any other of the many Tropheus species, head over to the Lake Tanganyika forum. There are also a series of Tropheus articles in the Tropheus Corner.
Neochromis omnicaeruleus Makobe Island. Photo by Don Greg Steeves.
Another great Lake Victoria species article courtesy of Don Greg Steeves has been added to the Species Profiles section. Neochromis omnicaeruleus is an interestingly colored cichlid found in several locations in Lake Victoria. Some are pie-bald while others are OB and even all blue. The article goes into detail about the different color patterns and their relation to sex and collection sites.
While this species isn’t particularly common in the hobby, it can be found on some stock lists or at auctions. Sometimes under the name of Haplochromis sp. ‘tricolor fulu’. Like many species from Lake Victoria, Neochromis omnicaeruleus is endangered. If you think you might be interested in keeping N. omnicaeruleus, the article includes a section about properly caring this species. Additional photos and details can be found in the Species Profile. Discussion on this species should be done in the Lake Victoria section of the forum.
Tanganyika Cichlids in their natural habitat 3rd Ed.
Tanganyika Cichlids in their natural habitat 3rd Edtion
The much anticipated third edition of Tanganyika Cichlids in their natural habitat by Ad Konings is finally here. It has been over 15 years since the last edition and there have been many changes. The third edition includes over 1200 images of all know Lake Tanganyika cichlids. Most of the images are of fish in their natural habitat. The book will be available on March 15th.
The 3rd edition includes taxonomic changes to Cyphotilapia, ‘Lamprologus’, Neolamprologus and many other genus as well as any new species discoveries. A must have for all Lake Tanganyika cichlid fans. More information on Tanganyika Cichlids in their natural habitat 3rd Edition can be found at the Cichlid Press website.