Hey, who’s watching the kids, pt. 2

Juvenile Neolamprologus savoryi. Photo from http://aquarium-webzine.com/.

In 2017, I posted about alloparental care in cooperative breeding cichlids. In that post, I pointed to an article about such behavior in Perissodus microlepis, a small, rather non-descript cichlid species found in Lake Tanganyika. That particular study didn’t use a ‘direct observation’ method, but rather relied solely on a genetic parenting analysis. Studying cichlids in their natural habitat using observation, rather than observing them inside a controlled environment like an aquarium, allows researchers to partially eliminate effects of confinement on their observation results.

Read moreHey, who’s watching the kids, pt. 2

When lunch is fatal

Just like many other fish, some cichlids are predators. In fact, many will happily dine on their own kind, even relatives. That is just part of nature. But sometimes lunch becomes fatal. Case in point, this juvenile Telmatochromis sp. “temporalis shell” attempted to eat a sibling. It didn’t go well.

Juvenile Telmatochromis sp. “shell dweller” with conspecific fry protruding from mouth. Photo by the author.

I have a breeding pair of “temporalis shell” in a 20g long, which have spawned two or three times. I leave all the fry and juveniles in the tank until they’re large enough to take to my LFS. So naturally, multiple broods coexisting in the same tank will occasionally lead to encounters like this one, especially with opportunistic omnivores like these Telmats.

The juvenile in the photo above is only about an inch long. I didn’t attempt to extract the fry, but you can tell it was significantly smaller….just not small enough.

Clean that glass

Dirty front glass of aquarium. Photo from http://smalltanks.co.uk/.

When you do routine maintenance on your show tanks, what components of the tank do you clean? Most cichlidophiles clean the substrate or at least vacuum the bottom if they have a bare bottom tank. Most also clean their filters regularly. How often do you clean the inside glass of your tank?

Regular glass cleaning is as important as maintenance on other part of your set up. Why? I’ll give you three reasons.

Read moreClean that glass

Pam Chin interview (#2)

 Pam Chin driving the boat on Lake Tanganyika 2018

Because I keep African cichlids, especially Lake Tanganyikan species, I’ve always been intrigued by the lake itself, including the various habitats and all the lake’s cichlid species. Since I’ve never visited the lake, I have to rely on resources such as photos, videos, articles, and monographs to learn things about it. Now I can add interviews to that list of resources. Not surprisingly, there are dedicated cichlidophiles who make regular trips to the lake where they spend hours videoing, photographing, and discusing these wonderful fish.


A few months ago, one such group comprised of Ad Konings, Mattia Matarrese, Tautvydas Pagonis, Martin Geerts, Ankie Geerts, Brenton Pember, Dave Hale, and Pam Chin spent over two weeks on the lake. I did an interview with Pam back in 2016 but I wanted to catch up with her about this latest trip because she’s so passionate about cichlids. Anyway, during the trip, they followed the coastline south from Kipili, then along the bottom of the lake, and then headed up north, along the west coast, to the Nsumbu National Park.  Once there they continued north as far as Katete. They were told several times, not to venture any further, as the Congo Police would certainly stop them.

Read morePam Chin interview (#2)

Online cichlid retailers

Image from https://marketingland.com/.

Interested in ordering cichlids online? I have posted a couple of times about online purchasing – a post about what to consider when doing so and issues with ordering online. I’ve even posted about some of the online sources I’ve used in the past. While I encourage you to patronize your local fish stores (LFS), they may not always have the most comprehensive selection or the best price. Give them your business but also know there are other options.

Below I’ve compiled a list of online cichlid retailers that I know of. While the list isn’t exhaustive, it’s pretty comprehensive. Unless otherwise noted, these are all based in the United States. Cichlid species from Africa, Central America, South America, etc. can be found within various stock lists of these retailers.

Read moreOnline cichlid retailers

Tragedy strikes…again!

Sigh. Strange how this hobby can one minute be so much fun and uplifting and the next minute be sad and depressing. No sooner do I post about a wonderful little fish than I post about him being deceased. Yeah, that same little gregarious ocellatus that I posted about Sunday passed away overnight.

Not really sure what happened to him. I came down to feed last night, and he was perched on top of a ceramic cave, which itself was sitting on top of a couple of rocks. I knew immediately something was wrong because 1) shell dwellers don’t normally park on top of things like that, 2) he had a shell, which is where he should have been, 3) his color was mottled, and 4) his mouth was agape. If you’re familiar with ocellatus, then you know they’ll turn a mottled color of brown when they’re stressed. He definitely was stressed. I immediately went to net him, and he hardly tried to avoid the net.

Uhh oh.

Read moreTragedy strikes…again!

A gregarious dwarf

Lamprologus ocellatus guarding shell. Photo by the author.

Because I have an affinity for dwarf cichlids, which includes shellies, I keep a fair number of the species. One of my favorites is Lamprologus ocellatus. In fact, I have them in three tanks. I have a breeding pair in a 20g long, what I think are a breeding pair in a 30g square, and a single male in one of the 75g Tang community tanks. This post is about the single male.

Read moreA gregarious dwarf

An unfortunate discovery

Image from https://Dumielauxepices.net.

Though I never posted about it, I ordered some fish back in the summer of last year. In that shipment was six juvenile Julidochromis ornatus. I set up a new 75g tank that would become a Tanganyikan community tank. I put the new ornatus in that tank with plans for them to be an “anchor tenant.” Everything had been going beautifully with them and the other inhabitants (compressiceps, ocellatus, signatus, etc.)….until last night.

Read moreAn unfortunate discovery