Should you remove cichlid fry?

33g long aquarium containing Julidochromis dickfeldi and ‘Lamprologus’ ocellatus. Photo by the author.
 
Yes and no. Answers to that question depend on several factors. However, for one example of why you should not allow a breeding pair of cichlids to have multiple broods in the same tank, look no further than Julidochromis dickfeldi. Many species of cichlids can get along just fine with multiple generations of their own offspring, especially shell dwelling species. However, some adult cichlid pairs consider an older brood a threat to the newest brood and will treat the older brood(s) accordingly.

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Dr. Alex Jordan interview

Dr. Alex Jordan on Lake Tanganyika. Photo by Jakob Guebel.

If you follow the blog, you know I have interviewed all kinds of cichlid enthusiasts, from business people to scientists to hobbyists. Because I have a fondness for Lake Tanganyika cichlids, it’s always a treat when I get to interview someone who’s dived the lake and can provide first-hand knowledge of some of the lake’s species.

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More Telmatochromis temporalis? Yes, please!

A male of the slender morph photographed at a depth of 14 m. Reprinted by permission from Springer Nature Customer Service Centre GmbH: Springer Nature, HYDROBIOLOGIA, A new morph of Telmatochromis temporalis (Cichlidae; Cichliformes) from Lake Tanganyika, Tetsumi Takahashi, Copyright 2020.

I have made it no secret that I am a big fan of the Telmatochromis genus. Containing roughly six species, most members of this genus resemble species of the Julidochromis genus. Most are torpedo shaped and quite small. One of my favorites, however, is the bulldog of the genus – temporalis. If you follow this species you know that the normal temporalis, not to be confused with the dwarf morph, sp. “temporalis shell,” is quite robust in body shape. Unlike it’s torpedo-shaped cousins, both normal and dwarf morphs of temporalis also have a very noticeable nuchal hump. In fact, both sexes of temporalis posses this hump, with the male’s being more pronounced. In my experience, males are very territorial, not unlike many male cichlids. But I digress. 

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Lake Tanganyika cichlid photos

Map of large lakes in east Africa. Image from https://www.harpercollege.edu/index.php.

Looking for a good resource for Lake Tanganyika cichlid photos? There are several online. I posted a few months ago about The Cichlid Room Companion, which is a great resource for all cichlids. If you want something specific to Tangs, check out Tanganyika.si. This is Gregor Bauer’s site, and the language is a mix of English and Slovenian. Photos themselves, thankfully, have no language. Cichlid names are in English.

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Spawning cichlid behavior excitement

Adult male Julidochromis dickfeldi guarding fry. Photo by author.

One of the absolute greatest joys of cichlid keeping is witnessing spawning behavior. Because I have new fish from an order I placed several months ago, I have been anxiously awaiting some pairings and subsequent spawning. All the fish I received were older juveniles or sub-adults, so I knew that pairing up would begin in a few months. You can read about the new fish in this post from back in May

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Dr. Scott Juntti interview

Dr. Scott Juntti.
Just before COVID-19 reared its ugly head here in the states, I came across a university lab doing some fascinating cichlid research on breeding behavior. Using Astatotilapia burtoni, a maternal mouthbrooder from Lake Tanganyika in Africa, as the model fish for the research, Dr. Scott Juntti’s lab is attempting to unlock some of the mysteries surrounding A. burtoni breeding behavior.

Dr. Juntti became interested in neuroscience as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, where he fell in love with life in the lab. After completing his undergraduate work, including stops at labs in Germany and San Diego, he began his graduate work at the University of California, San Francisco. There he began working in Dr. Nirao Shah’s lab, where he studied social behavior using molecular genetic approaches in mice.

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New ‘Lamprologus’ caudopunctatus tank

30g Mr. Aqua rimless shellie tank. Photo by author.

A little over a year ago I picked up a 30g rimless tank (called Symbolic) by Mr. Aqua. At that time, I had intended to make it a species-only shellie tank of ‘Lamprologus’ ocellatus “gold”. I got the tank set up, cycled it with some existing media, and was off to the races. But as the saying goes, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” which is exactly what happened. My plan didn’t pan out for a variety of reasons.

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What shell characteristics do Neolamprologus multifasciatus prefer?

Photo of Neolamprologus multifasciatus in Lake Tanganyika. Jordan, Lyndon & Maguire, Sean & Hofmann, Hans & Kohda, Masanori. (2016). 

In the wild, creatures of all sorts have a plethora of options for shelter, breeding, nesting, etc. Some build their own, and others simply take advantage of what’s around them. Fish are no different.

However, your tank is not “the wild.” What is available to your cichlids is what you provide. They can’t move off to another area in search of something different or better. You force them to choose from what you give them. So if provided multiple options, what would your cichlids choose and/or use?

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