Hey cichlid fans! So, finally we come to the last installment in my series of top 10 cichlid lists. This time I will share my first 5 favorite Malagasy (Madagascar) species and uncommon or oddball cichlids, that can’t be missed. My main reason for keeping Malagasy cichlids is that they are all almost extinct with some species already gone, except from some public aquariums or breeders. It’s a matter of conservation at this point, and serious aquarists play a vital role in keeping these species around. As for the oddballs? Well, I just love species you don’t see everyday. So lets begin with the first five, I’ll follow in a few weeks with the final five. Read More »
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So, this time we are going to talk about my 10 from two areas, South America and West Africa. I’ve found through experience that both species can tolerate the same type of water conditions, with pH below 7.5 and softer water than African Lake Cichlids. Most of the species I’ve kept were for the challenge of breeding and/or their rarity. So lets begin. Read More »
Jose here. This time around I’m going to talk about my favorite bad boys, the Central American Cichlids. I love these guys for lots off reasons, but most of all for the attitude they dish out, magnificent color and the challenges they present in breeding. Not saying that they are tough to get to breed, but its the pair bonding that you have to get through. If they don’t accept each other, one usually ends up dead. Now on to my top 10.
Parachromis dovii is affectionately known as the Wolf Cichlid. At 24 inches as an adult, dovii is a bit of a wuss when it’s young and and kept with more dominant species. But, as it gets older it becomes completely different monster, and it won’t be bullied for long. In breeding dress, the males have blue fins and lips, with a violet back. Females on the other hand are a yellow with black bars. My pair have currently produced over 1000 fry and they are under 2 yrs old. Read More »
Hey folks Jose here, this time I’m talking about my 10 favorite Tanganyikan Cichlids. These guys didn’t attract me until I saw my first adult Frontosa at a fish show, next thing I know I was breeding shell-dwellers. The main reason I like Tanganyikans is because of their spawning behaviors, but there are some that would rival species from Malawi in beauty, so let’s begin shall we?
Cyprichromis sp. – It’s tough to just pick one variant or species of this genus as a favorite, as there are so many different color variants that occur, but if you want a schooler this is it. Just don’t keep them with aggressive species and Frontosas. They are docile and pretty enough to pack plenty of impact in a group.
Cyathopharynx sp. – Here’s another genus with many color variants. Again, I have a hard time picking just one, although I really love C. foai which I’ve kept and bred. Maybe that makes me partial, but they are absolutely gorgeous fish. In classic featherfin manner, their spawning habits are really interesting to watch. The male shakes and coaxes the female to his crater-shaped nest in the substrate. There the ritualistic and well-choreographed spawning dance continues as the female lays her eggs. The male then entices the female to take her clutch into her mouth by dragging his elongated fins over the sand. As she picks up the eggs he fertilizes them.
Benthochromis tricoti – This 10″ deep water beauty has to be my all time favorite cichlid. The male is striking, especially when he is courting females. Females have a huge mouths despite their small clutch size. One important thing to know about keeping these guys is to keep the lighting on the dimmer side, as it will wash their color out if it is too bright.
Cyphotilapia frontosa – The frontosa is another big fish with a big head…enough said, see one and you’ll know.
Shell-dwellers (any species) – These are little fish with big fish attitude! There are many different species, but my personal favorite is the Golden Ocellatus. They are fun fish for small tanks where you can really watch them do what they do.
Bathybates sp. – These deep water predators are mainly silver with lots of teeth (like barracuda!). There are 7 species ranging from 9 to 17 inches. They’re not very common in the hobby, but definitely worth keeping if you should see them available and you have a large spare tank aching for something fun to display.
Astatotilapia burtoni – These were my first experience with mouth brooders. I was captivated by the bright egg spots on the male’s anal fin. The very bright orange spots show beautifully against the males varying blue to yellow coloration, which largely depends on his mood. They’re moderately aggressive, but easy to breed and nice to look at.
Enantiopus sp. – This group of cichlids are also known as Flashers, as in the males flash their vivid colors at females during spawning, they are sensitive and delicate and should not be kept with more boisterous species.
Lepidiolamprologus kendalli (nkambae) – This 7 inch predator is Tanganyika’s version of our Northern Pike. Their aggressive attitude is ample, so make sure you have a tight fitting lid as an individual may try to exclude all other fish from its territory. They’re fish that command respect.
Neolamprologus buescheri – This 3 inch species is a reclusive fish that becomes very aggressive during spawning and towards similar species. A sharp looking fish, they prefer dimly lit tanks with plenty of rock to establish territory.
So that’s my top 10 Tanganyikan Cichlid picks! Next time I will share my picks of favorite Central American Cichlids (yay!)
Please comment and tell me your favorite Tanganyikans, I love to hear the experiences of other cichlid fanatics!
Until next time,
What’s up everyone, Jose here again. I’m back for another installment of my top 10 Cichlids. This time, I’m going to talk about some of my favs from Lake Victoria.
In the last 20 to 30 years many Victorian species have been driven to extinction by a variety of factors, including the introduction of
the Nile perch, increased human population and also increased pollution. It’s a real shame, too considering many species were still undiscovered. One more reason why we should never release non-native species.
Vics are very hardy and easy to keep and will do well in most dechlorinated tap water with a ph of 7.5 and up.
Many people have asked me why I would keep certain fish over others and it’s tough to give one reason. I like them for their rarity, color, attitude and spawning behaviors just to name a few, and most Vics do well in an easy-to-mange 36×18 tank. Well let’s begin with my top 10 in no order.
Astatotilapia Aneocolor– Known as the Yellow Belly Albert this 3 to 5 inch species is a stunner with a red back
and a yellow belly and blue dorsal. One year I put one in my patio pond for the summer and when i brought him back
in he had a purple back and his belly was gold. I would keep them in a 55 as they are pretty aggressive.
Astatotilapia nubilus– If there was ever a candidate for anger management this is the guy. The nubilus tops out
at 4 inches. I like this fish because it is jet black with red fins and some striking egg spots in the anal fin.
Haplochromis sp. Dayglow– This 4.5 inch herbivore has a powder blue head, a black verticle bar across the eyes,
red tail fin that contrasts a yellow green body, a red blotch behind the gill and 3 to 4 orange egg spots outlined
Hap sp. Ruby green– This 4 inch herbivore is sometimes confused with hap Flameback. Males have a red back with a
green bottom, they also have a blue dorsal and large orange egg spots in the anal fin. I have kept and bred this
species and can say that I have had males color at 2 inches. Highly recommended.
Paralabidochromis Chilotes– This 5 inch carnivore has many geographical color morphs. The particular strain I like
has a blue face and back, a red body and a blue anal fin. It also has fleshy lips. A very odd and awesome fish to try.
Pytochromis sp “hippo point” – Another 5 inch carnivore that is mildly aggressive towards other fish except that it
hates other males. It also likes to feed on the snails Bellamya and Melanoides. Its most striking feature is the
bright crimson red on the majority of its body with the remainder being green. During breeding and fights it also
has a white face with a black bar going through its eye.
Pundamilia Nyererei “ruti island” – A 4 inch fish, this is another one of those species that has a few different
color morphs. I chose the ruti island because i thought the red was really intense with its mixture of green
and yellow body, black barring and red dorsal. I’m happy i did.
Xystichromis phytophagus– The christmas fulu. This 4.5 inch herbivore lives up to its name with its red,yellow,
green,marroon body and blue dorsal. It also has a black bar going through the eye and on its cheek; and a red tail.
Harpagochromis sp “blue rock hunter“– This 5 inch piscivore is an aggressive species that needs plenty of room.
Males are mostly blue with some tints of yellow or green in the body and a white dorsal edge.
Haplochromis sp “all red”- This 6 inch herbivore is a relatively peaceful species except towards its own kind.
It colors up pretty much like a Nyererei except that it has more red in the head and chest area.
So there it is: my top 10 vics. I hope this blog might get someone interested in these awesome species. Check out my top 10 Malawis if you haven’t. Until next time.