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What's New ©by Laif DeMason

This year’s winter season has definitely come in like a lion!  In the United States, record cold, heavy snowfall, and ice storms have caused many aquarists concern.  Power losses associated with icing can potentially lead to high loses of our fishy pets. Those who have several large aquariums would do right to look into buying an adequate portable generator.  Generally a 4000 to 5000 watt generator will be powerful enough and cost a few hundred dollars, certainly less than replacing your fish. I suggest that you add up your electric usage by total watts for each heater, filter motor, air pump, and a few lights. The running wattage should be listed on each device. You will also need a heavy duty extension cord and always remember to run the generator outside for safety reasons! Also never feed your fishes during the loss of power; most fish over one inch can survive without food for a week or longer.  

Here’s “what’s new” on the cichlid scene:

Lake Tanganyika 

Collecting of wild caught cichlids continues from most points around the lake.  Exports have slowed somewhat due to large inventories in most import countries.  The world economic slow down could be the reason for some of the backlog.  Current demand in America still seems to be adult Tropheus, Altolamprologus, and Cyphotilapia varieties.   

what's new: Lake Tanganyika

Due to recent efforts to collect wild material from the northern Congo coastline, some of the special species from that area have re-appeared.  Here Julidochromis transcriptus “Kissi” is not found elsewhere in the lake.  

From Nsumbu, Zambia, a male Opthalmotilapia ventralis is in full breeding dress. Males of this species have different colors from each location along the southern end of the lake. Thus many varieties of O. ventralis are sold. 

Another fish sold by location variety is Cyathopharynx foae. Because wild collected individuals often lack color and are pricey, it is best to buy bred juveniles and grow them. Often bred males will color up quite well in a year. Here C. foae from Kapampa, Congo, is one of the lesser seen types. Photo by A. Konings.

A rarity not usually seen as a wild fish, Trematocara variabile is now occasionally bred by specialty breeders. This unique fish is not strongly colored and is a bit delicate by Tanganyika cichlid standards. Photo by A. Konings. 

Lake Malawi

Exporters from Lake Malawi are somewhat concerned with the world wide economic woes. Still, collection and shipments continue. Most exporters here are in the position where they can manage a bit of belt tightening for some time. Fish farms in Florida, however, have lost fishes to extreme cold weather and have spotty shortages in some sizes and species of Malawi cichlids. 

what's new: Lake Malawi


Several Lethrinops species are seasonally and infrequently collected, piquing interest in some Malawi connoisseurs. Pictured here is a male L. albus. Forms of this fish are exported from both Malawi and Tanzania.

Special order collections are now being accommodated more often by Lake Malawi exporters. Labidochromis maculicauda from Puulu, Tanzania is a recent example that would have normally been skipped over by fish divers. 

Several rare or hard to find cichlids have found their way into the trade. Here Lethrinops sp. ‘longipinnis deep’ is almost never seen on Malawi exporters’ lists, but can be found from German specialty breeders. 

A jumbo Mylochromis species collected from Itungi Port in Tanzania has recently arrived in small numbers. This large (by Mylochromis standards) unknown species was not colored, but has green highlights and a yellow anal fin. 

Occasionally seen on exporters’ lists, Copadichromis pleurostigma can be collected seasonally. These open water species can also be found as juveniles from specialty breeders. 

Several of the Tropheops species from Lake Malawi are not generally traded due to their aggressive nature. However, in the never-ending challenge to keep new and different varieties, many of these types have found their ways into importers’ tanks recently. Here T. sp. ‘sand’ was collected from Undu Point, Tanzania. Photo by A. Konings. 

Lake Victoria

Not much news to report for the Victorian basin cichlids. No news of any wild commercial collections, although the interest in these fishes is still good. Most hobbyists can only rely on material from bred sources. 

what's new: Lake Victoria


Originally from the Kenyan area of Lake Victoria, Haplochromis sp. salmon Hippo Point has been offered by breeders for some time. 

Also available from specialty breeders, this Pundamilia nyererei strain was originally collected from Ruti Island, Tanzania. There are similar varieties of P. nyererei also bred from other locations. Photo by O. Seehausen. 


The popularity and interest in many of the South American species of tropical fishes has increased over the last few years. While some hobbyists are interested in a wide range of fishes from this region, like catfish, there are still those who only keep and breed their own brand of specialty cichlids. 

what's new: Neotropics


Collected by avid hobbyists travelling in Uruguay,  Gymnogeophagus gymnogenys is found in many locations, often differing for each location. Here a beautiful male specimen with a large hump from the San Borja region. Photo by S. Jack.

Also from Uruguay, Crenicichla tendybaguassu is one of the many pike cichlids found in this region. This fish requires a large aquarium as it grows quite large. Note the large fleshy lips! Photo by O. Lucanus. 

Occasionally, Heckel discus are also collected from the Amazon River and exported from Brazil. Some wild individuals also sport strong colors of red or blue, like some of the selectively bred strains. This wild fish has interesting markings of strong red color. 

Collected for many years from Lake Tefe, Peru, wild green discus are frequently being imported. It is interesting that this beautiful strain is still sought after for so many years!
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