It is the end of February as I write this. We’ve just had nearly 2 weeks of mild weather out east here after several weeks of incredible January cold, and there are signs of awakened life. Snowdrops flowering. A sleepy garter snake out sunning. I don’t know that I should trust what’s next to come, we are still awaiting a giant snow storm in Pennsylvania which so far this winter has yet to come. Meanwhile, increased courtship and display in your tanks draw us back to this splendid hobby as the number of local fish club auctions increase exponentially with spring.

Thanks to our writers, we have a great, well-balanced issue this month. Ad Konings introduces us to species of the genus Buccochromis from Lake Malawi. As Ad calls them: “heavy-jawed, bull-necked predators”. Truly an interesting and attractive group of larger (a 20.5 inch (52 cm) and 2.33 lbs. (1.055 kilos) B. heterotaenia holds the size record for its species and for the genus) cichlids! If you want “big”, here it is!

Regular contributor Juan Miguel Artigas Azas writes about a little-known “Sand Sifter from Maya Land”, Cribroheros robertsoni. It is a widely-distributed, common aquarium resident in many Central American cichlid aficionados’ fishrooms, and yet a poorly understood cichlid species. Surprisingly little research has been made on its behavior other than its feeding behavior, and very little has been written on its aquarium husbandry. Juan’s detailed and comprehensive article changes all that. Intrepid explorer Lawrence Kent shares his experiences searching for—and eventually finding—the Blue-lipped Buffalo Head cichlid, Steatocranus irvinei in Ghana. Back in Seattle, Lawrence successfully spawned this oddity and has distributed hundreds of their offspring to the American cichlid hobby. Great story!

Another of our regular contributors, Oliver Lucanus, writes about the diminutive delayed larvophile mouthbrooder, Bujurquina mariae from the Colombian Andes. His photos are spectacular, and there is a link to video of the fish in their habitat. The article reviews the 17 other species of the genus that are currently recognized. Having kept several of them myself, I can only agree with Oliver that these are great dwarf cichlids worth keeping! Enjoy the marvelous photos!

Well-known European aquarist Wolfgang Staeck reviews the aquaristic history of Lake Tanganyika and current threats to its ecology. His very interesting account traces the history of commercial cichlid collection and exportation to the hobby, as well as providing a cautionary note on the future of the lake and its cichlid fauna. Lake Tanganyika was recently named “Threatened Lake of the Year 2017” by the Global Nature Fund (GNF).

Finally, Laif DeMason concludes this issue with his customary “What’s New” to whet our appetites for “new and rare”. Enjoy the spring, and enjoy your cichlids!

Wayne S. Leibel, Editor

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