In this July issue of Cichlid News, we immerse ourselves in the dynamic and ever-evolving world of cichlid taxonomy and aquarium care. From the intricate breeding strategies of Hypsophrys nicaraguensis to the contentious identity of Satanoperca mapiritensis, and the intriguing genetic revelations surrounding Petrochromis, each of the six articles offers a fresh perspective on these captivating fishes from experts in the hobby. Join us as we explore groundbreaking developments and celebrate the rich diversity of the cichlid world.

The following is a preview of the six interesting articles on diverse areas of the cichlid world that appear in this issue:

Juan Miguel Artigas Azas covers the intriguing Hypsophrys nicaraguensis, a cichlid species from Nicaragua and Costa Rica. This unique fish challenges traditional taxonomic and behavioral paradigms with its evolutionary divergence and complex breeding strategies, including cooperative care of predator offspring. The article comprehensively covers its natural history, distribution, threats, and nuances in taxonomy—originally described through an unconventional method which adds a layer of complexity to its scientific classification.

Lee Newman sifts through the complex identification of Satanoperca mapiritensis, a species that has historically been shrouded in taxonomic confusion. He recounts acquiring specimens labeled as S. mapiritensis, only to encounter discrepancies in their features and distribution. Through meticulous examination of historical descriptions and morphological traits, Newman questions the validity of S. mapiritensis as a distinct species within the Satanoperca genus. He critiques the reliance on color patterns and geographic origins for species delineation, advocating for a more rigorous scientific approach to classification.

Anton Lamboj navigates the complexities of Hemichromis taxonomy, highlighting recent revisions and the hurdles in species differentiation. With molecular data reshaping traditional identification methods, such as color patterns, the necessity of DNA analysis is underscored. Through detailed examination of species variations and distributions, Lamboj discusses the challenges aquarists face in identifying live specimens. The article concludes with a glimpse into forthcoming discoveries within the Rubricatochromis genus.

Ad Konings discusses the evolution of taxonomic classification, emphasizing the shift from morphology to genetics. Through the example of the genus Petrochromis, his article explores challenges in species identification and genus placement. Genetic analysis reveals discrepancies between traditional classifications and evolutionary relationships suggesting the reassignment of some Petrochromis species to other genera. It underscores the need for a comprehensive approach integrating genetic and morphological data for accurate taxonomy, especially in complex cases like Petrochromis.

Lake Tanganyika cichlid enthusiast, Michael McKinney, relates his experience with the not-often-seen Neolamprologus mondabu. Although not vibrant in color, this species captivates with its subtle beauty and behavior reminiscent of other closely related cichlids. Despite being relatively prolific in the wild, breeding in captivity has proven challenging for the author, yielding only a limited number of fry. Michael details various tank setups and maintenance strategies, highlighting the compatibility of N. mondabu with other Lake Tanganyika species.

Mary Ellen Sweeney shares a comprehensive guide to keeping discus, a majestic yet delicate member of the family Cichlidae. She emphasizes that successful discus care hinges on maintaining pristine tank conditions, including excellent filtration and rigorous water quality management. Sweeney offers personal anecdotes and advanced techniques, like selecting compatible tankmates and managing breeding behaviors. Her insights underline the nuances of creating a stable environment for these sensitive fish, blending practical advice with her firsthand experiences to guide both novice and experienced aquarium enthusiasts alike.

Lee Newman concludes this issue of Cichlid News in offering a tip on how to avoid neuromast pitting with sensitive fish in our Tailfin Notes section on page 38. You just may want to give it a try!

Also, you won’t want to miss the American Cichlid Association’s Convention in Cincinnati this month. Visit the website to check out the program details and to register.

In wrapping up this issue of Cichlid News, it’s clear that the cichlid world is as fascinating as it is complex. Stay tuned for more exciting discoveries in our upcoming October issue!

Until next time,
Don Danko, Editor

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