Who C.A.R.E.S.? Hemichromis cristatus

Here is a little jewel cichlid that is listed on the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program priority list as being vulnerable.  They come from Nigeria, where their natural habitat is under siege by deforestation and oil drilling.  We are not entirely sure what the future hold for these fish, but he do know that they are infrequently exported (usually by accident as a different species).  They are the smallest of the red jewel cichlids, and have a unique red over yellow over red color pattern when spawning.  The fish in this video are not in their brightest coloration, but you can see the yellow stripe down the lateral line.  Enjoy…

Who C.A.R.E.S? – Pelvicachromis sacrimontis

I have a wild pair of Pelvicachromis sacrimontis that are currently raising a batch of fry.  I have had this species many times, but for some reason I cannot seem to keep them around for multiple generations.  That is now my goal.  There is some concern that this species is suffering from its close proximity to the human population of Lagos, Nigeria, and the barely-controlled oil drilling industry in the areas where the fish is found.  Not to mention the deforestation that has decimated 95% of Nigeria’s rainforests.  P. sacrimontis used to be a relatively common export, and we used to see them in stores all the time as ‘Giant Krib’.  I can remember getting boxes of ‘mixed kribs’ and being disappointed when most of them were this species!!!!  If I could only have now what I used to have then…

Who C.A.R.E.S…? Aphanius transgrediens

Here is a video of another endangered fish I am maintaining.  I have not had these killies very long, and have just recently been able to collect and hatch viable eggs.  The fry are growing fast though!

A few years ago I had the great pleasure of visiting the Aphanius sp. maintenance facility in the basement of the aquarium building at the Wien Zoo (Vienna, Austria).  I was not there to see the killies, and had no clue that they were even there.  What a surprise!  The program maintains more species and locational varieties of Aphanius than most of us even know exist.  Some of these little fish are spectacular, and I have been on the hunt for them ever since.

The genus is found all around the Mediterranean Sea, and all the populations are considered threatened in the wild.  Some, like the A. transgrediens in this video, are critically endangered (if not already extinct).  One species, A. mento, is relatively common in the U.S.A. hobby… and it is an excellent species to work with.  All the other species are very rare, and I thank my friend Kurt Z. in Missouri for sending my founding group to me.

“Who C.A.R.E.S…?”   This is a challenge… if you are not keeping at least one species of fish that is at risk of becoming extinct, please find a species that interests you and make the commitment to keeping them for as long as you can.  And breed and distribute them.  Check out the C.A.R.E.S Preservation Program to learn more.

Who C.A.R.E.S…? Characodon lateralis

Catching up with all the videos I am behind with is at the TOP of my list of New Year’s resolutions.  2011 has been a very busy year, and I apologize to everyone patiently waiting for the continuance of the fish room and basic aquarium series.  Soon… very soon.

The aquarium-world has seen a much needed focus on the plight of fish species in peril.  Clubs large and small have been starting programs to promote the keeping of threatened and endangered species.  Our societal leader in this effort is the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program:

Founded in 2004, the C.A.R.E.S. (Conservation, Awareness, Recognition, Encouragement, and Support) Preservation Program is based on the critical and timely significance of Conservation, our Awareness as hobbyists of the issues involved, and the public Recognition of members, offering Encouragement and Support for those who take part in playing a vital role in ensuring a positive future for species at risk. The purpose of the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program is to encourage hobbyists worldwide to devote tank space to one or more species at risk, while forming an information network between aquarists, scientists, and conservationists.

For more information about the program: CARES PRESERVATION PROGRAM

I have been keeping C.A.R.E.S. species since the inception of the program… sometimes without even knowing that the fish I was breeding were threatened!  Awareness is the key to the ultimate success of the program.  You may also have some of these species in your aquariums; if so, make a personal pledge to maintain them for the long term.  If you do not have any of these species, consider dedicating some space to one.

Here is one of the eight species at risk that I maintain in my fish room…  Characodon lateralis.  This goodeid livebearer from Mexico has been extirpated from most of its range by habitat loss, pollution and invasive species.  Some sources suggest that C. lateralis can now be found in only two small springs.  It is very possible that the captive population far outnumbers the wild populations.