Dambas and Eels

The largest aquarium I keep is a 110-gallon with a semi-aggressive community of fish.  There are two species of dambas from Madagascar that I brought home from the ACA 2010 convention:  Paretroplus keineri and P. maculatus.  I really like the P. keineri.  It is a small species with an interesting mottled color pattern with red highlights on their faces.  They look like they have red noses!  P. maculatus is larger and more aggressive.  I had two, but the remaining specimen badgered the other so much that I found it a new home.  He does not bother the P. keineri, however, which are significantly smaller.  There are also two large eels from west Africa, Mastacembelus nigromarginatus.  I have had these eels for almost four years, and I have become very attached to them.  Eels have great personalities.  The other fish in the tank include some Cryptoheros cutteri cichlids, a group of panda barbs (Puntius fasciatus) and some giant danios (Devario malabaricus), all of which are dithers/targets for the dambas and eels.  The tanks is actually quite peaceful, and is one of the tanks I will watch for long periods of time.  Enjoy…

Xystichromis sp. ‘Kyoga Flameback’

I bought this colony of cichlids from a local club member, Pat, who had been trying to find homes for all the offspring she raised out.  I do not know what it is about Lake Victoria – type cichlids.  Either you are really into them or they are not the first fish that comes to mind when you are stocking a new tank.  I am not sure why they are not more popular, because they are very pretty.  Their color patterns are definitely unique.  I cannot think of another group of cichlids with the same combination of primary colors and distinctive black markings.  That is especially true for the dominant male of this colony.  The colony consists of two males and four females in a 40-breeder aquarium.  The tank is filtered with a Poret foam wall that is air driven.

Lepidiolamprologus hecqui with fry

One of the Lake Tanganyika communities in my fish room combines a small colony of Tropheus duboisi and a pair of Lepidiolamprolugus hecqui.  The L. hecqui is a really cool shell-dwelling lamp that does not get as large, or as nasty, as the more familiar Lepidiolamprologus species (L. kendalli, for example).  I started with six of them, but a pair quickly established their dominance and I had to remove the others.  This video is from the pair’s first spawn.  I will shoot a new clip soon to show how much they have grown in the past six months.

Pelvicachromis taeniatus ‘Njanje’

This is a really old video (about a year ago) shot with our Flip video camera.  The production is bad, but the subject is great.  I no longer have this fish (I really wish I still did).  Since I am learning this whole video-making art I thought I post this to remind myself of where I started.  This variety of P. taeniatus relatively new on the scene.  It was first collected in 2008 (I believe), and was not first exported from Cameroon until 2009.  When I was in Cameroon in February of 2009 we probably drove within 10 km of this population and never even new that they were there.  It is very similar to the Muyuka variety that is extinct in the wild, which is the variety that the finder of this Njanje location was hoping to rediscover.  The word is that the Njanje location is very small, so extensive collecting for export should be discouraged.  It is a very prolific strain, however, so if you have them keep on breeding them (and let me know wen you have some available).

Astronotus sp. ‘Orinoco’

The community in this video is a mix of six Astronotus sp. ‘Orinoco’, four male Archocentrus multispinosa (rainbow cichlids), a male Ameca splendens and a male blue gouramie, all in a 75-gallon tank filtered by a Poret foam wall (air driven).  The aquarium was established for the oscars, which were wild-caught, that I purchased at 2″ from Tangled Up In Cichlids (Jeff Rapps) in August, 2010.  All the other fish were intended as dithers/targets for the oscars.  I will eventually will get the other fish out of there, but so far everyone is cohabiting peacefully.  In fact, the shyest fish in the tank are the oscars.  This video is what happens every morning when I turn on the lights and toss in some floating pellets.  It takes a few minutes before any of the fish venture out for breakfast, and the first to emerge is never an oscar.  As soon as one fish braves the open water, the oscars come pouring out to gather up most the food.