Chromidotilapia guentheri guentheri pair

Hey!  An actual fish video… from my fish room!  About freakin’ time!

C. g. guentheri is the most widely distributed species in the genus.  This pair was imported from Ghana, and were said to have been collected in Lake Volta.  That lake is a reservoir which happens to have the largest surface area of all the reservoirs in the world, and the fourth largest by volume.  Two river systems were flooded in 1965 to make the lake:  the White Volta and the Black Volta.  C. g. guentheri is actually a river fish that has been able to make the switch to living in a lake.  I hate to think about all the species that did not….

What I like most about the genus Chromidotilapia is the diversity of behaviors and communication they display.  While all cichlids are great communicators, these West African mouthbrooders seem to be very clear in how they talk to each other and their fry.  You will some some examples of that in the video.  Enjoy…

Paracyprichromis nigripinnis

I previously posted a video showing the Lake Tanganyika shell-dweller Lamprologus ocellatus ‘gold’.  They share a 50 breeder aquarium with the larger and upper space-oriented Paracyprichromis nigripinnis.  This is one of my favorite ‘cyps’, because is stays a bit smaller than the Cyprichromis species and is not as aggressive.  And they are strikingly pretty.  A showing male is a dark pink with neon blue edges.  They really stand out in a tank.  This species is a mouth brooder, but my fish are just getting to the size that I expect them to start spawning.  Hopefully there will be some females with eggs soon.

Xystichromis sp. ‘Dayglow’ & Melanotaenia sexlineata

Most of my aquariums are not perfect examples of biotope communities.  Too many species and not enough tanks.  This aquarium was set up to be the home of a colony of Xystichromis sp. ‘Dayglow’, one of the Lake Victoria basin species I want to maintain.  I have one male and four females that I have grown up from 1/2″ fry.  I started them in a 15-gallon tank until they were showing adult colors, then moved them to this 40-breeder.  They have turned out to be very shy fish, and when they were in this tank alone I almost never saw them.

I like to use rainbow fish as dithers in peaceful to moderately aggressive cichlid tanks, especially when the water is harder and higher in pH.  Since these Victorians are not too large or mean I chose to move my colony of Melanotaenia sexlineata ‘Tabibul’ in with them.  This is a beautiful medium-size rainbow that is becoming more common.  The work perfectly as dithers adn now the cichlids stay out front all the time.  Hopefully they will spawn soon so I can grow this colony (five fish is too few!).

Chromidotilapia melaniae

This species is not common in the hobby.  My fish came from the Vienna Zoo and Anton Lamboj in 2009.  The fish in the video are the remaining male and two females from the original group of five.  The have produced fry a few times, but have not had a successful spawn in several months.  I have a few growing up that are close to spawning size, and I have distributed a few dozen around.  If you have some of this species that came from my fish room… get them breeding, because who knows if we will ever see it again!

Hopefully we will see wild fish in a little over a month.  C. melaniae is one of our target species for the trip we are taking to Gabon in February.  There are a few other Chromidotilapia species we are hoping to find as well, and my goal is to bring back as many species of this genus as I can.  The rainbow in the tank is Chilatherina fasciatus ‘Faowi Village’, a really nice larger species that makes a good tank mate for larger, semi-aggressive cichlids.

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.