Other American species

There are still more American members of this family. Some of the smaller ones are deservedly popular on account of their coloration and behavior, while others are giants requiring an aquarium of commensurate size.

• Aequidens maroni

The keyhole cichlid is tranquil, even timid, and needs a wellplanted tank with hiding places. Its breeding behavior is similar to that of Aequidens curviceps, though producing fewer eggs.

Aequidens curviceps

The flag cichlid, not to be confused with Mesonauta festivus, which shares its English name, is a small species from the Amazonian basin, and peaceful enough except at spawning time. The female deposits up to 1,000 eggs on a hi suitable surface; both parent fish then keep guard. The fry cling to their —

support by means of a substance secreted from glands on the head; when they become free-swimming feed them on Artemia nauplii. Size: 8 cm.

Papiliochromisramirezi

Ramirez's dwarf cichlid is sensitive to water quality, so you will need to carry out regular, partial changes; it also prefers well-planted aquariums with plenty of hiding places. The female lays between 300 and 400 eggs on a flat stone. There is also a golden (xanthochromic) variety of this species, arrived at by artificial selection. Size: 6 cm

Aequidenspulcher

The blue acara is a territorial species and can be aggressive. The female lays 200-500 eggs on a flat stone. Size: 15 cm.

Apistogrammaagassizii

Tranquil and peaceable, Agassiz's dwarf cichlid demands regular water changes. The female cleans a solid support before laying up to 300 eggs. Size: 7 cm.

Astronotusocellatus

The oscar grows to 30 cm and has a bad reputation for wrecking the decor. Or, less uncharitably, it has plenty of character, and doesn't bother too much about the plants as it barges about. The answer is to use a very large tank (several hundred liters) and tough, well-anchored vegetation. Bronze and gold varieties of oscar have been evolved by artificial selection. •

•Apistogrammacacatuoides

Males of the cockatoo dwarf cichlid are mutually antagonistic. The female deposits her eggs on the roof of a natural cave or an artificial retreat such as a plant pot or piece of PVC pipe. She then keeps guard over them, driving off all intruders. The fry swim 5-7 days after hatching. Size: 7 cm.

CICHLIDAE: LAKE TANGANYIKA SPECIES

Nannacara anomala

The modest-sized golden dwarf cichlid likes soft, acidic conditions. The female lays her eggs on a stone in a quiet place and then guards them, even against the male. Size: 8 cm.

Geophagus brasiliensis

The pearl cichlid can exceed 20 cm in length and is highly teritorial; it is essential to keep it in a large tank with similar-sized species. Tolerates water with average pH and hardness levels, but you will need to carry out regular changes.

Uaruamphiacanthoides

Rather slow and timid for its size, the triangle cichlid is more active at spawning time, when both parents guard and fan the 300 eggs. Care of this species demands a tank with a minimum capacity of 400-500 liters filled with soft, acidic water. Size: 25-30 cm. •

Uaruamphiacanthoides

Rather slow and timid for its size, the triangle cichlid is more active at spawning time, when both parents guard and fan the 300 eggs. Care of this species demands a tank with a minimum capacity of 400-500 liters filled with soft, acidic water. Size: 25-30 cm. •

Geophagus steindachneri

The redhump geophagus is a placid species which loves to burrow in the sand. After laying, the female gathers the eggs in her mouth, whence the fry emerge in 2-3 weeks, though they will dart back inside when frightened. Size: 20 cm.

Geophagus steindachneri

The redhump geophagus is a placid species which loves to burrow in the sand. After laying, the female gathers the eggs in her mouth, whence the fry emerge in 2-3 weeks, though they will dart back inside when frightened. Size: 20 cm.

CICHLIDAE: AFRICAN SPECIES

In view of their size and behavior, most of the African species require a tank of some considerable size, powerful filtration, and few plants - the latter are in any case quite rare in the natural habitats. The water should be distinctly alkaline (pH between 7.5 and 8, even higher for certain species) and hard. The best form of decor is an imitation scree offering plenty of hiding places; for the majority of species, you will also need to keep areas clear for swimming, though some prefer sandy zones. You can usually tell the males apart by their coloration. A large number of species practice mouthbrooding; the rest spawn in a cave or on a suitable surface.

Many of the Cichlids found in East African lakes are endemic, in other words, unique to the locality. The existence of localized populations sometimes gives rise to several strains of the same species, which are distinguishable by coloration.

Lake Tanganyika Cichlids Some 80-90% of Cichlids found in this lake are endemic; certain species practice mouthbrooding, the rest are substrate-spawners, i.e. lay eggs on a suitable surface or support. Some of the smaller species shelter in the empty shells of Neothauma, an aquatic gastropod.

Cyphotilapiafrontosa

The frontosa demands an aquarium containing a minimum of 400-500 liters, with a decor of rockwork. It feeds on quite large prey such as mussels or prawns. The adult males can be recognized by their bulging foreheads. Females are mouthbrooders. Size: 30 cm.

• Julidochromis dickfeldi

Dickfeld's julie can be distinguished by its background coloration, often darker than that of its cousins, and by the blue border on the fins. Size: 8 cm.

Julidochromisregani

One of the largest jul" julie or convict julie grow to 15 cm; othei species usually measure 7-9 cm. The English name derives from the four longitudinal bands. •

Julidochromistranscriptus

The three bands of the masked julie are linked by black smudges. Like other julies, J. transcriptus is rarely available commercially. Size: 8 cm.

AN AFRICAN CICHLID FOR

THE BEGINNER

The behavior of Neolamprologus brichardi (lyretail lamprologus) makes it an ideal starter fish. It lives in shoals and is gregarious, save at spawning time, when it becomes territorial. The eggs are laid on the roof of a cave which the parent fish will hollow out, sometimes under a rock. The female cares for the eggs while the male stands guard over the nest; the fry are free-swimming some 8 days after hatching.

The female can give birth again after 1 month; consequently, you may find several generations of brothers, sisters, and male and female cousins all living together. The male looks after the older ones while the female tends the youngsters. When they are a few centimeters long, even the fry join in defending the territory.

In the wild, these species feed mainly on algae and plankton, but in captivity will take small live prey. Size: 10 cm.

• Julidochromis marlieri

Marlier's julie is remarkable for its brown-and-white checkerboard patterning. Size: 10-12 cm.

Julidochromisornatus

Males and females of the ornate julie pair-boi permanent, sedate relationship, even when not spawning. They seek out areas of rock with hiding places and shelters where they can reproduce. Several hundred eggs are attached to the roof of the spawning site; the female tends them while the male defends the territory. The fry are free-swimming after 8-10 days, under the watchful eyes of the adults. J. ornatus has three longitudinal bands on a light background. Size: 8 cm. •

CICHLIDAE: LAKE TANGANYIKA SPECIES

Neolamprologus sexfasciatus

Though not particularly aggressive, N. sexfasciatus should not share a tank with smaller species. The female lays her eggs in a shelter, on the underside of the roof, with the fry not emerging till a week or so later. Size: 8-10 cm.

THE SHELL-SQUATTER

Neolamprologus brevis (the dwarf shell-dweller) is a shy, even timid species. It spawns in the empty shell of Neothauma, a snail which shares its habitat. When the fry grow to about 2 cm they seek out shells of their own. In the aquarium, you will need to provide a fine sand substrate, which you should then scatter with different-sized snail shells (edible or marine species) placed with the opening upwards. This is not an easy species of Cichlid to obtain. Size: 5 cm.

Neolamprologustetracanthus

The tetracanthus is a Cichlid which is likely to bully smaller species. It is fond of sandy areas furnished with plants -beds of Vallisneria for instance. It makes a tiny cave at the base of a rock by burrowing away the sand; the female then fixes her eggs (100-150) to the roof. Size: 1 5-18 cm.

Neolamprologusleleupi

Rather aggressive, this is a solitary dweller. The female of the lemon cichlid lays some 200 eggs in a cave hollowed out under a rock, with the fry hatching in 3 days and swimming freely a week later. Size: 8-10 cm.

• Neolamprologus tretocephalus

The five-barred cichlid is belligerent and territorial, thriving, like all species of Neolamprologus, in tanks where there is abundant rockwork and the water is changed regularly. The female lays 200-300 eggs in a cave. Size: 10 cm.

Telmatochromisbifrenatus

The striped telmat is distinguishable from its cousin T. bhchardi by the presence of an extra longitudinal stripe, but sharing a virtually identical lifestyle; the female, for example, also lays in a narrow cavity. Size: 8 cm.

Telmatochromisbrichardi

A small, gregarious species dwelling in rock zones. The female lays her eggs in a very small cave guarded by the male; the fry take several days to emerge. Its favorite food consists of live prey. Size: 8 cm. •

Tropheusmoorii

The moorii seeks out rocky zones with clear water and a supply of algae, and so requires supplements of vegetable material in captivity. The males will fight for territory. The female incubates the eggs in her mouth; as they are larger than those of other species, she can only hold a small number, around 20 at most. The coloration of juveniles differs from that of adult fish, which, in any case, varies -as does the exact shape - according to their original habitat. Size: 12 cm.

Tropheusduboisi

The blue-faced duboisi juveniles are black with a scattering of white spots which disappear when the fish reach the adult stage, leaving a transverse white band halfway along the body. T. duboisi breeds in an identical manner to T. moorii. Size: 12 cm.

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