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April 18, 2014

Good day, friends! While I know cichlids don’t intrigue everyone, we just received a wide array of Tanganyikan cichlids – if you’ve been following us for a while, you’ve probably noticed that it’s been hard for us to get new Tangs lately, so this is a rare treat and I wanted to make sure to highlight some of our most interesting fish, both wild and tank raised specimens, as well as two species of Tanganyikan catfish.

While not particularly unusual, the fact that we’ve gotten wild specimens of Altolamprologus calvus “Black” is absolutely remarkable. The Altolamprologus genus contains only a handful of species but numerous color morphs exist of each, much like with other Rift Lake cichlids. The most common species are A. calvus and A. compressiceps. A. calvus has a slow, gentle slope in its face with a highly pointed snout and a deep, very narrow body for slipping between rocks. Most common Altolamprologus species are peaceful and non-territorial dwellers of rocky outcrops. The fish form pairs while breeding and will care for their young in an empty snail shell or sea shell, but return to their solitary nature between spawns. Altolamprologus species are comparatively shy and wary of large predators but have amazing defense – their flank scales are particularly strong and thick and, when threatened, they will curve their sides towards the threat, protecting their head and tail. Care is similar to other Tanganyikans – provide many rocks for hiding places and safe areas, preferably over a rocky substrate, and a handful of shells if you wish to spawn these species. These are absolutely stunning wild-caught fish– they’ve come in large, healthy, and plump.

Altolamprologus calvus Black

Another of our wild offerings is Spathodus erythrodon “Burundi”, a goby-like algae eating cichlid. These fish are a beautiful dark chocolate brown to black with a regular patterning of brilliant blue dots. Their underslung mouths house cylindrically-shaped teeth designed to scrape algae from rocks. S. erythrodon is a bit unique amongst fish as it is a biparental mouthbrooder – for the first ten or so days of incubation, the female broods the eggs. She passes the eggs to the male for the second half of the spawning cycle. Established pairs tend to stay together even when not spawning. These are really awesome, unusual-looking fish and worthy of a place in the home of any Tanganyikan fan.

Spathodus erythrodon

While not wild, our new beautiful Callochromis pleurospilus “Flame Rainbow” are just as worthy of being mentioned in this list. These gorgeous little sand-sifting cichlids have elongate bodies and large heads with very prominent eyes – this aligns with their preference for shallow waters with resulting good visibility. The males are brilliantly colored with red and white striped dorsal fins and white striped caudal fins and yellow rimmed anal and ventral fins. Their flanks shimmer with rainbow iridescence creating a brilliant show. Females are vivid silver with little to none of the rainbow coloration of the males. One fascinating fact to me is that this species builds wonderful sand-castle nests that the males form to attract their mates – a round, raised platform of sand is constructed to attract the attention of the female who, after spawning, broods their fry in her mouth. Meaty foods such as insect larvae, small snails and other invertebrates sifted from the sand will keep C. pleurospilus in excellent condition.

Callochromis pleurospilus

Now, we received one very, very, very interesting fish this week. There is little to no information available on this beautiful and unusual fish aside from its freshwater habitat in Thailand and Indonesia and a maximum length of about eleven inches and the fact it is considered to be a predatory fish. However, take a peek at our beautiful Polynemus multifilis “Paradise Threadfin” – I’ve rarely seen a fish that looks this unusually gorgeous.

Polynemus multifilis

Thanks for reading, folks, and I’ll see you back here next week.

Jessica Supalla