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May 16, 2014

Good day, my friends!

I’m frequently asked by concerned fishkeepers about our quarantine process for fish, often followed by the question of whether or not they should quarantine our fish before adding them to their established aquaria. So to clarify and also emphasize our own value of healthy fish: whenever we receive new fish, they are kept in quarantine for at least seven days, though we may hold them longer if they need it. When medications are needed, the fish receive the full treatment before leaving quarantine. No fish are removed from quarantine and placed on sale until they are plump, healthy, and active.

Of course, this still leaves the question of whether or not to quarantine our fish, since we’ve already done so. While not strictly necessary with our fish as they have been held long enough for any communicable diseases to be identified and eliminated, it is never a bad idea to quarantine your new pets. This will allow them time to recover from the stress of their journey, whether from our storefront to your home in our local area or from our Online Sales department to any part of the country.
If you obtain fish from more than one source, they may have developed different tolerances to common issues and one group may be carriers of some of these problems – a frequent example of this is ich or whitespot. The stress of shipping can greatly lower a fish’s immune system, just like stress lowers the immune systems of us humans, and they can pick up these issues from your established fish even when the established fish show no signs of illness.

If you don’t have the space to keep quarantine tanks up and running at all times, an excellent alternative to a fragile and heavy glass aquarium is a clear Rubbermaid-type bin. Made of nonreactive plastic and often with a lid included, large volume tubs are relatively inexpensive, especially compared to aquaria, and their plastic lids are easily cut to create gaps for cords, tubing and filters. They are often not suitable for hang-on-back filters due to shape, but an inexpensive sponge filter is perfect for a quarantine setup. Combine this with an adjustable heater and your quarantine tank is ready to go – and ready to stow when your quarantine period is over and the fish finally enter their new home.

Now that I’ve spoken extensively on quarantine procedures, it’s time for the fish. In my attempts to familiarize myself with the vast family of cichlids, I stumbled upon some beautiful images of Cyprichromis a couple of years ago. I was immediately taken by these elegantly shaped and brilliantly colored schooling cichlids. Of course, we didn’t have any adult specimens at the time and, indeed, we haven’t had any of this fish for some time. Luckily, we’ve just gotten stock of two beautiful varieties of CyprichromisC. leptosoma “Chituta” and C. leptosoma “Katete”.   As with many unique fish, I’ve had a bit of trouble finding very specific information on these fish and conflicting reports assign both fish to different species than leptosoma. The “Chituta” type is noted for having a brown body overlain with yellow and blue, brilliant iridescent blue over the top of their head and snout, and electric blue patterned dorsal and anal fins. Their ventrals are marked in white and their tails, as with most Cyprichromis species, can be either yellow or blue.

CyprichromisleptosomaChituta

C. leptosoma “Katete” seems to have a more brightly colored body than that of the Chituta, often displaying brilliant yellow over the belly and cheeks fading to a blue tone over their tail. Their dorsal and anal fins are blue and riddled with deep black markings and thick white edges. Again their tails may be yellow or blue-black like their fins; we’ll not be sure on the tail color of either of these fish until they are mature. Cyprichromis species are very popular additions to the Tanganyikan aquarium, as their somewhat shy and skittish nature seems to make them the perfect dither for other cichlids from the lake. Their brilliant color and tendency to prefer the upper levels of the aquarium helps as well, considering the preference of many Tanganyikan species from the substrate or rocky crevices in the home aquarium.

CyprichromisleptosomaKatete

To accompany your Cyprichromis species, consider perhaps Enantiopus kilesa, a lovely substrate dweller covered lips to tail in iridescent blues and violets with a brilliant yellow chin and black lower fins. The males of this sand-sifting species build complex ‘sand castle’ nests and use their brilliant iridescence to attract females to spawn. These beautiful elongate cichlids grow to about six inches in length and males begin to show their true coloration at 2.5-3 inches.

EnantiopusspKilesa

Thank you all for reading and, for those of you who are fans of Anthony’s photography, we’ve been working hard to expand our image library on Pinterest – be sure to head over and check it out!

Jessica Supalla