What's new April 2000
What's new July 2000
What's new October 2000
What's new January 2001
What's new April 2001
What's new July 2001
What's new October 2001
What's new January 2002
What's new April 2002
What's new July 2002
What's new October 2002
What's new January 2003
What's new April 2003
What's New ©by Laif DeMason

Summer is upon us, and the last few months have been interesting. Cichlid-collecting activities worldwide have been enhanced by a gradual increase in demand over the last year. Exporters have found new items to ship: some new species; some hard to collect species; and some just never shipped before. Hobbyists are re-examining the hundreds of cichlid varieties available and visiting different selections, usually from groups that may have faded from recent popularity. The wonderful attraction of these fascinating fishes is that there are so many different kinds and varieties. We will always continue to try the next groups of cichlids, and never run out of cichlids to keep! On top of this huge selection, those cichlid groups that were once “old hat,” will roll back around and become “new” again. Enjoy!

Here’s “what’s new” on the cichlid scene:

Lake Tanganyika 

Cichlid exports have been strong from all the usual places around Lake Tanganyika, except Congo. Difficulties there have stemmed the flow from there recently. Zambia has been shipping to many importers, as there is keen competition from there, making supplies of Zambian cichlids plentiful. One often wonders if all the same collecting sites are being visited by the many exporters. Tanzania exporters from the north around Kigoma have been able to increase regular supplies due to better logistics. 

what's new: Lake Tanganyika

Exported from Nsumbu (Zambia), one of the many blue varieties of Cyphotilapia frontosa is sold as “silver blue” or “fluorescent” in name.

Altolamprologus compressiceps “black” can be found in many places along the central Tanzanian (and Congo) coasts.

Recently exported, this variety of Lamprologus brevis, reportedly from Ikola, is a shell-dwelling cichlid.

Karilani Island in Tanzania is known for a beautiful orange-colored population of Neolamprologus leleupi.

Lake Malawi

Shipments from Malawi and Tanzania are of good quality, as are some items from Mozambique. Competition in Malawi has driven collectors (both old and new) to collect and ship special fishes that are difficult to find or are incidental in nature. Trickles of specialty items are arriving in the United States and Europe, some not seen for many years, albeit at a price! 

what's new: Lake Malawi


From several places in Tanzania, Nyassachromis sp. ‘blue’ are collected in the north from Itungi south to Kirondo.

Exported seasonally, Rhamphochromis macrophthalmus is noted for its bright yellow ventral fins.

From Undu Point southwards, Copadichromis sp. “azueus midnight” may be a jumbo “Kawanga” type.

A very incidental arrival, Melanochromis labrosus trickles in only on the rare occasion.  Photo by T. Koziol.

Sold under different names such as Ps. “shauri” or “black-top zebra”, this form has now been described as Metriaclima phaeos; a male is pictured here (the female is orange-beige).

Almost never exported from the wild at Lions Cove (Malawi), the yellow Labidochromis has been shipped!  Just think that the hundreds of thousands of yellow labidos sold previously were all descendants of a single pair exported in the early 1980s. 

Lake Victoria

Not much news to report from the Victoria basin. There is renewed talk from Uganda fisheries consultants about encouraging ornamental fish exports; however, actual exports may be much farther off. Now is the time to take stock of what varieties hobbyists do have, so when new items arrive, they can be carefully established. 

what's new: Lake Victoria


Pictured here is a small ‘Haplochromis’ species sporting an elongate body and a red tail, collected near Jinja (Uganda) in 1989, but never seen since.

Exported around 1994 from Kenya but never established in the hobby, a large, solid-gold species of ‘Haplochromis’ has been seen by this author only once.


Cichlids from Madagascar and India have peeked interest in many hobbyists recently. There are several species available from specialty breeders, and a new reference book as well.

what's new: Madagascar/India


From Madagascar, several northern populations of Ptychochromis, including the ones from Nosy Bé, are now all considered the same species.

A rare chromide, Etroplus canarensis, is a third species from the Indian subcontinent, related to the Malagasy cichlids.  Photo by J. Rapps.


Supplies of New World cichlids from South American exporters and other breeders are strong. Geophagines, dwarf cichlids, and discus seem to be the long time favorites. The varieties from commercial sources seem to be on the rise and consistent in availability.

what's new: Neotropics


From Mexico, the Escondido variety of Herichthys carpintis has a beautiful large-spot color pattern.  Photo by J. Rapps.

From Rio Tapajos (Brazil), a juvenile Crenicichla sp. ‘Tapajos I’. Also called “red Tapajos pike,” the adults become fire-engine red, and females sport a white submarginal band.  Photo by J. Rapps.

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