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What's new July 2004
What's new October 2004
What's new January 2005
What's new April 2005
What's New ©by Laif DeMason

Summer is upon us and interest in cichlid keeping is still strong. Over the last few months, several regional cichlid meetings have had good attendance, with more local hobbyists proving their interest. Many hobbyists belong to local cichlid club Internet “chat rooms” and are active in this manner. Some of the “old timer” cichlid hobbyists are accepting speaking invitations, helping to stimulate the hobby with new information from different speakers. However, almost all hobbyists have had some interesting experiences or observations. The most important thing is to record these observations — all fish keepers can write articles! Sit down and let us know what and how your fish keep you interested. Give it a try, it’s part of cichlid enjoyment! 

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

Lake Tanganyika 

Interest in Tanganyika fishes seems to be stronger over the recent several months.  Collections from all around Lake Tanganyika are currently taking place.  Most all of the Congo shoreline (including the northern section) is now being collected, making fish from all the lake regions once again accessible to hobbyists; the last time this situation occurred was over a decade ago!  Congo exports are currently being funneled through both Zambia and Tanzania, along with their own national varieties.  

what's new: Lake Tanganyika

Reportedly from southern Congo, Neolamprologus leleupi “black chin” lacks the solid orange coloration, but is an interesting new variety.  

Caught in eastern Zambia, Julidochromis marlieri Katoto is the most southerly occurring form of this species.  

Also hailing from southern Congo, Eretmodus cyanostictus Kapampa sports blue points and partial yellow bars.  

Exported from central Tanzania, Xenotilapis spilopterus Magambo possesses shiny points covering its body.  

Found in many places in Zambia, Callochromis macrops Chisanse males develop a very nice dark dress with light chin spotting while breeding.   

Developed in Burundi from a genetic morph, Tropheus sp. “Kaiser gold” sports a nearly solid gold coloration, unlike the Kiriza Kaiser variety.  Photo by M. Lillie.

Lake Malawi

Wild collections from most of the areas around Lake Malawi are stable and fairly brisk.  Some newer collectors are doubling their efforts in the region, casting doubts as to whether or not there is a great enough demand worldwide to actually support the increased harvesting.  With traditional methods being used by more divers, exporters are forced to move into areas where fewer fishes can be harvested by hand, thus rendering more effort per catch.  Economic profitability will certainly move some exporters to the sidelines, as we have seen in the past.  Bred items from elsewhere are still in good supply.  

what's new: Lake Malawi


Many of the smaller Cynotilapia varieties are very popular; here, C. axelrodi is one such species sought by small mbuna fans.  Photo A. Konings.

Occasionally exported from Tanzania, Tramitichromis intermedius is sporadically available.  

Found sporadically in the extreme northern sections of Malawi, Placidochromis phenochilus Mdoka is sought by some collectors.

Selectively bred from the “opal” variety, this male Labeotropheus trewavasae can exhibit strong red markings when fed rich color foods.

Lake Victoria / Madagascar

There is no change in the status of availability for Lake Victoria basin fishes. The best sources are still specialty breeders, and the same is true for Madagascar cichlids. Care must be taken as some buyers have reported that some Victorian fish (or, worse, unidentifiable fish) are being sold under incorrect names. It is important to ask to compare fish to photos from known sources before purchases. Old issues of Cichlid News magazines may be of help here. Buyers must beware!  

Lake Victoria/Madagscar


Available from breeders, “Haplochromis” nyererei  red head from Zue Island, Tanzania.  Photo by O. Seehausen.

Originally from Madagascar and in demand by some hobbyists, the Madagascan Paratilapia sp. “small spot” is often sold as P. polleni from bred sources.   

West Africa

The rainy season has begun in most countries of West Africa, making collection and, thus, exports fewer. Still, there is interest in these cichlids and more information is now available to hobbyists who want to try their hands at these newer varieties.

what's new: West Africa


One of the more colorful chromidotilapiines, Chromidotilapia guntheri loennbergii  is collected in and around Lake Barombi-ba-Kotto in Cameroon.  Photo by A. Bornstein. 

Collected seasonally in Cameroon, Benitochromis batesi Ntem, or “red fin,” is recognized by the red dorsal fin margin.  Photo by O. Lucanus.


Seasonal changes in South American countries affect availability.  The rains have begun, and export selection had decreased.  Tank-raised items from breeders that specialize in Neotropical cichlids are often sold through the normal importers and wholesalers of these fishes, generating a greater number of choices.  Even wider selections of discus fish are being offered from the Far East.  No telling if this means that strain names will ever “standardize” in the near future.  

what's new: Neotropics


Many varieties of Apistogramma cacatuoides are being bred, this one exhibits a contrasting black and white body coloration.

One of the many forms of the pigeon blood strain of Symphysodon discus, sporting a solid body coloration with few white spots. 

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