What's new April 2000
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What's new April 2004
What's new July 2004
What's new October 2004
What's new January 2005
What's new April 2005
What's new July 2005
What's New ©by Laif DeMason

Summer is now gone, but the spiraling increases in gasoline prices remain. Petroleum products around the world now cost substantially more, thus effecting prices of other products, as well as other aspects of our lives. The costs of tropical fish collection, styrofoam boxes, and the associated shipping freight have, accordingly, slowly risen. For now most importers and wholesalers have absorbed much of these steady increases. However, dealers cannot be expected to do this for long. Many retail stores and small local jobbers have decided to buy direct, thus cutting out the normal importers and wholesalers; while the prices can be low, the handling and care in small facilities may not match in quality. Further, some cichlid dealers are willing to sell directly to hobbyists on internet auction sites, causing larger importers to drop several lines of cichlids due to lack of interest. Cichlid hobbyists are still enjoying historically low prices, but the full effects of this “streamlining” with marketing and sales has yet to be seen. 

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

Lake Tanganyika 

Wild-collected cichlids from all corners of Lake Tanganyika are available in good supply. Even collections in Congo have become almost “normal,” with at least four export companies actively collecting there. Thus, many of the species not seen in the hobby for over ten years have recently become available again. Hopefully we will start seeing some completely novel items from Congo collections sometime soon! Bred items are still plentiful and popular with cichlid hobbyists on a budget. 

what's new: Lake Tanganyika

Collected in northern Congo, Cyprichromis microlepidotus Kabembe sports yellow body hues along with violet finnage. 

Originally from southern Congo, Neolamprologus nigriventris is infrequently available from breeders. 

A solid yellow male Cyprichromis leptosoma Jumbo from Mbita Island, Zambia. 

Xenotilapia spilopterus from Nsumbu, Zambia sports a black dorsal fin line rather than the usual oblong spot. 

Lake Malawi

Several novel items have appeared in recent shipments of wild cichlids from Malawi. As the four or five Tanzanian cichlid export companies continue to harvest at most points around the lake, regardless of country, Malawi exporters are forced to “dig up” something a little different to attract more sales. Importers and hobbyists alike seem to enjoy a change of pace from time to time. Florida cichlid farms and other breeders have their full production for this season in hand now; thus, selection is good.

what's new: Lake Malawi


Occasionally seen and collected, this yellowish “marmalade cat” (i.e., OB male) Labeotropheus fuelleborni is from Katale Island, Malawi. 

Found in Monkey Bay, Malawi, a new peacock formerly known as “yellow collar,” Aulonocara sp. Msasa. Photo by A. Konings. 

Newly exported from Chitande Island, Malawi, Aulonocara stuartgranti is similar to the Chilumba variety, but is typically much larger. Photo by A. Konings. 

Exported more than once in the past (with incorrect females), Aulonocara sp. chitande-type “yellow head” is found in deep waters around Nkhata Bay, Malawi. Photo by A. Konings. 

Lake Victoria / Madagascar

Lake Victoria cichlid fans are eager for new items, but still endure the long dry spell since the last exports of wild material nearly ten years ago. The explosion of new species imported during the late eighties to the mid-nineties has long since stopped. Bred material is the only fare available now. Many of the cichlid species from the Tanzanian shores of Lake Victoria (and studied by the Dutch biologists) have also been incorporated into the hobby by breeders for some time now. Hobbyists eagerly await any news of new activity. Unfortunately, I have none to report at this time. 

West Africa

Many cichlid hobbyists are trying their hand at the new flush of species from the exporting countries of West Africa. Many species are much smaller and require specialized water chemistry, creating a good challenge for cichlid fans that are keen on breeding. Unfortunately, most species are not yet widely-available from bred sources; hopefully, this situation will soon change. In the mean time, wild-caught items are seasonally available. 

what's new: West Africa


ERRATUM: Pictured in April 2005 as Thysochromis ansorgii, this fish is actually Pelmatochromis nigrofasciatus from the DR Congo; pictured here again! 

Rarely imported from Guinea, Tilapia brevimanus can grow to a fairly large size in the aquarium. 


Cichlids from the Americas are available from many sources. Unlike the newer West African species, a large number of varieties are available from captive-raised stocks. Many dwarf “Apistos,” discus, and others cichlids are actively offered as bred items. Of course, wild-caught items are also regularly imported, thus making available a very wide range of Neotropical species.

what's new: Neotropics


Imported regularly from Brazil, Crenicichla menezesi (here, a female) are available in retail stores. Photo by K. Duelund. 

Originally from Peru, Apistogramma sp. “twin” (here, a male) is closely related to Ap. nijsseni. Photo by U. Römer.

From the Rio Tapajos in Brazil, Dicrossus sp. Itaituba is a recently-imported dwarf species. Photo by O. Lucanus.

Exhibited in the recent ACA show as a wild form, this Symphysodon discus appears similar to the Alenquer type. 

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