What's New ©by Laif DeMason

Interest in cichlid-keeping has taken another jump forward! Spotty shortages in several varieties of small Florida-raised mbuna have been reported. Such shortages in "bread and butter" mbuna have not ocurred since 1993, suggesting a recent surge in cichlid buying at the beginners level. Further, shortages from certain export areas have contributed to an increase in demand for several items. This is not to say that demand is evenly distributed across all groups of cichlids. Interest levels for several groups of cichlids are still in the doldrums. However, the news overall is good - more beginners' interest will translate to more cichlid hobbyists! And, as for the varieties that interest newcomers, as the old adage says: "What goes around, comes around". The next challenge is for advanced hobbyists, retailers, and cichlid clubs to keep these beginners in the hobby! 

Here's "what's new" on the cichlid scene: 

Lake Tanganyika 

Collections and exports have been fairly regular from the normal areas. Some problems have produced irregular shipments from Zambia, leading to shortages on some items. Rebel activity in the Congo has spilled into several neighboring countries, limiting some collections in western Zambia. However some daring collectors from other countries have ventured into isolated areas along the coastline in the Congo. 

what's new: Lake Tanganyika

Collected in Zambia, this Cyatho- pharynx furcifer "orange head" has been regularly exported of late with C. furcifer "green." Photo by T. Koziol.

From southern Tanzania, Cyprichromis leptosoma "tricolor" is a jumbo variety first collected in the early 1990s. Photo by T. Koziol. 

Bred in small numbers in Burundi, the so-called "Kissi" variety of Julido- chromis transcriptus has shown some increase in demand. Photo by T. Koziol.

From the Congo north of Moliro, Tropheus moorii "Liuva" is one of a few red-throated varieties that has been collected by Zambian divers. Photo by A. Konings.

Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi Seasonal rains have begun and have been particularly heavy in some parts of Lake Malawi. Exports, however, remain strong, though shortages have occurred in bred fishes. Rare predator haplochromines and Aulonocara (peacock) varieties at a large size seem to have captured hobbyists' interests, whereas small-sized bred mbunas are also being sought recently

what's new: Lake Malawi


Infrequently collected from extreme northern Tanzania, Copadichromis sp. "verduyni pale blue" has arrived again.

Also from the north in Tanzania, Cynotilapia afra "yellow blaze" has previously been sold as "yellow bee afra". 

Usually found over sand, Pseudotropheus (Tropheops) sp. "weed" from Lupingu (Tanzania) exhibits pastel markings on the head.

An occasional export from Malawi, Otopharynx chrysogaster or "Malawi's Jack Dempsey" currently has the interest of Malawi predator fans. Photo by A. Konings.

Exported decades ago, the original Protomelas spilonotus, or the Malawi sulferhead hap (not to be confused with the blue-orange Tanzanian form) has been revived by Florida farmers. Photo by T. Koziol.

The first peacock variety exported in the 1970s, Aulonocara sp. "Maclear regal" is being revived by Florida breeders.


Finally!! Promises of exporters are being realized as some of the first wild-caught cichlids from the Lake Victorian basin have been received. Reports of collections from "troubled waters" in Uganda and Tanzania are welcome news for the enthusiasts of these fishes. Hopefully, new varieties will be forthcoming as unexplored islands and other areas are surveyed.

what's new: Lake Victoria


From Uganda, Haplochromis sp. "tomato red" has helped to break the ice on the Victorian restriction freeze!

From Kome Island (Uganda), Haplochromis sp. "lemon jumbo" sports a purple dorsum and yellow flanks.

West Africa 

Regular and seasonal exports remain high for Cameroon, Congo, Guinea, and Nigeria. Hobbyists welcome a new look at some infrequent exports, as well as color variants of some "dwarf"cichlids.

what's new: West Africa


Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Kienke gold" is one of the many colorful dwarf varieties from Cameroon.

Exported from Guinea, this Hemichromis "savannah jewel" is one of the many varieties available from there.


Collectors and adventurer-hobbyists continue to push back the frontiers in many areas of South America, resulting in river-specific varieties of certain popular forms. Geophagines, Apistogramma, discus, pike cichlids, and other species are all available.

what's new: Neotropics


Currently traded among specialty hobbyists, Aequidens metae is a site-specific novelty. 

From the Tocantins in Brazil, Laetacara sp. is available in limited quantities. Photo by J. Rapps.

return to index


Date of last update: May 29, 2000

Copyright © 2000 Aquatic Promotions, Inc. All rights reserved.