Tuesday, January 2, 2007


Because of the introduced nile perch and water hyacinth, deforestation causing siltation of water, and overfishing, many species of Lake Victoria cichlids have been wiped out or drastically reduced in the wild. Thankfully, the myriad of satellite lakes surrounding Lake Victoria have not been affected, and harbor a vast array of similar species.

Some cichlids have been found to hybridise with closely related species quite readily, both in the wild and under artificial conditions.[23] This is not particularly unusual, having been observed among other groups of fishes, such as European cyprinids.[24] What is unusual is the extent to which cichlid hybrids have been put to commercial use, in particular as fast-growing food fish and as aquarium fish.[25][26] A notable hybrid, known as blood parrot cichlid, has caused controversy among aquarium enthusiasts. Some has called the fish "the Frankenstein monster of the fish world." [27]

Cichlid keeping aquarists tend to divide cichlids into groups based on regions such as Central America, South America, Madagascar and India, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Malawi and Lake Victoria. Others divide the cichlids using the combination of geographical, taxonomical, and behavioral criteria. Some notable groups resulting from this type of categorizing are the mbunas, haplochromines, dwarf cichlids, and shell dwellers.
Cichlids from Lake Tanganyika were first collected by German hobbyists during the 1930's. However, it was during the 1970s and 80s that the cichlids from lakes Tanganyika and Malawi began to become popular aquarium fishes. This trend continues to the present unabated.
Perhaps the most commonly encountered species in retail aquariums is Pterophyllum scalare from the Amazon River basin in tropical South America, known in the trade as the "angelfish". Other cichlids commonly stocked by retail aquaria include:

1 comment:

trahira said...

I liked your article. Having been a biology student with emphasis on fish and a naturalist, the situation with the Nile perch has puzzled me. The only possible reason for the Nile Perch to be a problem (other than as a carrier of disease) is that it is being under utilized as a fishery. Increase the utilization and the Nile perch population with fall to a point that will allow for recovery of the other species. It is to the advantage of countries bordering the rift lakes that species retain their diversity since this is also a source of needed income.
Best wishes & GOD bless
Tommy Blansett