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March 2012 Aquarium Fish International Editor's Note

Giving Cichlidphiles Something to Cheer About

By Clay Jackson |

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There are those who think that keeping cichlids, especially colorful Rift Lake varieties, is the height of freshwater fishkeeping. Of course, catfish aficionados and others might beg to differ. Whether you keep, have kept, never have and never will, or if you will keep cichlids in the future, you must agree that cichlids — whether African or popular South American species — are attention-grabbing fish. And they are best-served with biotope aquariums that try to re-create their native haunts, even down to mimicking an Amazonian stream with overgrown bankside vegetation and tea-colored water, or the rocky underwater shelves and hard water of an African Rift Lake. See Rick and Tamela Biro’s “Create a Safari in Your Tank” on the particulars of creating a Lake Tanganyika (the world’s second deepest lake and home to more than 250 species of cichlids) biotope aquarium.

But our special cichlid issue doesn’t stop there. There are two additional cichlid features and several columns devoted to these iconic fish.
Wolfgang Staeck, Ph.D., a renowned cichlid expert, contributes two fascinating breeding pieces on two cichlid genera. In “Breeding Julies,” Staeck discusses cooperative fry raising among members of Lake Tanganyika’s Julidochromis genus. These cichlids make it easy on hobbyists, in that they do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to raising their fry to fend-for-themselves sizes. In “A Breeding Challenge: Checkerboard Cichlids," Staeck contributes a piece on the five Dicrossus species, aka checkerboard cichlids; these South American dwarf cichlids are difficult to keep — let alone breed — in aquaria, but Staeck walks the reader through all of the husbandry and breeding intricacies involved with the genus. Hopefully the wisdom that Staeck imparts will help to ensure success among adventuresome cichlidkeepers with the chops, desire and willingness to see a Dicrossus breeding project through.

The AFI editors hope you not only enjoy this issue that pays homage to these magnificent fish, but we hope you are sufficiently challenged by what you read in these articles and columns and that you might be spurred on to the next level in your cichlidkeeping journey.

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March 2012 Aquarium Fish International Editor's Note

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