Dear Cichlid friends, thank you for your enthusiastic response on my recently posted photos of the SHALLOW WATER OF KIPILLI. For this, I edit a small movie, from that location with the same title. This recording achieved about to a depth of up to two meters. I hope you find in these images even more inspiration to decorate your aquarium as well as possible for our beloved cichlids, so that they have an optimally simulated natural habitat. I do not know if some of you have such a large aquarium to mimic in a sunken boat , but there are some shots taken at the end of the movie to give you an idea how much life around it is located. I hope you enjoy watch in HD.
Above: Apistogramma bitaeniata “Rio Tigre"Male. Photo by Mario Toromanovic. See video below.
Apistogramma bitaeniata is one of the hundreds of described or not yet described dwarf cichlid species from South America. The main characterisitcs of Apistogramma bitaeniata are two abdominal bands, highly extended anterior spines and a double tipped caudal fin in males. The common name for this Apisto is the “Banded dwarf cichlid”. Apistogramma bitaeniata was first described by Pellegrin in 1936. Over the years, many type localities have been found in the black water rivers of the Amazon basin in Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Males from different localities sport diverse colors, ranging from yellow, blue and— less frequently— red. The females do not show interesting finnage. Females are smaller, around 2-1/2 inches, while males can grow up to 3-1/2 inches.
Etimology: Apisto = irregular or unreliable + gramma = line, means the lateral line is often reduced. So the author supposes that the lateral line is formed weakly or irregularly. bi = latin for two and taeniatus = with bands, also latin for two irregular lateral lines.
The distribution area for Apistogramma bitaeniata “Rio Tigre”is Rio Tigre River, which is a Peruvian tributary of the Maranon River, west of the Nanay River. Fish are found and collected in slower moving tributaries, small streams and creeks where fallen leaf litter collects, or under cover of submersed plants.
Apistogramma bitaeniata is relatively easy to care for and house. Being a dwarf cichlid, you don't need a very big tank. A ten gallon or larger tank is recommended for trio, while five gallon tank is more than big enough for a single pair. Softer water (reverse osmosis or distilled) is a must and you should maintain tank temperatures of 76 to 82F.
Because these fish are found in shallow slow moving water, strong flowing filtration should be avoided. A sponge filter with slow-moving air bubbles should keep water movement at a minimum. Fairly dim lighting is recommended, which in my case was due to a heavy layer of floating plants, so very little light was transmitted.
Feeding wild caught fish can be problematic. I was lucky that my wild caught Apistogramma bitaeniata had already transitioned and were readily accepting prepared food, such as flakes and pellets. They loved frozen food such as daphnia and brine shrimp. I really enjoy watching them hunt live black worms and baby brine shrimp.
I obtained two juvenile wild caught pairs of Apistogramma bitaeniata “Rio Tigre”from Ted Judy at TedsFishroom.com. I placed both pairs in ten gallon heavily planted tank which offered many caves and hiding spaces. Once the fish settled in their new environment, a dominant male began ruling the tank and paired up with one of the females. At that point, I put divider in the tank to separate two pairs.
A few weeks later, after heavy feeding, I noticed the dominant male courting and chasing a female. The female’s plum-colored belly shone and the male colored up even nicer than before. Soon after, the pair spawned depositing over a hundred bright red eggs on the ceiling of small cichlid cave.
The female remained inside the cave fanning and guarding the eggs while the male stayed nearby chasing away a few Endlers livebearers that I had in the tank as a dither fish. Three days later the eggs hatched, and they were moved by the female from the ceiling to the floor of the same cave.
The fry began free swimming nine days after hatching limiting their movement to inside the cave. Later, they began moving outside the cave under close guard of both parents. At this point, I began feeding live baby brine shrimp twice a day.
Oddly, the very next day, the male chased the female away from the fry and started caring for the fry on his own. He was a very good father and took care of the fry for almost a month until I pulled fry for grow out in a separate tank.
Apistogramma bitaeniata “Rio Tigre”is not a fish you would find at your local pet shop. They are not bred commercially,but you can expect juveniles which may be available from hobbyists to go for $8 to $10 each.
Above Chromidotilapia kingsleyae Male. Photo by Mario Toromanovic. Video below.
Chromidotilapia kingsleyae is a Western Africa cichlid that was first described by Boulenger in 1892. Body coloration is primarily brownish, with the ventral regions more lightly coloured than the dorsal regions. This is a large fish and males can reach a maximum length of 7 inches and females can reach 5.5 inches, making it (possibly) the largest species in the genus.
Etymology: Chromis = from chroma ( Greek ) color + Thiape = African native for perch like fish, kingsleyae = dedicated to the British explorer Mary Kingsley ( 1862 – 1900 ), who collected several species of fish in the area.
Chromidotilapia kingsleyae is found in Western and central parts of Gabon, the Ogooue River and more southern regions near Franceville. Specimens are collected in both fast and slow flowing waters. It was observed that actual body shape can very; fish from rapidly flowing water are more slender than ones from slower moving waters who are more deep-bodied. (Anton Lamboj, "The Cichlid Fishes of Western Africa".)
Keeping Chromidotilapia kingsleyae does not present many problems. Because they are omnivorous sand sifters in the nature, I furnished my tank with fine sand substrate. I also put in some rocks and caves for shelter and hiding places. Water was straight Lake Michigan tap water which had pH around 7.5. I kept temperature at around 78 degrees and performed 30% weekly water change.
In the nature Chromidotilapia kingsleyae feeds mainly on smaller particles, like small insects and their larvae. However, small crustaceans and algae are also ingested. My tank raised specimens readily accepted prepared food, such as flakes and pellets. They loved frozen food such as daphnia, mysis and brine shrimp, and I enjoy watching them feed on live black worms, or sifting thru the sand after baby brine shrimp.
I obtained six Chromidotilapia kingsleyae fry which fellow club member Jason Libasci turned in as a BAP ( Breeding Award Program ) submission. The fish were around one inch long and sixty days old and were direct descendants of the Chromidotilapia kingsleyae that Ted Judy collected on his collecting trip in Gaboon in 2011.
I kept my new fry in ten gallon tank for a few months, then move them to twenty gallon and finally to forty gallon breeder tank, when they were just around one year old. In this tank, about two months later, I noticed a male and a female hanging out together and soon after they spawned.
Chromidotilapia kingsleyae is an ovophilic or delayed mouthbrooder, which means that after the male fertilizes the eggs, the female picks them up and incubates them in her mouth. I was lucky to witness the whole process and capture it on video (see video below ). After spawning, the pair went their separate ways. The female incubate the eggs remaining staying solitary and hidden for about two weeks.
I usually like to have the parents rear their fry and even leave fry with parents as long as possible. In this case, I stripped the female after fifteen days because I was worred that she wouldn't be able to defend her fry after release. At the point that I stripped the fry, they were fully developed and free swimming, and ready to accept newly hatched baby brine shrimps as their first food.
Chromidotilapia kingsleyae is not a fish you would find at your local pet shop. Fortunateyly, many cichlid hobbyists like and keep this fish. Your best bet would be to place wanted ad in the GCCA Classified, or look for it via the internet. If you could find it, I would expect juvenile fish to go for $10-15 range.