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Jason Libasci wins GCCA Aquarist of the Year

On Sunday, GCCA President Shawn Kopinski awarded GCCA's coveted "Aquarist of the Year" award to Jason Libasci.

Each year, we recognize a club member who has gone above and beyond. Jason Libasci is one of our newer members, but he has contributed in a big way with his work on GCCA's website, recruiting speakers and organizing activities.

Did we mention that Jason missed being "Breeder of the Year" by just one spawn? For his help and dedication to our club and the cichlid hobby . . . congratulations, Jason!

Jason LIbasci wins 2012 GCCA Aquarist of the Year
Shawn Kopinski (Left) and Jason Libasci (Right). Nice plaque, Jack!

Lamprologus meleagris

 Lamprologus meleagris Male

Above Lamprologus meleagris Male. Photo by Mario Toromanovic. Video below.

General

Lamprologus meleagris is substrate-spawning shell dweller found in Lake Tanganyika in Central Congo  coast south of Kalemie. This fish has a grey body with brown splotches along its flanks. The underside can also show tinges of purple and there is a touch of a blue near the mouth. The flanks are speckled with a scattering of pearly spots which gives them their common name Pearly Ocellatus. Females are slightly smaller than the males and their colors are not as intense.

There is some debate as to the actual scientific name for this speech. There is a distinct possibility that this fish is Lamprologus stappersi (Pellegrin 1927).  Lamprologus stappersi was named for a South African doctor who collected the fish and died in WWI.

The following is an exact quote from the book Tanganyikan Cichlids in their Natural Habitat by Ad Konings:
"When Buscher (1991) described L. meleagris he pointed out that it differed very little from L. stappersi, but that type locality of the latter species was about 100 km further north of L. meleagris, which at that time, was known only from the near Bwassa (65 km south of Moba).  Later he also recorded L. meleagris from Kalemie, where it was found in the river mouth (Buscher, 1998).  The holotype of L. stappersi was collected near Mpala, in or near a river.  This locality lies between Moba and Kalemie, and it seems very unlikely that such similar forms, both found on muddy bottoms near river mouths, are not conspecific.  Although it is agreed that L. stappersi was initially poorly described, Buscher has re-described this species, and there is no doubt that L. meleagris is synonymous with L. stappersi, originally described by Pellegrin in 1927." 

Habitat

The fish inhabits a wide variety of biotopes. They live in flowing as well as in stagnant water bodies and appear to be fairly tolerant regarding hardness and pH.

Care

Lamprologus meleagris is not difficult to care for, assuming you can provide suitable water quality.  Because of their size ( up to 2.5 inches, females are bit smaller ) they don’t require large tanks. I kept two pairs in ten gallon tank. It is important to provide plenty of empty shells and a fine sand substrate is appreciated since they this fish loves to dig. I performed 30% water changes in their tank every four days. Tank temperature was maintained at 79° and pH of 7.6.. 

Feeding

Lamprologus meleagris  is found on the coastline over sandy areas in and near empty snail shells. Lake Tanganyika has very hard and alkaline water— pH range of 7.5 to 8.0 and a dH range of 12.0 to 15.0.

Breeding

The first signs of breeding behavior in my Lamprologus meleagris occurred when one of the females began cleaning an empty shell. During this time, the male hovered nearby making sure no other fish came close. Soon thereafter, the female almost completely buried the shell in the sand, leaving only narrow opening.

Spawning for Lamprologus meleagris is a secretive affair and I didn't even realize that it had actually taken place. Over the next ten to twelve days, the female closely guarded the shell while the male stayed close by. Since these fish are secretive cave spawners, you won’t know when the larvae have hatched. For this reason, I fed live baby brine shrimp from the first signs of breeding on.

Evenutally, I noticed a whole bunch of small fry hanging at the mouth of the shell, retreating back inside as soon as I would come close. The fry had reddish-brown splotches across their body much like the adults. I made sure there was plenty of newly hatched baby brine shrimp at every feeding.

I left babies in parents care for almost a month, before I moved them in their own tank for grow out.

Retail Price

You can expect to pay $5-10 for juveniles and $10-18 for adults.

Availability

Lamprologus meleagris is common in the hobby and often available at GCCA auctions or events.

You will also find Lamprologus meleagris at better pet stores and from a number of wholesalers on the web.

Lamprologus meleagris Female

Video

Report February 2013 by Mario Toromanovic.

 

Tomocichla sieboldii

 

Above Tomocichla sieboldii. Photo of female in breeding color by Mario Toromanovic. Video below.

General

Tomocichla sieboldi MaleTomocichla sieboldii, or Siebold’s Cichlid, was originally placed in the genus Heros by Kner in 1863. Regan later moved it to the genus Paraneetroplus in 1908, but eventually the original nomenclature was revalidated by Kullander in 1983.

Tomocichla sieboldii has a relatively small distribution in fast moving waters on the Pacific slope of Central America in Costa Rica and Panama. The vicinity of Esparta appears to be the western limit, whereas the drainage of the Rio San Pedro in Panama represents the eastern border.

Habitat

The fish inhabits a wide variety of biotopes. They live in flowing as well as in stagnant water bodies and appear to be fairly tolerant regarding hardness and pH.

Care

Tomocichla sieboldii does not present many difficulties. These fish are very generally shy but may exhibit intraspecific aggressuib. It is important to keep them in large tanks with plenty of structures and hiding spaces. Fully mature males can reach up to 10 inches, while females stay a bit smaller, around 8 inches. Water temperature in my tank was around 78°F and pH was around 7.4. 

Feeding

Tomocichla sieboldii are very hearty eaters and will accept any kind of food presented to them. Some reports indicate that Siboldii is mainly herbivorous. I based the diet for my fish on vegetable flakes and pellets and the occasional treat of frozen brine shrimp, mysis shrimp and live black worms. Live black worms are excellent food to condition pairs and trigger spawning.

Breeding

My fish start pairing off at around eight months old. After some chasing and fighting, a pair formed and staked out a corner of the tank and began cleaning a large pleco cave. At this point, it was easy to tell male from female, since the male was much larger. The smaller female was nicer looking since she “dressed” in breeding colors. From the female’s original gray coloration, she turned almost white, with traces of black over the back, with black coloration on the gills and lower edge of the mouth. The black color became even more intense as the pair approached spawning.

The pair laid about 300 eggs. The female was constantly inside the cave with the male close by outside, chasing anybody that would come close. The eggs hatched three days later and on the eight day the fry were free swimming. At this point, I began feeding live baby brine shrimp.

I left all the fry to be raised by parents, who by the way, did an excellent job raising and protecting fry for almost two months.

Retail Price

Tomocichla sieboldii is occasionally available at pet stores and online. Expect to pay $10 for 2" juveniles.

Availability

Tomocichla sieboldii is not very common, but can be found over the internet and it is usually inexpensive.

Video

 

Report January 2013 by Mario Toromanovic.

 

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