CCA – June Meeting – Steve Edie

June 14th, 2008

Capital Cichlid AssociationToday was the Capital Cichlid Association’s last meeting for the summer. They take July and August off every year to give the board members a break, and to allow members to go on vacation without missing out on anything. In June, Steve Edie from the Missouri Aquarium Society and American Cichlid Association came to speak about Lake Tanganyikan Cichlids.

Not being very knowledgeable about African Lake cichlids, I was quite interested in attending Steve’s presentation. Lake Tanganyika is a huge rift lake the covers over 12,850 square miles, is nearly a mile deep in some places, and encompasses over 1200 miles of coastline. Since evaporation is the primary source of water leaving the lake, mineral content is incredibly high which causes a pH of 8.6-9.3 degrees and 12-14 degree GH. Despite these harsh conditions, over 500 species of fish inhabit the lake, half of them being cichlids. Steve discussed a whole variety of the different types of cichlids found in the lake, but I can’t possibly reproduce all of that information here.

To keep these fish in your aquarium, Steve recommends a minimum tank size of 29G, with 55G being a more appropriate starting point. For substrate, he suggests any calcium based material such as dolomite, crushed coral, and/or sand. Rocks are essential, but leave out the driftwood because the wood’s tannins will lower the pH of the water. Not many plants will survive in this environment, but anubias, java fern, val, and even an amazon sword may survive. Steve doesn’t add any buffers/salt to his water unless he is importing a wild specimen that isn’t used to standard tap water.  He mentions that most of the cichlids are carnivorous or at least omnivorous in this lake, so be sure to feed your fish food with a high protein content.

I don’t know when I’ll actually get around to keeping any Lake Tanganyikan cichlids, but after hearing Steve’s presentation, I’m inspired to try them eventually.

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