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Cyathopharynx furcifer “Cape Kabogo”

by Frank Panis

(An enthusiastic report on Cyathopharynx furcifer “Cape Kabogo”)

Well, there already is quite a large amount of information available about this Tanganyika cichlid on MCH by Caner Gunduz, so I should be able to keep it short. Short? Hmmm it seems that I have a lot to tell about this magnificent fish though! Actually it is only now that I have enough experiences and good pictures of them that I dare to come out with my report...

Let’s start right at the beginning - in January 2003. I’ve always been fond of cichlids that do something with sand. In my Malawi cichlid tanks I got fascinated by the nest building behaviour of Fossorochromis rostratus, Protomelas taeniolatus, Otopharynx lithobates, Copadichromis borleyi, and the best of them all in my opinion: Copadichromis azureus. But I wanted more! The build of the 1500L kitchen tank was planned around that time and I had my 800L cellar tank that could be used to keep NON-Malawi cichlids for a while. I went to the cichlid shop and bought 12 Enantiopus kilesa that I got informed about and I was interested in what other Tanganyika species could be kept together with them. I saw the Cyathopharynx furcifer and got reminded of their nest building capacities in different cichlid shows, which was very impressive to me! I bought a nice group of both species and brought them home and after some rearrangements they settled in the 800L tank. There they felt quite good and I witnessed their first shy attempt to build a nest!


The first nest building of Cyathopharynx furcifer in my 800L tank.

Time passed, the fish grew larger and I finally managed to finish my 1500L kitchen tank at the end of October 2003. The Cyathopharynx were transferred to this tank in November and they kept a low profile until two months ago (February 2003). I moved one rock in the tank and soon after 2 males started to build and build. Since then, their crater nests keep getting higher and their colours seem brighter than ever before. Of course spawning is the logical result of this all, so no energy was wasted. The displaying of the male is actually very odd in comparison to other African cichlids. I don't know that it's unique, but the male swims to a close-by female, then stops and moves his head to the ground, extends his ventral fins and folds in his dorsal fin. This way he wobbles back to then nest where the female (if ready) joins him. There the male will circle around her and do the mating. When the breeding procedure has been completed the female will return to the other females in the tank and carry the eggs until they hatch, and when the fry is large enough they will be released. I was surprised to see the juveniles stick together close to the tank surface where they were not touched by the others. Nevertheless out of the original batch of about 15 juveniles (from different mothers) there are 2 remaining at this very moment. I'm very proud on these little survivors, mainly because I didn't interfere in the process at all. Anyway what was I supposed to do? As soon as these fish feel threatened they flee to the nearby rocks so there would be no other way for me than removing the holding females or their fry by taking out the complete rock construction, what's clearly not an option for this guy!


Breeding action!


More breeding action!


Even more breeding action!


A female with her mouth full of fry.


Despite the presence of an Altolamprologus calvus, a 1.5 cm juvenile survived in my tank. Seeing him grow up like this is a very satisfying view!

Continued in next page

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