I'm not really one to get attached to my fish, like I do my dogs. I don't name my cichlids nor do I tend to have favorites among them. Don't get me wrong, though. I HATE to lose a fish for any reason...due to my fault or anything else, and it upsets me when I do. In fact, I'm highly self-reflective, always asking myself how I might have contributed to every fish's death.
With all of that said, I have to admit I do have one particular little cichlid that I often feel sorry for. She's a Callochromis macrops, and I posted about her earlier this year. Why do I feel sorry for her? Let's back up for just a minute and talk about emotion in fish. Back in July, I posted about ethics in fishkeeping. I mentioned that fish are quite sentient. But do they have "feelings"? The human species is notorious for anthropomorphizing, and I am guilty myself, though I work hard not to. In any case, I often feel sorry for my macrops because I wonder if she is sad.
As I mentioned in the post about her, she resides in a 75g Tanganyikan cichlid community tank with many other species. The tank occupants are pretty heterogenous, not just in species but also in gender and size. She is neither the smallest nor the largest. The smallest honor goes to my single Telmatochromis vittatus at about 3". The largest are either my male Neolamprologus tretocephalus or the "three stooges" - my three male Altolamprologus calvus 'black' - all four of which are 5" plus. Miss macrops is about 3.5". In temperament, she is easily the most docile and laid back cichlid in the tank, a fact that I think works against her.
Sadly, she is pretty much the one cichlid in the tank that seemingly can not find a safe spot to be in for any length of time. If my breeding pair of Telmatochromis sp. "temporalis shell" aren't chasing her off from their end of the tank, my dominant male Neolamprolous leleupi takes out his frustration on her whenever she gets near him. To make matters worse, it seems that everyone else has concluded that she's also a good target whenever she's in the vicinity at feeding time. She's often scrambling to pick up just a small bit of food wherever she finds it. To her credit though, she just seems to roll with the punches. She's always on the go and does her best to blend in, using her large forked caudal fin to dart away when targeted. She's not particularly pretty, sporting a uniform champagne color, a mouth with a slight overbite, and eyes so proportionally large that she appears almost deformed.
Maybe all of the above paints the picture of an underdog. Doesn't everyone pull for the underdog? I do.
Yes, the freshwater angelfish is a cichlid. They belong to the genus Pterophyllum and are endemic to various locations in the Amazon basin of South America. Many aquarists don't realize that these thin, oddly shaped, "finny" fish are cichlids, though they are very popular in the hobby. I personally have never kept them, so can offer nothing substantive about them. However, they are readily available at most fish stores.
Because of their popularity in the hobby, there are numerous resources available to learn about them, if you've never kept them or are a novice cichlidophile. One good place to start is this article in Tropical Fish Hobbyist.
I have posted several times in the past about the fecundity of my breeding pair of Telmatochromis sp. "temporalis shell". I have also posted photos of the parents and their fry. However, I believe this is the first time I've captured a photo of the female next to a shell containing visible eggs. Because adults of this species are often jet black in color and they prefer to remain hidden, it's often difficult to get good photos of them due to their proclivity to use the numerous ceramic caves I provide. This time, though, I was successful...partially.
If you look in the photo above, you can see the eggs in the shell aperture (horizontal arrow) and you can see the female (vertical arrow) to the right of the shell just peeking out from within the cave opening. The photo appears washed out because I had to adjust it to make the female more visible. She's looking straight on at me because I'm right against the front glass of the tank. She's obviously curious about what I am doing, especially since her shell is only about 3-4" from the front glass. If you're familiar with temporalis, both genders have a nuchal hump. You can see hers quite visibly in the photo even though she is looking straight on. Also notice the white of the anterior dentary portion of her jaw (i.e., surface of lower front lip). This is not uncommon and can be especially noticeable in males, as they jaw joust frequently.
It's hard to say if the eggs are fertile and hard to say if there are more inside. As you can see, the visible ones are quite light, almost egg-white in color, which is often indicative of being infertile, since typical temporalis eggs are more of a cream color (at least in my experience). She's spawned probably over 80 times already, so she's not a novice.
For the Gymnogeophagus lovers out there, a species previously never found in Argentina has been discovered in the río Uruguay basin in Misiones. This beautiful little eartheater, G. lipokarenos, possesses some striking yellow color on the ventral half that complements a brilliant blue on the body and red/orange on the caudal and dorsal fins. For some great photos, see the short paper "First record of Gymnogeophagus lipokarenos Malabarba, Malabarba & Reis, 2015 (Teleostei: Cichliformes) from Argentina".
Normal thought about cichlid fry are that they are cared for by the mother, sometimes the father, or both parents. And such thought would be accurate, but that's not necessarily the complete story.
Did you know an aunt, a cousin, or a next door neighbor might also be involved? Such "parenting" is called alloparental care, or more specifically "any form of parental care, which is directed towards non-descendent young." The phenomena is not unique to cichlids, or even fish, and may not be easily observed. Nor is it restricted to conspecifics. So why does it occur? In his article titled "Allparental care in fishes" from Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, Brian Wisenden provides six scenarios (as summarized below by Hyuk Je Lee, Valentin Helm, and Axel Meyer in this article from Ecology and Evolution):
(1) brood farming out (Yanagisawa 1985) where parents ‘deliberately’ transfer their offspring to be cared for by other parents; (2) kidnapping (McKaye and McKaye 1977) where foster parents kidnap free‐swimming young of other parents; (3) independent offspring inclusion (Taborsky 1994) where deserted or stray juveniles join neighboring broods; (4) brood amalgamation (Eadie et al. 1988) where adjacent broods merge for cooperative care by more than one set of biological parents; (5) philopatric offspring (Taborsky and Limberger 1981) where offspring from previous breeding events stay at their natal territory and help their parents to nurse subsequent broods and (6) extension of alloparental care of eggs (Taborsky 1994). Still, the ultimate evolutionary origins and explanations as to the adaptive or nonadaptive, or maladaptive, natures as well as proximate mechanisms of alloparental care appear to vary at inter and, sometimes, even intraspecific levels (Sefc et al. 2009; Coleman and Jones 2011).
So if you ever notice something weird happening in your tank involving the non-parent cichlids of your fry (besides predation), you could be witnessing some form of alloparental care.
Need some color in your tanks? Mike Drawdy and his crew at Imperial Tropicals can solve that problem. Check them out and place an order (free shipping with a $45 or more purchase). I interviewed Mike at the beginning of the year, if you want a little more information about the fish farm and their operation.
Decided that you can only set up a small tank because of space limitations? Worried that there aren't any cichlids small enough for a small tank? Don't fret.
Consider some shellie species from Lake Tanganyika - Neolamprologus ocellatus, Neolamprologus brevis, Neolamprologus multifasciatus, or Neolamprologus similis. None of these species will greatly exceed 3" in length and they're easily sexed - adult males are larger. Except for the ocellatus, they're not the most striking in color but they have many other redeeming qualities.
What shellies lack in size they make up for in personality. Females guarding eggs/fry are fearless. I once had a female ocellatus no larger than a big paperclip beat my hand to death when I got just a bit too close to her shell while cleaning the glass. In fact, it initially rattled me so much I dropped the scrubber.
In any case, any of these species would make a great addition to a small tank. Shellies aren't much for the water column, so go for a shallower tank with a larger footprint. If you don't get one custom made, you'll have to go rimless to get one that isn't standard dimensions (I'm talking glass here, not acrylic). But that's not a bad thing. Rimless glass tanks are gorgeous. A good example is Mr. Aqua's 12 gallon bookshelf tank, called Serene. It's 35.4" x 8.3" x 9.4", which provides more floorspace where the fish will spend their time. In fact, Mr. Aqua makes several non-standard volume tanks and they're all excellent. They're made with precision beveled-cut glass and assembled using special silicone from Germany. I highly recommend them.
If you want to add a nice, peaceful fish to your tank, pick up a few Cleithracara maronii. Commonly known as a Keyhole cichlid, this small South American is typically quite peaceful and passive compared to most fish its size. I hesitate to call it a dwarf species because mine grew to nearly 5", which is about the maximum you can expect. However, they are not rowdy fish by any means, certainly not compared to mbuna of the same size.
Mine never bred, but then again I never set out to breed them. I suspect it was because the water parameters didn't suit them. I'm on municipal water that runs between 7.5 and 7.8 pH even though I was using R/O at the time to lower it to about 7 and the hardness to around 150. The maronii species prefers softer, more acidic water but mine seemed to do well (growth, color) other than spawning.
In any case, the maronii aren't demanding. In fact, they're quite shy. I kept four together in a planted 55g, with what I believe was a ratio of 1:3 (1 male and 3 females), though it could have been 4 females (I never vented them to be certain). They aren't the most sexually dimorphic species, but I believe the females tend to be smaller and males have more pointed anal fins. Mine were all about the same size. It's not an overly colorful species, but mine developed a nice blue outline along the trailing ends of the fins, especially dorsal and anal. Sadly, I never took any photos of mine, but the photo at top is a good representation.
I haven't kept any American (CA/SA) cichlids in quite a while, but I would certainly consider a few of these fish for my next American community tank. If you're a beginning cichlidophile or wanting to delve into Americans for the first time, consider the Keyhole. Because of their shyness, it's not a bad idea to include some dithers in your tank. I included some Black Skirt tetras, some barbs, and some danios, which seemed to help pull them out from behind the plants, rocks, etc. You'll know if your Keyhole is "nervous" or "anxious" because the eye bar and black spot on the anterior will become very pronounced.
Though I don't keep Pelvicachromis pulcher (Kribensis or Rainbow Kribs), it's a popular cichlid in the hobby. There are several species of Pelvicachromis, and sometimes "Kribs" is used to label all of them. However, when most cichlid keepers refer to "Kribs" they mean the pulcher species.
Male and female Kribs are both very protective of their fry, and the parents are highly territorial. But apparently, that's not the only behavior that is reflective of the species. As it turns out, female Kribs are a bit predictable regarding their mate selection when given options.
If you only have a breeding pair of these beautiful little cichlids, then you won't be able to experience their mate selection process. But if you had a community of males and females, what might females be looking for in a mate?
A group of researchers at the University of Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany recently discovered that, given options of male boldness behavior (defined as "activity under simulated predation risk"), females may well exhibit a preference. Observing both level of boldness and degree of boldness consistency, the researchers concluded that females tend to favor males who exhibit boldness levels dissimilar to their own level but favor males that are similar in degree of consistency to their own. In other words, females with high levels of boldness tend to favor males with lower levels of boldness (and vice versa), but favor males with the same degree of boldness consistency as themselves. What does this mean? It means this mate selection pattern would be expected to occur more frequently than what would be expected versus a random mating pattern.
Scherer, U., M. Kuhnhardt, and W. Schuett. "Different or alike? Female rainbow kribs choose males of similar consistency and dissimilar level of boldness." Animal Behaviour 128 (2017): 117-124.
This is an interesting question. The short answer is yes, no, and maybe. Since anthropomorphizing is generally frowned upon by the scientific community, the subjectivity of the word "play" becomes more acute. If we assume that behavior we observe in other species occurs under the same motivation as our own, then applying our own term for it is less problematic. However, now the word "motivation" becomes an issue. So just think of the terms "stimulus and reward," and let's move on.
Do you own Tropheus duboisi? If so, you might be interested to know that a team of researchers has recently concluded that the species does play. If you can get your hands on a copy of the article "Highly Repetitive Object Play in a Cichlid Fish (Tropheus duboisi)," give it a read. It's pretty fascinating.
In fact, one of the co-authors, Gordon Burghardt, has outlined in the article his five criteria for defining play:
1. The behavior is incompletely functional in the behavioral context in which it is expressed
Interestingly enough, according to the authors, at the time of the article T. duboisi was the only cichlid species to have been studied and display behavior that met the "play" criteria above.
Burghardt, G. M. 2011: Defining and recognizing play. In: Oxford Handbook of the Development of Play (Pellegrini, A. D., ed.). Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 9-18.
Burghardt, G. M., Dinets, V. and Murphy, J. B. (2015), Highly Repetitive Object Play in a Cichlid Fish (Tropheus duboisi). Ethology, 121: 38–44. doi:10.1111/eth.12312.
Did you know that some species of fish, just like many other animals, can identify conspecifics by sight? While it may often be difficult for you to tell the difference between some of your fish, Julidochromis transcriptus is one cichlid species with the ability to sort through facial patterns to identify those of its own kind.
Perhaps even more interesting is the depth of their recall. From how far back in time can they remember a familiar face? What are the contexts by which they remember or is context even a variable? These are interesting questions, but not the objective of the research by the team of scientists in Japan who recently published a paper in the journal Animal Behavior titled "Face recognition in the Tanganyikan cichlid Julidochromis transcriptus".
If you've never kept this species, you should consider doing so. It's a wonderful little Tanganyikan that is relatively common in the hobby, easy to breed, and even more fun to observe. Also known as the Masked Julie, transcriptus, like other Julies, is a torpedo-shaped cichlid that prefers lots of rocks and caves. They have an interesting knack for positioning themselves at odd angles near rocks and cave openings when they're not feeding, spawning, or protecting territory. They may hang inverted under a rock or even position themselves vertically.
The title of this post may seem oxymoronic, but there are cichlid species that don't have a "seek and destroy" mentality, especially if a single is kept. If you're looking for such a fish, you might consider Callochromis macrops, at least a female.
Most descriptions of this small cichlid suggest it is mildly aggressive, even to other species. Proving that cichlids can be highly individualistic, I have had a single female (see photo above) for well over a year and she's the most docile cichlid I have. She resides in my 75g Tanganyikan community tank with a variety of other dwarf Tangs and she is NEVER the aggressor. I even have some mild tempered cichlid tank mates that are not very tolerant of her. She doesn't get bullied but she does get chased off frequently.
Possessing enormous eyes, which is why their common name usually consists of the term "Big-eyed" or "Large-eyed," their bodies are shaped quite differently than most of your everyday variety of cichlids. Their feeding behavior also resembles that of the Geophagus genera - sand sifting, which is interesting to observe if you've never seen it.
To find more profile detail about C. macrops, a Google search will return plenty. If you're looking for something different in your tank that is active and curious, consider this nifty little cichlid.
Ever watch shows on the Animal Planet or National Geographic cable/satellite channels that focus on lions and that document the dynamics of the pride? If so, then you're familiar with the practice of adult lion males, who take over an existing pride, killing the young cubs that are offsprings from the former male pride leader. This is mammalian infanticide. One reason this occurs is that by killing the young, particularly those still nursing, the new male gains a genetic advantage within the pride, and the behavior accelerates a female's ability to breed again.
Did you know infanticide also occurs with cichlids (not to be confused with normal predatory behavior)? A main difference is that infanticide in cichlid groups is egg cannibalism. Neoplamprologus pulcher is one species that has demonstrated infanticide as a reproductive strategy. As reported in this paper, experiments showed that egg cannibalism by N. pulcher males involved in group takeovers occurs more frequently than any cannibalism by the regular group male.
Perhaps you've heard of these cichlids, but you've never taken the time to look them up. They comprise primarily the Geophagus and Satanoperca genera, mostly from South America. The nickname comes from their predominant feeding method - gulping the substrate, sifting it for any nourishment, and then passing what remains through the gills.
Consisting of nearly three dozen species, these are some of the most beautiful New World cichlids, in my opinion. If you're interested in adding these to your cichlid keeping portfolio, check them out. Below are a couple of good primers from Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine.
As I originally posted nearly a year go, I acquired some juveniles of several Tanganyikan species for my Tang community tank. One of those species was listed as Telmatochromis temporalis by the seller. However, I was convinced that what I received was actually Telmatochromis sp. "temporalis shell," which is how I've mostly referred to them in various posts since then. As frequently happens with cichlid species, especially those not widely distributed and available in the hobby, accurate identification is often iffy, especially as there are variations based on lake locality.
The three that I acquired have grown considerably and have already exceeded the typical maximum size of sp. "temporalis shell". T. temporalis are sexually dimorphic in size, with males being considerably larger than females. My two males are much larger, at nearly 4" each, than the maximum size listed in various sources for sp. "temporalis shell" (~2-3"). In fact, I've read that sp. "temporalis shell" is considered by Ad Konings to be a dwarf morph of T. temporalis.
I had been suspicious of their true type from the outset because I have seen no characteristic that definitively differentiates the two variants other than size. Though I've read that T. temporalis are cave spawners, my bonded pair use shells. However, based on the documented maximum size differential and, lacking any other compelling evidence besides spawn site selection, I'm going to now conclude that what I really have are Telmatochromis temporalis.
In the photo above, you can see the female has emerged from a ceramic cave on the left. I had to brighten the image and increase the exposure a bit to get her to show up better because she is nearly jet black in color. The male's silhouette can barely be seen in the gap to the right of her. He's lurking just out of view, but he kept a watchful eye on me. My camera was about 2" from the front glass and she is about 4" away from the glass. If you look closely, you can see two fry just inside the aperture of the middle shell. The female appears large and imposing, but she's only about 2" long.
I've posted before about my breeding pair of Telmatochromis sp. "temporalis shell". I've also mentioned how incredibly prolific they are. Though I can't count the number of offspring they've had and the number of fry I've accidentally vacuumed up (relax, I use a gravity siphon and they go in a bucket), I had yet to see their eggs. I have nearly a dozen shells in the tank, and the female doesn't always use the same shell.
Well, today during the 1/2 tank clean out that I do twice a month, I was moving shells to vacuum and there they were. I think the female typically lays her eggs as deep in the shell as she can, but this time she didn't. I spotted the eggs almost immediately. In the photo above, you can see the eggs just inside the aperture of the shell. I didn't look deeper to see if there were more but I'm betting there are. You can see that they're cream colored and about the size of the head of a ballpoint pen.
Captive young cichlids recognize early on where their food comes from. The video below shows my Telmatochromis sp. "temporalis shell" juveniles positioning to get fed. They are in a small grow out tank.
There are at least two interesting observations here. One is that they have already learned to associate my presence with being fed. Hence they assemble when they see me approach. The second is that they've learned exactly where the food enters the tank. I always place the food in the tank in the same spot (in the front right corner). Notice how they all line up facing the same direction. Because the current created by the filter output naturally moves water from left to right (as you face the front of the tank), any food that enters on the right will immediately begin to flow to the left.
Keeping cichlids is an inexact science. Just when you think you have them figured out, you realize you don't. One of the keys to understanding their behavior is to try and identify patterns. Some behaviors are typically predictable, while others are a bit more nuanced.
If you've kept both New and Old world cichlids, you've undoubtedly noticed differences in aggression. In fact, in my experience, aggression among Africans from Lake Tanganyika differs significantly from that of Lake Malawi Africans. Mbuna are generally regarded as some of the nastiest among Malawi cichlids. I call them night stalkers.
Every mbuna I have ever lost has occurred overnight, following completely normal behavior during the day before. And because there is a clearly discernible pattern here, the conclusion is that the mbuna I've had do their destruction overnight.
In my 40g breeder, I had two adult mbuna - a P. Red top Ndumbi and a P. Elongatus Chailosi. The first couple of months or so, the Ndumbi was clearly the dominant fish. Over time, however, that changed. In the last couple of months, I noticed the Ndumbi hanging in corners or within the artificial plants, with occasional chasing by the Chailosi. I watched the Ndumbi closely for any signs of damage (ripped fins, etc.) or other significant stress (not eating). Just yesterday evening, it was out in the open eating and it looked very nice. Late today, I went to feed them and the Ndumbi was dead. It had already lost all its color and was pretty rigid, meaning it had been dead a while. It had to have been beaten to death overnight.
This is the last installment in the series describing the four tanks I currently have set up. The 4th and final tank is a 5.5g All-Glass fry tank with no substrate.
This is the third installment of the What is my set-up? series. This post is about my 40g breeder All-Glass, Malawi community tank. The substrate is CaribSea sand (Moonlight).
This tank is a bit understocked. It was actually set up as sort of an emergency because I recieved extra fish with an online order I made. If you look closely, you can see the Elongatus peeking out from below the large round rock on the left side of the tank.
This is part 2 of the What is my set-up? series where I describe my tanks. Today's post is on my 55g Lake Malawi (mbuna) tank, which is glass and made by Marineland.
The substrate in this tank is all CaribSea sand (Moonlight). The dither fish are giant danios and black skirt tetras. See my previous post about dithers - What is my set-up? Pt. 1.
While I occasionally post complete photos of my tanks, I don't inundate my blog with them. In fact, it's been months and at least 100 posts since I last did so (other than this recent post). However, while I was doing my routine maintenance today, I thought many readers might like to know what my current set-up is.
I currently have three show tanks and a fry tank operational. Beginning with this post and over the next few days, I'll provide photos of the four tanks along with a description of their set-up. I'll go from the largest to the smallest.
My largest tank is a 75g All-Glass with a corner overflow (above). It is a Lake Tanganyika community tank. The substrate in this tank is 80% CaribSea sand (Moonlight) and 20% CaribSea gravel (Peace River). Below are the livestock and hardware lists.
The tetras are dither fish and, while not native to the lake, they are quite hardy and make great dithers. The plecos are also not native to Tanganyika, but one I've had for years and had nowhere to put him when I converted from SA/CA cichlids to the Africans. The other I bought as a juvenile to help with algae control a couple of years ago and thought it would adapt nicely. My water is not overly hard or alkaline, typically around 7.8 - 8.0 pH. Most purists would consider this water too alkaline for the tetras and plecos, and not alkaline enough for the Tanganyikans. However, all of my fish are tank bred rather than wild caught. I firmly believe the water is not an issue for any of them.
In a previous post, I mentioned that I had three Telmatochromis sp. "temporalis shell" (2 males and 1 female) in a 75g community Tanganyikan tank. Also in that post, I mentioned that a pair had formed and had spawned. Since that time, they've spawned numerous times without any fry reaching more than 1/4". Besides being fearless, these shell dwellers are persistent, at least my pair is. The brood size seems to get increasingly large with each successive spawn, which mirrors much of what Brett Harrington wrote about in his nice article about these great little fish.
I can corroborate almost all of Brett's information, except that my adult males are quite a bit larger than the maximum size he mentions. Mine are at 3" +. His only reached 2.5". Also, as opposed to being dark slate gray at spawning time, my paired male is jet black. The other male will often turn a slate gray color and even sometimes black, but the spawning male is always black (as is the female).
I currently have fry from two broods, or maybe three, in the tank. The oldest fry is probably close to 3/4" now, while fry from a later brood are a bit less than 1/2" (see image below). I have noticed the brood male go after the fry on occasion, but the corner of the tank in which they reside is quite densely packed with rock and shells, which provide significant cover. In fact, I have egg crate under the sand substrate and some of the crate is exposed under the rocks, which creates great little pockets for the fry to dive into.
This is an easy swell dweller to raise and breed. They can be prolific breeders, so if you choose to house a single pair in a tank alone, be prepared for lots of offspring. Also, as Brett mentions, they are intolerant of con-specifics when breeding and even less tolerant of interlopers who wonder too close to the spawning site. Tank length chasing is not common, i.e., the breeding pair will not go too far from the spawn site. However, both male and female are equal opportunity aggressors, though the male will carry the fight farther beyond the spawn site than the female.
When you hear the term "bower builder," maybe your first thought is a bird - the bowerbird. You may then ask, what is a bower? Simply put, it's a dwelling, often elaborate and leafy in construction. So what's this have to do with cichlids?
If you keep African cichlids, especially from Lake Malawi, and you have a sand or mini-gravel substrate, you may end up with a bower in your tank. Within the context of fish, a bower is a typically well-defined depression, often on a raised mound. Cichlids aren't the only Perciformes to exhibit bower building, which is primarily a social behavior exhibited by males for mate attraction. Bass, perch, and bluegill are other common freshwater fish that perform this ritual.
If you're interested in the nuts and bolts of bower building by Lake Malawi cichlids, check out this outstanding scholarly article from the journal Frontiers in Ecology an Evolution. Yes, it's a research article, but it's readability is rather high for the lay public, in my opinion.
During my regular water change yesterday, I removed all of the rock work on one end of the 55g tank. I alternate removing the rock on each end of the tank over the course of a month, though I change water weekly. This tank is all mbuna, so they love their rocks.
If you've never kept mbuna cichlids from Lake Malawi, I encourage you to give them a try. Start with just few if you've never kept them. As a group, they tend to be rather aggressive. That's not to say every mbuna species is aggressive nor is every fish of a species. However, I would consider it the rule rather than exception.
I always enjoy watching mine after I've removed the rock, cleaned the sand, and returned the rocks in a new arrangement. Within minutes, the cichlids are exploring by going in and out of every crevice and hole they can fit into. You can see the many caves and openings in both photos. It's quite fun to watch. Unfortunately, when I took the photos, a couple of hours had passed since I cleaned the tank. They were more interested in getting fed rather than exploring, because I was sitting in front of the tank. Notice in the bottom photo how many of them are facing the front of the tank staring at me.
In the top photo, it looks like I captured the red zebra, one of the yellow labs, and one of the "elongatus chailosi". In the bottom photo, besides a yellow lab, the zebra, and both chailosis, you can see a perlmutt and a "red top Ndumbi." I believe I also see the demasoni.
In both photos you can clearly see some species that aren't African cichlids. They are dithers.
The Cichlid Room Companion
Tropical Fish Hobbyist
American Cichlid Assoc.
African Cichlid Hub