Paretroplus (Damba)

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Ptychochromis (Tsipoy, Juba, Saroy)

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Paratilapia (Marakely, Fony)

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Ptychochromiodes, Katria and Oxylapia

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General Information for Cichlidae

The family Cichlidae currently holds 105 genera and approximately 1300 species and cichlids are distributed in Central and South America, Texas (1 species), West Indies, Africa, Madagascar, Syria, Israel, Iran, Sri Lanka, and coastal southern India (Fishbase, 2007).

In Madagascar we are concerned with six genera and twenty-seven described species, with the possibility of seven undescribed species becoming valid with the collection and examination of new museum samples. These species fall into two clades: The Paretroplines, which includes Paretroplus, endemic to Madagascar, and the Etroplus species from India and Sri Lanka; and the Ptychochromines which includes the remaining Malagasy genera, Paratilapia, Ptychochromis, Ptychochromoides, Katria, and Oxylapia, all of which are endemic.

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Husbandry Information for Cichlidae

A whole book could be written on the endemic cichlids of Madagascar, and in fact, one has been. Published in 2004, "The Endemic Cichlids of Madagascar" by Jean-Claude Nourissat and Patrick De Rham is an excellent reference guide, and window into the world of ichthyological adventure travel. Although many species have been discovered or renamed since this book's publication, it is a worthy addition to the library of anyone serious about Madagascan cichlids.

There are many ways to divide the cichlids of Madagascar in regards to their husbandry requirements: Natural environment, Maximum size, Water Quality, etc. However, it is perhaps their degree of pure hatred towards members of their own species that is the most useful for the beginning aquarist to consider when attempting to keep these species. Each species' level of aggressivness is shown on their respective species page, so please, look there for specific advice on which species best fits your "dedication" to their husbandry.

It should also be noted that, for the most part, the cichlids of Madagascar do not treat a planted aquarium kindly. Paretroplus species are well known eaters of plants, especially their root stock, and even Anubias is not safe from their appetite. Paratilapia and Ptychochromis are not herbivorous, but instead will uproot and bury plants while spawning.

In general, the cichlids of Madagascar require three things to survive and reproduce in captivity.

Also of utmost importance in the husbandry of Madagascan cichlids is the timely treatment of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis also known as Ich or White-spot disease. Ich, identifiable by small, salt like white granules on the skin, must be treated within the first four to eight hours of observable signs. Successful treatments with Madagascan cichlids typically involves the use of increased temperature (mid 80°F) and dosing with a medicine containing malachite green. Due to the staining potential of malachite green, some recommendations have been made to use quinine hydrochloride or quinine sulphate as treatment, but the author cannot vouch for their rate of success.

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