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Lake Cichlids

Question: What are Lake Cichlids?

Answer: Before I answer the question let me give a brief scenario. Customer walks in the shop and asks "Have you any Chick Lit's?". "You mean Cichlids" I reply, (pronounced Sick- Lids), "yes we have quite a few, probably 50 - 60 different species in-stock at any time". "No No" continues the customer, "Proper Chick Lit's like my mate has, Yellow ones"

I sure by now you get the picture, what the customer wants is a few specific groups of Cichlids known collectively as Rift Lake Cichlids, after the lakes in the Great Rift Valley where they originate from. Although there are actually 28 lakes most people can only name 2, or 3, Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika, and the one only a few people mention, Lake Victoria.

Lake Malawi (30,000 km², elevation 500m), the second largest and second deepest of the Rift Valley lakes at over 700 meters, is drained by the Shire River, a tributary of the Zambezi River.

Lake Tanganyika(32,000 km², elevation 773m) is the largest and deepest of the Rift Valley lakes (more than 1400 meters), and is the second deepest fresh water lake on the planet (after Lake Baikal, Russia). It is part of the Congo River basin, feeding into the River Congo via the Lukuga River

Lake Victoria(elevation 1134m), with an area of 68,800 km², is the largest lake in Africa, but is not actually within the rift valley; it occupies a depression between the eastern and western rifts, formed by the uplift of the rifts to either side. Lakes Victoria, Tanganyika, and Malawi are sometimes collectively known as the African Great Lakes.

The Western Rift Valley Lakes are fresh water and home to an extraordinary number of species. Considering only the Cichlid family (Cichlidae) alone there are approximately 1,500 different species found in these waters, (and "No.!" we don't stock them all).

For more details on Lake Cichlids see the article in the Livestock section.


Maroon Clownfish in an Anemone