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Lake Peten Cichlids
September 13, 2009
3:01 pm
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johnpeten
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So far we have collected the following:-

“Cichlasoma” salvini…………Yellow bellow cichlid
“Cichlasoma” urophthalmus…. Mayan Cichlid
Parachromis friedrichsthalii…..Yellowjacket
Petenia splendida…………….. Bay snook
Thorichthys affinis……………Yellow meeki
Vieja melanura………………..

The C salvini has settled down to captivity and eats flake and freeze dried daphnia and bloodworm. It comes to the surface for food and feeds at other levels. I have two males and a female with colour plus a younger male and female which sometimes show a hint of colour.

The Mayan Cichlid is the most active and is a surface feeder. They eat just about anything and for them life appears to be a constant fiesta.

I only have one large Yellowjacket it lives happily with the C. salvini at the moment and has the same feeding habits. I have a couple of juveniles in other tanks which may also be yellowjackets.

The Petenia splendida are juveniles slightly over an inch, they are in different tanks and stay very much to themselves. They appear to suck in whatever food happens to be passing. I was lucky enough to see one open his mouth, an excellent vacuum cleaner.

The Yellow meeki share a crowded tank with the Mayan cichlids. They are bottom feeders or peck at food in suspension. They appear very happy despite their principal food needs of bottom detritus and aufwuchs. Very little has been published about this fish, however a French group have spent several years here since 2002 collecting and studying this cichlid in Lake Peten, Lake Salpeten and the Rio Naranjo. I have now translated a complete description of this cichlid. The French observations note that the Lake Peten fish have less colour than the others. Lake Salpeten is a small saline lake to the East of the main lake. These fish will be moved to a new tank, when built, for better observation.

The Vieja melanura have their own tank with wild Mollies to clean up the leftovers. They once again are bottom feeders living on aufwuchs, detritus and small crustaceans. They have not done well and I have lost the larger fish, despite supplying dried daphnia and live brine shrimp. At the moment the smaller fish are lively and appear to be adapting.

The photos attached are of adults obtained from the web.

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September 14, 2009
9:22 am
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David Marshall
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Hey John

Beautiful photographs - as usual.

Regards David

September 15, 2009
12:10 pm
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coelacanth
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You might want to try the melanura with more vegetable matter. Dried daphnia is pretty poor as a foodstuff, chopped shrimp would be a much better protein source, earthworms even better.
With the Petenia, watch for them stuffing themselves and then regurgitating, this can mess up your water quality quite badly.
Different fish do best with different feeding frequencies. The affinis and the melanura will probably do best with frequent small feeds, the salvini and the Mayans are pretty adaptable and opportunistic, the splendida and the yellowjackets would tend to have a successful hunt maybe once or twice a day and then digest the food.

September 15, 2009
1:40 pm
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johnpeten
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Strange that you should bring up feeding habits. I have been watching this closely on all my cichlids. I have also been taking a lot more photos. My eyesight is not what it used to be and the camera shows more detail.
I have a feeling that I may have the Firemouth cichlid mixed in with my Yellow meeki. Thorichthys meeki with the Thorichthys affinis.
The Firemouth is a popular aquarium fish and I would like to know if they come to the surface for their food.
The photo of one of my 3 " juveniles has a lot of red in it's jaw.
The other photo is a flashlight shot.

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September 15, 2009
2:15 pm
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johnpeten
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Yes the Mayans, salvini and yellowjacket rush to the surface and stuff themselves as fast as they can. The others wait for the food to start to fall before grabbing it, or bottom feed. The affinis most of which are with the Mayans wait for the Mayans to churn up the water causing the food to fall and then grab it. However I have now noticed a couple come to the surface with the Mayans. These are more heavily marked. The affinis is supposed to be a bottom feeder. Have they learned to copy the Mayans to get more food? Or are they Firemouths?

The Petenia mooch casually about trying not to be noticed but the small mollies have vanished.

I have a couple of Mayans in my original tank which is next to my Lazyboy. They have now grown to 4". One has now excavated the gravel from one of the caves and taken up residence. He throws his weight around but is not too abnoxious. There are also some 3" affinis a Petenia plus a school of Banded astyanax and small mollies in the tank.

September 15, 2009
3:53 pm
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coelacanth
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QUOTE (johnpeten @ Sep 15 2009, 02:23 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have a feeling that I may have the Firemouth cichlid mixed in with my Yellow meeki. Thorichthys meeki with the Thorichthys affinis.
The Firemouth is a popular aquarium fish and I would like to know if they come to the surface for their food.
The photo of one of my 3 " juveniles has a lot of red in it's jaw.
The other photo is a flashlight shot.

All Thorichthys are pretty adaptable to aquarium life and I wouldn't take feeding behaviour as a guide to separating these two species.

September 16, 2009
4:45 am
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johnpeten
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The more I read about the three similar Thorichthys and the more photos I see, the more confused I become. affinis, meeki and now the newest addition pasionis all have similar appearances and are considered different to the other Thorichthys.
I think that my easy solution is to move the suspects to their own tank and let them mature.
At their present rate of growth in their new 5 ***** hotel with excellent restaurant service we should not have long to wait.

We considered shrimp an extravagance for our Guatemalan fish. Frijoles and tortillas is the norm here. However we have supplied some finely chopped imitation crab legs and some raw fish which is being accepted. Flake is still the most popular and most of the cichlids nearly jump out of their tanks in their enthusiasm. It is supplied by a Guatemalan company to Walmart. I was wondring if the green flakes are marijuana, a popular crop here.LOL

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