Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

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Mark Smith
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Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Mark Smith » Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:44 pm

In the January 2014 issue of Cichlid News Magazine, on pages 22 through 24, there is an article by Lucanus entitled, " Three Unusual Cichlids". What he is referring to as Ctenochromis luluae (in the accompanying photos) appears to actually be C. polli. Any thoughts on this observation? The author says it could be C. luluae, but why not be more precise? The indication from the opening paragraph indicates that it had never before been imported. The C. polli depicted in his article has been imported irregularly for well over 20 years and counting.

Please see the formal scientific line drawing of C. luluae on this site.

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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Rico Morgenstern » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:51 pm

I concur with Mark, the fishes shown on the photos are clearly C. polli. They agree in every respect with the fishes known for many years in the hobby (in Europe, they are known even longer and appeared first in the 1960s) under that name. Likewise, they agree perfectly with the original description and figures of life and preserved specimen, as well as with life fish from known localities within the geographic range of that species. C. lululae is, according to the original description and figure, strikingly distinct with respect to body and especially head markings, the latter being more reminiscent to Thoracochromis brauschi or T. callichromus of Lac Fwa. Although the live colors of C. luluae are unknown, there must be markings that would produce such a preserved pattern. The species well known as C. polli shows nothing comparable.

Furthermore, the type locality of C. luluae is situeted in the headwaters of the Lulua River, not far from the Zambasi watershed. This area is quite remote and the fish fauna in general shows more affinities to the Upper Zambesi than to the Central and Lower Congo basin. Lucanus' fishes are said to have been found in a shipment from Lower Congo.

I do not know, which characters or other data have led to the misidentification of these fishes as C. luluae. Some transparency regarding the identification of allegedly little known or newly introduced species would be desirable. The same is true for the claim that Thoracochromis stigmatogenys may be a synonym of C. luluae. Such statements do only cause confusion unless being accompanied by a proper consideration of characters.

I hope that Oliver Lucanus succeeds in producing good numbers of fry of this nice little cichlid, the beauty of which is often overlooked. Even if it turned out to be not new to the hobby, it is nevertheless very rare.

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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Mark Smith » Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:35 pm

Thanks Rico for your well thought-out response.

I once had this species and spawned them regularly. It is a great beginners cichlid to work with, if only more of them were available in the hobby.

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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Mark Smith » Sat Dec 28, 2013 5:20 pm

I've also noticed that C. polli (Lucanus's misidentified C. luluae) is correctly identified on the American Museum of Natural History's website, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Stiassny some years ago. There is a photo of a live specimen, as well as a photo of a preserved specimen.

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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Nebraska_cichlids » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:17 pm

Interesting thread! There is a guy in France who has some polli for sale. Doesn't help Mark or I, though.

Janos

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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Mark Smith » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:11 pm

True. On a rare ocassion, they do seem to slip in mixed with other common lower Congo River fishes. I'm sure we'll see this little species again someday.

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Florent
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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Florent » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:00 pm

Yes we already have some in France and Switzerland . You can fin some pic here : http://www.cichlidsforum.fr/post151390.html#p151390

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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Nebraska_cichlids » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:23 pm

Mark (and others),

I had a briefchat with Dave Schuhmacher. He used to have a group, but found them to be highly aggressive. They killed each other after Dave passed them on to another hobbyist. How did yours behave when you kept them?

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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Rico Morgenstern » Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:20 am

I have kept this species several years ago (unfortunately only for a short period). It is certainly aggressive towards conspecifics but not more than Pseudocrenilabrus or most other riverine Haplochromines I had so far. I have made the experience (also in Pseudocrenilabrus and other haplochromines), that these fishes are best kept pairwise in tanks with sufficient cover. The generalized recommendation for haplochromines, i.e. to keep one male and several females, is believed to have the advantage that the aggression of the male is directed to several female' whereby the pressure for each individual is reduced. However, this doesn't work out when, as in C. polli and the other examples mentioned here, the females are aggressive towards each other as well. In these cases, the weakest female is not only bullied by the other females but is also the preferred target of the male. In other words, the desired effect does change into the opposite.

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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Mark Smith » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:56 pm

I had 5 of them, one male and 4 females, along with a single T. demeusi and a couple of S. tinanti, all in a 55 gallon aquarium. Slate piled up and a few ceramic caves. Some aggression, but not to the point where I had to remove anyone. I would strip whichever female was holding, and then return her to the aquarium. Not sure why they were not normally more aggressive. I have had that situation with S. irvinei too, not too aggressive and spawned in a 55 gallon aquarium.

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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Nebraska_cichlids » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:47 pm

Rico's logic makes sense. Mark, how would you compare the polli and irvinei? I soawned irvinei repeatedly in a 40G breeder, but managing the aggression wasn't easy. If the polli are less aggressive they might be worth a try.

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Adrian Indermaur
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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Adrian Indermaur » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:16 pm

Hy,

I also agree on this and the ones from the article as beeing the original Haplochromis (Ctenochromis) polli. I unfortunately only habe males since the females didnt make the transport...

Florent, who has them in France still? Would love to get some females.

Cheers Adrian
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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Mark Smith » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:00 pm

It would be nice to have Anton chime in too. I'm sort of wondering why he hasn't at this point.

"Rico's logic makes sense. Mark, how would you compare the polli and irvinei? I soawned irvinei repeatedly in a 40G breeder, but managing the aggression wasn't easy. If the polli are less aggressive they might be worth a try."

I would say that the C. polli is less aggressive than S. irvinei. Mine also seemed a little less shy, especially when I would come close to their aquarium.

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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Florent » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:45 am

Hello Adrian,

IktusAqua have some young on his stocklist in France
http://www.iktus-aqua.fr/galerie_detail ... cains.html.

And I think another wholesaler also have them as they receive some fish from Congo.

I will try to get some informations

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Re: Ctenochromis polli and C. luluae

Post by Nebraska_cichlids » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:42 pm

I bought fish fromthe guy (Charly) on two occassions when visiting Germany. His fish are of good quality and he diesn't mind shipping, at lezst not from France to Germany.

Janos

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