Metriaclima lanisticola

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fmueller
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Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by fmueller » Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:38 pm

I just wanted to share some photos of my group of Metriaclima lanisticola. I picked them up at the auction of the OCA Extravaganza 2009. I was drawn to them because of their shell dwelling behavior. I love Tanganyikan shellies, and didn't know that this behavior exists in Lake Malawi until this bag of fish came up for auction. In all the pictures of M. lanisticola I have seen on the net, they look like very drab, brown fish. As you can see, mine are quite colorful - especially the dominant male.

So far I got only one fry - yep, not one spawn, but one fry! Hoping there will be more one of these days. In the last picture you can see it hang out in front of a Murex shell. With its stripes, it almost looks like a little Tropheus. Anyhow, I have found these M. lanisticola fascinating fish to keep, and they have caused a renewed interest in Lake Malawi cichlids for me!

As an aside, does anybody know how large lanisticola shells are, and what might be a suitable substitute other than pipes? Murex shells - about the size of escargot shells - seem a little small for these guys. I have supplied them with a 1.5" pipe, and they seem to use it, but it's not very attractive in a show tank.

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Agnag
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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by Agnag » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:21 pm

I picked up four of these guys, they are pretty cool... I was going to try some whelk shells.... just an idea..
My friends call me AQUAMAN!...... they don't understand my obsession....

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by fmueller » Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:37 pm

Agnag wrote:I was going to try some whelk shells.... just an idea..
Sounds like a good idea to me. Can you get those around here, or do you need to order them online? If the latter, maybe we could combine an order - or I could swap you for murex shells. They are nice for the smaller shellies, and at some stage I bought 100 of them - minimum oder :o

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by Jombi21 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 8:02 pm

Very nice photos of a beautiful cichlid. Your random fry reminds me of my Neolamp multis. I catch a random new fry every once in a while peeping out of a shell. I figure in due time there will be enough for BAP :) I think I am up to 3 or 4. I think I contribute this to the 1 female: 4 male setup.

Good luck! If you do shell order and need someone else to tag in let me know! I can always use shells. :)

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by Agnag » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:02 pm

Whelk shells can be found around here, but from my experience not to easily, I know a few people that breed altolamps in nothing but whelk shells.... I was thinking about ordering some from here... http://www.shellhorizons.com/products.asp?Category=2 .... I got a bunch of turbo shells from this site for my multies, brevis and occies from here... just when I ever get some money together and get around to ordering the whelks is the only problem right now... lol.... I have some extra turbo shells if anybody wants for there little shellies....
My friends call me AQUAMAN!...... they don't understand my obsession....

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by LewC » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:41 pm

We have a whelk shell we found on Sanibel during our honeymoon, but I don't think my wife would want to give it up! :D

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by Agnag » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:54 pm

I'm sorry Lew but I don't think dinosaur whelk shells will work..... lol... j/k
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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by Jshakour » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:13 pm

I picked some of these up at the Akron auction today, they look really cool. One thing I did notice, On the bag of fish he was using the first picture in Frank's post and calling it the father.
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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by skuzzlebutt » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:51 am

I saw those on the table. How much did they end up going for?

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by LewC » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:02 am

Agnag wrote:I'm sorry Lew but I don't think dinosaur whelk shells will work..... lol... j/k
You know, I didn't get married til I was in my 30s. By about that time, we were hunting the dinosaur whelk into extinction. This is partly because we were getting pretty good at gettin' them in teams. One of us would act like a wounded pteradactyl (their preferred prey) in shallow water, and the other would club him on the head before he could pull back into his shell. My wife did the clubbing.

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by Jshakour » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:10 am

LewC wrote:
Agnag wrote:I'm sorry Lew but I don't think dinosaur whelk shells will work..... lol... j/k
You know, I didn't get married til I was in my 30s. By about that time, we were hunting the dinosaur whelk into extinction. This is partly because we were getting pretty good at gettin' them in teams. One of us would act like a wounded pteradactyl (their preferred prey) in shallow water, and the other would club him on the head before he could pull back into his shell. My wife did the clubbing.

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by fmueller » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:43 pm

Jshakour wrote:On the bag of fish he was using the first picture in Frank's post and calling it the father.
That would have been correct. The seller is Frank Myerski, a.k.a. FrankM on this forum. He bought my colony of M. lanisticola and is breeding them like crazy :D

He is using the photo with my permission. I am surprised anybody even noticed, seeing that the fish just went from one Frank M. to another :lol:

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by jcunningham0295 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:35 am

Not to hijack this thread, but how agressive are these and how do I go about getting a group?

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Jshakour
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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by Jshakour » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:00 am

fmueller wrote:
Jshakour wrote:On the bag of fish he was using the first picture in Frank's post and calling it the father.
That would have been correct. The seller is Frank Myerski, a.k.a. FrankM on this forum. He bought my colony of M. lanisticola and is breeding them like crazy :D

He is using the photo with my permission. I am surprised anybody even noticed, seeing that the fish just went from one Frank M. to another :lol:

Any tips on breeding these?
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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by fmueller » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:52 am

jcunningham0295 wrote:Not to hijack this thread, but how agressive are these and how do I go about getting a group? Josh
They are amongst the least aggressive mbuna I have kept - similar to rusties and yellow labs. Unless he has sold his breeders in Akron, you could email or PM FrankM and he could probably set you up. You can do that if you click on FrankM in my previous post. He lives near Pittsburgh and usually comes to OCA events like the Winter Auction and the Extravaganza, but I've never seen him at a regular meeting, so you might have to do pickup. Well worth the trip in my opinion. Frank has an awesome fish room with first class stock!
Jshakour wrote:Any tips on breeding these?
Put in tank with water and breeding should occur in short order :lol:

Seriously, they breed like any mbuna, meaning it would be hard to stop them from breeding! The adults of my colony showed no interest whatsoever in shells, pipes or caves. Only about 1/3 of the fry were shell dwelling at a young age. Curiously, the other 2/3 of the fry preferred to hide in floating plants at the top of the tank! I kept them in a 75G with a colony of yellow labs. I am sure they would do fine in a much smaller tank, but I am thinking my colony was fairly old and the dominant male was a big fish as far as mbuna go.

Best of luck!

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by Marklar » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:38 pm

As above. They breed just like any other mbuna. Here is a photo of some in the group I used to have. I even managed to source a dozen genuine Lanistes shells for them - those in the photo. They bred well but never particularly bothered with the shells. I found they spit the fry quite early so if wanting to save them it's best not to wait as long as 20 days. Fry are particularly small for mbuna and will hide in the shells but then again so will fry of just about any mbuna.

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by fmueller » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:54 pm

Yes, the whole shell dwelling thing with these fish is a bit overrated. Possible some Malawi nut could no longer cope with the fact that only Lake Tanganyika has shell dwellers, so they made the whole thing up. :lol:

That said, M. lanisticola has another intriguing characteristic that in my opinion makes shell dwelling look pretty ordinary - they can do a complete sex change! No kidding, Dr. Jay Stauffer was able to show this in a peer-reviewed, scientific paper! In a nutshell, his research group took proven females, that is fish that had laid eggs and carried them in their mouth, and put them in a separate tank. Eventually breeding was observed and fry were obtained from a tank containing only such proven females. This shows that at least one fully functional female had turned into a fully functional male.

To my knowledge this is the only example where this kind of behavior has been shown in cichlids. Since we have Dr. Jay Stauffer coming as a speaker to the OCA meeting on 3 August, I am hoping that he will also talk about this fascinating work. If you are interested in the paper itself, it is available here. The paper refers to the fish as M. livingstoni, which is an old name for M. lanisticola.

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by Darrell Ullisch » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:26 am

Crenicara punctulata was known to be a sex changer over 20 years ago, I learned of it at the 1990 ACA convention. There are also many anecdotal stories of other species doing the same thing, but Crenicara was proven to be a sex changer.

Earlier generations of lanisticola did use shells a lot more than they do these days. I suspect it is a matter of natural behavior being altered by generations of living in a different environment. I've had both lanisticola and livingstoni, they are quite similar in appearance, but there was confusion for some time because young livingstoni also frequently used shells. I think it was Ad Konings who had an article about the two species in Cichlid News some time back.

And no, I'm not chasing you around to pick on you, Frank! :lol: The photos of lanisticola are really nice, got me thinking I'd like to get that species back some time, too.
There are two kinds of error: blind credulity and piecemeal criticism. Sound skepticism is the necessary condition for good discernment; but piecemeal criticism is an error. - Egyptian proverb

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by fmueller » Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:17 pm

Darrell Ullisch wrote:Crenicara punctulata was known to be a sex changer over 20 years ago, I learned of it at the 1990 ACA convention. There are also many anecdotal stories of other species doing the same thing, but Crenicara was proven to be a sex changer.
Are you sure that in this case adult fish of a proven sex turned into the opposite sex? If yes, I would be very interested in any material you might have about that. There are numerous cases where the sex of juvenile fish seems undetermined at first, and they eventually become males or females depending on environmental conditions. While that is interesting enough in itself, the change of a proven female into a proven male is quite a different story altogether, and I thought that was new in M. lanisticola - at least for cichlids.

Anecdotal stories are usually dismissed as a subdominant males in female dress eventually showing their true colors, and very often that is probably exactly what happens. However, Jay Stauffer showed that this isn't necessarily the whole story.
Darrell Ullisch wrote:And no, I'm not chasing you around to pick on you, Frank! :lol:
I would have never suspected you as a stalker, but I guess now you have outed yourself as Chromedome52 from CF! If you stalk me at the next Extravaganza, I might buy you a beer :lol:

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Re: Metriaclima lanisticola

Post by Darrell Ullisch » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:11 am

I'll take that beer!

The alpha female, that is, the one that was previously laying eggs, was the fish that changed to male in Crenicara. Pretty sure it's mentioned in Romer's Dwarf Cichlid atlas vol. 1. Not sure where else it might be written down, but I've seen it a couple of times over the years. That's the problem with learning something decades ago, you can't remember where the information came from, but you're sure it was a very dependable source! :lol:

Just looked in the Baensch atlas vol. 1, they mention a 1980 paper by OHM(?) that reports on the sex change in C. punctulata. Papers that old probably aren't going to be accessible online.
There are two kinds of error: blind credulity and piecemeal criticism. Sound skepticism is the necessary condition for good discernment; but piecemeal criticism is an error. - Egyptian proverb

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