Featherfins in their natural habitat
Cichlid Room Companion

Featherfins in their natural habitat

Interactive book for your iPad
Author: Konings, Ad, 2014

| review | introduction | content | size |


by Pam Chin, 02-Jul-2014.

At last a book on one of the most popular groups of cichlids found in Lake Tanganyika; Featherfins! It is filled with great information, about the lake itself and the details on each genus is covered. The taxonomic history is quite interesting, some of which has been controversial over the years but Konings puts it all in perspective.

Featherfins In Their Natural Habitat is the latest entry in a series of electronic books about cichlids according to genus or grouping by world famous cichlid expert Ad Konings.

These fresh water fish are only found in Lake Tanganyika, the second largest lake in the world, where the cichlid fauna has fascinated aquarists for more then 40 years. This small group of cichlids are from the tribe Ectodini and they include the following genera: Ophthalmotilapia, Cyathopharynx, Cunningtonia, and Aulonocranus. They have been combined into one group because of their outstanding fins and swallowtail. The pelvic fins are so long they extend back to the tail, and in most species they have a white or yellow tips called lappets to aid in the spawning ritual.

Sought after by aquarists for the bright colors in the males and also for their interesting social behaviors. Males are highly territorial and some species build bowers in the sand or on rocks and near rocks, while others protect high areas on larger boulders. Life is all about attracting a female to your territory!

This book has 120 pages with 13 chapters; Introduction, Lake Tanganyika, The Genera, Ophthalmotilapia ventralis, Ophthalmotilapia boops, Ophthalmotilapia nasuta, Ophthalmotilapia sp. paranasuta, Cyathopharynx, Aulonocranus dewindti, Cunningtonia longiventralis, In the Aquarium, References and Index. Each chapter is filled with incredible pictures, most are in their natural habitat. This I-Book also includes several of Konings’ personal videos from Lake Tanganyika showing these species defending and maintaining their sand castles.

This is a must have book for all Tanganyikan cichlid enthusiasts, I really enjoyed it..


Featherfins” is the collective common name for cichlids of the Tanganyika genera Ophthalmotilapia, Cyathopharynx, Cunningtonia, and Aulonocranus. Males of all these species—eight in total—are characterized by elongate pelvic fins with yellow tips. Featherfins have fascinated aquarists ever since they were first exported from Lake Tanganyika in the 1970s. It may have been their “fairytale” shape, or their spectacular coloration, that immediately appealed to hobbyists. They have never been easy to ship from the lake, and the stress during transport caused most males to lose all coloration and appeal to hobbyists. However, breeding efforts by dedicated aquarists in the early days provided a stable supply of featherfins, which catapulted them to their current popularity among hobbyists.

All featherfins are maternal mouthbrooders which means that only the females brood the eggs and larvae in the mouth, usually for a period of about three weeks, before they are released. The interesting part of the breeding technique of most featherfin species involves the function of the yellow tips at the ends of the male's ventral fins: these resemble eggs in some species, and probably function as egg-dummies in order to ensure fertilization of the real eggs inside the female's mouth. The male starts a spawning bout by releasing a small “splash” of sperm cells, encapsulated in a gel-like matrix, in his spawning crater. Since this sperm-gel mass is invisible he indicates to the female where he dropped the sperm by holding the yellow tips at the end of the ventral fins right at the same spot of sperm release. By snapping at these tips the female also inhales some of the sperm. The female subsequently deposits eggs at the same spot and these can already become partly coated with the sticky sperm-gel mass. The next batch of eggs may, however, be laid in another male's bower as broods are usually sired by two or three different males.

When the fish are given ample space, such intricate breeding behavior can be observed in the aquarium as well. The magnificent coloration of a breeding featherfin male is often the focal point of a (community) aquarium. The final chapter in this book offers some advice regarding the keeping and breeding of these wonderful cichlids. Enjoy them!

Get the ibook version from the Apple Store


1. Introduction
2. Lake Tanganyika
3. Ectodini
4. Ophthalmotilapia ventralis
5. Ophthalmotilapia boops
6. Ophthalmotilapia nasuta
7. Ophthalmotilapia sp. ‘paranasuta’
8. Cyathopharynx
9. Aulonocranus dewindti
10. Cunningtonia longiventralis
11. Featherfins in the aquarium
12. References


iBook 121 pp..