There are few writers in the marine aquarium world who can claim to love marine fish any more than we do. We do our best to cover the weird, the rare, the colorful, the unusual, and with Matt Pedersen’s help, a whole lotta captive breeding gets written in the pages of this website.
However, for all the magic that marine and reef fish can deliver, nothing can make up for the parental care that some freshwater fish display towards their young. Among the “freshies”, no group compares to the smart, beautiful and varied cichlids. The case in point is plainly illustrated by this wonderful pair of an otherwise terrible fish, Nandopsis managuensis, the managuense cichlid.
Don’t misread our words, we love (nearly) every single species of fish and appreciate them for what they are, but as beautiful as managuense cichlids can be, their are mean little fish machines. In our previous life as an LFS worker, we have routinely played the game of Chicken with our fist and a particularly ferocious specimen of Managuense.
It’s hard to describe how this game between fish and man worked, but the point is that the fish exerts this same level of tenacity in life as it does in protecting its young. The benefits of fish fry having such a capable big bodyguard means that the fry are free to group into an incredible swarm of baby fish that can be so big and so dense as to begin obscure the parent that is protecting them.
It’s easy to let ourselves fall into a false sense of saltwater fish being the be-all, end-all fish for aquariums. While that may be true on a lot of levels there’s still a lot of special things that only freshwater fish can do, and seeing a cloud of cichlid fry swarming around their parent is definitely one of the highlights of aquarium keeping. [Mojo]