The Importance Of Cichlids

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Cichlids have the largest number of endangered species among invertebrate families, most in the haplochromine group (Reid, 1990). Cichlids display similar diversity of body shapes ranging from toughly literally compressed species to species that are cylindrical and highly elongated (Loiselle, 1994). Generally, however, cichlids tend to be of medium size, oval in shape, generally similar to the North American sun fishes in morphology, behaviour and ecology (Helfman, 1997). Cichlids are predominantly well known for having evolved rapidly into a large number of closely related but morphologically diverse species within large lakes particularly Tanganyika, Victoria, Malawi and Edward (Snoeks, 2004). Their diversity in the African great lakes is…show more content…
They are most diverse in Africa and South America. Africa is estimated to inhabit at least 1,600 species (Katria, Oxylapia and Paratilapia), only distantly related to those on the African mainland (Froese, 2012). Native cichlids are largely absent in Asia, except for 9 species in Israel, Lebanon and Syria (Nelson, 2006).
Although most cichlids are found at relatively shallow depth, several exceptions do exist. These include species such as Alticorpus macrocleithrum and Pallidochromis tokolosh down to 150m 490ft. below the surface in Lake Malawi (Froese, 2006). Cichlids are less commonly found in brackish and salt water habitats, though many species tolerates brackish water for extended periods; Cichlasoma urophthalmus for example, is equally at home in fresh water marshes and mangroves swamps and lives and breed in salt water environment such as the mangrove belt around barrier islands (Loiselle, 1994). Several species of tilapia, Sarotherodon and Oreochromis are euryhaline and can disperse along brackish coastlines between rivers (Nelson, 2006). In Ghana, cichlids are distributed in all the surface waters (Dankwa et al.,
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In research studies, Nile tilapia grew better when aerators were used to prevent morning DO concentrations from falling below 0.7 to 0.8 mg/L (compared with unaerated control ponds). Growth was not further improved if additional aeration kept DO concentrations above 2.0 to 2.5 mg/L. Although tilapia can survive acute low DO concentrations for several hours, tilapia ponds should be managed to maintain DO concentrations above 1 mg/L. Metabolism, growth and possibly, disease resistance are depressed when DO falls below this level for prolonged periods. The minimum DO requirements of tilapia species is 5 mg/L and if the concentration of DO decreases, respiration and feeding activities also decrease (Mallya,

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