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Luwala Reef 2013

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:45 pm
by Dave G
This was another offshore reef. Ad's advice was to drop down off the rocks onto the sand and look for a number of breeding big cichlids. I put on a wide angle lens (but not the super wide fish eye) as I was unsure how good the vis would be and I was hopeful of some big fish encounters

First notable fish I encountered was a small one but personal favourite S. fryeri

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This guy was very delicately coloured - a bit like a Tanganyikan (in my unsophisticated opinion) I believe the genus is Mchenga - not sure of the species

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Here's one of the bigger fish that I did find - a male Aulanocara rostratum. Steve Lunblad of the Cicihlid Exchange in Oregon (who was part of our group) breeds these.
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Ps livingstoni female holding. Malawi's shell dewelling cichlid
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I found these big kampango catfish (Bagrus meridionalis) - guarding their nest. All sorts of small cichlids hide in here for protection. Catfish this size (the female above was close to 5') are bruisers - they look like a back tiger shovelnose- especially so when guarding fry. I'm sure they would have had me if I'd gotten any closer!

Now this particular picture caused a bit of a stir when I checked it back on the surface. Ad Konings reckons I'd somehow photoshopped it underwater. What is that small catfish just below the gill case of the bottom kampango?

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Ad christened it Corydoras pallas (joking of course). I'd love to know what it really was!

I then found my way back to the reef (but was lost - it was not the reef I was dropped onto). That'll teach me to take a compass bearing before heading out into nowhere.

I snook up on this big mormyrid from behind. But my bubbles sound like gunfire underwater and he hopped it before I could get a good pic. You can see the size and the shape though - it had a big elephant nose. It was at least 2' long - bigger than all the cichlids

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My air was now running low so I ascended the reef to offgas (not what you think - its a diving expression for reducing nitrogen in your body) where I was joined by a family group of one of my top five mbuna - the only ones I saw in the entire fortnight (or two weeks and three days as my wife has reminded me) even Ad was surprised that I'd found these at this location

Pseudotropheuse acei - the nicest ones I had ever seen. They have a sort of dancing movement when they swim - much like chaffinches in flight - wonderful to behold.

Here's the dominant male
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brooding female (notice the red rock and green algae - colours go well with blue and yellow cichlids)

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What a beauty!

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This was the top of the reef - and by now my air was running low, my dive computer was having a fit (its got air integration) and I needed to surface - so I had to leave my new friends behind.. Thats a yellow fin borleyi ruining the family picture.

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Goodbye!
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Re: Luwala Reef 2013

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:45 pm
by adamneilwilson
Brilliant piece there! Those acei look amazing, such bright defined colours

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Re: Luwala Reef 2013

PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:40 am
by andywroe
Your pics are truly amazing :clap:
love the acei but that Aulanocara rostratum is something else :clap: :tu:

Re: Luwala Reef 2013

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:07 pm
by Tony
:text-goodpost: , brilliant Dave :clap: :tu:

Re: Luwala Reef 2013

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:07 pm
by Clare
Oh wow, those acei photos are fantastic. I love acei.

I love your capture of the catfish and that little stranger getting protection from them. Awww.

Excellent writeup. :tu: