Taiwanee Reef

Our good friend Dave sharing his experiences and photos from his trips to Lake Malawi.

Taiwanee Reef

Postby Dave G » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:31 pm

Three of us were volunteered to travel by boat from Salima up to the middle section of the lake. The weather was dreadful and only I felt well enough to dive the the isolated reef we passed on the way (Jalo - but more on that ina later post).

After the rest of the gang had rejoined us we set off for Taiwanee Reef.

This was Ad's special mission during the trip. Pseudotropheus saulosi is becoming very endangered and is found nowhere else in the lake. Years ago there were huge shoals of saulosi covering the whole reef but today they are found only in very small family groups. Collection for the pet trade is the reason. The whole lake is under threat for a wide variety of reasons but at this location it is we aquarists who have brought this species to the brink of extinction.

Anyway, Ad made his release of over a hundred young saulosi that had been bred locally by SMG.

I took down a wide angle lens - which is really more suited for 'big' creatures but I wanted to capture something of the spirit of the location and the fact that the saulosi are found now only in small groups.

Here are some pics - here's a borleyi. But please notice the colours on the reef. In my opinion Malawis in an aquarium are happier with a neutral to dark substrate / background / rocks than with coral sand and white bleached rocks. For my next show tank I have some terracotta wine racks that I'm going to introduce. I'll try to grow algae on these - just like on the red rocks above Also - although the water is alkaline it ain't specially hard - and chlorides are virtually nil.

Here's a zebra with his chops around the rock

Here's a small group of the saulosi - they are both beautiful and friendly. No wonder they are so popular. There will always be a demand and a requirement for wild fish but Ad Konings told me that the future of the hobby lies with specialist dedicated species breeders like Tony and Claire. Notice the only partly 'male' coloured male fish at the back of the group.


Three females

One female - notice the colours on the reef!


Two more - notice the fryeri emerging at the back. Fryeri are found all over the lake.

No shortage of the less colourful mbuna - these guys followed me around.


Here's a solitary male saulosi - I really had to look to find these guys - I could see Ad's point about how rare they've become.


Here's a big mbuan - Petrotilapia. If you you've got a 10' tank you might try these.


Towards the end of the dive I noticed a commotion at the surface - I went over to investigate

Notice the small Rhamphochromis (Malawi barracuda cichlid) at the bottom of the picture.

I reckon the Rhamphs had cut through some Malawi sardines and left a piece floating - because a borleyi male had grabbed half a sardine and was trying to scoff it before his friends could get a look in.

I was rewarded with is pic

This is a magical dive site for Malawi lovers. There were huge Rhamphochromis in about 25 metres of water (normally they're down at 60 metres which is outside operational range with the equipment available in Malawi) and some huge male Tyrannochromis! Unfortunately I couldn't get close enough to get any good pics of these guys. Its very difficult underwater with a wide angle lens.
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Dave G
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Re: Taiwanee Reef

Postby fletberbill » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:00 am

amazing pictures :clap:
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Re: Taiwanee Reef

Postby damba » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:21 am

As always great pictures. It is so good to see the cichlids in the lake.

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Re: Taiwanee Reef

Postby bradderz123 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:54 am

These are amazing photos :tu:

Damba - you must have some interesting fish that can be photographed and entered into the POTM? I'd love to see your 'best' Tang shot!
Otopharynx Lithobates
Protomelas Steveni Taiwan Reef
Neo Omnicaeruleus Makobe
Pseudotropheus Polits
Aulonocara Firefish Ice
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Ndumbi Super Red Top
Socolofi 'Snowflake'
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Re: Taiwanee Reef

Postby Clare » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:01 pm

Fantastic shots and great write up on this dive site.

It is good for you to bring visual clarification of the demise of certain species in the lake. I am shocked with the saulosi. I have seen photos from years ago of the saulosi area and there were massive colonys of them. I sure hope they can sort themselves out with SMG's help of the new introduction.

Can't wait for your next dive site write up and photos. :tu:
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Re: Taiwanee Reef

Postby adamneilwilson » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:07 pm

Brilliant post excellent pictures. That ramphochromis looks a tough un. Hopefully the population of solousi can recover in time.

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