The Cichlid Fishes of Western Africa Book Review

Author:    Anton Lamboj
Publisher:  Birgit, Schmettkamp Verlag, Bornheim, Germany
Copyright 2004
Binding: Hard Cover
255 pages
521 photos
Bibliography: 145 references

      There are few books about the cichlids of West Africa and this is the best. It includes descriptions of every species known when it was published. It provides information about identification, natural habitats and aquarium husbandry for most of the fish described. However, as may be expected, the amount of detail provided about individual species varies considerably.

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      Unfortunately for dwarf cichlid enthusiasts, only a portion of the content is devoted to the dwarf species. In fact, of the book’s 255 pages only 50 deal with species that might be considered dwarfs ( I’m being a little generous here by including genera such as Limbochromis, Parananochromis, and Teleogramma). Personally, my biggest disappointment is that all of the forms of Pelvicachromis taeniatus are lumped into a single heading. Lamboj does write specifically about many of the forms and has a number of photos of them I would have loved to see a section where each form has its own identified section. I’ll note here that in 2014 Dr. Lamboj and associates revised the Genus Pelvicachromis and moved most of the species we knew as P. taeniatus into P. kribensis, so, most of the names in the book are no longer valid. However, the variety name (such as “Moliwe” “Kienke”, “Dehane”, etc) remained unchanged.

      Despite these issues, this is the best and most comprehensive book on West African cichlids. Dr. Lamboj performed his investigative work for both his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees on the systematics of West African Cichlids and he is one of the world’s foremost experts on these fishes. The cichlids of West Africa are a fascinating group of fishes and many, of all sizes, are among the most beautiful tropical fish. It is fascinating to look at all of the larger cichlid species covered in this book. Some are truly spectacular.

      In recent years West African dwarf cichlids have become more widely available. Captive breeding and new export opportunities both provide fish for the hobby. I strongly recommend this book if you are interested in these fascinating fishes.

While I consider this the most comprehensive book about West African dwarfs, there are other resources that you might want to investigate. Visit our Guide to Dwarf Cichlid Information Resources to learn more