The Mangarahara cichlid is known as one of the most endangered cichlids in the world. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) thought that their two males, together with one fish at the Berlin Zoo might be the last 3 in the world. In a hope to try to save this species they reached out to the public and aquarists around the world to see if anyone had a female Mangarahara cichlid. They received a suprising reply from a Malagagasy businessman. The man had seen the pictures and contacted the Zoological Society of London to tell them about a small river tributary he knew of where the cichlid was still thriving. The Zoological Society of London sent out an expedition that was very successful. Not only were they able to bring a handful of collected specimens back to be a part of a breeding program but they also succeeded in confirming a breeding population of these fish still left in the wild. The conditions they lived in was however less than ideal for the species and it is unclear if the species will be able to survuve there long term.
All 18 fish collected will be used in a breeding program at a private aquaculture facility. Who knows. With a little luck we might see this “ugly” cichlid starting to trickle into the aquarium hobby in the coming years. There is not doubt that a more widespread distribution among aquarists would be good to help safe guard the species.