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Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 15:04 UK
Bristol Blue Reef Aquarium sees birth of African fish

Lake Malawi cichlids at Bristol's Blue Reef Aquarium
The fish, known as mouthbrooders, carry the eggs in their mouths until birth

An aquarium in Bristol is having a 'baby boom' following the arrival of dozens of tiny freshwater African fish.

Two species of Lake Malawi cichlids have started breeding at the Blue Reef Aquarium on the Harbourside.

The fish, known as mouthbrooders, carry the babies' eggs in their mouths until they hatch.

Even after they are born, the tiny fry will swim back into their mothers' mouths if they sense danger.

Blue Reef curator, Dan de Castro, said: "It's fantastic news that the cichlids have given birth.

Lake Malawi cichlids at Bristol's Blue Reef Aquarium
Lake Malawi is found between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania

"We're monitoring the babies' progress but cichlids are such good parents that there's not a lot more we can do - apart from enjoy watching them develop."

Lake Malawi is the second deepest lake in Africa and is home to more fish species than any other lake in the world.

The lake is dominated by cichlids, many of which are unique to this single stretch of water.

The family contains more species than any other type of fish with an estimated 800 species living in the African Rift lakes alone.

It is also thought that many more species are yet to be discovered.

Due to the high density of fish in the lake they have adapted specialised behaviours to survive and distinct colour variations to allow them to recognise their own species.

The Bristol fish are part of a captive breeding population which has been established by the aquarium.




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