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The two great lakes in east Africa best known to the hobbyist are Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi. Another familiar great lake of Africa is Lake Victoria. It is also very large but is not a rift lake; rather it is a shallower saucer-shaped lake that lies between the two rift lake valleys. There are also a number of others including Lake Edward, Lake Kivu, Lake Albert, and Lake Rudolf along with a number smaller lakes and ponds. The cichlids of these great lakes are renown for their diversity and beauty, and because they are unique. They are principally endemic to these lakes, with most found only in their respective lake and nowhere else. As the cichlid species evolved, they successfully exploited every conceivable way of life in the lakes, inhabiting rocky shores, sandy shores, open water (pelagic) regions, and deep-water regions. The simple term “African Cichlid” is anything but simple. There is a great diversity in the each of the cichlid genera and in their habitats.


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