Breeding Don'ts -
Finally, reproductive behavior tends to cause major problems with Cichlids, especially with monogamous species, where sexually active individuals are highly aggressive. Examining Cichlid reproductive behavior is beyond the scope of this "handbook", but we have a few major suggestions to make to anyone considering raising these fish. NEVER encourage your fish to interbreed with other species, or races of the same species. NEVER sell or raise hybrid fish. In the long run, these "mutts" are what really turn people off to Cichlids. When someone purchases a Flameback Hap, they expect males to mature and develop a bright red back. The chances are slim that a hybrid "Flameback" will do this, instead it will probably end up very ugly! Put yourself it that person's place. It's easy to see why we recommend that you avoid these situations. With all the problems facing the ecosystems where these fish naturally come from, we may someday have to rely COMPLETELY on captive raised fish.
Concerns For The Future -
Lake Victoria is a prime example. Of the approximately 300 species of Haplochromine Cichlids which were endemic to this lake (not found anywhere else), approximately 200 are either extinct or well on their way to becoming so. This is because humans have introduced Nile Perch into the lake, which happened to be extremely effective at preying on these Cichlids. Now, institutions are striving to save what is left. One of the more popular species, Haplochromis sp. "Zebra Obliquidens" (Astatotilapia latifasciata) is now thought to be extinct in the wild, surviving only in hobbyists' aquariums. We cannot risk destroying our valuable captive populations by allowing hybrids to pollute what we have.