Intermediate Rocky Habitat, Kantalamba, Tanganyika

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Tanzania, Kasanga, Kantalamba

Tanganyika Lake in East Africa, one of the Great African Lakes, located in the East African rift zone. The lake is divided among four countries, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, and Zambia.

It covers an area of 34400 km², is the longest freshwater lake in the world and the deepest African lake. The lake is located at an altitude of 773m above sea level. The average depth is 570 m, while the maximum reaches 1435m. The lake is located in the tropical climate zone. The average annual rainfall is 200 mm. Average annual temperature around 20°C. Kantalamba is located in Tanzania on the eastern shore of the lake. The described biotope is located in the zone of Litoral.

Submitted by
Uğur Ruşen Doğan
Approved by
Ad Konings & Michael Salter
-8.5472498, 31.1610565
Geographical region
Eastern Africa
Drainage Basin
River catchment
Water body type
Water body name
Lake Tanganyika
Water body part
Water body course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name

Videos above and below water

Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
27,5 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

12 mg/l
20 mg/l
Dissolved Oxygen
90 %

Substrate in nature

Stone form
Submerged terrestrial vegetation

Aquatic Biotope

Date of collecting
25 april, 2012
Collecting area
Shore line
Water depth
Air temperature
28.5 °C
Full sun


Human settlements
Human settlements
Surrounding area

BIN is located in entrance of a bay in the shoreline of Kantalamba. A narrow rocky shoreline continues with rocky forestry hills. Area is occupied by human. Some part of plain shoreline of area are deforested by human for having place to reside.

Steep hills cover shoreline. There is a plain corridor where village exist in to deeper lands. Despite of existence of human occupation shoreline has a natural terrestrial beauty.

Underwater landscape

BIN is an intermediate 4-5 meters deep rocky habitat, about 20-50 meters distance to shoreline. Extension of steep rocky and forestry hills continue as steep rocky hills in underwater. Huge rocks are positioned on each other. Rocks are mostly larger than 1 meter and curved edged flat type. Color of rocks is beige. Substrate (sand) of the bottom is beige colored thin mixed sand.

Algae existence and sedimentation is in a low level in habitat. Connection points of rocks create dark and hidden points for species to shelter. Different parts in habitat are owned by lots of species. Habitat is wavy in a medium level and water color is dark blue and transparency.


  • Neolamprologus pulcher
  • Altolamprologus compressiceps
  • Neolamprologus bifasciatus
  • Neolamprologus buescheri
  • Neolamprologus fasciatus
  • Eretmodus cyanostictus
  • Cyprichromis pavo
  • Cyprichromis sp. ‘leptosoma jumbo’
  • Julidochromis marlieri
Threats to ecology

Climate change, pollution, deforestation and over fishing threatens the ecology, ecological etability and ecosystem of the Lake Tanganyika.

Over the last century, warming water temperatures have caused changes to the lake’s ecosystems that threaten the fish species both endemic beautiful fish and the fish people depend on
for food. In last 100 years, surface waters of Lake Tanganyika have warmed by 0.9 to 1.3°C. From these records, scientists are finding that Lake Tanganyika’s surface waters are warming more rapidly than its depths.

This has the effect of creating an even sharper gradient between the upper and lower layers of the lake, and thus creating an even greater barrier to wind-induced mixing. On the other hand, number of people live in the lake’s drainage basin, and the overall populations are growing rapidly. The population growth in nearshore areas around Lake Tanganyika is nearly double the national’s average.

For the most part, the lake has relatively high quality water, except in a few areas where urban and industrial runoff has affected the lake. This is in part due to the lake’s enormous volume but this has a limit. The buffering capacity of the lake cannot handle more than a certain pollution load.

Deforestation, over-exploitation of the fishery and siltation caused by erosion from deforested areas are considered one of the main threats to the health of the lake. With increased population pressure, the ongoing problem of siltation, and now climate
change added to the mix, fish stocks, biodiversity, and water quality are expected to decline.

The particles in the lake and those washing into it, through rivers, streams, shoreline erosion, and even pollution discharges, eventually settle out to the bottom along with the decomposed remains of aquatic organisms. In a lake as deep as Tanganyika, these particles are essentially locked away in layers of mud. The bottom sediments are like a secure vault, storing the ecological history of the lake and its surrounding watershed.

In the case of Lake Tanganyika, this process has been occurring for millions of years, making it a treasure trove of information for scientists to study trends, such as the effects of climate change. Surface water warming more rapidly than its depths.

Because of the temperature differences, the bottom water is effectively isolated from the surface water. Temperature boundary formed in the lake, typically at a depth of 60 or 70 meters, as acting like a drain for nutrients and energy from the surface.

When these materials reach the oxygen-starved bottom of the lake, the difference in temperature between the upper and lower layers acts as a barrier – like oil on water – that inhibits the mixing that could replenish nutrients in brightly-lit surface waters. I am worried about humanity will facing a serious pollution problem from various sources, such as discharge of domestic sewage, population growth, rise of industrialization, use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in agriculture, sedimentation and erosion resulting from deforestation.

Today Lake Tanganyika are highly polluted by different harmful contaminants from human activities in large cities established on its catchment areas but this areas are growing. Moreover, rift lake sediments of the type found in Lake Tanganyika are well known among geologists as reservoirs of hydrocarbons, as over millions of years vast quantities of plankton have died and settled on the lake floor.

International scientists at the site are warning that if the activities are not pursued carefully, they could cause massive and long-term environmental disaster. Countries are signing new agreements for oil and gas exploration.

Riparian zone

Trees near the aquatic habitat
Few -

Comment by the expert

Ad Konings:

Criteria 1: Average rainfall is about 1000 mm/yr (not 200 mm)
Criteria 2: BIN is 4-5 m deep so three of the only 9 fish mentioned never occur in such shallow water: N. bifasciatus, N. buescheri, and C. pavo.
Criteria 3: At “entrance of bay” there is no intermediate habitat at a depth of 4-5 m. Also video shows only pure rocky habitat till a depth of about 40 m.
GH is about 200 mg/L (not 12 mg/L) and KH is about 300 mg/L (not 20 mg/L). Perhaps confusion with degrees…

Michael Salter: Many errors in water parameters, spcies occurence, and habitat description here. Some shortcuts were made in research here.