Lake Barombi Koto affluent, Cameroon

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CMR__Cenral-Africa, Dipartimento di Fako

Lake Barombi Koto is a shallow crater lake, sometimes weakly stratified, and with a dense phytoplankton dominated by blue-green algae. Of the five species of cichlids in Lake Kotto only one is endemic: Coptodon kottae, Chromidotilapia guentheri, Hemichromis fasciatus, Pelmatolapia mariae and Sarotherodon galilaeus. Two are phytoplankton-feeders, one takes invertebrates as well as phytoplankton, one feeds mainly on chironomid larvae, and one preys on vertebrates as well as on invertebrates. The three phytoplanktivores are the main species eaten by man.

One species of Clarias and one of Enteromius callipterus also occur in Lake Barombi Koto; and in the associated streams are the nothobranchiids Aphyosemion bivittatum, Epiplatys sexfasciatus and Fundulopanchax oeseri, the poeciliid Procatopus similis, and Barbus callipterus are found in the Tung Nsuia and Tung Nsuria streams.

Bulinus snails (including the near-endemic Bulinus camerunensis) infested with Schistosoma, which causes the disease bilharzia in humans, are present in the lake.


Submitted by
Eleonora Pasquariello
Approved by
Ad Konings & Anton Lamboj
4.4639182, 9.2668333
Geographical region
Cenral Africa
Drainage Basin
River catchment
Meme River
Water body type
Water body name
Tung Nsuia
Water body part
Water body course
Lower course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name
Lake Barombi Koto

Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
26 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

Dissolved Oxygen

Substrate in nature

Stone form
Submerged terrestrial vegetation

Aquatic Biotope

Date of collecting
Collecting area
River bank
Water depth
Air temperature
Partial shade


Human settlements
Human settlements
Surrounding area

The Tung Nsuia and Tung Nsuria streams, each about 1–2 m (3 ft 3 in – 6 ft 7 in) wide and 0.3 m (1 ft 0 in) deep near their mouth, are the only inflows into the Lake Barombi Koto, and they dry out in dry season.

The only outflow is Nkundung-Kotto stream, a tributary of the Meme River, which dries out or greatly reduced in dry season.

Lake Kotto is a shallow lake, in most places less than 6m deep, and about 1200m across. The steep walls of the volcanic crater wall id forested, but most of it is cultivated alnd where cocoa, cassavaand plantains are grown.

Around the southern and western shores of the lake are the houses of Nigerian immigrants, and the island is denseluy populated by Barombis, a fishing tribe. In most places the lake shore is rocky and overhung with dense vegetation. The bottom is sandy in some of more open, shallow areas, which are used as canoe beaches and as trasmition sites for schistosomiasis.

Underwater landscape

Water of the these creeks is soft, lesser than 100 µS, temp around 26°C, pH close to 7. No water plants, just layers of leaves, branches, roots.


  • Coptodon kottae
  • Chromidotilapia guentheri
  • Hemichromis fasciatus
  • Pelmatolapia mariae
  • Sarotherodon galilaeus
  • Clarias sp.
  • Enteromius callipterus
  • Aphyosemion bivittatum
  • Epiplatys sexfasciatus
  • Fundulopanchax oeseri
  • Procatopus similis
  • Barbus callipterus


  • None, only riparian plant.


  • Bulinus snails, including the near-endemic Bulinus camerunensis

Turtles and the aquatic frog Xenopus tropicalis are common in the lake.

Threats to ecology

Cameroon is endowed with many freshwater lakes and rivers but, because of increasing anthropogenic activities, most of these water bodies are gradually being degraded. Lake Barombi Kotto is one of the volcanic crater lakes in Cameroon that serves as a prime source of drinking water for the Barombi Kotto community.

The endemics are threatened by pollution and sedimentation from human activities, and “turning” of the lake’s water because of deforestation of the surroundings (this may allow more wind, and the lake is stratified with oxygen-poor lower levels). They are potentially also threatened by large emissions of carbon dioxide from the lake’s bottom (compare Lake Nyos), although Barombi Koto is too shallow to contain very high amounts of this gas.


  • Cichlidae by Stiassny, M.L.J.; A. Lamboj; D. De Weirdt; G.G. Teugels
  • The fresh and brackish water fishes of Lower Guinea, West-Central Africa / Poissons d’Eaux Douces et Saumâtres de Basee Guinée, Ouest de l’Afrique Centrale. Vol. 2. Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale. pp. 269–403. by M.L.J. Stiassny; G.G Teugels; C.D. Hopkins (eds.)

Comment by the expert

Ad Konings: No references or data are given about the natural environment of the biotope to be copied. The data given in BAM may refer to the resulting aquarium setup. Unclear. But references in BAM give details that should have been mentioned in BIN.

  • 1 – No details given in BIN apart from one sentence at heading.
  • 4 – Found some in the BAM.

Anton Lamboj: Description is OK, as not too many details about the lake are existing. But much more fish species occur in this area (what is mentioned in Wikipedia).