African Cichlids – What You Need to Know
If you are interested in adding some color to your aquarium then the African cichlids are the best fish to have. These fish are very diverse with each species having its own colorful pattern and color variety. These cichlids are usually difficult to take care of compared to other types of tropical fish. This is because they are more aggressive and should be kept by a more experienced aquarist.
These types of cichlids belong to the biological family of cichlidae which includes other types of cichlids like those from south America and Asia. Almost all African cichlids come from three popular lakes in East Africa. The lakes include Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania and Lake Victoria.
Typical behavior of African cichlids
Cichlids are very active and they will follow any movement outside the tank with hopes of being fed. They are always in search of food and this might make you think that they are hungry therefore ending up overfeeding them. They are very good swimmers and can sometimes even jump out of the fish tank. Their aggressive nature makes them a bit territorial when it comes to mating. The weaker fish might get seriously injured or even die in the tank.
You will have to add manufactured decorations or pile pebbles in form of a cave to provide a hide out. This will greatly reduce aggression making your fish last longer in the aquarium. You can include many hiding spots to provide places for territorial claim. The African cichlids love digging up into the substrate and even other decorations in the aquarium.
Tank size and water requirements
Always go for a larger tank size for African cichlids because they are very aggressive and small swimming space may result into fights. A spacious environment will ensure that your fish get along with reduced aggression. Since cichlids are active swimmers it is better to go for a 30 gallons tank or more to ensure that they move freely in the water.
African cichlids do well in hard water with a range of 8 to 8.6 alkaline conditions. You can maintain the water hardness by adding buffers and corals. These items also increase the mineral concentration of the water giving your fish a healthy environment to thrive in. The temperature of the water should range between 74 to about 78 degrees because cichlids love warm water.
The feeding requirements for African cichlids involves getting their nutrition content from cichlid fish food pellets which are readily available in local pet stores. Since they are omnivorous you should feed them food specifically made for cichlids.
Learn more about freshwater fish