What are the basic things that needed to be considered when setting-up an African cichlid aquarium? As a hobbyist you need to think on the following: tank size, pH levels, temperature, water change, filtration, substrate, and decoration.
Choosing the Accurate tank size
The size of the tank actually depends on the type of fish that is placed inside. But as a general rule, the appropriate minimum size is 55 gallon or a 200 Liter tank. Larger tanks are preferred for cichlids to freely move around, as well as to be able to incorporate sufficient decorations for their hiding place. Cichlids are mostly territorial, therefore giving each of your fishes a place to claim as their own will inhibit aggression.
pH Level of water
pH is the measurement of water acidity and alkalinity. African cichlids enjoy water conditions with pH level above 7.0 or depending upon the lake where the cichlid came from. The most highly recommended pH level of the three rift lakes species is a stable 8.2 – 8.4 ranges. Bear in mind that these lakes are hardy which goes true with your aquarium water it should be hardy to keep them healthy and vigorous.
African cichlid aquarium temperature should be within the range of 74 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Providing cichlids with higher temperature may increase their metabolism, thus enticing cichlid to eat more as well as it stimulates aggression. Keeping the fishes in an adequate temperature will make them calm and happy.
Even with proper filtration, constant water change is also relevant. I suggest a weekly partial water change of about 10 – 20 percent is appropriate.
There are quite a number of variants for filtration, read about the specifics of each available filtration system and choose the best that suits the variety of cichlids at your possession or planning to obtain. What is important that the filtration must meet the gph requirements and other essential functions of the systems.
You can use any substrate as long as it is compatible with the type of cichlid that you carry. For African cichlid, I prefer using a crushed coral for several reasons: Fundamentally, it is white and very clean in appearance which put emphasis more on the vibrant colors of the fishes. Second, coral gradually dissolves adding to the hardness of the water or it also aid in stabilizing the pH level in water. Remember that hard water when left unattended will also deteriorate since the minerals do not stay for very long unless a buffer is used like rocks and crushed coral. Water change is also an important factor to maintain hardness and pH level. However, one drawback with crushed coral is that it may irritate their gills.
It is essential to provide your African cichlid aquarium with plenty of rocks and caves to give each fish hiding place to keep them secure. For rocks, a hobbyist may use limestone, slate, petrified wood, lava, granite, tufa or lace rock. Make sure that the rocks are thoroughly cleansed before placing them inside the tank.