Among the Cichlid family, the African Cichlids have been one of the most commercially available fish, gaining popularity among breeders for cultivation. These are generally because of their easy adaptability to their environment coupled by their striking features and appearance. The high demand for this fish prompted the interests on the proper care and propagation of these cichlids for a healthy and worry-free growth. It is important to know their basic characteristics to fully understand what needs to be done. There are important things to remember on taking care of your African Cichlids.
African Cichlids originate from five high elevation lakes in the different mountains of Africa. In this regard, they require a high temperature tank, ranging from 76 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They are also very selective of the pH level of the water they thrive in. They require a water pH level of 7.5 to 8.5. Cichlid salts are also available to add to your tank’s water to increase fish coloration and act as an anti-bacterial remedy.
They are also considered as aggressive freshwater fish, exhibiting hostility to other tank mates. Their contentious attitude makes it seem that they are not advisable to community type of water environment. They tend to fight easily with other fish once their territories are invaded. However, cases of aggression can be decreased by lowering the tank’s water temperature. You can also try to keep the number of the males down as compared to the females. This will lessen territorial disputes among the males. Overpopulating the tanks can either be a defensive or problematic against aggression. Some believe that having too many fish in the tank would increase aggression towards territorial dominance. However, others see that adding several fish with a variety of sizes make the aquarium more communal since domination of one type of fish is impossible. Also, the overcrowding will help small fish easily get away from bullying predators.
The color of the Cichlids reflects their dominance or trepidation. A pale-colored fish would signify that he is stressed or submissive, while a bright colored one would reflect his combative and authoritative attitude. When a male loses dominance, his bright color fades, but he might hide it or try to retain his color to find mates. If ever you see discoloration happening, immediately put the fish in a different tank to lessen his stress and increase his ability to find a mate.
They have a few requirements regarding their artificial habitat. Replicating their original environment is advisable. You can use a large tank to house your Cichlids. These will lessen hostility towards one another. Rocks and fake plants can be included in the set-up. They can be used as markers to set boundaries and individual spaces. In addition, African Cichlids tend to dig the ground. Make sure that the plants have heavy bases so as not to float. Do not place rocks directly on top of the glass base of the aquarium. The constant digging might break the glass once the rocks hit it. Place them on top of substrates such as round gravel or sand. Also, do not use rocks that are shaky since these might fall and injure the fish. You can also provide variety of hiding places using limestone and slate rocks.
Being knowledgeable of the facts and procedures on how to properly take care of African Cichlids makes you ready to cultivate this breed of fish. Though largely aggressive, they are wonderful pets to nurture since they easily adapt to their artificial environment and is worth to be taken cared for.