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Tag Archives: Cichlid Aquariums

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Cichlid Territories and Aggression

Black DevilThis time around I want to talk about something I hold dear to my heart…aggressive cichlids. Most cichlids have a mean streak towards other fish in the tank, but its a whole different story when that aggression is turned on an unsuspecting aquarist.

Most of the species that exhibit this type of behavior tend to be in the South and Central American cichlid group. The African Rift Lake cichlids normally keep the aggression focused on other fish in the tank, though I’ve had some shell-dwellers who would attack my arms and on occasion rip out some arm hair…truly they can be like feisty little bulldogs. Some larger West Africans and cichlids from Madagascar have also shown brazen territoriality towards me in my many years of keeping them. Read More »

Setting-up an Aquarium for Central American Cichlids

Hello, cichlid fans!I’ve been blogging on how to create suitable habitats for various types of cichlids in my previous entries, and this time I want to talk about the set-up that has worked best for me when I keep Central American species. I have kept and bred different species in tanks ranging from 30 gallons to 75 gallons. Most of my recent spawns have taken place in 40 breeders with a base dimension of 36 inches x 18 inches. 40 Breeders are nice, especially since I live in a smaller apartment and I don’t have the space for larger tanks. I have had plenty of success breeding Dovii, Firemouths, and Grammodes in my tank (at different times) and am now working with Cuban Cichlids. Read More »

Setting Up a Tanganyikan Mbuna (Rock Dweller) Cichlid Aquarium

N. brichardiThis time we will talk about setting up an aquarium for Tanganyikan Mbuna, or rock dwelling cichlids. The smallest tank I’ve ever attempted for these fish was a 20 high that housed a trio of brichardis I was breeding. Let’s say for the sake of keeping a community you should start with at least a 30 gallon tank.  A 30 gallon has a footprint of 36 inches by 12 inches, so it doesn’t take up too much space, but still gives the fish some room to play.

I keep my rift lake aquariums pretty much the same, whether its Malawi, Tanganyika or Victoria. With this particular type of set-up you may need to do some minor tweaks to the pH, and live plants might have a better chance than in other cichlid set-ups. Let’s start from the bottom up. Read More »

Setting a Tank Up for Mbuna – Rock-Dwelling Cichlids of Lake Malawi

PolitHey out there! This time around I’d like to talk about setting up a tank for Mbuna, or “rock dwellers”. You can find these colorful fish in the any of the three rift lakes of Africa, but for this blog we will talk about the preferences of species from Lake Malawi.

First, the tank. Larger is better for a couple reasons. A 55 gallon is nice, but a 75 is better for these fish, with its 18 inch width. narrow tanks can be a pain since you’ll want a lot of rock for these fish. The second reason would be that the more room you give them the easier it will be to control aggression. I was once told that if you crowd these fish, they wouldn’t be as aggressive, not being able to single out others to target and bully.  I have seen Mbuna tanks with 12 to 20 fish dwindle down to 4 to 5 fish due to dominant fish. I think it depends on the species and particular fish that you’re trying to house together more, and I don’t think crowding is ever good advice. Last but not least, the larger the tank the more choices you have when it comes time to choose livestock. Read More »

Setting Up an Aquarium for Victorian Cichlids

Zebra ObliquidensVictorian Cichlids have to be some of the best looking cichlids, right behind those gorgeous fish from Lake Malawi.  The majority of the vics that are found in the local pet shops tend to be very easy to breed, some which may rival the prolific habits of the convict cichlid. Creating a set-up that will facilitate successful spawning is not difficult, and you’ll be rewarded with beautifully colored fish and lots of babies to raise, sell, or swap.

The first thing to consider is the tank size. If you’re creating a community cichlid tank, a 55 gallon is the minimum that I would recommend. This should be enough space to house 6 to 10 four inch fish (though large tanks will give them more space to create territories). Chances are you’ll see both males and females in a group that size as well. If you’re looking specifically to breed your fish, a 29 or 30 gallon tank will work for a group of 1 male and 2 or 3 females. Read More »