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Your First Cichlid Aquarium


So you're thinking about trying cichlids. A good choice. In this article I shall try to give a few examples of good cichlid aquariums that are suitable for beginners. I've tried to suggest set-ups that will be beautiful and easy to maintain, and species that are easily bred so that you might observe this fascinating side of cichlid behavior.

This article targets those who haven't that much experience with aquariums in general and cichlids in particular. If you are a more experienced aquarist who is just new to cichlids these set-ups will still be good, and you have a lot of other options as well since you are probably capable of keeping more sensitive species than those suggested in this article.

Aquarium:

It is possible to keep some cichlids, such as Lamprologus ocellatus, in very small aquariums. However, for your first cichlid aquarium I would recommend a larger aquarium of no less than 30 gallons/120 L. There are several reasons for this:

- A larger aquarium is easier to maintain and easier to keep in good condition.

- Cichlids are aggressive. Some cichlids are much more aggressive than others, but almost all cichlids are aggressive and a larger aquarium makes it easier for weaker fish to avoid this hostility.

- Cichlid behavior is usually more interesting if you can keep more than one isolated pair in an aquarium. For example this may allow you to see the parents guarding their young.

Water conditions:

Which water conditions you should have depends on which cichlids you want to keep since their preferences differ greatly. For your first aquarium I recommend keeping species that are less sensitive to water conditions, and if you choose to try the species I recommend in this article you normally won't have to think about water conditions. I don't recommend keeping cichlids from the great African lakes as your first cichlids if you are an inexperienced aquarist, since they have more specialised demands.

Feeding:

The cichlids I recommend accept all kind of food, however I would recommend giving them a diverse diet consisting of pellets/flakes, frozen food and occasional live food.

Species:

Now to the fun part: choosing fish species to your new aquarium. I will give three examples of possible aquariums. The first one has its origin in African rivers and is more friendly, while the second one features cichlids from Central America. I will also give a suggestion for a composition that has its origins in the Amazon. However this composition is a little bit harder to get to breed and requires a larger aquarium. I would recommend at least 50 gallon/ 200 L.

1. African cichlid aquarium (30 gallons)
1 pair of kribs (Pelvicachromis pulcher)
1 pair of African butterfly cichlids (Anomalochromis thomasi)
1 pair of Egyptian mouth-brooders (Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor)
4 Ancistrus (plecos)

2. Central American aquarium (30 gallons):
1 pair of Archocentrus sajica (T-Bar cichlid)
1 pair of convicts (Archocentrus nigrofasciatus)
2 Hypostomus (plecos)

3. Amazon aquarium (50 gallons):
4 angelfish ( Pterophyllum scalare)
1 pair of Aequidens curviceps
1 pair of Aequidens maronii (Keyhole cichlid)
6 Ancistrus (plecos)

Tank set-ups:

1. African cichlid aquarium

All of these species are relatively friendly and have different behaviors that will reduce stress between the different pairs. These species prefer a well planted aquarium and leave your plants alone so that you can use all sorts of plants. They also require hiding and spawning places. Kribs spawn in caves which can be created using roots, rocks and flowerpots. A. Thomasi spawns on flat surfaces such as rocks. You will have to leave free areas without plants and rocks to create swimming space and allow you to see your fish more often. Use fine sand as this promotes spawning of Egyptian mouth-brooders. If you just keep the aquarium clean and your fish well fed they will thrive and spawn in this aquarium. If you find your aquarium a little empty you can add some small schooling fish such as tetras to the upper water levels.

2. Central American aquarium

The species in this set-up are more aggressive, which explains why I only recommend keeping two species in this tank. Both species lay their eggs on rocks so caves aren't that necessary, but I would still recommended that you create a few as hiding places as these species can be quite aggressive. This is especially true when they are spawning and caring for their young. A sajica usually leaves your plants alone, but convicts often eat plants, so I recommend using more hardy plants such as sword plants, anubias and Java ferns if you want to use plants. Whether to keep plants or not is completely up to the aquarist. The cichlids will thrive with or without plants as long as you provide a few hiding places. Both species are very easy to breed and it is almost impossible to keep convicts from spawning. It can be very hard to find new homes for the fry, so I recommend letting the parents keep their young and see if any survive. In this aquarium some usually will.

3. Amazon aquarium

As I said earlier, it is preferable for this aquarium to be at least 50 gallons since these fish get a little bigger. Angelfish shouldn't be kept in aquariums that are less than 50 cm/ 20 inches high. These species are still easy to care for but require a little more from their keeper to spawn. The aquarium should be well planted with free areas for the fish to swim in. Use large sword plants or cryptocoryne species to give the angels what they need to spawn. The other species requires roots or rocks to spawn on. Caves are not necessary but preferable, especially for A. curviceps. If you find this aquarium a little empty you might add some free-swimming schooling fish to the aquarium. Never use neon tetras with angelfish, as angelfish like to eat them. The same is true for a number of other small tetras. If you keep the water clean and the fish well fed they will thrive and with a little bit of luck, spawn.

Final words

I have given just a few suggestions for possible cichlid aquariums (there are a lot more) and when you get a little more experience with cichlids the possibilities are countless. Cichlids are very interesting and often beautiful fishes and many of them are quite simple to keep. These are only a few of the reasons behind their popularity. Try them, you won't regret it!

About The Author

Article by William Berg originally published at Aquatic community tropical fish.

Article may be reproduce as long as it is not edited and a live link to http://www.aquaticcommunity.com is placed in the article header. (java links and PHP links are not allowed) Include this resource box "as is with live links" on the bottom of the page.


TODAYS NEWS BY OFFICEJAX FREE ADVERTISING AND AD EXCHANGE SOLUTIONSMORE PETS INFORMATION RESOURCES updated Fri. June / 05 / 2020

How to keep your pets cool this summer - Chicago Tribune
How to keep your pets cool this summer  Chicago Tribune

A Paws for Pets - York News-Times
A Paws for Pets  York News-Times

Pets offer unconditional love - Tampa Bay Times
Pets offer unconditional love  Tampa Bay Times

Pets and Real Estate Sales - The New York Times
Pets and Real Estate Sales  The New York Times

Tips on keeping your pets safe during the hot weather - WWLP.com
Tips on keeping your pets safe during the hot weather  WWLP.com

Pets of the Week - Chico Enterprise-Record
Pets of the Week  Chico Enterprise-Record

ARE Animal Rescue in Hemet recognized nationally for saving pets during COVID-19 pandemic - Valley News
ARE Animal Rescue in Hemet recognized nationally for saving pets during COVID-19 pandemic  Valley News

Animal Samaritans helps Coachella Valley pets through COVID-19 crisis - Desert Sun
Animal Samaritans helps Coachella Valley pets through COVID-19 crisis  Desert Sun

Fairfax County Families Share What Hedgehogs Are Like as Pandemic Pets - Tysons Reporter
Fairfax County Families Share What Hedgehogs Are Like as Pandemic Pets  Tysons Reporter

Pets can develop compulsive disorders | Berks Pets - Reading Eagle
Pets can develop compulsive disorders | Berks Pets  Reading Eagle

household pets – The Daily Evergreen - The Daily Evergreen
household pets – The Daily Evergreen  The Daily Evergreen

Meet our pets of the week: A pig, a pony and a cat - STLtoday.com
Meet our pets of the week: A pig, a pony and a cat  STLtoday.com

Vets outline separation anxiety concerns for pets - Daily American Online
Vets outline separation anxiety concerns for pets  Daily American Online

Pets, Pets, Pets - Babylon Beacon
Pets, Pets, Pets  Babylon Beacon

Your pets and severe weather - WTHITV.com
Your pets and severe weather  WTHITV.com

Pets of the week: Tripod kitty and plus-size pup are ready to go home - Burlington County Times
Pets of the week: Tripod kitty and plus-size pup are ready to go home  Burlington County Times

What you can do to help your overweight pets - KGAN TV
What you can do to help your overweight pets  KGAN TV

Pets of the Week: Blanche, Theodore, Nelson and Cloud are ready for adoption - Long Beach Press Telegram
Pets of the Week: Blanche, Theodore, Nelson and Cloud are ready for adoption  Long Beach Press Telegram

Preparing pets for hurricane season - WCBD News 2
Preparing pets for hurricane season  WCBD News 2

Pets of the Week: Meet Oregano and Parsley - WWLP.com
Pets of the Week: Meet Oregano and Parsley  WWLP.com

MCSPCA staff available for pet tips as owners return to work - centraljersey.com
MCSPCA staff available for pet tips as owners return to work  centraljersey.com

Pet groomers in Michigan can reopen Thursday - MLive.com
Pet groomers in Michigan can reopen Thursday  MLive.com

Alachua County Pets: Blue, Dante, and Ralphie - WCJB
Alachua County Pets: Blue, Dante, and Ralphie  WCJB

ODA toxicologist warns of yard, garden treatments that can harm pets - The Highland County Press
ODA toxicologist warns of yard, garden treatments that can harm pets  The Highland County Press

Tips for getting your pet re-adjusted to you going back to work - KX NEWS
Tips for getting your pet re-adjusted to you going back to work  KX NEWS

Best Pet Supplies and Tips for Kittens and Puppies (2020) - WIRED
Best Pet Supplies and Tips for Kittens and Puppies (2020)  WIRED

Make sure your pets are prepared for tropical weather with this checklist - WDSU New Orleans
Make sure your pets are prepared for tropical weather with this checklist  WDSU New Orleans

New Guidance for Pet Owners During Pandemic - The Zebra
New Guidance for Pet Owners During Pandemic  The Zebra

Virtual Pet Adoptions Up And Running In Dallas - CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
Virtual Pet Adoptions Up And Running In Dallas  CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Dollars and Pets: Importance of brushing your dog - The Mercury News
Dollars and Pets: Importance of brushing your dog  The Mercury News

Fort Payne charity helps reduce unwanted pet population - Times-Journal
Fort Payne charity helps reduce unwanted pet population  Times-Journal

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VIVA Pets of the Week: Stan and Jack  Santa Maria Times

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Potsdam Village considers law allowing chicken raising | Pets  NNY360

OC Animal Care to host the Family Fur-st Pet Food Pantry - Orange County Breeze
OC Animal Care to host the Family Fur-st Pet Food Pantry  Orange County Breeze

Find your new pet at the Humane Society of Northwest Louisiana - KTBS
Find your new pet at the Humane Society of Northwest Louisiana  KTBS

Michigan pet grooming shops reopen after nearly three months - WDIV ClickOnDetroit
Michigan pet grooming shops reopen after nearly three months  WDIV ClickOnDetroit

Little rabies vaccine packets are meant to keep us and our pets safe - WPLG Local 10
Little rabies vaccine packets are meant to keep us and our pets safe  WPLG Local 10

Columbia Basin Herald - Columbia Basin Herald
Columbia Basin Herald  Columbia Basin Herald

Carver County pet cat tests positive for coronavirus - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Carver County pet cat tests positive for coronavirus  Minneapolis Star Tribune

Coffee Empire JAB Eyes Compassion-First Pet Hospitals - Bloomberg
Coffee Empire JAB Eyes Compassion-First Pet Hospitals  Bloomberg

Adopt A Pet plans Saturday event - GREAT BEND TRIBUNE - Great Bend Tribune
Adopt A Pet plans Saturday event - GREAT BEND TRIBUNE  Great Bend Tribune

Feta is Your Rancho Coastal Humane Society Pet of The Week - Patch.com
Feta is Your Rancho Coastal Humane Society Pet of The Week  Patch.com

Claws, Paws & Scales Gallery for June 5 | Berks Pets - Reading Eagle
Claws, Paws & Scales Gallery for June 5 | Berks Pets  Reading Eagle

Islip Adoptable Pet Of The Week: Meeko - Islip, NY Patch
Islip Adoptable Pet Of The Week: Meeko  Islip, NY Patch

Sheriff: A hot car is no place for your pet - Lincoln City Homepage
Sheriff: A hot car is no place for your pet  Lincoln City Homepage

KCBD’s Pet of the Day: Meet Hoss - KCBD
KCBD’s Pet of the Day: Meet Hoss  KCBD

Virtual Pet Parade a success - Suburban Chicagoland
Virtual Pet Parade a success  Suburban Chicagoland

Meet Bruno: Wonder Paws Rescue Pet of the Week - TAPinto.net
Meet Bruno: Wonder Paws Rescue Pet of the Week  TAPinto.net

Owners 'shame' their naughty pets after catching them misbehaving - Daily Mail
Owners 'shame' their naughty pets after catching them misbehaving  Daily Mail

Pet supplements are hot end of already sizzling CBD market - NutraIngredients-usa.com
Pet supplements are hot end of already sizzling CBD market  NutraIngredients-usa.com

Should you be quarantining with your pets? - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Should you be quarantining with your pets?  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Eight-year-old girl tortured to death for releasing pet parrots, police say - CNN
Eight-year-old girl tortured to death for releasing pet parrots, police say  CNN

Pandemic pets: How to take care of that newly adopted quarantine companion - The Mercury News
Pandemic pets: How to take care of that newly adopted quarantine companion  The Mercury News

Miami-Dade Animal Services hosts pet food distribution amid pandemic - WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports | Fort Lauderdale
Miami-Dade Animal Services hosts pet food distribution amid pandemic  WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports | Fort Lauderdale

3 Pet Med Stocks That Offer Growth and a Nice Dividend - Motley Fool
3 Pet Med Stocks That Offer Growth and a Nice Dividend  Motley Fool

Pet Of The Week And Free Food For Pets - The Transylvania Times
Pet Of The Week And Free Food For Pets  The Transylvania Times

The Comfort of Pets - Richmond magazine
The Comfort of Pets  Richmond magazine

'They were sick or dying’: Waterford Lakes pet store under scrutiny for years now facing state action - WFTV Orlando
'They were sick or dying’: Waterford Lakes pet store under scrutiny for years now facing state action  WFTV Orlando

This is what happens to the pets left behind when their owners die from coronavirus - CNN
This is what happens to the pets left behind when their owners die from coronavirus  CNN

Hillsborough names pet center after retiring administrator Mike Merrill - Tampa Bay Times
Hillsborough names pet center after retiring administrator Mike Merrill  Tampa Bay Times

Families Foster Classroom Pets During Coronavirus Shutdown - NPR
Families Foster Classroom Pets During Coronavirus Shutdown  NPR

Pet Talk: Grains or no Grains -- Addressing pet owner concerns - McDowell News
Pet Talk: Grains or no Grains -- Addressing pet owner concerns  McDowell News

Pets are getting confused by the working from home new normal - The Irish Times
Pets are getting confused by the working from home new normal  The Irish Times

Pets strange behavior amid COVID-19 - 11Alive.com WXIA
Pets strange behavior amid COVID-19  11Alive.com WXIA

USDA issues new protocol for pet food exports to China - Pet Food Processing
USDA issues new protocol for pet food exports to China  Pet Food Processing

Mass. Pets Getting Seriously Hurt in Grooming Mishaps, Veterinarians Say - NBC10 Boston
Mass. Pets Getting Seriously Hurt in Grooming Mishaps, Veterinarians Say  NBC10 Boston

Your quarantined pet may be acting odd. Here’s how to help. - The Washington Post
Your quarantined pet may be acting odd. Here’s how to help.  The Washington Post

7-year-old girl tortured to death in Pakistan for letting pet parrot escape - CBS News
7-year-old girl tortured to death in Pakistan for letting pet parrot escape  CBS News

Veterinarian, a COVID-19 survivor, on trying to care for pets, her staff and herself - ABC News
Veterinarian, a COVID-19 survivor, on trying to care for pets, her staff and herself  ABC News

10 things to do with pets in L.A. this coronavirus summer - Los Angeles Times
10 things to do with pets in L.A. this coronavirus summer  Los Angeles Times

San Diego-area pet stores cited for illegal puppy sales - 10News
San Diego-area pet stores cited for illegal puppy sales  10News

Animal Welfare League of Alexandria distributes 5K pounds of free pet supplies during coronavirus pandemic - WTOP
Animal Welfare League of Alexandria distributes 5K pounds of free pet supplies during coronavirus pandemic  WTOP

Veterinarians reveal 12 things you should never do when buying toys for your pets - Insider - INSIDER
Veterinarians reveal 12 things you should never do when buying toys for your pets - Insider  INSIDER

Colorado pet owners, beware: It’s rattlesnake season again - FOX 31 Denver
Colorado pet owners, beware: It’s rattlesnake season again  FOX 31 Denver

Moment of Paws: About your pets and the pandemic - Dorchester Reporter
Moment of Paws: About your pets and the pandemic  Dorchester Reporter

How to adopt your next pet safely and virtually - The Verge
How to adopt your next pet safely and virtually  The Verge

Mars CEO explains how the pandemic is transforming the $35 billion snacking and pet care company, from offices to factory floors - Business Insider
Mars CEO explains how the pandemic is transforming the $35 billion snacking and pet care company, from offices to factory floors  Business Insider

Coronavirus and pets: Scams exploit animal lovers in crisis - Los Angeles Times
Coronavirus and pets: Scams exploit animal lovers in crisis  Los Angeles Times

Pet grooming businesses reopening make for happy tails - ABC 12 News
Pet grooming businesses reopening make for happy tails  ABC 12 News

Is virtual pet therapy possible? | Wellness | dailyuw.com - Dailyuw
Is virtual pet therapy possible? | Wellness | dailyuw.com  Dailyuw

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store - Coast Mountain News
VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store  Coast Mountain News

First-ever national virtual pet super adoption hopes to place thousands of pets - KUTV 2News
First-ever national virtual pet super adoption hopes to place thousands of pets  KUTV 2News

Local veterinarians seeing an increase of pets with snake bites - WBRC
Local veterinarians seeing an increase of pets with snake bites  WBRC

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Pet of the Week: Kado  Channel3000.com - WISC-TV3

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From puppy mill breeding dog to pampered pooch: Send us your pet rescue stories  cleveland.com

Local charitable group donates $11,000 to Coulee Region Humane Society for pet health - La Crosse Tribune
Local charitable group donates $11,000 to Coulee Region Humane Society for pet health  La Crosse Tribune

Pets and the Humans Who Loved Them - The Wall Street Journal
Pets and the Humans Who Loved Them  The Wall Street Journal

Private Jet Hired For Rs 9.06 Lakh To Fly Pets From Delhi To Mumbai - NDTV
Private Jet Hired For Rs 9.06 Lakh To Fly Pets From Delhi To Mumbai  NDTV

The best virtual veterinary services for your pets - Insider - INSIDER
The best virtual veterinary services for your pets - Insider  INSIDER

Private jet to rescue stranded pets; ride from Delhi to Mumbai to cost Rs 1.6 lakh per pet passenger - Mumbai Mirror
Private jet to rescue stranded pets; ride from Delhi to Mumbai to cost Rs 1.6 lakh per pet passenger  Mumbai Mirror

N.J. pets in need: May 25, 2020 - nj.com
N.J. pets in need: May 25, 2020  nj.com

Cowboys News: Defending Dak, sleuthing special teams, picking pet cats - Cowboys Wire
Cowboys News: Defending Dak, sleuthing special teams, picking pet cats  Cowboys Wire

Thinking Of Adopting A Pet? Here Are Tips To Help You Find A New Furry Friend - WBUR
Thinking Of Adopting A Pet? Here Are Tips To Help You Find A New Furry Friend  WBUR

Pets of the Week: May 28, 2020 - WSIL TV
Pets of the Week: May 28, 2020  WSIL TV

Free pet food distribution at old Lowes Foods building - ashepostandtimes.com
Free pet food distribution at old Lowes Foods building  ashepostandtimes.com

'People are looking for love': Adoptions of dogs, cats skyrocket during coronavirus pandemic - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
'People are looking for love': Adoptions of dogs, cats skyrocket during coronavirus pandemic  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Healthy pets, happy humans - The Daily Planet
Healthy pets, happy humans  The Daily Planet

How coronavirus quarantine is changing life — and vet treatment — for your pet - IndyStar
How coronavirus quarantine is changing life — and vet treatment — for your pet  IndyStar

FDA to hold imports of pig ear pet treats - Pet Food Processing
FDA to hold imports of pig ear pet treats  Pet Food Processing

Emergency pet care assistance for panhandle pet owners - WEAR
Emergency pet care assistance for panhandle pet owners  WEAR

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