There are over 100 species of African cichlids, which belong to the Cichlidae family. These freshwater fish are inhabitants of African lakes such as Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Victoria. African cichlids are the most colorful freshwater aquarium species and are easy to maintain and cultivate in freshwater aquariums.
Their body length ranges between 10 and 15cm with a lifespan of 4 to 10 years. These fish tend to be aggressive, predatory, and territorial. In nature, they live in groups and their pigmentation determines the dominance between the species; in groups, the bright fish is the dominant and the pale one is submissive.
Water temperatures in the range of 24-27C is recommended. There is no intense lighting needed in the tank. Shallow rocks contain algae, insects, bacteria, and crustaceans, which these fish enjoy scraping and eating. Their optimal pH requirement is alkaline (pH=8.5), but they can survive in neutral and acidic water, though this will make the species prone to illness. Aquarium water shouldn’t contain ammonia, thus regular water changing (25-40%) is fundamental.
The aquarium should be decorated with rocks and caves to maintain the natural environment of the fish because they live and spawn under the rocks and caves.This species likes to dig in the gravel and organize it, thus, gravel should be decorated around the rock (or clay pot) on the bottom of the tank. Aquarium silicone may help to glue rocks together in order to prevent a cave forming due to cichlids digging. The fish can destroy the plants by digging and eat all of them, it is not recommended to cultivate a plant in the tank.
As an omnivorous fish species cichlids have a wide range of food they can consume, which may include algae, insect larvae, bloodworms, and brine shrimp. Live, frozen,pellet, flake food and algae are suitable food for this species, especially since they process food more slowly than other fish.