When you have decided to set up an African cichlid tank, odds are that this isn’t your first aquarium. I first determined to maintain African cichlids after seeing some red zebras and yellow labs in a pet shop and questioning why these colorful fish were not in the salt water part. I had by no means seen such colorful fish that weren’t saltwater fish. African cichlids are additionally a really fascinating to watch. They are a territorial fish with a bit of an angle. This can be handled by correct stocking of your aquarium.
First you need to determine on which of the three lakes you need to set your aquarium up to imitate. African cichlids come from Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria and Lake Malawi. All three of these lakes have hard water with a high pH. I would suggest starting with mbunas from Lake Malawi. Mbunas are a category of rock dwelling, mouthbrooding, and omnivorous cichlids. The common varieties will be present in most local pet outlets and aren’t very costly.
Mbunas require quite a lot of space and hiding spots in their aquarium. You need to use a 55 gallon aquarium or bigger to maintain these cichlids. You need to use limestone or holy rock (limestone rock with plenty of holes) and caves. These are normally placed in the direction of the rear of the tank which permits for a free swimming area at the front of the tank. A standard substrate utilized in mbuna aquariums is crushed coral. Utilizing crushed coral because the substrate helps maintain the elevated pH and water hardness.
Cichlid tanks require a whole lot of filtration to keep the inhabitants wholesome. I often use two massive sponge filters in each of the rear corners together with a big filter hanging on the back of the tank or two smaller ones submersed within the tank. The hanging filter (or the submersed ones) cleans particulate matter from the aquarium whereas the sponge filters home large portions of the bacteria which convert ammonia to nitrites and the nitrites to nitrates.
African cichlids require a water temperature of round 80 levels F. It will most probably require a a hundred and fifty watt heater on every end of a fifty five gallon tank. The submersible sort with a temperature setting is preferred. They price a little bit extra however are worth it. They’ll final much longer than the less expensive ones that dangle on the again of the tank.
After the aquarium is set up with the right substrate, plenty of hiding areas, heaters, filters and full of dechlorinated water, you need to find out the pH and water hardness. You should buy water take a look at kits at your native pet store. With the limestone and crushed coral, you could have already elevated your pH and water hardness from what it comes out of your tap. You will need a pH of 7.4 to eight.6 and a water hardness of 10.Zero to 20.Zero dH.
It has been my experience with relatively smooth tap water with a impartial pH that if I use the cichlid tank setup described above, all I need to do is modify the water hardness and the pH is correct where I need it.
Take a look at your water hardness. In case your faucet water is difficult enough, you could get fortunate and not need to make any changes. Most certainly although, you have to to increase the water’s hardness. You can elevate the hardness using African cichlid salt. Yow will discover this at your native pet shop or on-line.
Add the cichlid salt until you reach a hardness stage around 15.Zero dH. At this level, examine your pH. Your pH must be around eight at this level. If essential, you might have to regulate it also. That is unlikely, upon getting elevated the hardness to this degree.
Now you possibly can purchase your first African cichlid. Initially just buy one cichlid for the tank and let it have the tank to itself for about two weeks. This may give the aquarium time to develop the bacteria obligatory to interrupt down waste within the tank in what known as the nitrogen cycle. You can get around this by organising one of many sponge filters in an established aquarium for a couple of weeks previous to setting up your cichlid tank. This manner the sponge filter may have the entire micro organism wanted for the nitrogen cycle. Whenever you then transfer it to your new tank, you could have effectively moved the bacterial colonies that the new tank requires.
At this point you have got your African cichlid tank up and operating! In the event you chose mbuna in your tank, feed them spirulina flakes and cichlid pellets. As soon as it is totally stocked, perform 30% to 50% water changes on a weekly foundation. Vacuum the gravel if you do that and you’ll have a wholesome, thriving group of African cichlids.
One final observe: The massive sponge filters and enormous water changes may be relics of my years maintaining discus, which require a very clean tank. I can tell you from experience that you will very rarely if ever have health points with your fish if you retain an aquarium on this method.
Writer Box Tim Montey has 1 articles online
Tim Montey has kept and bred fish as a passion off and on for greater than 30 years. This passion has ranged from holding tropical tanks with guppies and swordtails as a baby to driving a whole lot of miles to seek out just the right discus two states away to maintaining and breeding African cichlids the last 7 years. You possibly can see a few of Tim’s African cichlid photos posted on his website http://www.hardwaterfish.com
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