Cichlids – How to set up a tank for them
The African cichlids are popularly known for their vibrant colors that add beauty to the aquarium. Cichlids are a variety of freshwater fish that come from the family of cichlidae. These types of fish are split in to two groups. The first group is the central and south American while the second group is the Africans.
Cichlids can sometimes be easy to maintain and take care of even though they are different from the other types of fresh water fish when it comes to behavior and the water requirements. The minimum tank size should be 48 gallons for the larger species and 33 gallons for the smaller species. These types of fish usually need a lot of swimming space so a large fish tank is always advised.
Decorating the tank
Adding rockery to the fish tank is important to a cichlids aquarium because they love to find spaces to hide in. this in turn reduces aggression and enables the fish to create its territory. You can carefully pile the rocks together to form caves which will act as great hide outs for the fish. Once they come out of their hiding places, cichlids love swimming in open spaces and so you should create enough room for them to swim in.
You can use clay flowerpots as a decoration and also a hiding place and shelter for the fish. Most cichlids dig the gravel at the base of the tank and can even up root plants. You can add java fern to the tank because they are sturdy and do well under the water conditions for required for cichlids.
Maintaining the right pH levels to support the cichlids requires that you use coral gravel as a substrate. You can use salt additives and buffers to maintain a high pH level. The buffers also add extra minerals to the tank water to keep the fish healthy. The fish tank water temperature for African cichlids should range between 70 degrees to 84 degrees. Water temperatures higher than the recommended range can greatly increase the fish metabolism which might end up affecting the immune system and increase aggression in African cichlids.
Proper filtration is essential for an aquarium that hosts the cichlids. This is because these fish produce a lot of waste which need to be filtered. Water changes should be done regularly on a weekly basis to maintain healthy fish.