Cyphotilapia Frontosa, widely known as Frontosa cichlid, is one of the most popular species in the freshwater aquarium community. These gorgeous cichlids attract everyone’s attention with their white or blue bodies covered with stripes, and their unique temperament. People who are not into fishkeeping easily mix them with tropical marine fish, due to their size and attractive appearance. Before discussing the ideal habitat for your Frontosa cichlids, let’s say a few words about the species. Frontosa cichlids originate in the northern parts of the Lake Tanganyika in East Africa. They can grow quite large in size, up to 33 cm (13 inches), and they can reach their full growth potential even in a fish tank. They also have a long lifespan, up to 20 years (sometimes even more), so you want to make sure they have the best care and the best habitat if you want them to thrive and live a long and happy life. They should be fairly easy to take care of if you take a few extra steps when you set up the aquarium, and would require a medium level of maintenance in the years to come. The first few steps are the most important- choosing the ideal environment, the best filtration system and making sure the water parameters are perfect. If you do the first steps right, the regular maintenance should be fairly easy.
Choosing the best habitat for your Frontosa Cichlids
Frontosa cichlids live in the depths of the Tanganyika Lake, and only come to the surface during the feeding time, and spend the majority of their life in deep, dark waters of the lake. The minimum tank size required is 75 gallons (280 liters), but if you want them to live in a perfect environment, you should opt for an even larger tank. They require a lot of space in the tank, so longer tanks are suggested. The tank should have a perfect filtration system set up, the temperature should range between 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit (22- 26 degrees celsius) and a good oxygen supply should be provided. The water chemistry should be between 8-8.8 phH, while the water hardness should be 10-18 dGH). The lights in the tank should not be too bright, and we will explain a few ways on how to create a more natural lighting setup in order to simulate the deep waters of the Tanganyika Lake. Water parameters should be tested regularly, and water changes should be performed on a regular basis. While setting up a Frontosa tank, the best habitat is going to be a rocky setup without any plants. Since they spend the most of their time in the deep waters, they are surrounded by large rocks and deep, dark caves. Deep caves, a lot of hiding spots and extra rocks which they will use to mark their territory would be ideal. When it comes to choosing the rocks, opting out for real, natural rocks can be a challenge. Real rocks are heavy, can damage the aquarium’s glass and are not easy to transport and move around. If you use real rocks and want to change up the setup, moving the heavy rocks around can not only be difficult, but also risky due to their size and weight. For that reason, the best solution is to choose high quality artificial rocks that are light in weight, large in size, neutral to their environment, don’t change the parameters of the water and very resistant.
The background models we designed for Frontosa Cichlids are A and C models. While choosing the best habitat for your Frontosa, you would want to go for rocks that are darker in colors, with deep cracks and crevices, caves and hiding spots. Models such as A2, A6, A10 and A11 can be a great choice. We suggest placing a number of additional, free-standing rocks on the bottom of the tank, but if you really want your Frontosa tank to pop, our secret is to place a few floating rocks under the aquarium’s support braces. These rocks stay in place and are held by the water pressure. By using these rocks, you will create shadows in the tank and on the substrate, and the aquarium will have a unique look that will resemble the deep waters of the Tanganyika Lake, where the Frontosa Cichlids live. When it comes to bottom rocks (free-standing rocks that are placed on the bottom of the tank), if you get bored of the setup, you can change the position of the rocks easily. They are lightweight and can be moved around whenever you want to do that. Since these species require a larger aquarium, we designed a special group of models for that purpose- C models. A C model cannot be placed in a small tank, it is simply not going to work out. With the minimum length required being 150 cm (59”), any C model can be a perfect choice. They offer even more caves and hiding spots than A models and the overall 3D effect is more prominent. If you are wondering about the placement of the rocks- we suggest placing a few larger rocks on each side of the tank, and a few smaller ones in the middle. You can even stack the rocks one on another in order to create a natural looking rocky slope. Don’t overcrowd the tank, both with fish and the rocks, Frontosas will need their swimming space. This doesn’t mean the tank should be empty, but decorated more mindfully, with care and attention to details. When the background is installed, you will see where it is best to put the extra sinking rocks, and when that is done, the floating rocks should be placed and your best habitat for Frontosa Cichlids is ready! The next steps will be cycling the tank, making sure the water parameters are ideal and the tank will be ready for the fish.