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Why choose African cichlids for pets?

classic rock aquarium background with African cichlids

You want African cichlids and to change your home or office space. In this blog, I will try to explain why you should definitely opt for African cichlids. In recent years, cichlids became extremely popular with aquarists. Not only because of their bright colors but because of their qualities and characteristic. There are more than 1000 species of cichlids in the world but the ones from the African lakes are the most beautiful. 

They are very low maintenance for keeping in aquarium conditions. They are resilient, have their own temperament, and are easy to keep. Cichlids live long. The size of most species is from 8 to 15 centimeters. They live alone i.e. solitary in their own flock. They don’t need plants nor any other type of fish. That is why the 3D backgrounds complete the tank interior completely, making it aesthetically perfect. The perfect aquarium background for your African cichlids is one of our 3D classic rock aquarium backgrounds (A models) is just what you need, they come in 21 different models and every one of them is special in its own way.  Furthermore, they are pleasurable for the cichlids because the fish swims through cracks and hides in those nooks and crannies. 

Cichlids are more resistant to diseases than many other types of fish

mbuna fish

African cichlids originate from Lake Malawi. That is one of the oldest lakes in the world and very distinguishable for more than one reason. A large number of endemic cichlids lives in the lake. There are two groups of Malawi cichlids. One is Mbuna and the other one is Nonmbuna. Mbune means stone fish in the native language. They settle the habitats closer to the shore where there are a lot of cliffs and passages. Nonmbune is the fish that lives in flocks in the open part of the lake.  

The first African Malawi cichlids didn’t come to Serbia until 1990. They officially appeared in shops in Belgrade and Novi Sad. They were rare in Europe before 1980. Then the first yellow specimens arrived with their unreal coloring, which only some sea fish had till then. It is a common misconception that this fish is aggressive and complicated to keep. Every overgeneralization is harmful for aquaristics. Not only because it is a product of a lack of knowledge but also because it is the reason for giving up or generating the same beginner mistakes. 

If you decide to keep cichlids as pets, you will have much fewer problems with illnesses that come with other aquarium fish and also fewer problems with ambient maintenance. For keeping cichlids, you need a strong powerhead filter and good aeration. It is important that nitrates in the tank are cycled before settling. If you want to know more about aquarium filters read more in our blog.

African cichlids are low maintenance for aquarium keeping

In the beginning, a longer 26-gallon aquarium is enough. There is no need for excessively large aquariums because these species can adjust. They are small, the young grow slowly and never overgrow the space they are in. There are species that stick to a school of 20 fishes in a 13-gallon tank and spawn there without any problems. It is recommended to keep one fish in 1 gallon of water. The number of males and females is not crucial because there are no major problems when they settle the tank while they are young. When buying cichlids, you should pay attention to their size so that in the beginning all males are equal when they choose their territory. Also, choose younger fish that can get used to other fish over time.

Although it is hard to determine the sex of other fish species, this is very easy with cichlids. Sometimes the difference is so big that you might think it is another species in question. Some species of males and females are different. The young always look like females. Males change the colors from yellow to orange to blue and the other way around. Incredible inversive color changes, similar to a negative and an original, happen in a short biological period. Some females change their color in old age. And there are species small and plain, and males are later really beautiful. Some females stay unsightly their whole life and some are more beautiful than the males… Also, there are species where both the males and females are beautiful, almost identical.

Given that their coloring is what makes people decide to buy them, it often affects their price. The price of cichlids is affected by spawning difficulties, as well as, market offerings or the number of young fish… However, there are always those who are nice, cheap, and resilient to beginner mistakes in terms of feeding, water quality and getting on with other species.

Cichlids are easier to keep than cats and dogs

Mbuna cichlids are active like to swim and if they are feeling good they rarely hide and almost never rest. Most of the African cichlids are herbivores. In nature, this type of fish eats algae and shrubbery. If you want to put a plant in the tank, it is not recommended to use real plants but artificial ones because the real plants are usually targeted by cichlids. 

Cichlids like hard water with a pH level from 7,5 to 8,5. This fish is almost ideal for keeping in our climate. They are adjusted to life in hard and basic water, similar to our tap water. It is extremely important that the water is always relatively fresh. One intervention that can be bothersome but necessary is the replacement of water once a month. It is optimal to change one half with fresh water. That is less work than taking the dog for a walk two times a day. 

Cichlids belong to a group of caring parents. The young are looked after by their mother, which carries them in its mouth 2-3 weeks. After that it lets them eat on their own but if it senses any danger it picks them up and carries them again. Baring all of the above in mind, the conclusion is that the cichlids are very easy to keep for beginners and aquarists with long seniority. It is not a rare case that the cichlid is the first aquarium in most homes.

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