African Cichlids, the Crazy Fish

Cichlids have more beauty and patterns on their body than any other fish in my opinion. African cichlids are one specie of the cichlids. Most grow until six inches but some can grow until ten inches. Obviously, they come from Africa where the water is warmer and high in ph.

African cichlids are very aggressive too. In fact, they don’t go with any other species because of their aggression and the water they live in. These cichlids prefer a higher ph that’s 8 and above. That’s why people use crushed coral as substrate since this rises the ph of the water. If you already filled up your substrate with something else, that’s ok. You can also use crushed coral as a filter media to put in the filter. You have to deal with the aggression too. You can’t put two African cichlids together in one tank or they’ll kill each other. Over populating is the key to lowering aggression. Think about it. If you were a big bully and wanted to fight someone, you wouldn’t want to fight them around a crowd of people. It’s the same thing with African cichlids. Over populating lowers the chance of a cichlid fight. That’s why its best to keep these cichlids in a 40 or more gallon tank. These fish grow pretty big and having a crowd of them means you need a good sized tank.

Cichlids are also a species that make a lot of waste. You can add 8 to 15 African cichlids in a 40 gallon tank. A 55 gallon tank can hold 10 to 20 African cichlids. Lots of waste also requires water changes. 25% to 50% weekly water changes are best because of the amount of waste these cichlids will produce. Good filtration is also needed. This can be expensive depending one what you get. Generally, canisters are the best but can be pretty pricey. Make sure the gph (gallons per hour) is six times the amount of gallons in your tank. If you have a HOB filter, which is not the best filtration for this type of tank, the gph should be ten times the amount of gallons in your tank. You could use a wet dry filter or sump. You can either buy them or make them yourself. The gph should be the same as a canister. To understand filtration, read my other article.

Good decor for the tank are rock walls, caves, or just rocks. Live plants are not recommended because these cichlids like uprooting them. Plastic plants work out. Sand or crushed coral gives it a nice look. You can use gravel but in my opinion sand or crushed coral is better.

African cichlids come from two main lakes in Africa, Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika. There’s also Lake Victoria but those cichlids live better with South American cichlids than the other two lakes. Malawi cichlids have two other kinds of African cichlids called Mbuna and Peacock. Tanganyika cichlids have goby and tropheus cichlids too.  Here are some examples:


African Cichlid Aquarium
Malawi Cichlid: Electric Yellow Cichlid
Malawi Cichlid: Peacock Cichlid
Malawi Cichlid: Peacock Cichlid
Mbuna Malawi Cichlid: Kenyi Cichlid
Tanganyika Cichlid: Compressed Cichlid
Tanganyika Cichlid: Blue Neon Cichlid or Paracyprichromis nigripinnis
Tanganyika Cichlid: Tropheus Cichlid
Tanganyika CIchlid: Goby Cichlid