New to Cichlid


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Sep 8, 2019
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So, I’m really in love with the African Cichlids! I’m thinking about getting one but still fairly new to the whole fish world and was just wondering if you guys thought it would be a mistake to try owning one this soon?? I ready there’s certain ones that are pretty hardy and can withstand some first time owners mistakes if it happens! Is this true? I don’t want rams!! Just looking for some advice besides what I’ve already researched! Thanks


Jan 26, 2008
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Perth, WA
African cichlids can either come from soft water in the Congo River, or from the Great Rift Lakes that have really hard water with a high pH.

What are the tank dimensions (length x width x height)?

What is the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness) and pH of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

Most Rift Lake cichlids are highly territorial and will use pure aggression to drive intruders out of their territory. You need a reasonable sized tank for them and you need to pick the right species for the tank otherwise you will end up with one fish and everyone else will be killed.

Due to the high pH of Rift Lake tanks (7.6-9.0) you need to cycle the tank before adding any fish. If you do a fish in cycle, the fish usually die from ammonia poisoning, which is made worse in higher pH.

There are some reasonably peaceful Rift Lake cichlids with Aulonocara sp (peacocks) and Labidochromis caeruleus (electric yellows) being commonly available, brightly coloured and less likely to kill other fish in the tank.

Cyprichromis leptosoma and Paracyprichromis nigripinnis are also peaceful. These little guys hang out in schools of 100s and need to be kept in groups of at least 6 (preferably more) in an aquarium. The males colour up and the females stay silver grey.

The fish I have listed are mouth brooders and the female holds eggs and babies in a buccal pouch under her chin. They have about 2-20 babies per batch and make good parents.