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How to Setup an African Cichlid Tank

How to Setup an African Cichlid Tank
Setting up an aquarium for African cichlids is quite an easy task. But while setting it up, you need to choose materials only after consulting an aquarium specialist. Let's read further to know more...
Marlene Alphonse
Last Updated: Feb 11, 2019
The beauty and vibrancy of the underwater world can be brought to homes by setting up an aquarium. There are a number of species of fish which can be bred in aquariums. The African cichlid fish is one such species that roams freely in the rivers of the African continent but can be tamed to swim in the waters of aquariums of our homes too. Owing to their bright colors and lively demeanor, African cichlids are a popular choice among aquarists and fish breeders. If you want to know how to setup a tank for African cichlids, read further for guidance.
Setting Up African Cichlid Tank
Before setting up an aquarium or a glass tank, you need to be familiar with the environment in which the fish survives in the wild; and aim at giving the fish the same environment. Given below are some guidelines on setting up a tank for African cichlids.
  • Since African cichlids are very active and aggressive, it is always better to have a larger tank and give them a larger space so as to reduce their aggression. The minimum size of your aquarium depends also on the number of cichlids you are planning to put in the tank. More the number of fish, larger should be the size of a tank. You can choose a tank which is able to hold approximately 35 gallons of water for cichlids up to 3-8 inches
  • Clean the tank thoroughly to remove any sediments or impurities. Place your tank somewhere out of direct sunlight; and near a power supply since the tank needs good filters. Once you are done with the positioning, fill the tank with water.

  • The water should have a proper balance of alkalinity and chemical composition. The optimal pH level required for the cichlids ranges from 7.5 to 8.8. If the water's pH balance is below the recommended level,  dissolve sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), epsom salts, non-iodized rock salt or pickling salt to balance the ph level.
  • To be able to survive the African cichlids need water with 74-78°F of temperature.
  • It is necessary to have good filtration in the aquarium because they produce a lot of waste material. 
Making the Tank Suitable for African Cichlids
For African cichlids care, you must take necessary precautions regarding the food, mating and the companions in the fish tank.
  • You can feed the fish with pellets, spirulina flakes, frozen food and worms. Also, you can occasionally feed them with live food so that they do not forget their hunting capability.
  • African cichlids enjoy having hiding places. So, by adding rockery and sand substrate etc.; you can provide hiding spots for them in aquarium. This will help them to establish their territories.
  • Setup miniature crevices, cave like structures in the aquarium to provide breeding grounds for the African cichlids. You need to obtain a breeding colony or harem of this fish species as the male becomes too aggressive if there is only one mate. The chances are that the male species may perish due to stress.
  • For the eggs to be fertilized, the female fish carries them in the mouth. This is characteristic of the mouth brooding species. The female scoops up the eggs in her mouth and carries them till they hatch. During this time (approximately 3 weeks), the feeding is also reduced. Once the male fertilizes the eggs, they are laid in the tank, where the female may carry them only occasionally.
  • The baby cichlids that hatch from the eggs need to be separated from the adults and put in a separate tank. Otherwise, they can be mistaken for food and get eaten up by the adult fish.
  • For feeding the baby fish, you can crush the pellets or flakes and mix them with the water. Once the babies are grown; they can be transferred to the parent tank.
These were a few instructions regarding how to setup an African cichlid tank in your home. With proper and routine care, you can have a school of healthy African cichlids. All the best!