African Cichlids are colorful fish that you will commonly find in your local pet store. Their popularity among aquariusts stems from their beauty and hardiness. These active fish can be kept in a wide variety of stable water conditions.
African Cichlids are a colorful and active type of fish. They primarily come from the the Great Rift Valley in western Africa, but they are also widespread in many African river systems. Most sold as aquarium fish are found in Lake Malawi, Lake Victoria, and Lake Tanganyika.
These beautiful fish are also some of the best parents in aquaria. Many species are mouthbrooders. Females will keep the eggs and fry in their mouth when danger is near and will transport them between hiding spots. This type of Cichlid cares for its young well into the juvenile stage. These wonderful little friends are very intelligent and easy to breed.
Hardy fish are healthy fish and these Cichlids are as tough as they come. If you keep a constant and stable aquarium, you will have many sets of water conditions to choose from. These tough little friends usually prefer harder water and water with higher pH values. Their ranges will vary, but usually they are fairly wide. Once you find one that suits your aquarium, stay as close to it as possible and your pretty little friends will thrive.
African Cichlids can be territorial, depending on the species. If given enough space, you will sometimes be able to have multiple species of like size. Being Cichlids, they are still predatory fish and will eat anything that fits in their mouths, so take care if you start adding much smaller fish to your aquarium.
Dominant males will display vivid colors, much brighter than the less dominant fish. Stressed fish will lighten their color and become pale, letting you know there is a problem to fix. Large dominant African Cichlids will kill much smaller fish when defending their territory, so keeping similar size fish together is a must do.
Fine gravel or sand substrate will be preferred by this type of fish. They like to dig beds and root around for food. You should also provide them with lots of caves and hiding spots, that's where they sleep and spawn. Well anchored plants will provide them with cover, but make sure you also give them a lot of swimming room. They like to be very active during the daytime.
Below are some common African Cichlids. Check their profiles to learn more about making these incredibly interesting fish your new aquatic friends.
Blue Peacock Cichlid
Peaceful, active fish that can be kept in a community aquarium of like sized neighbors.
Active, algae grazers that add a lot of movement to your aquarium.
Electric Yellow Cichlid
A mouthbrooding flash of color that will work well in your community aquarium.
Very aggressive fish that display colors based on their social status.
Beautiful, aggressive fish that have some strange spawning behavior.
We all have a favorite fish. Somewhere in your aquarium you have a fish that you are proud of. If you have a favorite friend that is an African Cichlid, take a picture and share a story about it with us.
For more information about African Cichlids, go to Wikipedia's Cichlid page.