Lifestyles for Better Living

What Are Cichlid Fish?

Cichlid fish are incredibly popular for aquarists due to how easy they are to take care of. Cichlid adapt quite well in the aquarium despite the fact that they come from Asian countries. There are hundreds of cichlid types with most of them brightly colored and therefore, incredibly entertaining when inside the aquarium. These fishes are classified into three types namely the Central and North American cichlids, African cichlids and South American cichlids.


As mentioned before, Cichlid fish are among the brightest freshwater fishes today. In most cases, however, it is the male that are garbed in the most colorful scales in an effort to attract a mater. Alpha fishes or those that are dominant in the group also have brighter colors while, in contrast, the submissive cichlid carries less bright colors. What is important to note is that cichlids can be extremely aggressive fishes, especially to those that do not belong in their group. In some cases, they may even attack a fellow cichlid if it enters their territory. This fish group can grow from 2.5 centimeters to 1 meter in length depending on the specific specie.

Taking Care of a Cichlid

As mentioned, this fish type is highly adaptable and is, therefore, easy to take care of. It is important to note though that since they are territorial, it would be a good idea not to combine them with other fish types at first. Choosing cichlids that are roughly the same size would also help temper their need to establish who the most dominant fish is.

Basically, the temperature in the tank should be around 74 degrees Fahrenheit to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Experienced aquarists know that it is important to keep a heater with the fish to ensure that the water remains at a specific temperature. In some cases, even a thermometer is placed with the aquarium for constant monitoring. Cooler temperatures tend to make the fish less aggressive, therefore ensuring that none of them will start killing each other.

The next consideration should be the pH level in the tank. Specifically, it should be alkaline as this is the original level in their natural habitat. Make sure that the pH stays within 7.5 to 8.5. The substrate or flooring used in the tank will also have an impact on the pH level of the water. Some of the most popular materials used include gravel, sand and stones.

Lighting and tank maintenance should also be kept in check. The good news is that cichlid are not very picky when it comes to lighting and are quite happy with a fluorescent light to imitate their natural habitat. As for maintenance, a pump and filtration device are often enough to prevent the tank from getting dirty. Note that the pump bought depends on the size of the tank.

Of course, those aren't the only considerations when taking care of cichlids. Breeders need to take more factors in mind to ensure that their Cichlid fish stay healthy. Knowing the specific cichlid specie is also crucial when determining their diet. This is because some of these fishes are carnivorous and would require a combination of flake and live foods in their diet.

To learn more about this topic and more about caring cichlid fish, you can purchase one of these books.