Are Cichlids Hard to Care For? 6 Tips for New Cichlid Owners

Think Of one of the most vivid as well as energetic freshwater fish at your neighborhood fish shop. I wager at the very least among those fish was a sort of cichlid– African, South American, or Central American. Their dynamic individualities, long lives, as well as brilliant shades make them prominent fish. You may have listened to tales concerning cichlids being tough to take care of … however is that real? Are cichlids tough to take care of, for the ordinary aquarist?

Cichlids are ranked as intermediate, which indicates they’re a little harder to take care of than some fish. Yet if you have actually maintained fish prior to as well as they really did not pass away on you, after that you await these vivid as well as interesting fish! In this write-up, I have actually obtained some suggestions as well as techniques for maintaining your brand-new cichlids satisfied as well as healthy and balanced.

Cichlid Storage Tank Set Up

Allow’s begin with the fundamentals of maintaining cichlids– the correct dimension container, sort of designs or plants, needed tools, as well as water criteria.

1. Storage Tank Dimension

This relies on which kind you make a decision to obtain because they can mature to 36 inches long, though one of the most prominent ranges remain in between 4 as well as 8 inches. The basic guideline is to have 2 gallons of water for every single inch of fish, so if you were maintaining a six-inch cichlid, you would certainly require a 12-gallon container at a minimum.

Yet you possibly do not wish to maintain simply one fish– so strategy the amount of cichlids like to maintain in your container, after that take a look at the grown-up size for every cichlid, as well as increase all the grown-up sizes by 2. For instance, I wish to have 6 cichlids in my container, as well as they’re each mosting likely to be 4 inches long. That’s 24 inches of fish, or 48 gallons of water (24 overall inches of fish times 2 gallons per inch).

Cichlids are territorial, you’ll have issues if your container is also tiny for the variety of fish you have. Each cichlid requirements to seem like they have its very own unique region or location of the container. If the container is also tiny for that to occur, they can begin battling with each various other.

Container dimension is one factor cichlids aren’t advised for newbies– you require to have a rather huge container to house these dynamic fish, as well as they such as great deals of space to swim about.

Furthermore, you require to include lots of décors, which I take a look at following.


2. Design

To make your cichlids actually feel comfortable in their sizable container, you’ll wish to include numerous concealing locations for them. Not just will this assist the shyer fish in your container, however it will certainly additionally provide unique locations they can determine as their “grass.”

You can do this by:

  • Including designs with openings as well as locations to swim around within, like castles, haunted residences, dinosaur heads, or any kind of various other style that contends the very least one opening
  • Piling real-time rocks right into numerous forms for an extra all-natural appearance
  • Offer lots of plants throughout the container for your fish to conceal in as well as behind
  • Including passages or tubes for the fish to swim with

Although including design is easy, it does flounder a great deal of newbies due to the fact that they do not understand exactly how essential numerous hiding locations remain in a container, as well as it’s very easy to make the blunder of having also couple of designs for the fish in the container.

These sturdy fish aren’t fussy when it concerns a substratum– they’ll do simply great with crushed rock or sand, so you can not fail in any case.

3. Devices

Cichlids are exotic fish, so you’ll require to buy a heating system to keep a water temperature level in between 72 as well as 82 levels Fahrenheit (23-28 levels Celsius).

It’s a great suggestion to buy a fish tank thermostat, also, so you can inspect the temperature level as well as ensure the heating unit’s doing its work.

Like any kind of various other tropical fish, cichlids require a purification system of some kind to assist eliminate waste as well as particles from the container. Because cichlids have a tendency to be the bigger dimension, they create even more waste than a great deal of various other frequently marketed freshwater fish like guppies, neon tetras, or mollies, so a great filtering system is essential.

I would certainly additionally advise including a wavemaker if you have South American cichlids because the majority of them originate from river atmospheres. This will certainly assist duplicate river currents in their all-natural environment. It additionally aids keep a regular water temperature level throughout the container forcibly the water to distribute.

Miss the wavemaker if you’re considering maintaining African cichlids, however, due to the fact that they originate from calmer lake atmospheres, as well as possibly will not value all that added existing stimulating the water.

4. Water Specifications

While some fish are completely great with a series of water problems, cichlids like a neutral, or practically neutral, pH array— in between 6.5 as well as 7.5 pH. This can be a difficult target for brand-new fish caretakers to keep, which is one more factor this fish is called an “intermediate” fish to take care of.

Neighborhood fish shops have water screening sets that reveal you what pH degree your container is presently at. The majority of fish shops additionally bring pH dealing with chemicals to either raising or reduced the pH degrees in your container. Dealing with pH and after that constantly preserving your container’s water at a particular pH degree does require time as well as method to master, however.


5. Storage Tank Mates

This is the trickiest component of taking care of cichlids– that should you house with them?

They are semi-aggressive fish, which is one reason that they’re a challenging fish for newbies to take care of. No person intends to see their gorgeous guppies obtain consumed by a hostile cichlid!

To all cichlids, tiny fish resemble a dish– so just house them with fish the very same dimension or bigger. They’ll be a whole lot much less most likely to pursue fish their very own dimension.

It’s additionally a great suggestion to maintain them with various other semi-aggressive fish because these fish can defend themselves as well as will not be harassed by your cichlids.

Some South American types, such as the Discus, Angelfish, as well as Blood Parrot cichlid, are intended to be a little friendlier towards various other fish types, however you still require to make sure they have different locations of the container they can call their very own, as well as I would certainly house them with various other fish their very own dimension to be on the risk-free side.

Right Here are a few of the most effective cichlid container friends:

Fish Variety Temperature Level Variety Qualities Dimension
Cichlid 72-82 ˚ F Semi-aggressive Ordinary 4-8 inches
Clown Loach 72-86 ˚ F Semi-aggressive, consume bug snails Approximately 12 inches
Plecostomus 72-78 ˚ F Relaxed, algae eaters Approximately 12 inches
Red Tail Shark 72-79 ˚ F Semi-aggressive, energetic fish Approximately 6 inches
Bottom-side-up Catfish 71-79 ˚ F Relaxed, algae eaters Approximately 4 inches
Raphael Catfish 75-80 ˚ F Might consume any kind of fish that will certainly suit its mouth Approximately 9 inches
Titan Danio 70-75 ˚ F Like to “play” with various other fish Ordinary 4-6 inches

It might be alluring to include cichlids to an existing container as opposed to undergoing the procedure of needing to establish a brand-new container. Allow me caution you versus that unless you wish to see all your fish obtain consumed or harassed to fatality by the cichlids. The adhering to types are particularly susceptible to cichlid hostility as well as must never ever before be maintained with cichlids:

  • Corydoras
  • Guppies
  • Tiny tetras (neons, black neons, serpae tetras, and so on)

Also if you have an all-cichlid container, you might still locate them harassing each various other. That’s one factor to include non-cichlid tankmates for your fish. They will certainly be sidetracked by the various other fish as well as more probable to leave each various other alone.

One last note below: do not blend African cichlids with South or Central American cichlids. They have a tendency to be hostile towards each other as well as might in fact spread out conditions per various other.

If you’re unsure whether the fish you wish to include in the container will certainly work with your cichlids, constantly consult the experienced personnel at your neighborhood fish shop.

6. Feeding Your Cichlids

Since you understand exactly how to establish your container as well as the sorts of fish that work with cichlids, you require to understand what to feed them.

Cichlids aren’t fussy when it concerns food, as well as they’ll gladly consume flake or pellet food. Change up their feeding regular by providing salt water shrimp, bloodworms, or perhaps algae wafers periodically.

Go here to review my write-up on the leading 5 cichlid foods.

Depending upon the types, your cichlid might additionally delight in real-time food, consisting of feeder fish, if the cichlids get on the bigger end of the dimension range.

If you do select to feed your cichlids feeder fish, simply make sure they do not begin to perplex their tankmates for their supper!

In Recap

Can you take care of cichlids? Yes! Also if you’re a novice, you can effectively maintain cichlids by adhering to the suggestions as well as techniques I have actually revealed you. Simply keep in mind to:

  • Obtain the best dimension container for the variety of fish you’re mosting likely to have
  • Provide your cichlids lots of concealing locations
  • Make certain to have the best tools to maintain their container tidy as well as comfy
  • Maintain the water pH neutral, or as near to neutral as feasible
  • Select ideal container friends
  • Provide a selection of foods

If you do, you’ll be appreciating your cichlid container for several years to find!


If you like the write-up over, below are a few other comparable short articles you need to look into!

Finest Cichlid foods

Is it regular for Cichlids to go after each various other?

Why do Cichlids alter shade? 5 perpetrators as well as repairs

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