Cichlid Addicted - Introduction


A family of fish that includes over 1600 species already described and the same amount still to be described. This makes Cichlids one of the largest groups of vertebrates on the planet. Found mostly in South America and Africa, the variant in size and shape is vast. For this reason, you will see many cichlids living happily in a community tank without any problems.

Apistogramma Borellii make great community tank fish
Dwarf Cichlids like Apistogramma are one of the smaller most popular cichlids. Especially amongst the Lothian Fishkeepers. Hailing from South America and with over 100 species described so far, these are very nice little fish. I have only recently discovered the attraction of keeping these fish. In the shops you will find a great selection of either captive bred or wild caught species. All offering beautiful colours and stunning fins.

To get the best out your Apistogramma, leaf litter and slightly darker water is advised. This can be created by adding tannins which you can get from most fish stores.

At the other end of the scale, we have Cichlids like the Oscar can get up to 30cm in size. While they are definitely not the biggest cichlid out there, I find them to be the most interactive by a long shot. With their big sad looking eyes they can easily beg for food every time you walk past the tank.

Oscars are very interactive and can respond to commands
The Oscar sadly often is sold to fishkeepers that don't have the correct aquarium to house such a large fish. They quickly outgrow the smaller aquariums and consume all the original fish before either being sold or the owner having to upgrade to a larger tank. They originate from the Amazon basin and should only be kept in large, well filtered tanks.

Over time it is possible to teach the these intelligent fish to jump through hoops for food treats. They are also quick to learn who feeds them and will readily put on a show at feeding time.

Not all Cichlids are known for there appearance. The Shell-Dwelling Cichlids from Lake Tanganyika in Africa, as the name suggests, live and breed inside snail shells. They are tiny little cichlids that are fascinating to watch popping in and out their homes. Part of the fun is watching them dig pits round there shells.

There are several different Shell-Dwellers each having unique behavioural qualities. These little fish are not too demanding and can be enjoyed by most fishkeepers. They are also fairly easy to get a hold of from a decent fish store.

For some Cichlid Addicts, its the mouth brooders that they like. The majority of fish from Lake Malawi incubate their eggs inside their mouths. In the wild, space is limited and fish are fiercely territorial so having the ability to hold their eggs in their mouths for the entire incubation period and beyond is a great method of increasing your young survival rate. In the Aquarium, they demonstrate this behaviour also and watching the fry retreat into their mothers mouth is something special.

I think that fishkeepers of all experience can successfully keep and breed these amazing fish. There is a cichlid for every type of aquarium and with the character and colour they offer, there is no excuse.

Next week I will be taking a closer look at the Rift Lake Cichlids of Africa. With the help of some experienced Lothian Fishkeeper members I want to share just what is involved in keeping these vibrant, aggressive beauties with success.

Thanks for reading guys and look out for next weeks post.

bye for now.

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