Cichlids in nature
Cichlids are generally territorial creatures and, with very few exceptions, live in freshwater. The cichlids relevant for aquaristics come from South America, where they tend to live in soft, slightly acidic water, and from Africa. Very well known are Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika with their special, rather hard water with high pH. There, the vast majority of fish come from the Cichlidae family.
In addition to the popular aquarium fish, the cichlids are also - especially the larger species - important food fish, which are readily caught and eaten in their native country. Also for the behavioral biology cichlids, often affectionately abbreviated as Bubas, are interesting objects.
Cichlids range from a few centimeters to a stately 80 cm in body length. Mostly they have an oval basic shape, are rather elongated, elongated and laterally flat. Depending on the species, however, the body shape can be very different, because the animals adapt very well to the respective habitats. Known exceptions are sailfin or angelfish or discus fish, which also belong to the cichlids, even if they do not look like that.
Cichlids in the aquarium
Cichlids can sometimes become quite barsch. These are not schooling fish, but territorial fish. Some tolerate only the opposite sex in their territory, others are not so aggressive and can - like discus - also be kept in a shoal. The socialization with small crustaceans like shrimps usually goes wrong, because they are simply eaten. Even larger crustaceans have to die after a moult and will be eaten apart.
Also the socialization with other fish often fails because of the very special requirements of some cichlids to the water values. Please read the article descriptions in our online store and our notes on socialization carefully to avoid unpleasant surprises.
The aquarium for cichlids should offer sufficient swimming space. Planting is possible with South American cichlids, but doomed to failure with African ones. Usually, such an aquarium is set up with light-colored perforated rock, which offers the bubas space to hide and at the same time keeps the water values in a range that is comfortable for the ornamental fish.
The feeding of cichlids in the aquarium
Some cichlids are surface feeders and thus tend to be surface oriented, others eat approach foods, while still others chase and eat other fish or feed on snails. There are cichlids that eat detritus, other species feed on plants or plankton. This must be taken into account when choosing food for these beautiful aquarium fish. The different feeding strategies make this group of fish so interesting.
Breeding cichlids is possible in the aquarium, even though they require very special conditions according to species. As a rule, cichlids practice careful brood care and sometimes keep the young fish in a shoal even after hatching until they are larger. Many South American cichlids are cave breeders, and among African cichlids there are both the open spawners, the cave spawners and the mouth breeders. Sometimes even the older siblings help to raise the young fish, for example in some cichlids from Lake Tanganyika in Africa.
Cichlids are a distinctly diverse family of fish that truly offers almost everything: from small to large, from herbivores to hunters, from group-faithful to solitary and aggressively territorial. Never a dull moment with cichlids in the aquarium! Here in our store at Garnelio you can buy traditional, time-tested classics as well as new species that enchant with their fascinating behavior and are highly sought after. In a cichlid tank there is always something going on, and you can hardly get enough of the colorful, beautifully drawn fish with their lively behavior.