How to Start Keeping Cichlids

Of all the tropical fishes kept in the aquarium, none of the species offer the level of diversity as the Cichlids. The body shapes vary from the disc shape of the Angelfish of the Amazon, to the cylindrical shaped Julidochromis from Africa.

Many are extremely colorful, particularly those from the African rift valley. Some Cichlids grow very large and needs an aquarium to themselves, whilst others may be kept in a community. Even breeding methods vary hugely.

What is Needed to Successfully Care for Cichlids?

In order to care for Cichlids successfully you need to replicate as closely as possible the conditions in which they live in their natural environment. So in setting up your aquarium you will need to consider in particular the pH value of the water and its temperature.

As with all aquarium tropical fish, you will need to make sure that your aquarium has a suitable filtration system and lighting. You will also need to ensure that you change at 10% of the water every week.


Maintaining the Correct pH for Cichlids

The water in the natural habitat of Cichlids is quite alkaline, so this is what you need to replicate in your aquarium. The ideal range on the pH scale is 7.5 to 8.5. If your water is outside this range then an inexpensive and and effective solution is common soda. Any sudden changes to the pH value of the water will adversely affect the health of your fish.

Substrates, such as gravel, crushed coral and limestone, also help to maintain the water at its optimum alkalinity.

Maintaining the Correct Temperature for Cichlids

The ideal temperature range for Cichlids is between 74F (23C) to 82F (28C) the optimum being 78F (26C). You will need to avoid keeping your aquarium in a sunny place or near to appliances that generate heat otherwise the temperature may increase above the desirable level.

For a tank of fry you can increase the temperature range to between 80F (27C) to 82F (28C). The increased temperature raises the metabolism of the fry causing them to eat more and grow rapidly.

If you have particularly aggressive fish, you may want to lower the temperature slightly as this slows down their metabolism.

10 Basic Rules For a Successful Saltwater Aquarium

Saltwater Aquarium Maintenance, is it really needed ?

Although an aquarium constitutes a self-contained environment, it nevertheless evolves: fish get bigger and reproduce, while plants grow.

Similarly, the water undergoes changes that may not always be visible – the nitrate concentration increases but the mineral salts deplete- which is why it is important to maintenance it. As for the bed, this is enriched by numerous organic substances (animal excreta, surplus food) that will normally be converted into mineral elements.

The equilibrium of an aquarium is fragile and can rapidly be disrupted if a few simple rules are contravened. The first of these rules requires a daily inspection of the tank and its occupants, at feeding time, for example. In this way you can detect any sickness, worrying fish behavior, or an abnormal water color.

The second rule is to maintain the aquarium. When undertaken on a regular basis, the upkeep of an aquarium is not time consuming, and only demands 1 or 2 hours a week. Some operations need to be performed every day, others less often.

Certain parameters of the water, such as the pH, must be monitored once or twice a week.

Water Analysis

Bad water can cause problems unnoticeable to even the most discerning eye, so it is important to monitor its quality regularly. Four main parameters have to be monitored: the temperature, the pH, the nitrites, and also the density.

Checking the Equipment

You must also keep a close watch on the aquarium equipment for lighting, heating, aeration, and filtration. As regards the lighting, make sure that the electrical contacts do not get rusty. In the aeration system, the small lozenge which filters the air needs to be changed twice a year.

The diffusers eventually get blocked by algae or calcium. It is best to change them, but they can also be unblocked. Clean the filtration system regularly. Any malfunction in the heating will quickly be reflected in a decrease or increase in the temperature: in this case, it is necessary to change the equipment.

Cleaning the Panes

The more regular the maintenance of an aquarium, the less time-consuming it becomes.

The glass panes of the aquarium can accumulate green or brown algae, calcium, or biological deposits (bacteria and non-pathogenic micro-organ isms).

These deposits vary from one aquarium to the next and do not in themselves represent any danger to fish – the damage sustained by an aquarium through a dirty front pane lies more on the aesthetic plane. So the panes must be scraped with a razor blade or one of the small devices found in specialist stores.

Domestic scouring pads can also be effective, but in the long term they scratch the glass of the aquarium. Do not forget to clean the glass lid, which gradually gets covered with algae and calcium or salt on the inside and dust on the outside, restricting the passage of the light needed by plants.

Here are the other 10 rules to keeping a healthy aquarium

  1. Provide regular, varied, feeding for fish. Feed two to three times per day, the amount consumed in approximately two minutes (for most fish).
  2. Keep fish populations within reasonable limits.
  3. Follow the daily, weekly, and monthly checklist in this guide.
  4. Select fish that enjoy similar temperatures, water chemistry, are compatible with respect to behavior, and occupy different levels of the aquarium.
  5. When choosing filtration, consider contact time, filter media volume, and factors which affect filter output.
  6. Incorporate live plants whenever possible.
  7. Choose the largest aquarium possible. Volume equals stability and greater flexibility in choices.
  8. Stable conditions are important. Following the provided checklist will help achieve this.
  9. Try to plan your aquarium set-up. Select plants, rocks, wood, gravel, and other décor which are complementary.
  10. Enjoy the hobby! Use it as an experience to learn about a fascinating underwater world.