Although they are aggressive, Malawi Cichlids are hardy and easy to care for. Adult size up to 20 cm, minimum tank size 120 litres.
There are over 100 species of African cichlids, which belong to the Cichlidae family. These freshwater fish are inhabitants of African lakes such as Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Victoria. African cichlids are the most colorful freshwater aquarium species and are easy to maintain and cultivate in freshwater aquariums.
These fish tend to be aggressive, predatory, and territorial. In nature, they live in groups and their pigmentation determines the dominance between the species; in groups, the bright fish is the dominant and the pale one is submissive.
There is no intense lighting needed in the tank. Shallow rocks contain algae, insects, bacteria, and crustaceans, which these fish enjoy scraping and eating. Their optimal pH requirement is alkaline (pH=8.5), but they can survive in neutral and acidic water, though this will make the species prone to illness.
The aquarium should be decorated with rocks and caves to maintain the natural environment of the fish because they live and spawn under the rocks and caves.This species likes to dig in the gravel and organize it, thus, gravel should be decorated around the rock (or clay pot) on the bottom of the tank. Aquarium silicone may help to glue rocks together in order to prevent a cave forming due to cichlids digging. The fish can destroy the plants by digging and eat all of them, it is not recommended to cultivate a plant in the tank.
African cichlids are territorial, so any open-water swimmers are likely to be attacked at some point. If you want to mix them with other fish, they need to occupy different regions of the tank so that they don’t enter cichlid territory. Bottom-dwelling fish can make good tank mates, as long as they match the cichlids for size and aggression. Good examples are African catfish, they are fast-swimming, large, and aggressive enough to defend themselves. Any small fish (such as tetras) will become a meal.
As an omnivorous fish species cichlids have a wide range of food they can consume, which may include algae, insect larvae, bloodworms, and brine shrimp. Live, frozen, pellet, flake food and algae are suitable food for this species, especially since they process food more slowly than other fish.
Aquarium water shouldn’t contain ammonia, thus regular water changing (25-40%) is fundamental. Mixing African with South American cichlids can increase the chances of getting a disease because they have evolved different immunities.
See Fish Disease Diagnosis and Treatment at Rebel Pets for help with diagnosing and treating diseases.
|Adult Size:||10 – 15 cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Beginner|
|Minimum Tank Size:||120 litres, +12 litres per addl. fish|
|Temperament:||Aggressive, Predatory, and Territorial|
|Tank Level:||Mid dweller|
|Diet:||Omnivore, eats most foods|
|Lifespan:||4 – 10 Years|
|Temperature:||24 to 27°C|
|pH:||7.8 – 8.6|
|Hardness:||15 – 25 dGH (rather hard)|