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Old 12-30-2015, 09:10 PM   #1
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Guide to Cichlids

I always have been interested in cichlids but never really knew when to start. I have cared for angels for years and we recently got a Bolivian ram and that's it. Any advice/tips/experience?

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Old 12-30-2015, 09:21 PM   #2
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Are you looking to add to a current tank? If so, what size is the tank and what stock?

If you're interested in doing cichlids only what size tank would that be? Does it matter to you if the tank has plants or not?
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Old 12-31-2015, 01:46 AM   #3
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I'm just in general asking about them like the difference between African and new world cichlids

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Old 12-31-2015, 01:58 AM   #4
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Guide to Cichlids

The best part about cichlids is every one is unique and different.

Africans- obviously come from Africa. These are Lake Tanganyika, Malawi, and Victoria(I believe someone correct me on that?) these fish prefer a high pH of around 8.0-8.4. These fish include ones like Yellow Labs, Frontosa, and thousands more.

SA- SA cichlids come from South America. Mainly from the Amazon river basin and other various rivers. These guys unlike Africans like the opposite pH of around 6.5-7.5. Fish from here include Angels, discus, rams, and larger fish like Oscars and Jack Dempsey.


The most important part to remember about cichlids is they have a wide range of parameter needs and temperaments. Rule 1 of Cichlids: don't mix lakes. Lake Malawi stays with Malawi, South Americans stay with South Americans. This is mainly due to the great difference in water needs.

From the bottom of the scale with Rams that are community friendly to the giant Dovii that isn't afraid to try to take a bite of you.

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Old 12-31-2015, 01:03 PM   #5
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Even though it's a simple differentiation, in my experience, I've noticed that CA/SA cichlids tend to get bigger and more aggressive than Africans
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Old 01-01-2016, 05:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImACoolguy View Post
The best part about cichlids is every one is unique and different.

Africans- obviously come from Africa. These are Lake Tanganyika, Malawi, and Victoria(I believe someone correct me on that?) these fish prefer a high pH of around 8.0-8.4. These fish include ones like Yellow Labs, Frontosa, and thousands more.

SA- SA cichlids come from South America. Mainly from the Amazon river basin and other various rivers. These guys unlike Africans like the opposite pH of around 6.5-7.5. Fish from here include Angels, discus, rams, and larger fish like Oscars and Jack Dempsey.


The most important part to remember about cichlids is they have a wide range of parameter needs and temperaments. Rule 1 of Cichlids: don't mix lakes. Lake Malawi stays with Malawi, South Americans stay with South Americans. This is mainly due to the great difference in water needs.

From the bottom of the scale with Rams that are community friendly to the giant Dovii that isn't afraid to try to take a bite of you.

Caleb

You lumped together SA and CA. Ive learned that these shouldn't be squashed together...


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Old 01-01-2016, 08:21 AM   #7
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As others have said, cichlids are a really diverse bunch. Even within the African Rift Lakes they've evolved into "endless forms most beautiful" as Darwin once said. That said, there are some common threads.

-Territorial: Every cichlid that I know of is territorial, from the tiny banded shelldweller to the massive peacock bass. So when keeping them you need to be aware of what kind of territory that fish prefers, how much territory it will take, and how fiercely it will defend it. As an example, look at angelfish. They prefer the upper water column and take a fairly large territory but tend to be relaxed about it outside of spawning. Now compare that with ram cichlids who prefer the bottom of the tank and are a litter more fierce guarding their territory but also don't take as much. You can actually mix the two because they have different territory needs. Good strategies for dealing with cichlid territorialness are putting in lots of cover and "landmarks" in the tank for natural territories to form and introducing cichlids all at the same time after all the other fish have been introduced.

-Parental care: This goes hand in hand with territory. Cichlids all take care of their offspring, or at least they are supposed to (some longtime captive bred staples like angelfish have lost that instinct). Most of the common cichlids in the hobby form pairs, but some form colonies (like certain shelldwellers), others breed in trios (apistos), and so on. Then these pairs, or at least one parent, will fiercely protect their fry. This is generally bad news in a community tank, so it's something to be avoided if you can sex your fish.

That's all I can think of for general cichlid characteristics without getting into the actual taxonomic distinctions.
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Old 01-01-2016, 02:43 PM   #8
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As others have said, cichlids are a really diverse bunch. Even within the African Rift Lakes they've evolved into "endless forms most beautiful" as Darwin once said. That said, there are some common threads.

-Territorial: Every cichlid that I know of is territorial, from the tiny banded shelldweller to the massive peacock bass. So when keeping them you need to be aware of what kind of territory that fish prefers, how much territory it will take, and how fiercely it will defend it. As an example, look at angelfish. They prefer the upper water column and take a fairly large territory but tend to be relaxed about it outside of spawning. Now compare that with ram cichlids who prefer the bottom of the tank and are a litter more fierce guarding their territory but also don't take as much. You can actually mix the two because they have different territory needs. Good strategies for dealing with cichlid territorialness are putting in lots of cover and "landmarks" in the tank for natural territories to form and introducing cichlids all at the same time after all the other fish have been introduced.

-Parental care: This goes hand in hand with territory. Cichlids all take care of their offspring, or at least they are supposed to (some longtime captive bred staples like angelfish have lost that instinct). Most of the common cichlids in the hobby form pairs, but some form colonies (like certain shelldwellers), others breed in trios (apistos), and so on. Then these pairs, or at least one parent, will fiercely protect their fry. This is generally bad news in a community tank, so it's something to be avoided if you can sex your fish.

That's all I can think of for general cichlid characteristics without getting into the actual taxonomic distinctions.

Yeah. These are held in common between every Cichlid except maybe some of the smaller SAs don't have as much territorial-ness. I think almost every Central and African is decently territorial.


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Old 01-01-2016, 02:49 PM   #9
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Yeah. These are held in common between every Cichlid except maybe some of the smaller SAs don't have as much territorial-ness. I think almost every Central and African is decently territorial.


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Eh, even the community-friendly-ish SA "dwarfs" like rams and apistos are territorial. Just less mean about it unless they're spawning.
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