African Cichlids: Care, Food, Fish Tank, Types & Behavior (2019 Guide)


If a person is fond of adding multiple colors to their Aquariums and make them look as colorful as never. There are many fishes in the world with a variety of variable colors and beautiful appearances. Each and every species of the fishes are provided with a diverse number of features and different beautiful patterns available within themselves. The different coloration and beautiful looks of these fishes appear mesmerizing and beautiful to the eyes. The African Cichlid fishes are highly known for their different varieties of beautiful coloration and attractive appearances.


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Peacock Cichlids are considered to be one of the most colorful and attractive looking fishes available in the market today. Looking after the African cichlids fishes is quite a bit difficult than maintaining the usual fishes. On the other hand, taking care of the usual tropical fishes of Aquariums is not that difficult to take care of.

The nature of the African Cichlid is a bit aggressive and are more difficult to handle. Other fishes like tetras, guppies, and gouramies are much easier to handle than the Cichlid aquarium fishes. It is highly suggested that these Cichlid fishes are extremely hard to be handled by the fresh beginners who are new to Fish-keeping and maintenance of the fishes. A highly experienced fishkeeper can only handle these difficult to handle  Cichlid fishes.

When we put the beautiful African Cichlid fishes into our aquarium tanks, we get a beautiful looking, all brightened up, active and socially attractive looking aquarium. To take proper care and maintain the good looking cichlids, here are the proper guidelines and important pointed given which should be taken into account while keeping these fishes in your aquarium tanks. It includes information about various types of cichlids, their tank setup and proper care and How to Clean Tank.

Overview: African Cichlid


It is one of the most popularly colorful fishes which are from the cichlidae family of fishes which comprises of all the other cichlids of various types and different places. They are most widely found in the African area thus are named African cichlids. Today there are around 1500 species of the African cichlids known to the world and even now scientists are estimating that there can be a number of cichlid species present on the earth which are yet to be discovered and named.

The Cichlid fishes are not only found in Africa but they have also made their remarkable presence in many of the parts of South America and Asia. The African cichlids are most probably seen in the major three lakes which are situated basically in the east of Africa which are Lake Victoria, Lake Mawai and Lake Tanganyika. Lake Mawai is highly known for having all the majorly popular home fishes of all time.

The reason behind the popularity of these beautiful Cichlid fishes is the variability of colours it is available in which makes everyone filled with colors of joy and pleasure by only looking at them. They are regarded as one of the most colorful fishes available today. You have got a huge number of options and you can choose according to your choice of preference from a variety of African cichlid fishes that which type, pattern or colour of this fish would be suitable for your aquarium tank.

Advantages of Keeping African Cichlid Fishes

One of the greatest advantages of keeping the colorful Cichlid fishes in your aquarium tanks is that they can survive in hard to harder conditions too. Thus if minor mistakes occur to any beginner’s lack of knowledge and experience, the African Cichlid fishes will know a way to survive through it for a longer period of time.

If the situations run beyond the control of a person who has created any minor mistake while taking care of these Cichlid fishes, they are going to survive through these adverse situations for a longer time interval as compared to other tetra fishes which are highly sensitive and even small mistakes caused or even small changes developed in their habitat may immediately bring them to death.

In order to make you aquarium tank look appealing and attractive, these Cichlid fishes can play a major role as they are available in a variety of beautiful colors and amazing patterns and different types which eventually makes your tank look colorful, appealing and all brightened up.

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Buying a Cichlid Fish

When you ought to buy a suitable Cichlid fish, you must consider some basic but highly important points in your mind. First of all, the thing you need to take care of is that the African Cichlid that you are willing to buy is a long-living and rare to be found fish. They are commonly more costly as compared to the normal tetra fishes because of their attractive, colorful and appealing looks.

Their prices vary from feature to feature provided by these Cichlid fishes. Prices increase for a more colorful and more brightening African Cichlid fish. Their price ranges from even five dollars to a hundred dollars too. This point is also to be taken into account that the juvenile fishes are comparatively less expensive than the healthier and grown-up adult fishes.

Behavior of Cichlid


The life span of the highly active African Cichlid fishes is around eight years in an aquarium. They are known popularly for their highly active and attentive nature. If there occurs any sort of movement outside the tank and they get to sense it, they would follow up the movement in the hope of getting fed. These fishes are always hoping to be fed which can trick you to think that you are underfeeding them which will eventually let you feed them even more and more which shouldn’t be done.

Because of the active and attentive behavior of these species, they make highly talented swimmers. They are so active that they can even jump out of the tank as they swim so fast. However, they are intelligent enough to not jump out of the tank unless they are not irritated by getting spooked or poked. One of the most to be kept notice of thing is their highly aggressive nature.

There are times when these fishes mate, and sometimes the weaker fish can even die in tank. For stopping them from fighting or avoiding any such aggressive interactions of this Cichlid fishes, you must provide them a larger moving area in the Aquarium. This eventually gives major space to the fishes which makes them roam freely in the tank and also mark their separate territories inside the aquarium. Try to make proper hiding places for your fishes in the tank.

They are very active and may try digging the substrate and decorations present inside of the tank. This doesn’t cause any difficulties inside the tank but you should not keep any highly secured thing inside the decorations of your tank as they may not wait to destroy it.

Different types and appearance of various Cichlid fishes

Today, there are a lot of African Cichlid fishes available which are of variable beautiful colors and attractive patterns. Some of the most popularly known these Cichlid fishes are described below with full information on their color, pattern and behavior.

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1. African Butterfly or Anomalochromis Thomasi


Born in the rivers of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, these highly attractive looking African butterflies have maximum length of around three inches and make five vertical black bars at the downside of their body. In order to appeal the bars even more, they are provided with differently colored horizontal linings along with beautiful patches on their skins. They usually have blue or green linings over their body. This breed is considered to be the most appropriate breed for the new beginners as they are quite peaceful, not that demanding and easy to be taken care of.

2. African Peacock Cichlid or Aulonocara Nyassae


These are highly popular species which are originated from Lake Mawai. There are around 22 species of the peacock cichlids found and described till date. These fishes are highly known for their brightest ever colors. The colors they are filled with are much similar to the peacock’s tail. It is usually the male peacock cichlids which are most colorful in nature while the female fishes are drab-colored. Their size range is around 4 to 6 inches. If you want your tank to be colorful as ever, you must have these peacock cichlids in your tanks as they are the best choice for them. But, you must keep in mind that some of these peacock cichlids are too aggressive to handle so we must do proper researching before buying them.

3. Yellow African or Labidochromis Caeruleus


These yellow African fishes are so bright and sparingly colored that it may trick into believing that these fishes carry electricity in their bodies, though, it’s not true. They are provided with beautiful black fins that perfectly fit best with their yellow colored bodies. Their fully grown body is of around three inches on average. These fishes are originated from Lake Mawai. These fishes are less aggressive as compared to the other cichlids and are thus easy to be taken care of.

4. Orange Zebra Cichlid or Maylandia Estherae


These orange zebra cichlids have a body vividly covered with attractive orange colors. At times, their fins are as similar to the find of the yellow African fishes. They can grow up to five inches in length and have an attractive round head. They are originated from Lake Mawai. They are highly aggressive in nature so an experienced fish keeper only can take a proper care of these fishes. They are not too big in growth but it reduces their high aggression if the tank is larger in size.

The Habitat and Tank Conditions of African Cichlid

As the African cichlids are known for their high aggressive nature and active behaviour they are considered to be the top rock dwellers. There are some important points which are needed to be taken care of while setting up an aquarium tank for the Cichlid fishes. What you need the most in your Aquariums for maintaining the African cichlids is adding up various rocks in the tank.

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But, you must make sure that they are safely placed and bear no risk of collapsing or you can also by rocks which can be stocked with help of glue in the Aquarium. As they are popular diggers, they should be provided with finely grained substrate. Moving water is best suitable for these aquariums keeping Africa cichlids.

A small current in the waves need to be generated using the filter outlet which eventually will create a beautiful natural lake look for the fishes. The optimum water temperature for the fishes is around 75 to 85°F. A water pH of 7.8-8.6 is most suitable to keep these fishes healthy. No other extra equipment are required int he tank for the African cichlids to be taken care of just a heater and a filter is sufficient. In around 3-4 hours, the filter should process the clearing of the water in the tank. As we know that it’s obvious that the larger the fish size, larger should be the tank. An average of 30 gallons is best size for a tank for these cichlids. It is enough to keep around 10 fishes in a 30 gallons tank.

Diet and Food of The Cichlid Fishes

It can eat things like meat, plants and insects. Many species can spent year eating plants and meat happily in the tanks. Peacock cichlid are highly insectivorous, thus most of their food is made up of insects. Whereas an African butterfly would eat any small fish inside the tank. On the other hand yellow African cichlid are omnivores in nature. They eat plants and also fishes occasionally. Although they have different eating habits and tastes, but they will happily eat the flake food that you would buy from any store. You can also compliment their diet by using frozen foods, algae wafers and live foods. Bloodworms and other insects can be used to be fed for these African cichlid.

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