Cichlids are absolutely beautiful fish to watch. Not only are most species, particularly colorful, they are also real character creatures and often provide a true spectacle in the aquarium. However, setting up and starting up such a Cichlid aquarium requires a specific approach. With this step-by-step plan you create an aquarium where your Cichlids will be healthy and happy.

Choose The Fish

First of all, decide which cichlids you want to keep. There are countless types and variants and each has its own preferences that you should take into account. Also keep this in mind when choosing an aquarium (or adjust your choice of fish if you already have a tank): some prefer a high tank, some prefer to swim in a long space. A cichlid aquarium is an example of a biotope aquarium.

Aquarium Decoration

When decorating the aquarium, the natural living conditions of the Cichlid species must be taken into account. For almost all species, that means they love rock formations. Most Cichlids come from lakes with a lot of stones and little flora. Make some holes and craters with the stones that they can use as shelter. Also, do not stack the stones up to the water’s surface, but leave some empty swimming space. If you stack stones on top of each other, it is best to glue them together as a precaution. With heavy stones it is also best to glue the base of the lower stones to the bottom plate. If your Cichlids undercut the formation, then at least they won’t be crushed by the falling rocks. Those rock formations can weigh a lot. Make sure your aquarium and base are designed for this weight.

Because they like to dig and also like to nibble on plants, it is difficult to let plants flourish in your aquarium. That is not so bad, since most species are not originally used to an underwater jungle. Nevertheless, there are some species that you can use: for example Vallisneria, Anubias, Java fern, … Many of these plants occur in their natural biotope. Also, do enough research about the plants you choose, because plants also need certain water values. Once you have decided these things you can get started.
  • Rinse the aquarium thoroughly with water without soap or other chemicals.
  • Place the aquarium where it will always be.
  • Never place an aquarium close to a heater or in the sun.

PAY ATTENTION! You can only move an aquarium if it contains less than 4 cm of water. Otherwise, it is dangerous because of the pressure on the silicone, then the aquarium can be broken.

  • Always test the water values ​​of the tap water.
  • Too low pH? Increase the pH with kH-Plus, moonstone or other additives.
  • Preferably seal larger stones with special aquarium silicone sealant.
  • Use fine sand as bedding: most Cichlids like to dig.
  • Slowly add the bottom material, gravel or stones so as not to damage the bucket.
  • Fill the aquarium to two thirds.
  • Install the aquarium filter as stated on the packaging.
  • Hang the heating element, preferably choose the lowest possible wattage. (1 Watt/ liter of water)

TIP! You can also opt for two heating elements with a very low wattage. This is to prevent the fish from dying if a heating element gets stuck. A heating element can easily break and no longer turn off at the right temperature.

  • Continue to fill the aquarium, but not all the way to the brim.
  • Make sure that the lighting is not too bright in a Cichlid aquarium, otherwise they will not feel at home.
  • Now wait at least two weeks before adding Cichlids.
  • It is important that the filter and heating element remain on at all times during those two weeks.
  • Then buy the Cichlid you want to keep.
  • Please note, with some species, it is better to put more females than males.
  • Start with a few fish.
  • Give little food in the beginning. The nitrifying bacteria still need to develop further.
  • Change about 25% of the water once a week.

Good luck, fun and enjoyment with your Cichlid aquarium!

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