African Cichlids: A Colorful Brood

Many African cichlids are easily identified by a combination of patterns and intense hues not typically seen in other freshwater fish. Originating from three East African lakes, thousands of species exist each with its own prominent coloration, from solid to striped. Lake Malawi boasts more than 1,000 species alone, followed by Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria. Highly territorial and aggressive, even among its own kind, some species simply cannot live with other fish unless the smaller fish are planned for meals. To reduce aggressiveness, experienced hobbyists maintain larger schools. Although […] Read more »


Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare)

Although it may be hard to believe, the Pterophyllum scalare or Angelfish is a member of the cichlid family. Luckily, they are not as territorial or destructive as most of their relatives. For many people, Angelfish are instantly recognizable and in fact, are one of the oldest and most beloved species in the aquarium hobby. These elegant creatures have extremely elongated dorsal and anal fins and very laterally compressed bodies. They can reach a length of 6 inches and a height of 10 inches (including fins). Angelfish have been bred […] Read more »


Aquarium Tips for Mixing African Cichlids

The following are important aspects to consider when mixing African cichlids: Water chemistry, diet, and aggression, the last one a familiar trait among cichlids. Originating from Malawi, Victoria and Tanganyika lakes, African cichlids have evolved to adapt to the different pH found in these waters. Lakes Malawi and Victoria share similar pH levels ranging from 7.4 to 8.6 and can be safely mixed. In contrast, lake Tanganyika has a pH ranging between 7.8 and 9.0 making it difficult to mix these two groups. In addition, avoid combining cichlids coming from […] Read more »


Blue Acara Cichlid (Aequidens pulcher)

These are easy to breed cichlids that do well in a community aquarium with other fish of similar size. The Blue Acara requires an aquarium of at least 50-gallons, with a sandy bottom, rocks and plenty of hiding places among the rocks. Generally peaceful with other fish of similar size, but can get territorial during breeding time. To promote breeding, raise aquarium temperature to 78-82°F. Male and female will care for the young. The female will lay the eggs on a cleaned rock. They will spawn about every two weeks […] Read more »


Breeding Oscar Fish

When breeding them be aware that some times males can kill the female in typical cichlid fashion. Breeding Oscars is easy as long as the water is clean and you raise the temperature from the normal 25°C (77°F) to 28°C (80°F). The female will choose a flat rock to lay her eggs (about 1000 eggs) and the male will fertilize them. The opaque eggs will turn transparent in 24 hours and hatch after 2 or 3 days. Watching a pair of Oscar fish breeding is an experience that is both thrilling […] Read more »


Calvus Cichlid (Altolamprologus calvus)

This species is very slow growing, taking over 6 months to reach an inch and a half long, and over two years to reach sexual maturity. Their bodies are very thin and compact and are dark black in color with many small white spots. Their sloping forehead and large mouth gives them a menacing look, making them a favorite among some cichlid lovers. Compatible: Lake Tanganykan similar size, and African Catfish. Aquarium setup: 50 gallon tank. 72-82°F; pH 7.8-9.0; dKH 12-20. Size: 5 1/4 in (14 cm) Read more »


Cylindricus Cichlid (Neolamprologus cylyndricus)

The Neolamprologus Cylindricus Cichlid originates from the rocky coastal waters of Southeastern Lake Tanganyika, Africa. This species is one of the smaller of the cichlids, only attaining a maximum size of 4 inches. They have an elongated body, and are silver in color with many dark vertical bands. Their fins are outlined in an iridescent blue which adds to the appeal of these fish. They should be maintained in an aquarium of at least 30 gallons with other smaller Tanganyikan cichlids. Aggressive towards co specifics, you should keep one male […] Read more »


Discus (Symphysodon aequifasciata)

Discus are among the most popular aquarium fish. Discus originate from a habitat of shaded water with branches and other dense cover and this habitat should be duplicated in the aquarium. Like the angelfish the shape of discus fishes is uncharacteristic of the family cichlidae, to which they belong. Discus fishes are for the specialist fishkeeper, as they require highly specific water conditions: water must be soft, slightly acidic, and filter through peat. The overall coloration of Discus will vary depending on mood and overall health of the fish. Becoming […] Read more »


Gold Head Cichlid (Altolamprologus compressicep)

Native from the rocky coastal waters of Lake Tanganyika, Africa. This species is much smaller then their distant cousins, Dimidiochromis compressiceps, which originate in Lake Malawi, only attaining a maximum size of 4-1/2 inches. stunning cichlids with a yellow and black mask covering the head, and several vertical brown lines covering the body. The Gold Head Compressicep should be maintained in an aquarium of at least 50-gallons with other aggressive cichlids. Compatible: Lake Tanganykan similar size, and African Catfish. Aquarium setup: 72-82°F; pH 7.8-9.0; dKH 12-20 Size: 4 1/4 in […] Read more »