Search of Perfect Living Conditions IV
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Misc Frogs IV
Misc Frogs V
Pet World Visit
Tropheops make very reliable breeders. Some say too reliable.
Need Good Water. African
cichlids originally came from hard salty water with a high pH.
Most of those we see, however, come from the soft low pH waters of
Des Moines Water Works Fine. Africans thrive in a wide range of water conditions, as long as you keep their water clean. We keep ours quite successfully in moderately hard (220 ppm) and mid-pH (7.5) Des Moines water.
Add Crushed Coral. If you prefer harder water with a higher pH, add a quantity of crushed coral to your gravel. The small white particles work their way down out of sight into your gravel. They help maintain a high pH for about a year.
Some Use Buffers. Other aquarists prefer liquid, powder, or solid pH buffers. Beware sudden pH boosts in huge increments. Ammonia levels the fish ignore at low pH levels, severely stress them at high pH levels.
Add Salt. Many hobbyists add salt – at least a teaspoon per gallon. When you add salt, forget about most live plants. Plants and sodium chloride just don’t mix.
Salts. Purists use the
Filter their Water. Africans generate large amounts of waste products -- particularly urine -- because they eat like underwater pigs. They require an efficient filter that converts nitrogenous wastes to harmless substances. Consider that the minimum. They need more filtration than your average fish.
African Cichlids Like to Eat. When you feed a tank of large Africans, expect to get wet. Even the young ones snap up their food rations. They greedily gulp up nearly anything you offer them. Make sure you provide adequate nutrition.
Feed two or more different types of staple flake foods. Supplement
with cichlid pellets.
Decorate with Rocks. Many of the African cichlids entered the trade as “mbunas” or rock-dwelling fishes. They have a definite affinity for rocks and rockwork.
They Like All Rocks. Use volcanic rocks, tufa rocks, slate rocks, shale rocks, round rocks, flat rocks, coral rocks, sandstone rocks, plastic rocks – even rock garden rocks. They adopt nearly any type of rock you provide. Rocks never wear out. They let you redecorate your tank just by re-arranging the rockwork.
Security. Rocks provide
Africans a sense of security (and turf).
Threatened Africans retreat to their home rocks.
Territorial disputes frequently erupt over who owns which rock.
They love their rocks.
Stocking Tip: When adding new specimens to an established African cichlid community, re-arrange their rocks. This usually distracts them from beating on the new guy. An extra ration of food at the same time also helps.
Food. In the Rift
Pick the Right Gravel. Natural gravel works great for African cichlids. Its dark, neutral color emphasizes the fish and brings out their true colors. Coated gravels in the darker shades also work well – especially black. Poor gravel choices: white, light colors and fluorescent colors.
Add Plastic Plants. You can’t beat plastic plants in African tanks. They look real, and they never die. Use longer ones to hide your air stems. Then stair step with smaller ones in front. Add driftwood or a large rock as a focal point. It’s not at all difficult to decorate an African cichlid tank. Realize that many Africans will dig under rocks. If you build a shaky edifice of stone, they will topple it.
Seek Information. Huge amounts of information exists on these fascinating fishes in a variety of formats – books, magazine articles, even videos. More information appears almost daily. The American Cichlid Association issues a periodical on these fascinating fishes. Ask us for signup materials.
Optional Commercial. We stock an extremely large selection of African cichlids at Aqualand. Most people who try them like them. If you own a large tank, you need to check out the potential of these fascinating and colorful fishes from the Rift Lakes of Africa.
Some Spawning Tips
Some Spawning Tips
Harems Work Best. Males
fight. The more females you
have, the better your chances of a spawning.
Large water changes often trigger spawning activity.
Harems Work Best. Males fight. The more females you have, the better your chances of a spawning. Large water changes often trigger spawning activity.
Males Show “Egg Spots.” Most male African cichlids display bright yellow egg spots on their anal fins. Females lack these egg spots or show very few of them.
Most Are Mouth Brooders. Females pick up the fertilized eggs and carry them in their mouths – usually for three weeks. She goes on a diet during this time. When released, the fry are fully developed and ready to survive on their own. They require no special foods.
Some “Strip” the Eggs. Professional breeders strip the eggs from the females and incubate them artificially. This prevents her from eating the eggs and lets her fatten up again. The eggs develop correctly only if constantly agitated similar to the mother’s “chewing motion.”
Almost Last Words. When you look at these
lovable but nasty fish biters you can’t help but want them.
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