African cichlids are from the Cichlidae family, which consists of all the species of the cichlid. This fish group is known to have many species and is also very diverse in size, color, habitat, etc. Africa is the cichlids’ biggest habitat and can also be found in Asia and South America. The ones found in Lake Malawi are the best species for the aquarium as they are both colorful and strong enough to survive changes. And they live up to 8 years in aquariums. One can also set-up & care for the African cichlid at home in the aquarium.
Types of African cichlid
Cichlids have a large variety, but to point out, the most common ones are as follows:
- Yellow African
This variety is found in Lake Malawi and grows over 3 inches. It is bright yellow and has fins with black tips, a contrasting color scheme that makes it stand out. Behavior-wise, yellow African is less aggressive and more friendly towards other fishes.
- Orange Zebra Cichlid
Like every other bright colored cichlid, this is also found in Lake Malawi. It does not grow too big but can be quite aggressive. Just like the yellow African, it has fins with black tips. Due to their aggressive behavior is best to keep them in big tanks with other fishes.
- African Butterfly
They are found in the rivers of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. Their size reaches up to 3 inches, and they are very peaceful in behavior. They have five vertical bars of black color on their body with horizontal rows of colorful spots.
- African Peacock Cichlid
The peacock cichlids have around 22 species and are all found in Lake Malawi. Its body displays quite a range of colors thus, justifying its name. Most of the bright colors are found in the male species. They can grow up to 6 inches.
African cichlids are known to be rock-dwellers. In lakes, they have the hideaways that they find in the gaps between different rocks. Thus, the aquarium should also have rocks. They like digging to make sure that they don‘t hurt their fins; fine-grained substrate will be a good addition to the tank.
The lakes they are from have hard water so avoid using soft water. The water temperature should be between 75° to 85˚F with a pH of 7.8 to 8.6.
Different cichlids require a different type of care, so select the ones who will be comfortable in the aquarium. They are herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. Thus they can eat anything. Ensure that the surroundings are good so that they can stay healthy.