Freshwater Cichlids are among the most popular fish for home aquariums.
There are many good reasons for this. They are brightly coloured, easy to keep, active, and display a range of interesting behaviours.
While Cichlids are found all over the world, particularly in Latin America and Africa, they are in their greatest abundance in East Africa’s Lake Malawi. So much so, that scientists consider the lake an evolutionary marvel.
Straddling Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique, Lake Malawi is the world’s ninth-largest lake. It is known to contain a whopping 850 species of Cichlid, more than all the freshwater fish species of Europe or North America combined. Many of these are yet to be described by science, and further species are discovered every year.
Lake Malawi’s Cichlids come in an array of astonishing colours. From the bright oranges and reds of the Red Zebra Cichlid, the deep blue and black stripes of the Blue Mbuna to the electric yellow of the aptly named Electric Yellow Cichlid. They typically range from around 2 to 6 inches in length.
These characteristics, along with their active nature, make them perfect for home aquariums. In fact, a small selection of Lake Malawi’s Cichlids is all you need for a captivating tank.
Keeping Lake Malawian Cichlids
While keeping African Cichlids is relatively easy, there are a few things to keep in mind. Lake Malawi is what is known as a ‘meromictic lake’. This means it is stratified between layers that do not mix a great deal. While the lake reaches depths of 700 metres, its Cichlids live exclusively in the surface layer where temperatures are consistently between 23 and 28 degrees Celsius, and PH varies between 7.8 and 8.5. You should try to replicate these conditions in your home aquarium.
Keeping smaller African Cichlid species typically requires at least a 75-litre capacity tank, while larger species require a tank of 120 litres capacity or more. The bottom of the tank should be covered with sand or gravel of around 3 inches in depth. Add plenty of rocks and other décors, as Cichlids are territorial and occasionally aggressive. Setting up plenty of caves and other hiding places will enable fish to stake out their own territory and hide when threatened.
How we can help
If you are interested in keeping a selection of Lake Malawi’s beautiful Cichlids at your home or workplace, speak to us about having a custom-built tank installed. As well as designing the perfect tank for your surroundings, we will provide you with plenty of advice along the way.
You can reach us on 0428 480 902 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.