Setting up a cichlid aquarium is fairly easy to do. Even new cichlid owners can do it by themselves.
The size of cichlid aquarium you choose is very important. For newbies, a fairly large aquarium (at least 20 gallons) is a good way to start: it gives cichlids enough space so they do not end up fighting, plus it requires very little maintenance, which is advantageous for someone who is new to raising cichlids.
Make sure your cichlid aquarium has a filter and a water pump. Clean, toxic-free water is important for fish to live.
When decorating your cichlid aquarium, keep in mind that you need to recreate the cichlids’ original habitat. Put in some gravel or sand, limestone and flat stones, overturned flower pots, hardy plants, mini caves, and other structures that your cichlids can use to hide. More than just décor, gravel and sand help neutralize the water’s pH level, while flat stones can be used by some cichlids when they are ready to lay eggs.
It is also important that your aquarium has a lid. Cichlids can be quite aggressive, and sometimes when this happens, they accidentally jump out of their aquariums. Safeguard your cichlids by keeping your aquarium covered but leaving enough opening for oxygen and carbon dioxide to be exchanged.
Find a permanent place for your cichlid aquarium. Keep it away from direct sunlight or any heat source, and minimize moving your aquarium. Too much heat can be bad for your cichlids. To keep the water temperature stable in your cichlid aquarium, install a water heater. This will make sure your cichlids are not affected by the changing temperature in your geographical location.
When you have gotten your cichlid aquarium set up, wait at least a day. This will stabilize the water and allow chlorine to evaporate.
After you have set up your cichlid aquarium, here are some precious tips to make sure your cichlids are comfortable and happy and no fighting ensues among them.
- Start your aquarium with one or a small group of fish. It is not a good idea to crowd out your tank because the natural nitrogen cycle takes some time to get up and running in a new aquarium.
- Clean the sides of your cichlid aquarium at least once a month. Soap is not to be used when cleaning because this may leave traces that can be toxic to your cichlids.
- Feed your cichlids just enough. Too much food will make your cichlids sick, plus it can contribute to the deterioration of your aquarium water quality.
- Change your cichlids’ aquarium water regularly. A 25 percent change every week is good enough. Make sure you also clean the filters during this time.
- If you have to mix cichlids with other fish, make sure the ones you put in have the same habitat requirements as your cichlids, or else they will not be able to survive in this new environment.
Remember that setting up a good cichlid aquarium is just one of many ways for you to keep your cichlids happy and healthy. Proper diet, good water quality, and safety are also considerations in prolonging the life of your cichlids. As a newbie, consult with experienced cichlid raisers and pet shop owners or do your research so you know what the proper environment for your cichlids should be.
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