In Search of Perfect Living Conditions IV
More comments on fishes from the Rift Lakes

 
Amphibians
Axolotls
Caecilian Worm
Chaco Toad
Mud Puppies

Newts General
Newts Eastern
Newts Golden

Newts Mandarin
Salamanders
Suriname Toad
Tadpoles
Terrarium I
Terrarium II
USA Toads
Water Dogs
Misc. Toads

Frogs
Bull
Clawed
Dumpy
Dwarf
Fire-Belly
Floating
Green Tree
Leopard
Pac Man
Pipa pipa
Pyxie
Red-Eyed Tree
Tomato
Misc Frogs 
Misc Frogs II
Misc Frogs III
Misc Frogs IV

Misc Frogs V

Animals
Bunnies
Bunnies II 
Chinchillas
Degus
Ferrets
Ferrets by BOB
Gerbils
Ground Squirrels
Guinea Pig
Hamsters I
Hamsters II
Hamsters III
Hamsters IV
Hamsters V
Hedgehogs
Kittens
Kids & Kittens
Mice
Mice Pets II
Parasites
Rats I
Rats II
Rats III
Rats, Hairless
S-T Opossums
Siberian Chipmunks
Sugar Gliders
Sugar Gliders II
Water Bottles

Bugs
Crabby 500
Crab 04 Results
Centipedes
Cray/Lobsters
Crayfish II
Crayfish III
Cray, Yucatan
Fiddler Crabs
Shrimp, Algae
Shrimp, Aqua
Shrimp, Red
Shrimp, Flower

Shrimp, Ghost
Shrimp, Rudolph
Hermit Crabs
Hermit Crabs II
Madagas Roach
Mantids
Mini-Clams
Mini-Crabs
Patriot Crabs
Giant Millipedes
Red Claw Crabs
Reiman Butterfly
Snail, Apple
Snail, Colombian
Snail, Land
Snail, Malaysian

Snail, Mystery
Snail, Trapdoor 
Scorpions
Tarantulas
Tarantulas II
Tarantula Night 2006
TarantulaWeen VII
TarantulaWeen 9
Misc. Bugs
Misc Bugs II  

Birds
Breeding Tips

Button Quail
Canaries

Cockatiels
Dove, Diamond
Dove, Ringneck
Finches
Love Birds
Parakeets
Pelleted Foods
Quaker Parrots

Parrot Pictures
Parrot Pix II

Parrot Pix III
Dave's Parrots


Lizards
Alligators
Anoles
Bearded Dragon

Beardies II
Calotes
Chamel, Jackson
Chamel, Panther
Chamel, Veiled
Crested Geckos
Gecko, Golden

Gecko, House
Gecko, Leopard
Gecko, Tokay
Horned "Toads"
Iguana New
Iguana Dragons
Iguana Q&A I
Iguana Q&A II
Iguana Training
Iguana Update
Cool Iguana Pics
Knight Anoles
Monitors, Nile

Monitors, Savana
Monitors, Water

Salmonella
Skinks
Skinks Blue-Tongue
Tegus
Uromastyx maliensis
Water Dragon
Misc Lizards
Misc Lizards 2
Misc Lizards 3
Misc Lizards 4
Misc Lizards 5

Misc Lizards 6
Misc Lizards 7
Misc Lizards 8
Misc Lizards 9


Snakes
Anacondas
Boa, Rosy

Boa, Red-Tail
Corn Snake
Garter Snake
Green Snake
Kids/Corn Snakes
Kids/Red-Tail Boas

Kids at Pet Expo 1

Kids at Pet Expo 2

Kids at Pet Expo 3

Kids at Pet Expo 4

Kids at Pet Expo 5
King & Milk
Python, Ball
Python, Burmese

Snakes Alive
Snakesgiving
Snakesgiving II

Misc Snake Pix
Misc Snakes II

Misc Snakes III  

Turtles/Tortoises
Box, Asian
Box, USA
Races
Snapping

Sulcata
Water

Western Painted

Live Foods
Blackworms
Blood Worms
Br Shrimp I
Br
Shrimp II
Crayfish 1
Crayfish 2
Crayfish 3 
Crickets
Daphnia
Earthworms
Feeder Goldfish
Fruit Flies
Ghost Shrimp

Glass Worms

Grindal Worms
Infusoria
Mealworms
Microworms
Rosy Reds

Super Worms

Wax Worms
White Clouds

 

Decorating
Bubbles
Driftwood
Gravel
Plastic Plants
Rocks
Slow Growing Plants

Miscellaneous
Bob's Acclimation

How to Start
How to Add New Fish
How to Keep Healthy
Which Fish Get Along?
10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
Under Gravel Filters

Sponge Filters
Cloudy Water

Cool Water Tanks
Gravel Vacuums
Preventing Disease
Feeding to the Max
Frozen Foods
Green Water
Nasty Chemicals
Overfeeding
Power Filters
Rift Lake Salts
Quarantine Tank
Mini-Tank
2nd Av Bait

Pet World Visit
Dandelions

Aquatic Plants
Amazon Swords
More Swords
Sword Plants III

Anubias
Aponogetons
A. boivinianus
A. fenestralis
A. ulvaceous
Aquarium/Bog
Banana Plant
Bolbitis
Bunch
Bunch Plants II
Cryptocorynes
Crystalwort
Dwarf Lily
Grassy
Grassy II
Hornwort
Hygrophila
Lace
Java Lance Fern
Java Moss
Moss Balls
Onion
Vermiculite

Watersprite

 

LA Pic
Tropheops make very reliable breeders.  Some say too reliable.

LA
Red fin kadango (Borleyi)

Africans 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 Florida fish farms – quite a contrast.

LA Pix
Compressiceps make a "different" addition to an African cichlid tank.

 
LA
Each OB compressiceps looks different -- just like snowflakes but easier to check.

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.

LA Pix
If you add coral pieces, they often scratch your fishes.

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.

LA Pic
Cichlid salts enhance adult colors -- not juveniles.

Add Cichlid Salts.  Purists use the Rift Lake salts.  These are by no means mandatory.  However, they usually mean a 10% boost in color and spawning activity in adults.

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.

Adequate:  Feed two or more different types of staple flake foods. Supplement with cichlid pellets.
Better:
  Feed three types of special cichlid flakes.  Supplement with cichlid pellets, wafers, and food sticks.
Best:
  To the previous foods add vegetable-based and spirulina-based foods.  Supplement  with color foods. 
Frozen Treats:  Cichlids love frozen bugs, worms, shrimps, and plankton.  Give the big ones krill and silversides.  They also like nearly any foods designed for saltwater fish.
Live Treats:  They gorge on live shrimp and live California black worms.  They also like mealworms once they learn what’s inside the shell.  Tear a few in half until they figure out how they taste. 
Go Light on Treats.  Consider live and frozen food treats as desserts – not a total diet.  They taste great but lack certain essential nutrients. 
Feed Often.  Frequent small feedings work better than one large meal.

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.

LA Pic
That glowing circle is an "egg" made by Penn Plax.

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.

LA Pic
Who says you can't mix neon tetras with African cichlids?  (For a while.)

Rocks Provide 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.  

LA Pic
Peacocks especially suffer from aggressive tank mates.

LA Pic
As they mature, the ahlis get prettier and prettier.

LA Pic
You can mix some African mormyrids also.  This guy's called a dolphin.

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.

LA Pic
Tilapia on right not a good mixer.

Rocks Provide Food.  In the Rift Lakes, rocks grow algae.  Crustaceans, gastropods, and small fish live in the algae.  Cichlids graze these algae-covered rocks for food.  Their special rasping lips enable them to harvest the algae and other foods on the rocks.  You often see them “chew” at the rocks in your tank. 

LA Pic
We like natural gravels.

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.

LA Pix

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.

LA Pic

LA Pic
Medication in the water makes it hard to see their real colors.

LA Pic
You gotta love peacocks.

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

Harems Work Best.  Males fight.  The more females you have, the better your chances of a spawning.  Large water changes often trigger spawning activity.

LA Pix
Female and male auratus -- some species are sexually dimorphic (different looking).

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.

LA

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.”  

LA Pic

Almost Last Words.  When you look at these lovable but nasty fish biters you can’t help but want them.  

LA Pic
African cichlid condominiums work out well.

LA Pic
African cichlids love these things.

LA Pic
Just so you don't think African cichlids are the meanest kids in the school yard.
  

LA Pic
And you know there's always something new popping up in African cichlids.

LA Pic
Plenty of good looking African cichlids out there.

LA Pic
Even in a plastic cup, this guy looks good.  No idea of I.D.

LA Pic
You can always find an African cichlid you can't name.

LA Pic
And of course, you can't beat the old favorites. 

LA
Hard to beat an electric blue ahli. 
LA.

Go back to AFI

or AFII

or AFIII

© 1980, © 2003, © 2004, © 2005 LA Productions

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

515 283-0300

Home

Fish

Other Stuff

 

Anabantids
Betta Leaf 
Betta Breed 1
Betta Breed II
Betta Info
Betta  Housing
Betta Pla Kat
Choc Gourami
Climbing Perch
Gourami Pix
Kiss. Gourami
Osphronemus
Pearl Gourami
More Pearls
Paradise Fish  
Snakehead
Spawn Gourami
T. trichopterus

Catfish  
Banjo
Bullheads
Bull Sharks
Channel  
Corydoras
Cory Pics
Electric
Glass
Hoplos
Otocinclus
Pangassius
Pictus
Plecostomus
Pleco Bristle
Pleco Costly I
Pleco Costly II
Pleco Costly III
Pleco Costly IV
Pleco Costly V
Pleco Costly VI

Pleco Costly VII
Raphael
Red-Tail
Shovelnose
Sun
Synodontis
Synodontis petricola
Turushuki Catfish
Upside-down
USD Gold Flake
Misc Catfish
Misc Catfish II
Misc Catfish III

Misc Catfish IV
Misc Catfish V

Cichlids
African I
African II
African III
African IV

Af. Furniture
Amer. Small
Amer.  Med 
Amer. Large
Angelfish I
Angelfish II
Angelfish III
Angelfish IV
More Angels
Buttikoferi

Chocolate
Chocolate Spawning
Cichlid Decor
Cichlid Food
Convicts
Convicts 2
Convicts 3
Convicts 4
Dempseys
More Dempseys
Jack Dempsey Spawn
Discus
Dither Fish
Flower Horn
Green Terror
Jaguar
More Jaguars
Jaguar Spawning

Jaguar Spawning II
Jewel Fish
Keo's Flowerhorns
Keo's Flowerhorns II
Kribensis

Odd Couple Spawn
Oscars 1
Oscars 2
Oscars 3
Oscars 4
Oscars 5
More Oscar
More Oscar II
More Oscars III
More Oscars 2007
More Oscars 2007.5
Oscar Spawn
Peacock Bass
Red Devils
More Red Devil

Red Parrots

Red Parrots Spawn
Red Parrot Spawn II
Pikes
Pink Tilapia
Rams
Red Bay Snooks
Red Bay Snook Spawn
Roger Stephen's Cichlids
Severums
More Severums
Severums III

Tanganyikans
Texas Cichlid
Texas Spawning

Texas Spawn II
Uarus
Misc Cichlids I
Misc Cichlids II
Misc Cichlids III
Misc Cichlids IV
Misc Cichlids V
Misc Cichlids VI
Misc Cichlids VII
Misc Cichlids VIII
Misc Cichlids IX

Livebearer  
Guppies
Half-Beak
Mollies
Moons/Platys
Swordtails

Minnows/Tetra 
Barbs
Barbs, Black
Barbs, Gold

Barbs, Rosy
Barbs, Tiger
Barbs, Tinfoil

Danios

Danio Egg Saver
Distochodus
Fathead Minnows
Headstanders
Killies, Econ.
Killies, Golden
Killies, Peat
Killies, Plant
Misc Mini-Fish
Pacús 

Piranha, Black
Piranha, Red
Rainbowfish

Rainbowfish, Dwarf Neon
Rainbowfish, Irian

Silver Dollar
Tetras, Larger
Tetras, Smaller
Tetras, Spawn
Tetra, Vampire
White Clouds

Pond Fish
Carp
Channel Cat
Gold. Comets
Gold. Fantails
More Fantails
Gold. Oriental  
Gold Oriental II 
Gold. Spawn
Kloubec Koi Farm
Koi
Koi II

Koi III
Oranda Spawn
Plecostomus
Shubunkins

Oddballs  
Af. Butterfly
Af. Lungfish
Af. Mudskippr
American Eel
Archer Fish

Arowana
Bichirs
Borneo Suckers
Brackish I
Brackish II
Brackish III
Brackish IV
Brackish V
Michael Troung's Pix
Butterfly/Wasp
Chameleon Fish
Chromides

Chin Alg Eater
Crazy Fish
Crocodile Fish

Datnioides

Dojo
Dwarf Puffers
Electric Cat
Electric Eels

Elephant Nose
Exodon paradoxus
Flounder
Gars
 
Glassfish
Goby Bumble
Goby Butterfly
Goby Dragon
Goby Misc.
Half-Beak
Knife African
Knife Clown
Knife Ghost
Loach Botias
Loach Clown
Loach Kuhli
Loach Weather

Longear Sunfish
Moray Eel  
Peacock Gudgeons
Polypterids
Puffers

Ropefish
Scats
Siam Algae Eater
 
Spiny Eels 
Snakehead
Stingray
Stonefish
Wasp Fish
Wolffish
Wrest Half-Beak
Misc Mini-Fishes
Misc Odd
Misc Odd II
Misc Odd III
Misc Odd  IV

Misc Odd V
Misc Odd VI

Sharks  
Bala
Black
Bull
Chinese Hi-Fin Banded
Iridescent
Red-Tail
Siam Algae Eater

Pond Info 
Blank Park Zoo
Bob Humphrey's Ponds
Cattails
Maffett Reservoir
DMACC's Pond
D.M. Botanical Center
D.M. Water Works
Dr. Ervanian's Garden
Duckweed

Dwarf Lily
Ewing Park "Pond"
Jan & Chris's Water Garden
John McDonald's Pond
Hall's Four Acres
Klines' Water Garden
Landscaper Effects
Mini-Pond Pics
Pioneer Corn's Pond
Pond Fish Predators
Pond on 38th Street 
Pond Pics
Pond Plants
More Pond Plants
Pond Plants III
Reiman Ponds
River Scenes
Riverview Island
Selin's Water Gardens
Selin's Japanese Garden
Tom's Used Cars Pond
Urbandale Duck Pond
Water Hyacinth
Water Lettuce
Wild Ponds