Care for African cichlids by providing optimal water conditions, creating a good swimming environment, feeding them properly and ensuring a clean tank. Because cichlids are territorial fish, they do well in large groups and with other fish of a similar nature.
- Provide optimal water conditions
African cichlids prefer warm water at a temperature of 74 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH should range from 8.2 to 8.4 but must not drop below 7.0. Test the water frequently to ensure the pH is appropriate.
- Create an ideal environment
Give these fish a good deal of room to swim. For a small school of cichlids, a 55-gallon tank is required. For larger schools or if other fish are also present, tanks can be as large as 155 gallons. Cichlids like to hide, so give them plant cover, rocks and caves to explore and seek shelter in. Place these items along the back and sides of the aquarium to allow the fish ample swimming room.
- Feed the fish properly
African cichlids must be fed daily. Two to three times a day, provide as much food as the school eats in 30 minutes. While they require flake fish food, they also need supplemental food to ensure they stay healthy and develop proper scale color. Add thawed blood worms and brine shrimp to their daily meals.
- Keep the tank clean
Check the tank filter daily, and clean if needed. Once a week, check for algae on the sides of the tank, and remove if necessary. Depending on the aquarium and needs of the fish, change between 10 and 25 percent of the water in the tank weekly or biweekly. Change filters as needed.