We have been establishing our tank for a couple weeks now. Water is perfect and ready for fish. We got the fish tonight and I have to say, I don't know why I never owned cichlids before.
Basic Tank Set up
- Crushed Coral as the substrate (this increases the hardness in the water, raises the pH to 8.2 ((safe for cichlids)), and naturally balances nitrates, nitrites, alkalinity, ammonia, and chlorine.
- Lots of rock structures with holes for hiding and territorial balance. Cichlids are territorial and aggressive, they need places to hide and call their own. Lace rock is perfect for this.
- Heater- temp needs to be 72-82. Our tank is at 78, which is ideal in disease prevention.
- Salt- NO cichlids are not salt water fish, but salt is a natural defense system, especially for cichlids. It will help prevent ick, fungus, and other parasites and gill disorders.
INTRODUCING NEW FISH
- Only introduce a few fish at a time (3-5) for a large tank. There will be a spike in ammonia when introducing new fish, and too many fish= too much ammonia, which can be fatal to your fish and your tanks ecosystem.
- Don't overcrowd, for tropical fish, think 1 inch of full grown fish per gallon. (ie. most african cichlids can get up to 4.5" so for our 55 gallon tank, we wouldn't want more than 10 or 11 fish)
- When introducing fish, float them in the bag in your tank for 30 minutes to get them acclimated to the temp of the water, then let a little water from your tank into the bag, then you can set them free!
- Watch your fish closely for any signs of illness or stress.
- Especially for cichlids, they need to be about the same size. Don't get a 4.5 inch cichlid with a 1 inch cichlid.
We introduced 4 fish to our tank tonight. 4 assorted baby cichlids.
- Red Zebra
- Electric Yellow
- Blue Frost
Can't wait for them to grow up and to introduce some more fish!