In ichthyology, this family includes over a thousand species, but not all of them are contained in the aquarium. Many for their maintenance require the presence of a large aquarium and the creation of certain temperature parameters in it (for example, discus). Therefore, before purchasing any cichlids, do not be too lazy to find out all the information about the required conditions of detention.
Most species are large, the body is compressed laterally and elongated in length or height (scalar). The eyes of the fish are large, the color depends on the particular species, but is usually bright, especially during spawning or protection of the territory. Males are usually larger than females; in some species of males, a fat growth on the forehead is distinguished.
Almost all species contained in the aquarium are predators, for this reason they are difficult to keep with other species.
The homeland of most cichlids is the lakes and rivers of Africa and South America, some of which live in Asia. All members of the family are thermophilic and do not like sharp temperature jumps.
Cichlid Family (Cichl>
CYCLIDES - the most unpretentious aquarium fish
CYCLIDES - the most unpretentious aquarium fish
About 200 species of cichlids are distributed in the waters of Central Africa, many of them in the tropics of Central and South America, two species in Southeast Asia.
CYCLIDES - the most unpretentious aquarium fish
Description of Cichlids
Most cichlids have a rather high body, flattened laterally, one dorsal fin, bright color. The head with respect to body size is large, which is especially striking in adult males, as with age, a fat pillow forms in their forehead. The mouth is large, usually surrounded by swollen lips. The dorsal and anal fins consist of anterior hard and posterior soft rays. They are elongated in males, as a rule, more than in females.
Under natural conditions, fish live in stagnant or slowly flowing water bodies; some species are found even in brackish water. For the most part, they stay alone at a certain place in the shelter and drive away all other fish, sometimes even attacking rather large predators. The vast majority of them are predators that eat small fish, but they also eat insects and their larvae. Some species eat plant or mixed foods.
Unusual habits of cichlids
, excellent coloring and original form serve as a sufficient basis for their popularity among aquarists. However, a number of difficulties impede their spread, first of all, aggressiveness towards representatives of their own, as well as other species. To some extent, their behavior can be corrected by co-education. Regarding the composition of water, most of them are unpretentious, but many do not tolerate fresh water. Feeding cichlids in most cases is not difficult: live food of any kind, periodically replaced if possible, dry food, horsemeat and veal, herbivorous species - lettuce, algae, oatmeal, crushed into flour.
can be divided into two groups. Most large species are easy to maintain and breed. These include cichlomas, cancers, scalars. Relatively small species of cichlids are much more difficult to contain, and the cultivation of some of them is a problem even for experienced aquarists.
The easiest way to contain cancer and cichlase (biocell, striped and meek), a few more whimsical, but especially popular scalars. Small cichlids (apistograms, pelmatochromis and nannakar) should be started only after acquiring the appropriate experience.
contained in aquariums are relatively large in size, often with excellent color or original body shape. These fish are slower and grander than other aquarium inhabitants. They usually stay in the lower or middle layers of water, often preferring shelter from stones, roots or dense thickets of plants. They have a peculiar manner of swimming. Many fish have a pronounced individuality in behavior. Some people react quite strongly to the phenomena occurring behind the glass walls of the aquarium, and the "cichlids" even assure that the fish distinguish their owner from outsiders. Handsome chromies are often especially fond of their owners, although often due to excessive aggressiveness they have to keep one fish in the aquarium.
To a greater or lesser degree, many large cichlids are aggressive, a pleasant exception in this regard are the cichlomas of meek, acara, and especially scalar. Aggressiveness of cichlids can be reduced by co-education with other species, as well as when kept with larger fish.
for their maintenance, as a rule, they need relatively large aquariums, some are content with 1.5-2-bucket. Many of them pull plants out of the ground, so sometimes you should plant (in pots with soil and stones) only plants with a strong root system and strong leaves, such as broadleaf sagittaria, echinodorus, and the like.
With regard to the composition of water, most large cichlids are unpretentious, but they prefer "old", long irremovable water, and many can not stand fresh water at all. Among them there are both thermophilic forms and species that can withstand the content in an unheated aquarium, and cichlazoma biocelet tolerates a drop in water temperature to 10 ° and even lower. Feeding cichlids is not difficult, they eat any live food of the right size.
When kept in aquariums, small species of cichlids (pelmatochromis, nannakara, apistogram) are of particular interest.
For the content of small cichlids
You can use small aquariums, from 1 to 2 buckets in volume. Most of them are peaceful, they can be placed with any other species of fish, as long as the conditions of detention are suitable. For small cichlids, you need "old" soft, slightly acidic water. A “rainforest aquarium” is suitable for them. Fish look especially impressive and fully display the peculiarities of their behavior when kept together with other small cichlids.
When breeding cichlids, it is often very difficult to train manufacturers to each other. First, they should be placed in an aquarium, divided by glass, after a day the glass can be removed and observe the behavior of fish, and then again fenced off. After several such attempts, the glass can be removed completely or replaced by one of the manufacturers (preferably a female). But even with these precautions, female killings are not uncommon.
Peace-loving species (scalars) do otherwise. Usually, from a young age, they jointly contain 6-10, but not less than six fish, while some of the smallest (not “drawn out”) fish and part of the largest fish aged one to two months are selected. Such selection gives a fairly definite guarantee in a more or less equal sex ratio. Having reached puberty, the fish choose a partner for themselves and in the future all the time stick together. In small cichlids, pairing is much easier. In addition to scalars, Akars, some tilapias, haplochromis, etc. are distinguished by their peacefulness. Selected pairs of most cichlids easily breed and bring large offspring. It is very difficult even for an experienced aquarist to achieve breeding of discus and some apistograms.
Readiness indicator for cichlids
- the appearance of an anal tubercle 2-3 mm high. In the female, it looks like a truncated cone, and in the male it is pointed.Different cichlids spawn on different substrates: one needs large stones, the other needs a wide leaf of the plant, others need a cave or flower pot, a number of cichlids dig a flat ditch and, finally, there are species that incubate caviar in the mouth. During spawning, fish acquire a particularly spectacular color, become aggressive, their behavior during this period is most interesting.
Eggs are put off
(3-8 pieces for each spawning) and are immediately fertilized by the male. The size and number of eggs is different: in small cichlids and species that incubate eggs in the mouth, fertility is usually not more than 100 eggs, in others - much more. In most species, parents take care of eggs and fry; in apistograms, with the exception of Ramirez's apistogram, only the female takes care of the offspring.
After 2–4 days, larvae usually emerge from the eggs in cichlids. At first, they stay in the place where they hatched, parents create a stream of water for them with fins. Soon, the fry begin to swim, and the parents collect them into a flock, the behavior of which is regulated by the postures of the parents, to the point that in response to a certain movement of the mother, all the fry freeze and become almost invisible. Nauplii, rotifers, nematodes, and rubbed enchitreuses serve as food for fry. In some fish species, producers grind large feed in their mouths and discard it to feed fry.
Sometimes one of the producers takes poor care of the eggs or offspring, in which case it must be separated by glass, but left in the partner's field of vision, which, apparently, has a calming effect on it. Often the first clutch of eggs is devoured by the parents, but in the future, care becomes normal. If manufacturers are disturbed, this can lead to their devouring caviar.
For manufacturers that destroy offspring, the substrate with caviar should be placed in a glass jar, and underneath it - a spray that gives a stream of tiny air bubbles. At the same time, aquarists receive much more fry, but lose sight of the interesting behavior of the fish. Juvenile cichlids are growing rapidly. At first, the fish are kept in a flock and are peaceful in relation to each other, then the flock disperses, and in many species cannibalism begins, sometimes leading to the fact that one of the most powerful specimens is preserved from all offspring. To avoid this, the growing fry should be sorted periodically, selecting groups of fish that are suitable for each other in size. The dense sheltering thickets and abundant feeding reduce juvenile waste.
Genus Akara (Aequidens)
Fish are common in South America. Aquariums usually contain 7-9 species of this genus. Representatives of the genus are characterized by a relatively high, laterally compressed body, large head, and a strongly convex forehead. Their eyes are relatively large. Dorsal and anal fins strongly elongated. The conditions for keeping and breeding are the same as for the whole family.
Blue-Spotted Acara (Aequidens latifrons Steindachner)
. Bluish-spotted acars live in the stagnant or slowly flowing waters of Panama and Colombia.
They were brought to Europe in 1906. In Russia, they were bred in 1910. Fish reach 15 cm in length, and 6-8 cm in aquariums.
The grayish-brown body of the acar with several dark transverse, oblong spots is covered with large shiny golden green scales, each of them has a vertical brownish stroke in front and a bright golden green dot behind it. One or two dark spots are located in the middle of the body, the head and gill covers are covered with a beautiful pattern, consisting of bright stripes and dots of bluish color.
Iris eye is gray pink. On a dark bluish dorsal fin there are rows of golden green spots, it is bordered on top by the male pink, and the female almost white rim. The general view of the color of the fish in reflected light is very / attractive.
The body of young moving fish
transversely streaked with alternating golden and dark gray stripes, in the middle of the body there are a pair of dark spots, here are several rows of small golden dots.
The conditions for keeping and breeding are the same as for the whole family. The optimum water temperature at a content of 23-25 °, minimum 16 °. In the aquarium, periodically replace up to 1/3 of the volume of the hearth.
Bluish-spotted Akars are relatively peaceful, so they can be kept in an aquarium with ’other fish. In the spawning ground, the water temperature is 26–28 ° C, the nest is arranged near plants.
Curviceps (Aequidens curviceps E. Ahl.)
. The homeland of this fish is the Amazon. They were brought to Europe for the first time in 1911, they were brought to us repeatedly, for the last time in 1965. Fishes reach 8 cm in length, usually 6-7 cm, the female is smaller (5 cm).
Kurviceps is one of the attractive cichlids. The shape of the body resembles the previous view, but their forehead is much more convex. The dorsal and anal fins of the male are elongated. The main color of the fish is yellowish-green, sometimes greenish-brown with a silvery-greenish-bluish sheen, in the middle of the body there is a large dark spot. Blue spots are located on the greenish-yellow dorsal, caudal, and anal fins. The ventral fins are blue.
Conditions for keeping and feeding
the same as for other cichlids. The optimum water temperature for them is 23-25 °.
It is better to breed these fish in all-glass vessels, in can and in frame ones. Water hardness does not matter much (up to 13 °), but fish prefer a slightly acid reaction of it (pH 6.5–6.8). The water temperature during spawning is 26–28 °. Fish lay eggs on a stone or on broad leaves of plants (echinodorus). Larvae hatch (at a temperature of 27 °) after 2.5 days. The male carries the juvenile by mouth into a relatively large pit dug by him. The female remains at the stone, where hatching of juveniles continues. On the 7th day, the fry begin to swim and eat “dust” and even egg yolk.
A case is described when producers, caring for young, on the fifth day after their transition to self-nutrition, secondarily spawned.
Fish are common in South America. In aquariums, they usually contain the species N. anomala described below, and much less commonly, N. taenia. Translated into Russian, Nannakara is a small Akara.
Representatives of the genus are characterized by a rather strongly elongated oval body, moderately compressed laterally. The dorsal fin begins at the level of the posterior edge of the gill cover. A sharp difference in the color of males and females is characteristic, especially well pronounced during the mating season. Fish are aggressive. With regard to the composition of water, they are undemanding, prefer a relatively high temperature. As a rule, they eat only live food.
Nannacara anomala Regan
. Fish live in river channels and in small reservoirs of Guiana. They were brought to Europe in 1934, to the USSR in 1957. Males reach 7 cm in length, females are usually much smaller (up to 3 cm).
The body shape is the same as described for all representatives of the genus. The color of the male is bronze-green with dark brown spots. Blue spots and strokes are located on the gill covers. The caudal, anal and dorsal fins are blue-green, the latter is relatively high, it has a white rim and a red edging. The pectoral fins are transparent, the ventral fins are yellow-green. The main color of the female is yellowish. Two dark stripes intersecting the spots stretch along the body. Coloring of fish during spawning period becomes brighter. Nannakars are very aggressive, especially females during the spawning period. When kept together with fish of other species, they literally terrorize other aquarium inhabitants, including large cichlids.
The best conditions can be created for Nannakar in a separate aquarium (2-3 bucket can). Shelters from dense thickets of plants, stones and flower pots are desirable for them. With regard to the composition of the water, the fish are unpretentious; they prefer a relatively high temperature (optimal 24–25 °, minimum 20 °). Favorite food - mosquito larvae: bloodworms, coronet, eagerly eat earthworms.
For breeding, an aquarium equipped similarly as described above is suitable.Usually, fish willingly spawn in a flower pot, laid to one side, after the end of spawning, the females vigorously pursue the male, which should be immediately planted. Larvae hatch on the third day. The female takes care of them usually for seven days. On the fifth day, the larvae turn into fry, begin to swim and feed on the smallest “dust”.
Genus Apistogramma (Apistogramma)
Fish are common in the narrow channels of the upper reaches of the rivers of South America. The soil in their habitats is soft. Aquariums contain about 10 species of this genus. Water temperature at a content of 23-25 °. The food should be given lively, whenever possible periodically changing its types. Apistograms are very sensitive to various poisons and drugs. Their breeding is relatively difficult, it is carried out under the conditions described for the entire family, as well as for the apytogram of Ramirez, so far only 5 species have been bred.
In addition to the described species, the USSR has A. agassizi Steindachner.
Apistogramma Ramirezi (Harry Apistogramma ramirezi).
Fish live in tributaries of the rivers Any and Meta in Venezuela. This is one of the most beautiful small cichlids (5 cm). They were brought to Europe in 1948, to the USSR in 1954 (propagated in 1957).
Fish have a higher body than other representatives of the genus, strongly compressed from the sides, the head is relatively small, the dorsal fin is relatively high. The color of these fish is exceptionally gentle and pleasant. The main background of the body is yellow, in reflected light casting a brilliant violet and green color. Above the ventral fin there is a vertical dark spot of an oval shape. On the head across the eyes is a vertical dark stripe. On the yellow caudal and dorsal fins, small bright greenish dots are scattered. The pectoral fins are colorless. The anterior rays of the dorsal fin are separated from the rest and greatly enlarged. Rows of blue spots are located on the sides of the body and on the fins. Males are somewhat larger than females; in the latter, the abdomen is of a lilac-raspberry color.
Keeping fish is carried out under the conditions described for the whole family. Water temperature 22-24 °. A natural, fairly bright aquarium lighting is recommended. Any live food of small sizes is used.
Water temperature during the breeding season
25-30 °. Water is desirable very slightly acidic (pH 6.5-7.0), very soft (2-4 °), which has stood with plants for some time. Parents take part in caring for caviar and fry, however, very often there are cases of eating caviar.
Some authors recommend to breed Ramirez apistograms at a water temperature of 29 °, then plant manufacturers, raise the temperature to 36 °. At the same time, the larvae hatch so quickly that the eggs do not have time to become moldy. Next, you need to very slowly lower the water temperature to 24 °.
Apistogramma Reitzig (Apistogramma reitzigi E. Ahl.)
. Fish are found in the central part of the river basin. Paraguay. They were brought to Europe in 1936, to the USSR in 1956. Males reach 8 cm in length, females - 4 cm.
By the structure of the body, they are similar to the previous view. The dorsal fin of the male is significantly higher than that of the female. Large scales. The color of males is bluish with a shiny yellow front of the head and abdomen. Blue sparkles are scattered across their bodies. Females are colored darker; by the time of spawning, they become yellow.
Contain fish in the same conditions as Ramirez apistograms. Breeding them is much easier. The female takes care of the offspring, the male is removed after spawning.
Genus of cichlasoma (Cichlasoma)
This genus combines a large number of species of Central and South America. Aquariums currently contain over 20 species, many of them are also with us. The fish are characterized by an elongated oval body, a relatively large head and eyes. The dorsal and anal fins in males are elongated and pointed. Almost all species are aggressive, they have to be kept separately (this applies to representatives of their species). They need large enough aquariums.Otherwise, the conditions of keeping, feeding and breeding are the same as for the entire family of cichlids. The chemical composition of water usually does not matter.
In addition to the described species in the USSR, there is C. cyanoguttatum.
Cichlid fish belong to the Cichlidae family. Males are usually brighter and larger than females; they have highly developed fins and a greasy pillow on their heads. Caviar is laid on a substrate (pot, tube, stone) or incubated in the mouth. In the first case, the fry swim after 5-10 days, in the second after 14-40 days. Territorial, omnivorous fish.
Cichlasoma biocellatum (Cichlasoma biocellatum Regan).
Fish live in the Amazon and Rio Negro river basins. Males reach 20 cm, females are smaller, usually not more than 8-10 cm in aquariums. They were brought to Europe in 1904, and to the USSR again in 1958 (bred in 1959).
The body color of the fish is dark blue, almost black with bluish-green shiny dots on each flake, gill covers and fins. The coloration of the female is less bright. As with other cichlids, the dorsal and anal fins of the male are longer, the forehead is more massive than that of the female.
The keeping and breeding of fish is carried out under the conditions described for the whole family. The optimum water temperature is 22-24 °, the minimum 10-12 °, during the breeding season 25-28 °. The female tosses up to 1,500-2,000 eggs. The fish are unpretentious, with the joint education they can live with other large fish, but with representatives of their species it is difficult to maintain them because of aggressiveness.
Mesonauts (Cichlasoma festivum Heckel)
. Mesonauts are widespread in the Amazon and Paraguay basins, as well as in the Guiana rivers. They were brought to Western Europe in 1911. In Russia they were introduced in 1913. They were bred again in the USSR in 1958. The mesonauts reach 15 cm in length, in aquariums they are usually smaller, females are smaller than males.
The body of this fish, strongly compressed laterally, from the pointed snout expands to the tail. The angle thus formed ends with the dorsal and anal fins extending beyond the caudal fin. In the upper part of the body, from the mouth to the end of the dorsal fin, a wide black stripe passes, as if dividing the fish into two unequal parts. At the base of the caudal fin there is a dark spot with a yellow border. Depending on the living conditions and condition of the fish, the brownish-olive color changes to silver with blackish-yellow spots. Young mesonauts are grayish-yellow in color with a pronounced dark oblique line and a spot in the upper part of the base of the caudal fin. Periodically, they become paler.
The conditions for keeping, feeding and breeding are common with other large cichlids. Extra nutrition with plant foods is needed. The first offspring in the USSR was obtained in a 300-liter aquarium with very soft peat water at a temperature of 30–32 °.
Spawning was carried out on a flower pot. Producers took care of the offspring. The larvae hatched after three days and were transferred to a pre-prepared hole. At the age of seven days, the fry began to eat the smallest “dust”. Care of the fry continued for several days, while the female kept at the head of the flock, and the male closed it. By evening, the parents drove the fry into a pot and guarded them.
Cichlasoma meeki Brind
. These cichlomas are found in the ponds of Guatemala and southern Mexico. Into Europe were brought in 1937, in the USSR they were first imported and divorced in 1958.
The body structure of this cichlasoma is basically the same as that of other representatives of the genus, but the back line is curved much more than the abdomen. Body color is bluish-gray with a violet glow. The front of the body is red below. The coloration of the female is less bright.
Maintenance and breeding are carried out under the conditions described for the family. These are peace-loving fish suitable for keeping in a common aquarium. The optimum water temperature at a content of 22-24 °, for breeding 24-26 °.
Cichlasoma black-banded (Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum Gunther)
. Black-banded cichlomas are common in the lakes of Guatemala - Atitlan and Amatitlan (see color. Table XIV).They reach 10 cm in length, usually 8 cm. They were first brought to Europe in 1939, and to the USSR in 1959 (divorced in 1960).
The structure of the body and fins is the same as that of other representatives of the genus. On a gray background, 8-9 dark transverse stripes are located on the body. The fins are greenish.
The conditions for keeping and breeding are the same as for other cichlases. The optimum water temperature is 24–26 °, the minimum is 15 °. When feeding, it is recommended to add plant foods. Breeding black-striped cichlases is not difficult.
Genus pterophyllum (Pterophyllum)
Three species of fish belonging to this genus are known. All of them are common in the stagnant and slowly flowing waters of the channels and bays of rivers in northern South America. Under natural conditions, they usually hold in groups of 10-15 specimens.
Aquariums contain hybrids of two types: P. scalare Lichtenstein and P. eimekei Ahl., Usually called scalars or pterophyllums. These species that have not undergone hybridization are clearly distinguishable both in size (P. scalare reach 15 cm in length and 26 cm in height, P. eimekei reach 12 and 23 cm, respectively), color, and a number of other characters. The third species P. altum Pellegrin, common in Orinoco, is rarely found in aquariums.
The body structure, conditions of keeping, feeding and breeding are the same for all three species and their hybrids.
Since scalars were bred as a result of hybridization of fish of two species, they do not have a specific Latin name. R. scalare was first brought to Europe in 1909, R. eimekei - in 1924. Apparently, R. scalare (in 1928), and hybrids for the second time (1948), were first bred for us. These are the most popular and most widespread fish from the cichlid family.
Due to the very elongated dorsal and anal fins, the almost rounded body takes on a crescent-like shape. The ventral fins are stretched into threads. Black transverse stripes pass along the light silver background, changing the color intensity depending on the state of the fish and the conditions of keeping. Iris eyes are bright red. An exceptionally interesting manner of swimming, unpretentiousness and the possibility of keeping with any peace-loving fish, caring for offspring - this is not a complete list of the advantages of these fish.
The conditions for keeping scalars are basically the same as for other large cichlids. The volume of the aquarium is about 40-50 l (the most suitable aquarium screens are 40-60 cm high.> The optimum water temperature is 22-26 °, minimum 18 ° (preferably not lower than 20 °), maximum (for fish disease) 33 °.
It is interesting to note that scalars sometimes for no apparent reason stop eating for 1-2 weeks.
When diluted, the water temperature is usually 28-30 °, but 24 ° is possible. When diluting scalars, as well as during maintenance, the chemical composition of water does not play a significant role, fresh tap water (hardness up to 10-12 °), which has settled for 24 hours, is suitable. The main problem with breeding angelfish is the selection of producers. It is best to provide the selection to the fish themselves. With a combined content of 6-10 fish, they are divided into pairs, which should be further placed in this combination for spawning. The danger of mixing pairs is excluded, since fish indicate their partner by their behavior. Experienced aquarists can easily distinguish the sex of fully formed fish by the more convex forehead and wide body of the male
As a substrate for spawning, Amazonian bushes, cryptocoryns, or leaves of an aspidistra houseplant are used. Recently, green organic glass, made in the form of a sheet or plate, has been used. If the aquarist takes care of the offspring and subsequently transfers the substrate with caviar to a glass jar, then one leaf of the plant is enough. If the offspring will be looked after by the producers, then it is necessary to place two sheets located in different parts of the aquarium, as the fish transfer the hatched larvae from one place to another.In this case, the leaves should be arranged so that the distance from their top to the surface of the water is about 3/4 of the height of the scalar body.
A few days before spawning, the fish clean the surface of the leaf with their mouths from dirt. At this time, their anal tubercles swell. During spawning, an average of 400-500 eggs are discarded, in some cases up to 1000. Light on eggs and fry does not have a harmful effect. When breeding scalars, additional air blowing is required. After about two days, larvae hatch from the laid eggs, and soon the parents transfer them to another leaf. On the seventh day, the larvae turn into fry, begin to swim and feed. It is best to use Cyclops nauplii and Daphnia juveniles as food, in winter fry, the first days can be fed with washed nematodes. The fry grow very quickly and after 4-5 days they switch to feeding on small crustaceans. In the first period of feeding, it is necessary to regularly 1-2 times a day clean the bottom of the remnants of food and excrement.
In recent years, several new forms of scalars have been developed - veil, smoky, black, black veil. The appearance of reddish individuals in the future, as well as specimens with a silver color, gives reason to hope for the breeding of new forms of these remarkable fish.
Genus Symphysodon (Symphysodon)
There are currently two species of this genus. The most famous of them is S. discus, the second species, S. equifasciatus, is no less interesting. Three subspecies belong to this species: green discus - S. e. equifasciatus, blue discus — S. e. garoldi and tan - S. e. axelrodi. All of them were brought from Brazil. The conditions of keeping, feeding and breeding them are very similar.
Discus (Symphysodon discus Heckel).
Discuses are found in the ducts of the middle part of the Amazon basin, in places with dense thickets of plants and shelters from stones and blockages from sunken trees. This is one of the most beautiful and at the same time difficult to maintain, feed and breed fish. They were brought to Europe in 1921. Distribution among aquarists discus received only in recent years. They were bred (in the German Democratic Republic) by O. Wagner in 1956. They were first brought to the USSR in 1957 (fish soon died). In 1962, they were brought to us a second time.
The body of the discus is almost round, strongly flattened laterally, disc-shaped. Length up to 20 cm. On the brownish background of the tol there are 9 dark brown transverse stripes. On the head and front of the back, as well as on the fins, there are beautiful bluish-green shiny bands and spots. Especially spectacular fish in the reflected suite. Females are less brightly colored; their color is more yellowish.
During the breeding season, the fish becomes well pronounced anal tubercle, in the female it has the shape of a pin, in the male - the cone.
Very large, usually elongated aquariums with a volume of about 400 l, in some cases 800 l, are used for keeping and breeding discus. A prerequisite for the manufacture of an aquarium for these fish is the need to coat the metal and putty with epoxy resin, red or graphite paint. Water when containing discus should not be hard (according to various authors, from 2-3 to 8 °), very slightly acidic (pH 6.5-6.8), peat. Its temperature is 27–29 ° C; water is usually periodically replaced from 1/8 to 1/4 of the total volume. It is recommended to install filters.
The soil in the aquarium is best to have soft with a large admixture of well-digested peat. It is very important that there are dense thickets of plants in the aquarium. The most suitable plants are various species of echinodorus and cryptocoryne. It is advisable to have a certain number of plants on the surface of the water.
As food for fish, they use tubuloids, bloodworms, Enkhitreusov, daphnia and cyclops.
Discuses multiply in the same aquarium where they are kept. Dilution conditions are similar to conditions. The female throws up to 300 eggs on a wide leaf of echinodorus.The larvae hatch after two days and remain hanging on the leaves, being attached to them with thin threads. Producers create a flow of water around the eggs and larvae using fins. After 2.5 days, the young swim away from the leaf and attach with sticky threads to the head, sides and fins of the parents (most to the female, smaller to the male). From this time, juveniles need to be fed with the smallest nauplii of cyclops. Producers should be fed during spawning, if possible without disturbing them. When breeding discus, endurance and patience are required.
Genus Astronotus (Astronotus) / h2
Fish of this genus are characterized by a laterally compressed body, a large head and large eyes.
In aquariums, the genus is represented by a single species.
(Astronotus ocellatus Cuviesr). Fish are found in the Amazon, Rio Negro, Paraguay, Parana. They were brought to Europe in 1934, and to the USSR in 1957. Along with discus, the astronotus is one of the largest fish kept and bred in amateur aquariums. Under natural conditions, they reach 33 cm, usually 20-25 cm.
Their body is ellipsoidal in shape, rather strongly compressed laterally. The dorsal fin consists of two fused frequent, the front lower with hard movable rays and the rear higher with soft rays. Against the background of a bluish-gray general body color, more or less bright wide yellow stripes and spots are located. The male is brighter than the female, in the upper part of the base of the caudal fin he has a bright spot on a yellow background (in the female it is more pronounced).
The fish are very timid, just a little more ”to let a stream of air during aeration so that they hide in the corners of the aquarium. When lowering the net or even hands in the aquarium, the astronotuses immediately lie on their side, apparently, due to their peculiar color in the natural environment, the fish become invisible to enemies. With courtship, their usual slowness is replaced by sharp energetic movements.
The conditions of detention are the same as for other cichlids. The optimum water temperature is 22-25 °, the minimum 16 °.
Astronotuses are usually fed with earthworms, as well as medium-sized fish (guppies, swordsmen, tops, carp). Breeding is carried out in large aquariums (over 250 l) at a water temperature of 26–28 °. Coarse gravel is used as soil, and large stones serve as a substrate for spawning. The juveniles are hatched on the sixth day and stay on the surface of the parents' body, where for some time, like discus, it feeds on skin secretions and epidermis, and then. begins to eat "dust". It is interesting to note that fish become capable of breeding with sizes of 10-12 cm and retain this ability until at least 15 years of age.
Etroplus (Etroplus maculatus Bloch)
. Fish are common in fresh and brackish waters of the coastal zone of India and Ceylon. They reach 8 cm. Etropluses were first brought to Europe in 1905, to the USSR in 1959 (divorced in 1960).
The high body of etroplus is strongly compressed laterally. The main color is olive-golden. Three spots are located on the sides, of which the larger one is located almost in the middle of the body and two smaller ones are behind it. The dorsal and anal fins of these fish are relatively low, long, with a red rim in the male and blue in the female. The ventral fins are black, with a red border running along the outer edge on the caudal fin. During the breeding season, the color of the male is brighter, but a marble pattern appears to his body.
The conditions for keeping, feeding and breeding are the same as for other cichlids. Etroplus should be fed with plant foods, especially hygrophilen. Fish are sensitive to water changes, you need to add a little table salt to it (1-2 teaspoons per 10 liters). In an aquarium with etropoles, cryptocorynes are best used. The optimum water temperature at a content of 22-24 °, minimum 20 °, during the breeding season 25-30 °.
Year Hemichromis (Hemichromis)
This species includes two species of cichlids distributed in the waters of North, Central and West Africa.Aquariums usually contain only handsome chromis. Representatives of the genus are characterized by a rather elongated body, long dorsal and ventral (especially in the male) fins. Chemichromis are predators, and so aggressive that it is almost impossible to keep them not only with representatives of others, but also of their species.
Chromis handsome (Hemichromis bimaculatus gill). Fish are widespread in the waters of Africa. They were first brought to Europe in 1907, in Russia they were still in pre-revolutionary times. Due to its wide distribution area, this species has many local forms. Fish contained in the USSR have no spots on the body. Under natural conditions, chromis reaches 27 cm in length and 12 cm in aquariums. Usually, seven-centimeter fish are already able to breed.
The body is more elongated than most other cichlids, the low dorsal (pointed in males) and ventral fins are very elongated. Fish are especially effective during spawning. Their general coloration during this period is bright red with luminous blue-green dots scattered throughout the body, head, dorsal, anal and caudal fins.
The conditions for keeping, feeding and breeding are the same as for other cichlids. Adult chromis is almost impossible to keep with other fish. Great difficulties arise when producers are placed in the spawning grounds. The growing youth is engaged in cannibalism. Despite this, many aquarists contain handsome chromis due to their beauty and interesting behavior.
Striped chromis (Hemichromis fasciatus Peters). The birthplace of striped chromis is the tropical part of West Africa. Fish were first brought to Europe in 1905, in the USSR in 1961. In natural reservoirs, these fish reach 30 cm in length, and usually 12-15 cm in aquariums.
By the structure of the body, striped chromis resemble the previous view. Like the latter, they are distinguished by excellent coloring. The back is olive-greenish, alternating stripes of blood-red and shiny bluish-green stretch across the body from the gill covers to the base of the caudal fin. Four large spots are located on the body, the first under the dorsal fin, the last at the end of the caudal stem. Across the body pass periodically disappearing dark stripes. Iris eye is yellow. On the gill cover there are two scarlet spots and a third shiny, golden green between them. The fins are grayish translucent. The conditions for keeping, feeding and breeding are the same as for other cichlids. Striped chromis are even more aggressive than handsome chromis.
Genus Pelmatochromis (Pelmatochromis)
This genus includes 7 species of African fish contained in aquariums. Their body is more or less elongated in length. Some of the fish incubate caviar in the mouth, while others - in caves.
Pelmatochromis kribenzis (Pelmatochromis kribensis Boulenger). Pelmatochromis kribenzis is found in the tropics of West Africa. Fish were first brought to Europe in 1951, to the USSR in 1958-1959. Males reach 9 cm in length, females - 7 cm.
As a rule, the overall body color of the male is tan or brown with a blue or purple hue. On the side near the anal fin is a purple spot. The dorsal fin is gray with a silver edging along the upper edge; some individuals have a dark spot on it. The lower part of the diamond-shaped caudal fin is gray, the upper part is pink, sometimes with dark spots. The pectoral fins are transparent, the ventral and anal are blue. The body of the female is higher, yellowish. The purple spot on the side is brighter, it occupies almost the entire abdomen. The edging on the dorsal fin is wide, golden, it can have one or two dark spots. Gill covers violet, shiny. The iris of fish eyes is blue.
In the aquarium for keeping fish you need to arrange shelters from dense thickets of plants, tree roots and stones. Water should be very soft (about 3 °), its temperature at a content of 22-24 °. Fishes can be placed in an aquarium with any peace-loving species.
When diluted, the water temperature is usually maintained at 24-28 °.For breeding, a pair of manufacturers is best placed in an all-glass aquarium, it is advisable to install a light blowing water with air. For spawning, put a flower pot upside down in the aquarium with an opening (side) of such a size that fish can swim in it, or you can build a cave from stones (in the absence of a pot or a finished cave, fish dig a hole under the stones or under the roots of plants). The female usually tosses 50–80, sometimes 120 reddish-browned eggs. Larvae hatch after 3-4 days, and after 5-6 days they turn into fry, begin to swim and feed. Parents care for posterity.
It is interesting to note that the behavior of a flock of fry is regulated by the poses of the parents and the position of their fins, which serve as peculiar signals.
General Description of Cichlids
Cichlids are representatives of the percussion order, and individuals of the most diverse colors and shapes are found. The size fish can vary significantly - from 2 centimeter shell cichlids to Umbie, growing in captivity to half a meter. The length of some wild individuals reaches a meter in length.
In the natural environment, cichlids inhabit fresh and brackish water bodies of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Unfortunately, some species have disappeared, while others are on the verge of extinction.
In an aquarium with good care, the fish live for 8-10 years. On sale you can find individuals with incredible, unnatural colors - such pigments are the result of artificial procedures, as a result of which the life expectancy of such fish is much shorter.
Features of the behavior of cyclic
Owners bribes the ability of some cichlids, mostly peaceful species, to remember the owner and recognize him. Fish can eat from his hands, but they don’t show such friendliness and trust to strangers. Representatives of these breeds are true family men, they, while still teenagers, independently pair up and go, fin to fin, throughout life.
Cichlids are caring parents, they tirelessly follow eggs, fan their fins and do not allow other inhabitants to visit them. Their joint concern extends to fry. Fish love to dig in the ground, and large individuals easily uproot vegetation and turn over large cobblestones. This must be taken into account when equipping a home for such inhabitants.
Few families can boast such an abundance of different breeds. Among the South American aquarium fish cichlids, the following fish were interested:
- bluish spotted acar - 10-15-centimeter striped fish with a grayish-brown body and golden greenish scales,
- nannakara anomaly - evil fish (5-7 cm), which can keep others, even larger inhabitants, at bay, but the bronze-green color of males bribes, against which dark spots are located,
- Apistograms Ramirezi - bright, yellow individuals with purple and greenish metallic tides, it is considered the most beautiful dwarf cichlid,
- cichlazoma black-banded - a guest from the lakes of Guatemala, which is called a zebra because of the vertical black stripes,
- angelfish - one of the most common representatives of the cichl family, having an unusual body shape in the form of a flat triangular crescent,
- discus - finicky and incredibly beautiful, for which they were called the kings of the aquarium world. These fish have a flat, round body resembling a disc, and luxurious colors - both natural and resulting from selection,
- astronotus - even in captivity, fish grow up to 20-25 cm, which allows them to be called large inhabitants of the aquarium, have a bright appearance - their body is decorated with yellow or orange stripes and spots.
Many African cichlids also successfully adapted in captivity and fell in love with aquarists:
- handsome chromis - a selfish, territorial and aggressive inhabitant, but at the same time possessing charisma and incredible beauty - his bright red body is covered with blue-green dots that glow,
- pelmatochromis pulcher - like all cichlids, it has a severe temper. Representatives of the breed are also called krebentis or parrot. There are several varieties, and some of them have a very original color,
- labidochromis yellow - endemic fish from Lake Malawi, which has a bright yellow color with a contrasting black edging,
This is only a small part of the cichlid breeders who managed to charm and attract the attention of owners of aquariums. In total there are more than 1200 varieties.
Features of the content of cichlids
Despite the species diversity, most cichlids need similar living conditions - nevertheless in nature they choose water bodies with similar water parameters, and half of them live in the same lakes. Fish will feel comfortable in the following cases:
- if they are provided with a spacious tank - for large cichlids its volume should be at least 200 liters,
- it is necessary to maintain the temperature regime (27 ° -28 ° C) - it’s hard for the fish to have differences in performance,
- additional oxygen enrichment of the water and cleanliness are required - aeration and filtration are mandatory,
- water is replaced weekly - about a quarter of the total volume,
- each pedigree representative must have its own nook - the tank must be zoned using vegetation and decor - pebbles, caves, houses, shards, etc.,
- the lighting should be moderate, scattered, you can not install the aquarium where direct sunlight can penetrate into it.
On sale you can find a special tank - cichlidarium, which fully meets the requirements of these inhabitants and is equipped with suitable devices. If there is no experience in breeding cichlids, you can always get advice from a specialist.
It all depends on the type of fish, but most cichlids are not particularly picky and eat what they are offered. You can give the fish frozen, dry rations, as well as prepare a special mixture in the form of minced meat.
Not all cichlids are predators, some of them are herbivores and need plant food. This feature is important to consider when choosing the right menu, otherwise they will significantly spoil the lively aquarium decor. The main feature of feeding such fish - they need a balanced, varied food.
In most cases, male cichlids have larger dimensions and a bright color, which increases during spawning. An important nuance is that in order to get offspring, it is necessary to plant couples that have formed naturally. If you place in the spawning fish that are not partners, they will not breed.
If you plant fish that are not ready for reproduction, or individuals between whom hostility occurs, they can fight, even before death. For future parents, it is necessary to prepare a separate spacious tank - spawning, in which the temperature regime will be maintained. It also needs to be properly decorated, which will provide suitable conditions for the reproduction of fish.
Cichlids lay eggs on pebbles and other objects with flat surfaces. Representatives of some varieties have a peculiarity - to lay and incubate eggs in the oral cavity. The fish are caring parents and care for the eggs, and later the fry, together. They vigilantly monitor the safety of offspring and zealously drive away strangers.
The only thing left for the owners of the aquarium is to provide the young with suitable food - crustaceans, small plankton or special prepared diets. Food is given to the fry 5-6 times a day in small portions.
Addiction to disease
Aquarium cichlids have endurance and good health, but if they are not properly maintained, they can also become ill.The cause of the disease is often poor or inadequate nutrition. Most often, fish lice are started in cichlids, if the fish often scratched its stones, its fins shrank, and its body became white plaque, then most likely we are talking about ichthyophthyroidism, which these parasites provoke.
The second most common fish disease is saprolegniosis - it manifests itself as a fungal lesion resembling a piece of cotton wool. Affected individuals are placed in a separate tank and undergo suitable therapy. Then they have to sit in a quarantine aquarium so as not to infect healthy fish.
Compatibility of cichlids with other inhabitants
Regardless of size, all members of the family are quite wayward and territorial, they actively protect their territory from someone else's invasion, especially during spawning. Even with close relatives, fish often do not have a warm relationship. It is important to divide the reservoir into zones and settle with cichlids of fish that live in other layers of water.
Small, modest and calm fish in the company of cichlids will have a hard time - they will be offended or eaten at all. In any case, when thinking about the possibility of keeping cichlids in a common tank, it is imperative to take into account the characteristics of the nature of representatives of a particular species. In addition, it is important to consider who can dwell with the same water parameters, as well as the size of possible neighbors.
Aquarium cichlids are a real decoration of any aquarium. But not all of them are simple in content. The owner needs to evaluate their own knowledge and experience, choosing the right pets.
The behavior of cichlids
It was the interesting behavior of these fish that earned them such popularity with aquarists. For this, they are forgiven for all the difficulties of content that often arise in people who did not previously hold cichlids.
By their nature, aquarium fish cichlids are territorial. One individual or pair occupies a certain part of the aquarium and protects it. In large aquariums, this does not create acute problems, other fish just keep in the opposite part of the home reservoir, but they have nowhere to go in a small aquarium - and the matter may even end in killing a weaker individual.
What is typical for cichlids - often they drive away only representatives of their species, not paying attention to other fish. Only during the breeding season can aggression be directed at all.
Even just watching the swimming fish in the aquarium, you can notice their unusual behavior. In search of food, they can turn things around, and some large species are even able to recognize their master. This is clearly visible when feeding - they are ready to take food from his hands from him, while they will not take food from another person.
Reproduction of cichlids
The most interesting in the content of aquarium fish cichlids is associated with the period of their reproduction. Mating games can also be attributed to this, when a male shows off in front of a female and drives off competitors. Also interesting is the spawning process itself, and the subsequent care of caviar and fry.
Each species has its own characteristics of reproduction, but all, without exception, take care of their offspring, albeit up to a certain time. So, scalars laying eggs on a leaf of a plant, fan them with fins, while removing non-fertilized eggs. Many species also come in, the difference is only in the place of laying eggs (many species do this in shelters).
But there are other methods of reproduction - a number of species incubate caviar in the mouth. In this way, many African cichlids breed, aquarium fish, which come from this region, are usually found in separate biotope aquariums. So, laying eggs and waiting for its fertilization by the male, the female collects it in her mouth and holds it until the fry come out. At this time, she doesn’t eat and can lose a lot of weight, but on the other hand, she provides high survival of offspring.
It may be even more interesting - some species in this way grow offspring together, passing eggs to each other during feeding.After the fry exit, the parents continue to take care of them, and, in case of danger, hide the young in their mouth. They also control the behavior of fry, giving them signs of fins and body movements.
South American Species
Fish from this region have another feature - they are monogamous. Often the formed pair lasts for life and two fish spend all the time together. They jointly grow fry, search for food and protect the territory they occupy from representatives of their species. This behavior can be observed on the example of scalars or cancer.
Photos of aquarium fish cichlids, taking care of their offspring, usually surprise people who are far from aquariums. Indeed, for most inhabitants, the understanding of fish breeding comes down to spawning, and the survival of the offspring is a matter of chance. And South American cichlids break this stereotype in the bud.
Views suitable for beginner aquarists
Encountered photos and description of aquarium fish cichlids in the network are both attracted to newcomers and scared away. On the one hand, many people want to make beautiful and interesting fish, on the other hand, the frequent difficulties in keeping and breeding cause self-doubt. But you can find a compromise option - choose species that are simple in content, and at the same time have a beautiful color and interesting behavior.
As an example, consider two simple types that are often found on sale and are well suited for beginners.
In nature, these fish live in the rivers and shallow reservoirs of Africa, in aquariums their content began over a hundred years ago.
The fish are small, females grow up to 7 cm, males up to 9 cm. Moreover, the final size depends on the volume of the aquarium. The temperature of the content is 22-27 degrees, other parameters are undemanding.
These small cichlids pair up and breed together. Spawning can occur in the general aquarium, but for the time of breeding fish it is better to plant them in a separate tank. For this, an aquarium with a volume of 40-70 liters is suitable, a ceramic pot is placed in it, a grotto can be, and after some time the fish will lay eggs.
On average, the female lays 50-150 eggs, after five days the larvae appear, and after 1-2 days the fry begin to swim. Both parents closely monitor the fry, even chop the food for them.
The fry are fed nauplia of brine shrimp, later with small daphnia and cyclops. You can feed with dry food, but they will grow worse.
At the age of 3-4 weeks, fry are separated from their parents. After some time, they will again be ready for spawning.
She is also called Butterfly Chromis for her beauty and small size. It lives in the rivers of Colombia and Venezuela, grows up to 7 cm. It can be found both in a general aquarium and in a species one.
The temperature for the content of 22-26 degrees, during the breeding season is a couple of degrees higher. Caviar is laid on a substrate (stone, shell) and parents look after their offspring. The conditions for feeding juveniles are similar to the previous species.
Photos with aquarium fish cichlids, the name and description of which are given here, can be found above - above this section.
Guelter Pelmatochromis (Pelmatochromis guentheri Sauvage)
. Fish are common in the waters of West Africa. They were first brought to Europe in 1913, and to the USSR in 1963 (and divorced). Males reach 16 cm, usually 8-10 cm, females are smaller.
The body is relatively high, in shape resembles Meek's cichloma. The color of the male is grayish-brownish, the lower lip is bright blue. Three dark stripes stretch from the gill cover to the base of the caudal fin. Gill covers are shiny, blue. Elongated dorsal fin gray with a bright red edging along the upper edge, caudal gray with bright blue strokes, pectoral fins blue, ventral and anal gray. The coloration of the female is brighter. The body tone is brown; a large bright red spot is located on the abdomen.
Gill covers bluish-yellowish.The dorsal fin is gray, the upper third of its brilliant golden color, the pectoral fins are reddish bluish, ventral, anal and caudal gray, the latter with blueness. Iris eye tan.
These fish are aggressive towards smaller fish species. They can be kept with all major peaceful cichlids and barbs. The water is soft (3-4 °), its temperature is 22-24 °.
Breeding is carried out in all-glass or frame (old) aquariums. The water is soft (3-4 °), slightly acidic (pH 6.5-7.0), its temperature is 26-28 °. Females sweep up to 150-200 grayish-yellow eggs on a previously cleaned surface of a stone or pot. Immediately after the spawning ends, parents take eggs in their mouths and hide in shelters. The skin on the lower jaw stretches, forming a transparent pouch. Rolling through the skin are visible | eggs. In some cases, both parents take eggs into their mouths, ‘in others - only one, and it is necessary to remove one of them that does not have eggs, as he tries to take eggs from the other. If both fish took caviar in their mouth, then they pass it to each other during feeding. Caviar is incubated for three days. On the tenth day, fairly large fry begin to swim out of the mouth and eat. At the same time, parents stir up sludge, chew and throw out the crushed bloodworm, providing the fry with food. After 3-4 days, parents are recommended to remove and feed the young with nematodes and small cyclops. Fish grow quickly and in a month reach 2-3 cm in length, at six months of age they are capable of breeding.
Genus Haplochromis (Haplochromis)
Five species of African cichlids contained in aquariums belong to the genus haplochromis. All of them are distinguished by their relatively small size, elongated body and relatively low dorsal fin. This genus, close to chemichromis, is characterized by an extremely interesting biology of its reproduction. Females of haplochromis carry eggs and juveniles in their mouths, and therefore their throats take the form of an elongated bag.
For keeping fish small frame aquariums (10-12 l) with a sandy bottom are used. In aquariums there should be shelters from dense thickets of plants, tree roots and stones. Fish can be kept in common aquariums. The chemical composition of the water does not matter. For feeding, it is better to use bloodworms, but you can also grind meat.
Spawning usually occurs in an aquarium designed to hold fish together. At the same time, the male pulls out a hole in the sand, the female throws caviar at her, where she is fertilized. Then the female takes the eggs into her mouth, after which the male is best removed. After 10-12 days, the juvenile begins to swim out of the mouth, it must be fed with small daphnia and cyclops. When frightened, the juvenile immediately hides in the female’s mouth.
At that time, when the female has caviar in her mouth, she eats nothing and is very thin, the sack under her throat increases in size and her head looks very large. From the moment the juveniles exit the mouth, the female begins to feed.
Chromis bulti (Haplochromis strigigena Pfeffer).
Fish are common in the waters of East and North-East Africa. They were brought to Europe in 1935, to the USSR in 1954-1955.
Fish reach a length of 11 cm, usually 6-7 cm. The male is painted in grayish-green with blue spots, the elongated dorsal fin is dark blue with red dots, on the gill covers one dark spot on each side. The female is gray without shiny spots.
Contain and breed them under the conditions described for the entire genus. The water temperature at a content of 20-22 °, with a dilution of 25-28 °. The female swallows up to 80-100 eggs at a time. The fry grow quickly and reach puberty by six months.
Many species of American cichlids are caught in the wilds of Amazonia, Orinoco, and elsewhere, and then try to breed. Among them there are small and fairly large species that live in waters of different composition. Three types of fresh water are characteristic of rivers and lakes in South America - transparent, “white” and “black”.
Clear water is the clear water of rivers flowing in a bed of dazzling white quartz sand among rain forests.It is usually mild (dH from 5 to 8 °) with a slightly acidic active reaction (pH from 5 to 6). “White” water makes a similar impression due to the whitish suspension carried by powerful currents. It is also mild, and the reaction is slightly alkaline (pH 8 to 9) or neutral (pH 7).
"Black" water is characterized by a high concentration of organics, dyeing it in a dark brown color. A striking example is the Rio Negro. The water in the river is acidic (pH 3 to 5) and very soft (dH 0 to 4 °). When studying the reservoirs of Central America, where, as it was found, the water, in contrast to the waters of South America, is hard (dH from 16 to 30 °), slightly alkaline, and, in some places, also to some extent brackish.
It turned out that the Central American cichlids, similar in size and temperament, are suitable for keeping in a common aquarium with lake representatives of the African ichthyofauna. The properties of water are great for them. Some species of American cichlids are found even further in the north, in the southern states of the USA. The chemical composition of the water in which they live is not much different from the chemical composition of water in Central America.
The most popular among aquarists are cichlids: parrots - Pelvicachromis pulcher and scalars - Pterophyllum scalare. Depending on the type and size of the fish, it is necessary to select not only the volume, but also the shape of the aquarium. For example, if the cichlid fish have an elongated and low body, then they can be kept in a low aquarium where they will feel quite comfortable. The desired volume of the aquarium for parrots is from 50 liters.
Angelfish and discus, on the contrary, with a high disk-like shape of their body prefer high aquariums more. The required volume of the aquarium for them is from 100 liters, taking into account settlement, when 1 liter of water should fall per 1 cm of fish length. We should not forget that cichlids are more demanding on water quality than many other fish, so regular water changes, at least 15-20% weekly, should be taken as a general rule.
Cichlids are strong enough, but their incorrect content can lead to diseases. Even in a reasonably populated aquarium with clean water and with full quarantine control, an outbreak of diseases that can be caused by malnutrition and not observing the temperature regime (in this case, hypothermia) cannot be avoided.
Most common diseaseichthyophthyroidism (fish louse). It is accompanied by compression of the fins and scratching the fish on the ground. The body and fins are covered with white coating in the form of small grains (semolina). The causative agent of the disease is parasitic on the body of fish equiciliary ciliary. Parasitic ciliates can be present in almost any aquarium, but they usually affect fish with a weak immune system.
Another common disease caused by abnormal fish maintenance can be saprolegniosis. A fungus appears on the affected area, which resembles a sticky piece of cotton wool. All diseased fish must urgently undergo a course of treatment until complete recovery. How to cure diseased fish can be found in the publication “Treatment of Aquarium Fish with Bicillin”.
How to avoid diseases
When buying fish, cichlids need to know what this species is like. About preferences in: nutrition, compatibility with other fish, temperature, as well as water hardness and acidity. If you have a rare and expensive specimen, for example, discus fish that love perfectly clean water, then it is better to keep such fish in a separate aquarium.
As we already know, most diseases are directly related to the immune system, which in turn is affected by high-quality nutrition. The conclusion is that if the cichlid fish do not receive live food for a long time, in which the essential amino acids necessary for the body are located, they will be significantly inferior to the health of those fish that are at least occasionally fed with live food.
Notes: it should be noted that we are not talking about free-will feeding, but only about feeding. I feed my fish with daphnia mine.I feed a little: in the morning at lunch and in the evening. The usefulness of such top dressing is obvious: fish never show signs of dystrophy, they quickly tighten in growth, always cheerful and cheerful, and the fins are clean and straightened.
I feed Daphnia mine with fry and recently bought fish that are still in quarantine. Live food affects new fish like a sedative pill. Daphnia relieves stress because it is unlikely that any fish can resist the mine. You can order daphnia moin for home breeding on the page “Daphnia fish food”.
Reproduction and care for offspring
Care begins with the advent of caviar. Fish cichlids with great responsibility choose a place for future laying (scalars usually have a wide leaf of a plant, parrots can have caves or artificial shelters, and cichlases: driftwood, stone, etc.) then carefully clean it and lay eggs.
Notes: success in breeding cichlid fish depends on the correct selection of producers. As a rule, buying good manufacturers usually fails. In the poultry market, this may already be old and unsuitable for breeding, and in the pet store recently grown young. How to be The best way out in this situation is to buy juveniles in an amount of 5‐6 fish and growing them on full-fledged live feeds until adulthood.
Cichlid fish begin to care first for caviar and then for larvae and fry. Parents remove dead eggs, and the masonry is constantly fanned by fins, creating a fresh flow of water for the eggs.
Notes: when I bred parrot cichlids, I used a small ceramic teapot mounted on their side as a cave for them. The parrot really likes such a shelter, which they quickly fall in love with and lay eggs in it.
When the larvae of the cichlid fish appear, they carefully collect them with their mouth in one pile, as if counted, and when the fry swim, they make sure that they are always under the body of the parents and are moved only by the flock. From the side, a similar picture very much resembles a chick-bird.
Notes: it is best to breed cichlids in a separate aquarium, since in general, when the fish are off, cichlids can lose all their offspring in one night. In order to protect the fry in the general aquarium, the lighting will not have to be turned off for a rather long time until the fry grow.
It should also be noted that in a separate aquarium, cichlid fish feel much calmer, and this is understandable because there are absolutely no irritants in it that pose a threat to their fry. Best of all, if a specially designated aquarium is spacious enough and perform the task of not only a spawning, but also a growing aquarium.
The smallest plankton is a good starting starter: rotifers, ciliates, daphnia moin and artemia nauplis. It is best if these feeds are introduced as a whole since “live dust” is of higher nutritional value.
If this is not possible, it is necessary to give the crustacean fry Moin or Artemia. Care must also be taken to ensure that the fry always have enough food. For more information on various feeds, see the “Fish Food” category.
Notes: fry of scalars and discus can be fed with a special leather secret located on the body of their parents. It should be noted that trying to raise fry on dry food recommended by the industry is a futile task.
Food for teenagers
The grown fry need to be transferred to larger live feeds. Such complete feeds can be: small bloodworms, chopped coretra, tubule and daphnia.
Notes: sometimes it’s not easy for aquarists to find live food for young juveniles, and it is at this time that adolescents ’nutrition should be especially nutritious, otherwise the fish will begin to lose growth and will no longer be able to catch up with their peers. What to do? The way out is simple!
Daphnia moin can be attributed to universal food and, if moin nauplis is well suited as a starter food, then grown crustaceans can also feed grown fry.Moin and adult medium-sized cichlid fish, for example, parrot fish cichlids, also eat with pleasure.
The nutritional value of daphnia moin is not comparable with other types of daphnia. Moin is easy to breed at home and this food can rightfully be considered a godsend for fish breeders. You can order daphnia moin wiring for home breeding from my publication “Daphnia Fish Feed”.
There are a huge number of species of cichlids, but among aquarists, only a few fish of cichlids have gained the greatest fame and popularity.
Some types of known cichlids
It is known that all breeding species of discus are derived only from brown and blue discus. All existing color variations are derived from blue and brown and belong to the same species.
Brown Discus -S.a.axelrodi. Amazon river. Grows to 20 cm. Spawning: 80 × 40x40, dH 4 °, pH 6, 5, t 29 ° C. Number. caviar up to 400 pcs.
Green Discus -Symphysodonaequifasciata,aequifasciata(selection object). Homeland of Peru. Grows to 30 cm. Spawning: 120 × 45x45, dH 2 °, pH 6, 5, t 29 ° C. Number. eggs from 250 to 500 pcs.
Blue Discus - S.a.Haraldi. Amazon river. Grows to 20 cm. Spawning: 80 × 40x40, dH 4 °, pH 6, 5, t 29 ° C. Number. caviar up to 400 pcs.
The appearance of dwarf, that is, cichlids that do not grow more than 8-10 cm in an aquarium, gave the first impetus to the development of the popularity of fish, this is an interesting family of freshwater inhabitants. Due to its small size, even if they do not exhibit an exemplary character, small fish cichlids are not able to cause significant damage to other inhabitants of the aquarium.
They simply occupy a certain place at the bottom and drive out uninvited guests from there, whether they are fish of other families or their relatives, thereby demonstrating territorial behavior.
Cichlid-a parrot - Pelvicachromis pulcher. It lives in the Niger River. Up to 12 cm. Spawning size: 50 × 30x30, dH 6 °, pH 6, 8, t 27 ° C. No. caviar about 200 pcs.
Golden Parrot -J.regain. Habitat - Lake Tanganyika. Up to 5-8 cm. Spawning size: 40 × 35x35, dH 15 °, pH 7, 8, t 26 ° C. Caviar about 70 pcs.
Common scalar— Pterophyllum scalare (7 forms). It lives in the Amazon River. Up to 8-15 cm. Spawning size: 50 × 40x40, dH 8 °, pH 7, 2, t 28 ° C. Caviar from 400 to 1000 pcs.
Ramirez Chromis Butterfly - P.ramirezi (3 forms). It lives in the Amazon River. Up to 7 cm. Spawning size: 40 × 25x25, dH 6 °, pH 6, 8, t 28 ° C. Caviar about 200 pcs.
Round-headed Akara -Aequidenscurviceps. Amazon river. Up to 5-8 cm. Spawning: 40 × 25x25, dH 6 °, pH 6, 8, t 28 ° C. Caviar up to 300 pcs.
Red-breasted Akara -A.dorsiger. Habitat - Bolivia. Up to 8 cm. Spawning: 40 × 25x25, dH 6 °, pH 6, 8, t 28 ° C. Caviar up to 300 pcs. The substrate for laying eggs is a stone.
Akara ‐ dolphin -A.itanyi. River - Itani. Up to 15 cm. Spawning: 60 × 40x40, dH 8 °, pH 7, 2, t 28 ° C. Caviar up to 600 pcs.
Akara Maroni -A.maronii. Habitat - Guyana. Up to 10 cm. Spawning: 50 × 35x35, dH 8 °, pH 7, 2, t 28 ° C. Caviar up to 500 pcs.