African cichlids are fascinating species of fish that occupy the lakes and waters of Africa. The African cichlids are of different types with varying sizes and features. They are also very colorful fishes that grace every aquarium.
There are different types of African cichlids, with each type having the maximum size they can reach. On average, the African cichlid can grow as large as 4 to 6 inches. At times, the fishes can exceed their maximum growth to attain a new size.
Food to Feed Your Cichlid to Ensure Good Growth
One of the essentials of life is food. As human beings, we have to feed to ensure our growth and development. This phenomenon is also applicable to fishes and aquatic animals.
Feeding is one of the characteristics of every living thing. The cichlid is also a live animal which makes it bound to the rule of life, feeding. As an aquarist, you have to ensure you provide food for your cichlids regularly to ensure its growth.
There are specific foods that you should feed your cichlid not only to ensure its growth but also to ensure its good health. You should get the foods that will ensure good health for your cichlids and feed it to them.
Most cichlids are omnivorous; they can feed on both plants and animals. This feature makes it easy to pick foods for them. The African cichlids can eat anything they come across, as long as it is edible to them.
Many cichlids like to feed on green foods like vegetables and spinach. Cichlids love varieties of food, so; you can provide them with algae, kelp, red cabbage, seaweed, peas, kiwi, apple, broccoli, and lots more.
Live foods and frozen animals might also be a nice treat for your cichlids. Bloodworms, brine shrimps, snails, worms, and other smaller aquatic animals are good food for your cichlids.
Apart from live or frozen foods, green fruits, and vegetables, cichlids also feed on flakes and pellets. These foods, chemically and nutritionally manufactured for fishes’ benefit, are vital for their growth.
The flakes are floating types of highly nutritional foods while the pellets are a sinking variety of foods. The pellet food has a different rate of sinking. They also dissolve at a different pace.
Water Conditions for Your African Cichlid
The growth of your fish is not only dependent on the food you feed it. Other factors contribute to the development of the fish. Factors like temperature, hygiene, the acidity or alkalinity of the water, hardness, etc.
If an aquarist considers these factors reasonably, he can boost the growth of his/her cichlid. The aquarist might not only increase the development of the cichlid but also maintain good health for the cichlid.
It would be best if you met the water conditions of the tank for your cichlids to thrive. Consider factors like pH, temperature, and hardness.
- pH: The pH of the water is a representation of the alkalinity or acidity of the water. Every fish prefers to stay in the water with the pH level that suits them. So, you should ensure to keep the pH of the water stable and accommodating for the cichlids. The water’s pH for your cichlids should be around 7.5 to 8.5, indicating a little alkalinity level. Acidic waters can deter the health of the cichlid and might probably lead to death.
- The temperature of water: The water temperature in the tank is also an essential factor to consider when looking out for your cichlids’ health. Cichlids prefer cold waters, so you should keep them in waters with a temperature of about 74°F and 80°F.
- Hardness: You should also consider the water’s hardness before introducing your cichlids into it. African cichlids live in hard waters in their natural habitat, so you should make sure that the tank’s water is slightly hard. The hardness should be around 4dH and 6dH.
How to Maintain Good Water Conditions in the Tank
Maintaining the right water conditions in the tank will aid the growth of the cichlids. To maintain the proper water conditions, you have to keep the temperature, pH, and hardness checked.
You should have a thermometer to measure and keep track of the temperature of the water. You can put your tank under a roof to keep the sun from heating the water. Whenever the water temperature goes below the required temperature, you can raise the temperature by only heating the water.
You can also increase the hardness and pH of the water by adding calcium-rich rocks to the water. Calcium-rich stones like coral sand and limestone are good rocks for this purpose because they dissolve slowly to make the water harder.
You should also make sure the water is always clean. Always remove uneaten foods from the tank to maintain clean water. You should ensure to change the water regularly, especially when the water becomes dirty.
Tank Conditions for Your African Cichlid
The tank you put your African cichlid matters and can affect their growth. When choosing the tank for your cichlids, you should consider the size of the tank. The space you provide for your cichlids can positively and negatively affect its welfare.
Get a tank of about 30 to 50 gallons for your cichlids. The large size of the tank will enable them to swim and claim territories freely.
The filter is also essential for the tank. You should get a suitable filter for your tank to process the water in the tank at least five times in an hour; a filter in a 20-gallon tank should be able to push through 100 gallons of water in an hour. So, you should ensure the filter you get is powerful enough for your tank.
Decorations are also essential to be in the tank. The decorations give the cichlids a feeling of their natural habitat. You can even liken the tank to their natural habitat with the decorations and live plants.
The size your cichlid grows depends on how well you feed it and how efficiently you tend to its needs. Your cichlid can grow into a vast size but can only reach 4 to 6 inches on an average, so you shouldn’t expect your fish to grow into a giant shark.