Mbuna cichlids are vibrantly colored fish from Lake Malawi in eastern Africa. They are known for their bright colors and interesting behavior which makes them a popular choice among aquarium hobbyists. However, they do require a certain level of care and commitment. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to take care of these beautiful creatures.

Tank setup

Tank Size: Keep them in a tank that holds at least 20 gallons of water. These fish are medium-size, and they are used to a lot of space in their freshwater home, the Lake Malawi in East Africa. Therefore, you want to start with a tank that’s at least 3 feet (0.91 m) long.

Substrate: Line the bottom of the tank with crushed coral or aragonite for your fish to burrow in. Add 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5.1 cm) of this substrate at the bottom of the tank. These particular substrates will add needed minerals to the water, which is why they’re a good choice.

Caves: Provide at least 1 cave per fish. These fish love caves, but the caves don’t need to be complicated. Any small space that has sides and a flat bottom will likely “count” for these fish, including spaces between rocks and other caves.

Water Condition: Use aquarium heaters to keep the water between 74 and 82 degrees F. Maintain water temperatures ranging from 73-84˚F, a pH range of 7.5 to 8.5, and a water hardness of 8 to 12 dH. Use cichlid salts, lime-based decor, and filter media to keep the mineral concentration high and maintain PH.

Water Change: Change 25% of the water weekly to keep the aquarium healthy4. Change the filter as required based on the filter type

Feeding Your Mbuna Cichlids

Mbuna cichlids are primarily herbivores and their diet in the wild consists of algae and other plant material. In the aquarium, they can be fed a diet of specially formulated cichlid pellets or flakes. Supplement their diet with fresh vegetables like spinach, peas, and zucchini.

Tank Mates

When it comes to choosing tank mates for Mbuna cichlids, it’s crucial to select other fish that can coexist peacefully with them. Other Mbuna Cichlids: They are naturally a community fish and can get along well with others of their kind, provided there’s enough space.

In conclusion, Mbuna cichlids are a joy to keep for any aquarium enthusiast. With the right approach, you can create a thriving ecosystem for these vibrant fish to flourish.

Blog by Derek D’Amato

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