With the thousands of tropical fish to choose from, you may be wondering “why should I get cichlids?”. People choose to create a cichlid tank for a number of reasons, from their vibrant colors to their notable personalities. Whichever the reason you decide to get cichlids one thing is for sure, you won’t be disappointed!
Vibrant Colors & Varying Sizes
Cichlids are regarded by hobbyists for covering all spectrums of the rainbow throughout the over 2,000 species in the Cichlidae family. Both African Cichlids and Central/South American Cichlids share these traits, although African Cichlids overall display a greater variety of colors over their American counterparts. Colors such as those of cichlids are generally found in saltwater tanks, however, cichlids allow you to achieve those bright colors in your freshwater tank without having to deal with the extra hassle of the costly equipment necessary for saltwater tanks.
Choosing cichlids also allows you to choose how large of fish you want to be in your tank. The size of your tank will play a large part in deciding what size cichlids you select. For example, if you have a smaller tank, say 20 gallons, then you will only be able to properly accommodate two or three “dwarf” Mbuna African Cichlids (which only grow to about two inches) for an African Cichlid tank. If you have a tank that is over 50 gallons, then you can select go for a much larger fish, such as an Oscar Cichlid for a South American Cichlid Tank, which grows to over 12 inches long.
Cichlids have been declared smarter than any other freshwater fish and this is something that you will certainly notice once you set up a cichlid tank of your own. Cichlids will notice when someone approaches the tank and will instantly direct their attention towards you, even if it’s because they are expecting for you to feed them!
In a tank of multiple cichlids, they will often determine a hierarchy or a “pecking order” amongst them. It’s not uncommon to see your cichlids chasing each other around the tank on a regular basis. Over time, you will notice that one cichlid controls the tank and keeps the other cichlids in line. These traits will give you something to stay interested in and your cichlids will provide you with endless amounts of entertainment.
When tanked by themselves, larger Central/South American Cichlids have been known to develop a personal relationship with their owner. They will recognize when that specific person walks into the room and even allow the owner to pet them in the tank and they will affectionally enjoy it.
Cichlids have a long life span, ranging from 6 to 15 years, meaning that your decision on cichlids is one that you will still be benefitting from years from now. One main reason for this lengthened life span is because they are heartier than most other fish. This means that they are less affected by small changes such as pH level or temperature, which is perfect for new aquarium owners. All of this translates into a longer time to interact with your cichlids and understand their unique personalities.
Hopefully, these reasons alone will be part of the many reasons as to why you choose to start a cichlid tank in your home or office. The next step is to select which type of cichlid to get.