Aquascaping Ideas For African Cichlid Aquarium

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How To Setup A Cichlid Aquarium?



Basically African cichlid aquarium is best decorated by making a simulation of its natural habitat in the wild as possible. This is so to make cichlids comfortable and secure.
Therefore, when setting up the tank the question should be what makes and African cichlid feel comfortable and secure when it comes to their environment? They like to live in a habitat that has lots of hiding place as a refuge area for smaller fishes as well as for territorial purposes for the bigger species.
The first rational thing to do is to read books, searched online for information about its natural habitat and then when sufficient info's has been gathered start planning out the materials to be used.Basically, Lake Malawi is sandy in some areas thus a crushed coral or sand substrate is adequate. Crushed coral help raise the pH in the aquarium water. If sand is preferred, I suggest the use of Tropical Play sand. Whichever substrate is chosen, make sure that they are properly washed before placing in the tank.
Now what rocks are appropriate for your African cichlid aquarium? Tufa rock may be used it is also known as salt water base rock but if honey comb rock is available this is a much better choice. Honey combed rocks consist lots of holes and tunnels which smaller fish can use for hiding. Once the rocks are bought, make sure to anchor it safely and sturdy in its place that will not be easily moved by the agility and aggressiveness of African cichlids.
The last step in aquascaping your tank is to purchased plastic or real plants. Your choice will greatly depend on the keeper. If time is not possible it is best to pick plastic plants since live plants require constant care not only that cichlids like to nibble on live plants. However, if live plants are dearly preferred an Amazon sword is a good idea and matched it with maybe a couple of fake plants. That should do the trick. Plants can add color and beauty to the aquarium as well as a hideaway for cichlids. Place the plants in bunches or clumps it would look more natural and useful too. If fake plants are used buy only the natural colors like green. Avoid using colorful ones like blue or yellow, although they come in nice colors but they do not mimic the natural habitat of an African cichlid.
Here's a few list of other materials that might be useful:
1. Driftwood - this would look natural and lowers pH.
2. Shale, flag stone, slate - these are good for forest and rift lake cichlids. Very good as caves and over hangs but are not natural for Lake Malawi cichlids.
3. Small shells - good for shelter and spawning and may increase pH level.
4. Clay pots - Not natural for Lake Malawi but are great for spawning and shelter.
There are many decorations that may be used for African cichlid aquarium just bear in mind to create the environment with natural effects as to where your particular cichlid originates.
Here are some of the Cichlid Tank setup,
























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