The hobby of keeping cichlids can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. Most people just getting started in keeping these very intelligent aquarium fish have lots of questions. Even as an experienced aquarist, I seem to learn something new everyday. Here are some tips to get you started.
The first thing that you need to do when keeping cichlids is to consider what size that your cichlids will be when they are fully mature. If you have gotten bitten by the Oscar bug and have fallen in love with these very personable fish, you are simply going to need a large tank.
Most people will recommend at least a 55 gallon aquarium to keep a pair of Oscar fish. That is simply the bare minimum for these big guys. If you have a smaller variety, you just need a smaller tank. Simple, right?
Second, ph level and water salinity, among other water chemistry levels, can be very different between the different types of cichlids. Just consider African Cichlids. They are found in different lakes in Africa. Each of these lakes have their own unique water chemistry, so if you are keeping Africans, it is very important to do your research if you are going to replicate their native habitat.
If your cichlids are going to thrive, whether they are African or New World Cichlids, temperature and water chemistry must be monitored.
Plants and cichlids sometimes just do not match well. Many cichlids are very intelligent, but they love to make lettuce out aquarim plants. Its a challenge, but it can be done.
American varieties of cichlids seem to be able to tolerate plants in their aquarium better that Africans do. But having made that point, Oscars love to destroy plant life. Angel fish, on the other hand, seem to tolerate plants very well.
Angel fish can be some of the most enjoyable cichlids in my opinion. They even do very well in community tanks because they are generally docile and tolerate plants very well.