Cichlids belong to the Labroidei family, which has more than 200 genera and between 1,600 and 1,800 species, distributed mainly in Africa, Central America and South America. They come from different lakes: Lake Malawi, Lake Victoria or Lake Tanganyka.
Many species are imported and sometimes raised in Europe for aquaristic purposes because of their bright colors and their sometimes evolved mores.
Cichlids are equipped with an operculum (bony plate covering and protecting the gills), two pelvic fins (ventral fin), two pectoral fins (rear of the operculum), a caudal fin (tail), an anal fin (between the tail and the genital papilla), a caudal peduncle which separates the tail from the body, Eyes which are located on the anal fin (Often represented in males and more rarely in females). Multiple spines form the framework of the fish’s fins, horizontal or vertical black or dark lines on the body of the fish called melanic pattern, an oviduct (channel through which the eggs pass from the ovary to the oviscapt) ends with the genital opening, a papilla or genital opening (sex of the fish), located between the anal fin and the anus and an anal opening located at the end of the digestive tract in front of the genital papilla.
Size: Cichlids measure in adulthood on average from 10 to 15 cm but can be larger depending on the species.
The maintenance of Cichlids from Lake Malawi requires an adapted aquarium, both in terms of its design and its layout. , the possibilities are very numerous. Different parameters must be taken into account:
There are two main types of cichlid lakes
Lake Malawi has fairly hard water with a pH close to 8. The water parameters of Lake Malawi are ideal for aquarists because it is limestone-laden water that is found in most of the pipe waters and an average temperature of 26 ° at the bottom mainly covered with rocky scree without vegetation. There are 2 large species of cichlids inhabiting Lake Malawi: these are m’bunas and haplochromis.
The dimensions of the aquarium must be taken into account. A volume of 250 liters is a strict minimum for Cichlid Fish of 10 to 12 cm (adults) but a volume of 400 to 600 liters will already be more suitable. The ideal will therefore remain the large to very large volume container. Indeed, the Cichlids of Lake Malawi have a length greater than 10 cm and often close to 15 to 20 cm for some. They ask for space especially for the dominant and territorial males who need an area for them alone and their amorous conquests.
- They love to stretch their fins and will be happy the longer the aquarium.
- We therefore recommend a container with a minimum length of 1.50 meters.
- It is preferable to maintain the fish by couple, by trio (1 male for 2 females), or by small groups.
A slight overcrowding often reduces the aggressiveness or the territoriality of certain dominant males who will spread their attacks and intimidation.