Cichlid Stones, Rocks and Caves
Cichlids are one of the most favorite fish among hobbyists and are a vivid and vibrant addition to your freshwater aquarium. With over 1,000 species of cichlids, there are a wide variety to choose from for your aquarium. Their needs are similar, while some may be more delicate than others. Cichlids can feed on plants and algae, while other cichlids prefer small fish and insect larvae. Doing your research on your particular fish breed can ensure that they have everything that they need to thrive in your aquarium. Cichlids love to hide in nooks and crannies, behind and under cichlid rocks and cichlid stones, large real or artificial plants, and cichlid caves in your tank.
What Rocks are Safe for Cichlids?
Some cichlids are prone to be territorial, so many hobbyists want to know what rocks are safe for cichlids so that they have a way to mark their territory. Rock formations can help them create their own borders, so providing smooth ceramic rocks, large river cichlid stones, driftwood, or small slate rocks, cichlids will be able to mark off their boundaries instead of fighting for space with other fish. Cichlids also like an open space to roam, so placing their rocks in such a way that gives them space to freely swim is ideal. Additionally, having a larger tank would be best to accommodate all of their needs!
Due to the aggressiveness of many cichlids, it’s best to research which tank mates are best to put with particular species. For instance, the nicholsi cichlid (Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi) has a tendency to be very aggressive, so it is best to be put with African tetras, rainbowfish, or surface dwelling fish like hatchetfish or butterfly fish. Being aware of what cichlid species you are getting will pay off in the long run when you begin adding other types of fish.
What Do Cichlids Eat?
Cichlid diets vary from species to species. Most cichlids are omnivorous, eating plants and smaller fish, worms, or insect larvae. Some, such as the cockatoo cichlid and Apistogramma borellii, are carnivores feeding primarily on small aquatic crustaceans, worms, insect larvae and other invertebrates. There are multiple pellet or frozen options available such as cichlid pellets or frozen bloodworms. Probiotics are also a good addition to the diet.
Signs of Distress in Cichlids
Providing all of the right elements for your aquarium is important when keeping fish and plant life. The right about of light, preferably LED lighting for cichlids, and water clarity, along with a pH level specific to your fish type is important with any fish. However, cichlids may show signs of distress and you will need to adjust your tank maintenance accordingly. Signs of distress may be unusual swimming pattern, thinness or decreased appetite, fins clamped to the sides of body, scraping body on rocks (flashing), abdominal swelling, or inflamed or discolored skin or fins.