Look for the Perfect Cichlid Solutions That You have

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Let’s take a completely different approach and set up a cichlid aquarium. Because admit it: those cichlids are beautiful animals to watch. Not only are most species particularly colorful, they are also real character critters and often provide a real spectacle in the aquarium. However, setting up such a cichlid aquarium requires a completely different approach than a Dutch aquarium or a Nature Style aquarium, below some tips.

You want to start already? First determine the biotope

Cichlids can be divided into two main groups, the African cichlids and the South American cichlids. The  African Cichlids, in turn, can be divided into two groups: the species from Lake Malawi and those from Lake Tanganyika.

Lake Malawi as inspiration for the design of a cichlid aquarium

Before you start setting up your cichlid aquarium, we advise you to first check which type of cichlid you want to keep. There are many types and each type or variant has specific requirements. For example, angelfish like an aquarium with a lot of height, while others prefer a long aquarium.

Can we now set up my cichlid aquarium?

You can recognize cichlid aquariums immediately by 1 common feature, the rock formations. Most cichlids come from lakes with a lot of stones and little flora. To bring out their true character, it is best to mimic their natural biotope by placing a lot of stones in the tank. Keep in mind the extra weight of the aquarium due to all those stones, which can quickly reach several hundred kilos. So make sure that your cupboard can keep that weight, otherwise your living room will soon be flooded. You can also place a tempex plate (“isomo”) under the tray to distribute the weight of the aquarium and prevent cracks in the bottom plate.

The final design of your cichlid aquarium

So, now you can finally start setting up your cichlid aquarium. For the soil, we are an advocate of sand (you can buy it in big bags in the DIY store), which gives a nice natural effect together with your stones and the cichlids also like to “graze” in it.

Setting up your cichlid aquarium: tips and examples

When you have applied the bottom layer you can start with the rock formations. River stones are beautiful, but there are certainly other stones you can use. When you get stones from nature, make sure it doesn’t contain any pollutants. If you use a lot of stones or place a lot on top of each other, you can glue the stones together as a precaution. If your cichlids undermine the stone formations, your stones will remain instead of falling (with all the consequences). For heavy stones it is also a smart idea to glue the base (the bottom stones) to the bottom plate.

How do we form those rock formations, you wonder? we would say let your imagination run wild. We like to work with “banks” where you work from an angle. Other people like to have rock formations along the entire length. Also use stones of different lengths and shapes, which gives the whole a more stable impression and creates a natural effect.