A basic guide to keeping Rift Valley Cichlids.
• Mbuna (Malawi)
• Rift Lake Cichlids
Africa from Lakes Malawi, Tanganyika & Victoria
Minimum aquarium size - The small Tanganyika Cichlids e.g. Julidochromis and Neolamprologus species, can be kept in 600mm x 380mm x 300mm (24” x 15” x 12”) aquaria as a single species. Similarly, the ‘shell-dwelling’ Lamprologus Cichlids need only modest accommodation. If considering setting up a ‘community’ tank of Malawi or Tanganyika cichlids, then considerably larger tanks are required.
Temperature - 23o/27oC 73o/81oF, is considered to be ideal for Rift Valley Cichlids some fluctuation is normal in nature.
Water parameters - Rift Valley Cichlids prefer a hard water environment in most cases. Excessive water changes should be avoided.
Habitat - Gravel substrate with plenty of rock-work. Rift Valley Cichlids need plenty of places to hide and to establish their own territory.
Should not generally be kept with small fish e.g. Tetras. In some cases, they cannot be kept with one another. If considering purchasing these Rift Valley Cichlids, we recommend that you consult specialist books on the subject.
Most Rift Valley Cichlids will accept the whole range of foods. Some are algae grazers so will probably require algae tablets as part of their diet. Do not over feed - problems of pollution can occur when food enters cracks in rock-work and remains uneaten.
Generally Rift Valley Cichlids do not have too many health problems. Damage to fish due to territorial disputes may have to be treated.
Habitat - freshwater tropical aquarium
Sociability - research into the species you are interested in keeping and their compatibility with other fish is highly recommended
Care - easy (in terms of health), challenging (in terms of community)
The Pet Owners Association are grateful to the Federation of British Aquatic Societies for the above information and image.