What to feed baby african cichlids

Malawi cichlids diet - Aquadecor

Malawi cichlids diet is very important and if we are talking about them, we cannot mention how to feed them to have happy fish. about Malawi cichlids, we cannot mention how to feed them to have happy fish.

Before we start on a specific diet, we need to look at how Malawi cichlids feed in nature

In nature, generally we have:

  • Herbivores = plant eaters
  • Limnivori = algo-eaters
  • Omnivores = eating everything

As we said, this is a general division, although, in Lake Malawi itself we can indeed find much more fish with some specific diet.

Since we have seen the division, we can now state that we divide these cichlids into two large groups that we can call: herbivores and carnivores.

In addition to water, food is an essential factor in the health of cichlids, so you should pay close attention to what kind of food you buy. You have several brands on the market that produce food for Malawi cichlids. In addition to artificial nutrition for cichlids, giving frozen food, especially live food, is occasionally good. Both types of food should primarily serve as a one-week supplement and not as a practice every day.

As with humans, dietary diversity is significant. It may not seem so important, but fish with fish, a varied diet will help them live a long and happy life.

In their diet, it is best to pay attention to proteins, and food should consist of approximately:

  • Herbivores – 12-30% proteins
  • Limnivori – 30-40% proteins
  • Omnivores – 32-40 % proteins

Protein-rich foods are not recommended for most African cichlids because their long intestines will make it difficult to break them down. In addition, cichlids should have vitamins, which are necessary for cichlids and other fish. Soak their food before giving cichlids, just like cichlids, especially for granules and food in the sticks.

Feed adult cichlids once a day, and to keep them fit, you should give them less food than usual once a week, or even not give them food at all. It doesn’t hurt them. Cichlids that are fat will not spawn, and of course, too much food and inadequate food causes cichlids to bloat. For example, when we feed herbivores cichlids with food for herbivores …

What foods are best for your Malawi cichlids?

Pellets or flakes

this is the leading food for most aquarium fish. Numerous brands offer great formulas that cichlids love. Some are specially designed for these fish, even to highlight their best colors. And what is especially good is to look for those foods that do not have a lot of protein (which you have to watch out for with Mbun).

You also need to decide if you prefer pellet or flake food. Cichlids like flakes, while pellets sink to the bottom. The best option for you will depend on the type of fish in the aquarium and easier for you. You may even decide to use pellets and flakes.


Plant-based food, which replaces algae, which would be their natural source of vegetables. Please don’t give them a lot of this; it is associated with causing black spots on fish. It is nothing that will affect the health of the fish, but it can change the look of these colorful fish. We recommend feeding them with spirulina once or twice a week.

Homemade food

Lettuce, broccoli, peas, cucumber etc. All these green vegetables are great for Mbuna and their health, again taking the place of algae in their artificial environment. There are many ways you can feed them with this kind of food. Finely chopped and washed, or mixed and frozen into cubes. Garlic is also another great food. Make sure it is finely chopped, and maybe put it with something else. It is excellent for the health and immune system of Malawi cichlids. These foods can be combined and blended, arranged in ice cube trays and frozen, and given to your fish.


Use meat with caution. If you have Haplochromis Malawi cichlids (abbreviated – Haps), they like a little variety. Foods such as shrimp and shrimp are an excellent addition to their varied diet. You should only feed them this protein-rich meat food twice a week to prevent digestive diseases. Mbuna will also enjoy the occasional treat of shrimp, but be careful. If you include it in their regular diet, they may get sick and even die.

What foods to avoid?

Meat (again)

The things mentioned above, like shrimp, are moderately good. Other things are not worth the risk. As we have already said, the digestive tract of African cichlids does not tolerate meat, so beef heart, chicken, or any other meat food like this is forbidden.

Over time, you will see that moderation is most important, so you will be sure that your fish will not swell.

African cichlids are voracious and will eat almost anything you give them. Every time you pass by the tank, you will notice that they are rising to the top hoping that you will feed them. 

That doesn’t mean they need to be fed or that it’s good for them. Stick to the recommended foods to avoid the digestive problems that these fish are so prone to.

Finally, remove all uneaten food from the tank as this can cause ammonia spikes and filtration problems.

5 Best Food for African Cichlids Fry

African Cichlids look amazing and they are also easy to breed. No wonder so many fish enthusiasts are interested in breeding them and raising up their fry.

It is often the easiest part to get a cichlid male and a female to mate. Once the fry are free swimming, you really need to ensure the best water conditions for them.

Furthermore, you need to make sure they are not going to be bullied or eaten by other fish.

These two factors are really important, but there is another one that is actually going to be the topic of this article.

After you have set the right conditions for them to grow up, you need to feed them healthy and nutritious food day by day.

Since they are so tiny, you can’t just give them the regular fish food you give to your other fish. You either need to crush those flakes to even tinier pieces or buy commercial food specifically made for fish fry.

Keep on reading if you want to find out more about the best foods for African Cichlid fry available in the market!

Best Food for African Cichlid Fry

The first thing you need to look at on a commercial fish food box is the list of ingredients. This is an important step towards ensuring the healthy growth of your little pets.

The commercial food you buy should contain a wide range of proteins and vitamins that are appropriate for fish babies.

There are many fish foods to choose from even in your local pet store, not to mention the abundance of brands available on the internet.

Costs, reviews and ingredients might vary and it can quickly get confusing. But that’s why we have wrote this article.

We are here to narrow it down for you a bit and show you our reviews of the best foods for African Cichlid fry in our opinion.

The bites and flakes we are about to show you are all top-quality and many fish keepers use them to feed their own fry. Let’s see what these brands have to offer for your fish!

1. Northfin Fry Starter

One of the simplest high-quality foods you can get is the Northfin Fry Starter. What makes it simple is that it’s made entirely of Antartic Krill.

There is a wide range of nutrients that can be found in this type of krill. These include amino and fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, chitins and phospholipids.

The abovementioned ingredients will all contribute to the growth and well-being of your African Cichlid fry.

There is also some Astaxanthin in it which plays a huge role in bringing out the bright colors of cichlids. Depending on how many fry you want to feed, you can choose from the 50 g and the 250 g packages.

Since the Northfin Fry Starter has an expiration date, the 250g package is simply too much in some cases.

With this formula, you can feed them up to 3 times a day giving them a portion they can consume in about 2 minutes.


  • It is the type of formula your fry will get excited to eat
  • You can give the leftovers to the adults, they are going to love it
  • It consists of fine particles that fit easily in their mouth
  • Ideal for fry that swim near the bottom


  • Unpleasant fishy smell after opening the package
  • It is in powder form and can contaminate the water if not consumed

Buy on Amazon »



Hikari Tropical First Bites

Hikari Tropical First Bites is a straightforward first food you can give to your African Cichlid fry.

What they did is they produced nutritious fish food in powder form and then covered it with a coating that holds it together.

It is outstanding for little baby fish because you need to give them a small amount.

This fish food will not only make your fry grow faster but also protect them from diseases in the long run. It also does a great job bringing out the beautiful colors of your cichlids.

At the beginning, it will require a bit of experimenting until you get used to feeding your fish small enough portions.

But once you figure it out, you only need to give them the same portions each day. It contains a wide range of nutrients that will ensure the rapid growth of your fry.

The great thing about the coating they have applied to it is that it preserves the nutritional value of the powder.


  • Lasts longer than many other fish foods
  • Your fish will grow rapidly and flourish in bright colors
  • Coated micro pellets that take more time to dissolve
  • It slowly spreads in the water


  • Going to be hard to feed the right portion
  • It is too much for a small group of fry

Buy on Amazon »


3. Seachem NutriDiet Cichlid Flakes

The Seachem NutriDiet is a great option if you want to mix up the diet of your African Cichlid fry a little bit.

When it comes to cichlids, there is definitely no need to think twice about giving them frozen foods. This food is going to be a treat they will be excited about.

It not only gives them a boost of energy but also strengthens their immune system.

If you are looking for something extra in addition to the fish food you typically give to your fry, then this is the one you need.

The Seachem NutriDiet contains a huge variety of nutrients that will help your little African Cichlids grow.

The best thing about it is that it contains vitamin C, which will help them build up an indestructible immune system.

By stimulating their appetite, they will consume more food and thus grow faster. In the meanwhile, you also keep them healthy and full of energy by feeding it to them.


  • Contains all the vital nutrients that cichlids need
  • Gives a huge boost to their immune system with Vitamin C
  • Probiotics that completely prevent digestive problems
  • Little to no leftover food


  • It makes the tank water a bit gloomy over time
  • Strong color enhancing effect that can look artificial

Buy on Amazon »


4. New Life Spectrum Grow Fry Starter

New Life Spectrum is easily among the brands that produce the highest quality fish foods in the market.

They use only those ingredients that are actually good for your fish and help them grow. Your fish babies are going to love it and it will be a delight to see them thrive on such a healthy diet.

Experienced fish keepers know that for small freshwater fish, this one is one of their best options. It is basically a powdery fish food that easily spreads around in the water.

This will make it easier for every single one of your African Cichlid fry to eat.

What makes it a perfect first food is the fact that it is in powder form. You can start to feed it to newborn fish without hesitation.

It also contains an incredibly huge amount of protein which is important for your fish to thrive.


  • Contains a huge amount of protein
  • Practical for baby fish because of its powder form
  • Accelerated nutrient absorption and easy digestion
  • Gives an extra energy boost to your fish fry


  • Overfeeding will cause the water to be contaminated quickly
  • Not every fish finds it tasty despite it being nutritious

Buy on Amazon »



Ocean Nutrition Cichlid Veg Flake

This veggie flake from Ocean Nutrition provides you a straightforward way to feed your little African Cichlids.

Your cichlid babies are going to absolutely love this food thanks to its attractive flavor. Including some vegetable-based food is just as important as feeding them protein-rich live foods.

These flakes contain a wide range of vitamins that are all essential for a growing little baby cichlid. The pieces are also small enough to fill in their mouth.

The long-term effects of this veggie flake are vivid colors and lots of energy for your fish throughout the day.

It is especially great for those fish that swim in the upper layers of the tank because most of the flakes are going to float on the surface.

The fresher the flakes are, the more delicious they are going to be for your fry. This is why we recommend you to buy the smaller package. Unless you have lots of baby cichlids, of course.


  • Cichlids absolutely love the taste of it
  • High-quality and full of nutrients that facilitate growth
  • Makes your fish flourish in its beautiful colors
  • A great resource of energy for your African Cichlids


  • The leftovers might cloud your fish tank
  • It is a bit too powdery for juveniles

Buy on Amazon »


When do African Cichlid Fry Start Eating?

When the spawning is complete, it is best to remove the fry from the adults and start feeding them.

This is only possible when the female stops carrying them in her mouth and they become free swimming.

There are methods to force her to release them early but it really depends on how fast you want it to happen.

In the first few days, they are not going to be hungry because the leftovers of their yolk sac are a good source of nutrition.

Once they have consumed it all, you can start feeding them. Even if you would try feeding them during that period, it would only cause the water to be contaminated.

The food is simply not going to be eaten while the yolk sacs are there. After that, you can start feeding them any of the foods that we reviewed in this article.

They are all small enough to fit into their mouth and full of nutrition.

How Often to Feed Cichlid Fry?

African Cichlid fry should be fed two or three times a day. Just give them a portion that they can consume in about two minutes.

No more and no less. If you give them more, it will greatly decrease the water quality. If you give them less, they are not going to grow as quickly as they should.

Besides feeding them one of the protein-rich fry foods we talked about in our list, you should give them live foods as well.

You can do so by mixing two or three different types of foods together and feeding it to them at once. For some commercial foods, it might take you some time until you figure out the portions.

Live Food to African Cichlid Babies

When it comes to live foods, brine shrimp and infusoria are your two main options. These contain all the nutrients your fry needs in order to thrive.

Make sure the read the description on the commercial food you want to buy for your fish.

If it contains the required vitamins and proteins for them to grow, then you might not even need to feed them live foods.

But still, feeding them the same food day by day is rather boring and they are not going to be very excited the umpteenth time.

This is why you should mix things up and include some live foods and frozen foods besides the flakes and powdery foods we reviewed.

You need to wake up their scavenging instinct every now and then.


Once you have one of the best African Cichlid foods at hand, it is going to be a rewarding experience to start raising your fry.

You will be able to follow their growth day by day and see their colors flourish. The foods that we reviewed contain all the nutrition that cichlid babies need in order to thrive.

Therefore, you don’t need to invest time and effort into figuring out how to combine the diet for them.

All you need to do is to get a pack of fish food from our list, open it and feed them two or three times a day. Now it is up to you to decide which one of these brands will work for you the best.

You can even combine them to introduce some variety into their diet. Hopefully, this article helped you find the best food for your own African Cichlid fry.

Food in Nature and Feeding in the Aquarium - "Food for Fish"


Feed for Fish » African cichlids: features of life, food in nature and feeding in the aquarium

Blog, Cichlids

  • Published KormRybOK

18 Feb

Article content

  • 1 Cichlids of the African Great Lakes
  • 2 Habitat and food spectrum of cichlids from Lake Malawi
    • 2. 1 Nature feeding of Malawi cichlids, gr. MBUNA and their feeding in the Aquarium
      • 2.1.1 Trophops gold
      • 2.1.2 Pseudototototus zebra
      • 2.1.3 Melanochromis Johan
      • 2.1. food spectrum of Lake Tanganyika cichlids
        • 3.1 Nature feeding of Lake Tanganyika cichlids and feeding them in the aquarium
          • 3.1.1 Star trophius
          • 3.1.2 Trofius Mura
          • 3.1.3 Comochromis Isang
          • 3.1.4 Petrochromis Red Bula
      • 4 Where are the cichlids of Lake Victoria 9000 4.1 power supply in the native Lake Tsichlid Victoria and their feeding in the aquarium
        • 4.1.1 Blue neochromis
        • 4.1.2 Astatotiliapa Bronze
        • 4.1.3 Neochromis Red -fluid
    • 5 Correct cichlide feeding (Sukhimi) finished (Sukhimi) finishes
      • 5.1 How to determine the amount of food needed for one feeding session?
      • 5.2 How to choose the best dry food for African cichlids?
      • 5. 3 Premium Khikari Feed for Herbivore African cichlids
    • 6 Where to buy good food for African cichlids in Ukraine

    cichlids of the great African lakes

    African lakes are becoming more and more popular among the Akvari-beloved in Ukraine. Accordingly, many questions arise. One of the most important is the formation of the diet of exotic fish kept in captivity.

    African cichlids became fashionable among aquarists at the turn of the millennium. Their keeping in captivity became possible thanks to the improvement of amateur aquarium equipment and the launch of highly specialized dry food for African cichlids - endemic to the high mountain lakes of Malawi, Victoria and Tanganyika. No less interesting are the habits and feeding habits of American predatory cichlids.

    The large freshwater lakes of Victoria, Tanganyika, Malawi (Nyasa), as well as several smaller ones, are located in the tectonic fault zone in Eastern Africa. The uniqueness of their fauna is explained by isolation. Almost all species of fish living in them are endemic to a particular reservoir.

    The most interesting for aquarists are African cichlids that inhabit the waters of the Great Lakes: they have many varieties. Freshwater cichlids are distinguished by surprisingly bright, exquisite and unpredictable coloring, interesting behavior.

    In this article, you will learn how to properly plan the diet of herbivorous African cichlids in an aquarium. We also offer unique videos with African cichlids for inspiration.

    Habitat and food spectrum of Lake Malawi cichlids

    Lake Malawi or Nyasa is the smallest in the Great Lakes triad. But it is this place that attracts researchers and is of particular interest to aquarists: up to 1000 species of fish live here, most of which are not found anywhere in the world.

    90% of the scaly population of Malawi are cichlids. These fish, amazing in every respect, are relatives of our perch. They inhabit the lake throughout its entire area:

    • They can be found near the shore and even under it - in rocky caves and burrows;
    • In open water at great depths.

    Malawian cichlids are divided into two large groups: Mbuna (rock cichlids) and Utaka (deep sea fish). The former are predominantly herbivores, the latter are predators.

    Lake Malawi is located in a tectonic fault, which is the main fact of the formation of its flora and fauna. The bottom of Nyasa is rocky, and the water is very hard. Aquatic vegetation is scarce. Herbivorous cichlids feed on algae that cover the underwater part of the rocks near the coastline.

    Blue-green algae spread on the surface of the lake in autumn. During this period, Mbuna can be found at a considerable distance from the coast.

    In aquariums, African Mbuna cichlids remain committed to a natural, vegetarian diet.

    Nature feeding of cichlids Malawi, gr. Mbuna and feeding them in the aquarium

    Golden Tropheops

    Very beautiful, bright, conspicuous fish from the pseudotropheus genus. Small in size, but has a bad character. In aquariums, harem content is preferred.

    It is necessary to provide in artificial conditions a relief similar to the natural habitats of the tropheus: many stones between which you can swim and hide. If this is not done, the dominant male will soon be left alone.

    Tropheops accepts any vegetable food. It can feed from the bottom, in the water column or on the surface, although the latter method is not typical for it.

    Pseudotropheus zebra

    Very beautiful, bright, conspicuous fish from the genus Pseudotropheus. Small in size, but has a bad character. In aquariums, harem content is preferred.

    It is necessary to provide in artificial conditions a relief similar to the natural habitats of the tropheus: many stones between which you can swim and hide. If this is not done, the dominant male will soon be left alone.

    Tropheops accepts any vegetable food. It can feed from the bottom, in the water column or on the surface, although the latter method is not typical for it.

    Melanochromis Johana

    Melanochromis Johana is unique in its own way: sexual dimorphism is so pronounced in these fish that for a long time researchers considered females and males to be different species.

    Melanochromis has been practiced in aquariums for a long time. Fish accept any vegetable food:

    • Natural : chopped lettuce, spinach, rye bread.
    • Dry : in the form of granules or flakes.

    As a vitamin supplement, live plants are eaten if they are planted in an aquarium.

    If you are just starting to breed cichlids, Johan's easy going Melanochromis is a good choice.

    Iodotropheus - ''rusty'' cichlid

    Iodotropheus is a small fish with original appearance. Thanks to the amazing tints of lilac, orange and ocher colors, even an inexperienced aquarist will easily distinguish it from other inhabitants of the aquarium.

    Small fish, only 10-12 cm long. Has a cute rounded muzzle. But her appearance is deceiving: Iodotropheus is an avid fighter.

    In nature, it feeds on algae and small crustaceans, which fall into its mouth by chance. In aquariums, you can feed jodotropheus both with ready-made food and fresh herbs.

    Habitat and food spectrum of Lake Tanganyika cichlids

    Tankanyika is one of the largest and deepest freshwater lakes on the planet. Its fauna is rich and varied. Many species of fish are endemic to the reservoir. Most of them are cichlids. The shores of the lake are rocky, in some places they are sheer cliffs. There are few plants and algae.

    Most of the cichlids of Lake Tanganyika feed on crustaceans, some are active hunters. Only a few families of herbivorous cichlids are found in Tanganyika. These fish are very beautiful and can become a precious decoration of the aquarium.

    Natural feeding of Lake Tanganyika cichlids and feeding them in the aquarium

    Star tropheus

    In nature, tropheus has to swim long distances to get food. In the aquarium, he is very active, requires space.

    Constant malnutrition has developed a habit in Tanganyika algae-eating cichlids of eating quickly, indiscriminately, as long as food is available. It is very easy to overfeed in a Star Tropheus aquarium. It is preferable to give low-calorie foods with a high fiber content.

    Tropheus Mura

    Its second name is “Tuppy-nosed Tropheus”: the fish feeds on algae from stones and has a pronounced lower mouth, so that the whole muzzle seems to be flattened in front.

    Violent skirmishes are common among the tropheus in the aquarium. They have nothing to do with the territorial behavior of the Malawian Mbuna, have nothing to do with the breeding season. Moore's trophies fight for their daily bread: welcome to Tanganyika!

    Feeding Tropheus in the aquarium is easy: dry food with spirulina in granules or tablets is suitable. Tropheus Mura never rises to the surface, so flakes are not an option for him.

    Simochromis Isanga

    The area of ​​distribution of this species of herbivorous cichlids of Lake Tanganyika is very narrow: they are found only in the southern part, not far from the village of Isanga (Zambia). They lead a settled way of life, hiding near the shore in cramped caves between stones.

    Only vegetable food is accepted. In nature, Simochromis Isanga has a limited algal menu of silicon-rich plants. It is recommended to feed Symochromis only highly specialized nutrition with mineral supplements.

    Petrochromis Red Bulu

    Red Bulu cannot be considered a herbivorous cichlid in the truest sense of the word: the algae on which it feeds are inhabited by many small crustaceans, which are also included in its diet. Thus, the protein component of the red petrochromis menu is up to 30%.

    Petrochromis demonstrates aggressive territorial behavior, but experienced aquarists have learned to deceive him: the fish guards its cave in the rocks and does not let anyone in within a radius of several meters. But if you remove all the decorations from the aquarium, then the petrochromis will have nothing to protect, and its aggression will come to naught. True, one can hardly call a happy fish rushing about in a naked jar.

    Where do the cichlids of Lake Victoria live and what do they eat

    Lake Victoria is huge in area but relatively shallow. It is located in an open area, accessible to all winds. Constant storm activity contributes to the saturation of water with oxygen. The fish that live here are good swimmers and lovers of fresh air.

    If it is customary to call the unique exotic birds of New Guinea "paradise", then the African cichlids of Lake Victoria should be called "paradise fish": they are so multi-colored, bright, shining. To have such a beauty in your aquarium is a dream.

    But, like all beauties, Victoria's cichlids are very demanding. To organize suitable living and feeding conditions for them, you need to try.

    Nature feeding of Lake Victoria cichlids and feeding them in the aquarium

    Neochromis blue

    African herbivorous cichlid. It feeds on algal growths on coastal rocks. In the aquarium, you should feed specialized food for cichlids based on spirulina. Vitamin supplements are needed. The introduction of a small amount of live food into the diet has a positive effect.

    Astathotilapia bronze

    Formerly belonged to the genus Haplochromis. Very beautiful, unique fish. In its coloring there are colors of the rainbow from bright red to blue.

    It feeds on a variety of foods, which can be obtained by gathering without resorting to active hunting.

    At least 50% plant foods should be included in the diet of Astatotilapia. Frozen cyclops, brine shrimp, coretra are suitable as a protein menu. Don't give up on seafood.

    Neochromis redfin

    Bright beautiful fish. Demonstrates pronounced territorial behavior. Aggression increases during the spawning period and extends not only to subdominant males, but also to non-fertile females.

    Redfin neochromis feeds on everything it can swallow: algae, insects, molluscs. If you feed the fish only with vegetable food, its maturity will come several months later than the normal line, and the color will turn out to be paler.

    Proper feeding of cichlids with ready-made (dry) food

    Feeding algae-eating cichlids in an aquarium without using dry food is very difficult. The remains of leaves and vegetables will pollute the aquarium, and its bottom will have to be systematically cleaned. In addition, ground Ukrainian salad and spinach are not exactly what an African fish needs. The best solution is to pick up ready-made dry food or several feeds.

    Considering that most herbivorous African cichlids consume algae-dwelling mollusks and invertebrates as a protein supplement in their diet, introducing a small portion of protein food into their diet would be quite appropriate.

    But, like all beauties, Victoria's cichlids are very demanding. To organize suitable living and feeding conditions for them, you need to try.

    How to determine the required amount of feed for one feeding session?

    Algae-eating cichlids of the African Great Lakes under natural conditions constantly experience a shortage of food, therefore, if food is available, they eat it with greed. This carries the danger of obesity and intestinal disorders.

    In addition, food that slowly dissolves in water begins to swell in the stomachs of fish. But this does not happen all of a sudden, but after a while, when the fish has already managed to eat “to the eyeballs”. Under such conditions, the master's habit of feeding to the full can turn out to be lethal for herbivorous cichlids.

    To keep your fish fed and healthy, give them as much food as can be expected to fit under one gill cover. You can feed once or twice a day. An automatic feeder will greatly simplify the care of the aquarium.

    How to choose the best dry food for African cichlids?

    Fish food can be purchased at pet stores, on the market, via the Internet. The variety of offered dry food is very large. How to choose among them the best quality, suitable for your pet from the African continent?
    Several ways to distinguish good dry food from bad:

    1. Cost. Aquarium Fish Dry Food is a high-tech product with many ingredients. It cannot be cheap;
    2. Feed fortification is a must. Most vitamins are destroyed by sunlight. Buy food in opaque packages;
    3. Dry food for cichlids should be stored for a long time at room temperature. This means either the need to add preservatives, or the use of vacuum packaging.
    4. But the packaging loses its meaning after the first opening. Dry food produced by Hikari has vacuum package with ZIP lock , thanks to which the feed is kept without air access until the last day of use.

    Premium Hikari food for herbivorous African cichlids

    The Japanese company Hikari has earned rave reviews from aquarists around the world with the invention of a line of specialized foods for African cichlids, including those for herbivorous species.

    Hikari food is made from high quality natural raw materials. Spirulina is added to their composition, vitamins and prebiotics are added, which is very important for fish kept in poor, unnatural aquarium conditions.

    Hikari food is available in the form of pellets. They are adapted for fish of different sizes: only 4 sizes. You can offer your cichlids food that they will swallow with ease and pleasure.

    The shortest length of Hikari pellets is 1.7 mm, the longest is 8. 2 mm. Each granule is covered with a shell that prevents it from dissolving in water.

    All African cichlids are mega sensitive to nitrite contamination. This is especially true of the magnificent rainbow Victorians. Food should not be allowed to decompose in the aquarium. Hikari Premium African Cichlid Dry Food swells and dissolves once it enters the fish's stomach.

    Where to buy good food for African cichlids in Ukraine

    Trust only certified suppliers! The online store "KormRybam" works directly with the official representative of Hikari. You can be sure that you are getting an original product.

    You can buy Hikari food by paying for the purchase through PrivatBank. Or order it cash on delivery. Delivery is carried out through Nova Poshta branches. For wholesale customers, Hikari feed is supplied on preferential terms: guaranteed free delivery in Kyiv and Ukraine of orders in the amount of 1000 UAH.

    New Food of predatory cichlids of Africa and America (TOP 20)

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    species, care, keeping, reproduction, compatibility, food, photo-review

    Cichlomas - large and very beautiful representatives of the Cichlid family. Despite their large size and high aggressiveness of most species, the number of fans of these fish does not become less. In our article we will talk about the main aspects of their content.

    Table of contents

    General information

    Cichlomas - historical the name of a group of fish in the Cichlid family. At one time, this genus included most representatives of the cichlids of Central America. After repeated revisions based on new scientific data, modern systematics abolished this genus, and the species included in it, were distributed according to other systematic groups. But the name is so firmly entrenched in certain types of fish that even in our time they are called cichlazoms in the old fashioned way.

    Distinctive The features of cichlases are size, territoriality and high intelligence. Most of the species are real predators, which in natural conditions feed on small fish. Many of them are characterized by the manifestation of concern for offspring. And anyone who decides to encroach on the occupied territory (especially if we are talking about a nest) will be unquestioningly expelled. The maintenance of cichlase will require the presence of a large aquarium and the correct selection of neighbors, therefore novice aquarists are not advised to start cichlases as the first pets.


    Considering various species of cichlases, it can be noted that most of them are relatively large, muscular fish with slender body proportions. Their body is high, compressed with sides. The mouth opening is large, the eyes are enlarged, black. The fins are well developed, elongated and pointed. Males of some species may there is a fat fold over the eyes.

    The color of the fish is very diverse, many representatives have scales with a metallic sheen. Color scales, as well as the maximum size in the aquarium depends on the species and sexual accessories. The color may have alternating stripes, as well as bright luminous spots of different sizes, sometimes resembling the color of a jaguar. males cichlases are usually larger than females. The sizes of adult cichlases range from 10 to 40 see

    It should be noted that the scales of cichlases are very strong, real armor. It's not the last makes them extremely resilient. Such skin easily resists pathogenic microflora. Even the simplest it turns out to be too tough, therefore meet a common disease of aquarium fish - ichthyophthyriasis - in cichlase is possible only very rarely. A dense cover also helps a lot in skirmishes with relatives. Wounds received in fights heal right before our eyes.


    It is not possible to track the history of the appearance of all types of cichlids in aquariums seems possible. But some facts are known about what types gained popularity with aquarists over time.

    Oddly enough, the very first cichlazoma that got into the amateur aquarium, became cichlazoma chanchita. Although in our time to meet her in pet stores - great rarity.

    Meek's cichlazoma became known to European aquarists in 1933 and quickly gained popularity. It is authentically known that the fish was brought to Russia by the People's Artist of the USSR and an avid amateur of the aquarium hobby Sergei Obraztsov. The black-striped cichlazoma became known a year later and remains the most popular cichlazoma at the moment.

    1977 stamp showing Meek cichlazoma

    Most of the other species came to Europe in the 1940s, and to Russia in early 60s.


    Cichlomas have a very wide range of habitat - from the central states of the United States to Brazil. Their can be found in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama. Due to the vast area of ​​distribution, conditions contents of different species can vary significantly. The most common cichlomas prefer slowly flowing rivers, canals and ponds, densely overgrown vegetation. Cichlomas are kept in the middle and lower layers of water.

    Cichlid species

    Black-banded cichlid

    Small cichlid, the maximum size in the aquarium does not exceed 13-15 cm. Its name is a fish received for the characteristic black stripes across the body. Some are shaped Latin letters "V". The fins are elongated, transparent or yellowish. The females are brighter than the males and have a red abdomen or red spots on the sides of the body. For content recommended aquarium from 100 liters per couple, with plenty of hiding places due to the increased aggressiveness of the species. The fish is hardy and does not require creation special conditions of detention. Very easy to breed in community aquariums, often without any effort on the part of the aquarist. In the right conditions able to live up to 8-10 years.

    Black-striped cichlazoma

    Diamond cichlazoma

    Large cichlazoma, genus from Mexico. In nature, reaches a size of up to 30 cm, rarely in aquariums exceeds 20-25 cm. The body is dark brown with a lot of shimmering light blue or yellowish-green spots of various shapes. Therefore, the cichlid called diamond or pearl. The fins are elongated. From the middle of the body a series of black spots extend to the tail. Males are larger than females, have a characteristic fatty outgrowth on the forehead. The minimum size of the aquarium for maintenance is 200 liters. The fish is moderately aggressive, compatible with most species of large cichlids, but during the spawning period it can attack neighbors, protecting the nest. Life expectancy is about 10 years.

    Brilliant Cichlazoma

    Eliot Cichlazoma

    Mexican Cichlazoma medium size, grows up to 15 cm in the aquarium. One of the most beautiful cichlase. The coloration is variegated, reminiscent of that of the ramiresi apistogram. Head - gray with stripes, belly and gill covers - rich scarlet with dark spots. The tail is blue. Scattered throughout the body are shimmering greenish spots. The dorsal fin has a red border. Males are larger females, differ in longer fins, during the spawning period their color becomes much brighter. For maintenance, the volume of the aquarium is required from 100 liters. Aggressiveness is average, compatible with many commensurate cichlomas, dangerous during spawning. Lives up to 10 years in captivity.

    Eliot cichlazoma

    Severum cichlazoma

    In vivo lives in northern South America. The average size in the aquarium is 20 cm. Body shape rounded, for which the fish is sometimes called the "false discus". The coloring differs depending on the variety. The most popular form is "Red pearls "- the body of the fish is yellow, with a lot of red spots. Size aquarium for a comfortable life should be at least 150 liters per couple. Intraspecific aggression is often observed, although to neighbors of other species are calm, excluding the spawning period. Juveniles are fed with special secretion from the epithelium. They can live in an aquarium for up to 15 years.

    Severum cichlazoma

    Meeka cichlazoma

    Currently lives throughout Central America. Medium sized fish growing up to 12-15 cm. It got its name in honor of the American ichthyologist, who compiled the first book on Mexican fish - Set Eugene Mika. A distinctive feature of the species is the throat and gills, painted in bright scarlet. color. The body itself is gray, with purple tints and soft transverse dark stripes. Males are larger than females and have more pointed fins. For keeping a pair of Meek's cichlases requires an aquarium of 150 liters or more. Character calm, but during the spawning period they can cause injuries to swimmers in their territory strangers. They love to dig the soil in the aquarium. Characteristic pronounced concern about offspring. Life expectancy - up to 12 years.

    Meek cichlazoma

    Flamingo cichlazoma

    Origin of this fish is still a mystery. Some researchers believe that this albino form of black-striped cichlazoma. But usually albinos are not at all have pigments, while the flamingo cichlazoma has black eyes and a pink tint bodies, for which the species got its name. In an aquarium, fish can grow up to 8-15 cm. Males are larger than females, have a fatty growth on the forehead. Minimum Volume aquarium for maintenance - 60 liters. Aggressiveness is low, increases during spawning time.

    Managuan cichlazoma

    Inhabits Central America. One of the largest cichlids kept in an aquarium. In nature reaches a size of 60 cm and a mass of a couple of kilograms. In the aquarium, the fish is more modest, usually no more than 40 cm. The second name of the species is cichlazoma jaguar. Such a name was assigned to a fish for body color, very reminiscent of the color of a wild cat: alternation of white and black spots, often with a bluish tint. in the middle the body has a longitudinal strip of large black spots. Males are bigger, brighter are colored and have more pointed fins. The fish is very large, aggressive, therefore not recommended for beginner aquarists. Minimum the volume of the aquarium is 450 liters. It is better to keep in a species aquarium, in view of increased aggressiveness. In a common aquarium, suitable neighbors will be commensurate cichlids and catfish (clarius, brocade, red-tailed). With due care able to live up to 15 years.

    Managuan cichlazoma

    Nicaraguan cichlazoma

    Maintains own origin from Lake Nicaragua in Central America. Maximum size in an aquarium - 25 cm. The shape of the body is unusual: the line of the mouth and forehead can be almost vertical. The fish is stocky, strong, the mouth is located below heads. The main thing that attracts attention in this fish is an interesting body color. adults. The head, back and dorsal fin are blue in color, the abdomen yellow. In the center of the body from the gill covers to the tail runs a wide black band. The fins are transparent, some have black dots. Young individuals painted very modestly, probably because of this, the fish did not receive a wide distribution. Despite its size, the Nicaraguan cichlazoma is not is characterized by aggressiveness, excluding the period of nest building and spawning. For growing a pair of fish will need an aquarium with a volume of at least 300 liters. IN Under suitable conditions, the fish lives up to 15 years in an aquarium.

    Nicaraguan cichlazoma

    Great variety cichlases and their wide distribution imposes certain restrictions on keeping fish. First of all, you need to choose the right volume of the aquarium. Some species will need 60 liters, others need at least 450 liters. A powerful filter must be installed in the aquarium (best external) and a good compressor for high-quality aeration. The flow should not be very powerful. Rounded pebbles and large sand. It should be borne in mind that most types of cichlases are lovers dig up the soil, so any decorations installed in the aquarium should be firmly fixed. Look good in an aquarium with cichlazoma large stones and natural driftwood. Bright lighting is needed, it will allow full as much as you can enjoy the iridescent colors of these beautiful fish. For supporting temperature in the aquarium requires a thermostat of suitable power.

    Cichlazoma severum in an aquarium with live plants

    Optimal parameters waters for different species may differ, but you can stick to average values: T=22-28°С, pH= 6-8, GH = 2-20. Weekly water changes up to 30% are required.

    Most plant species are incompatible with cichlids - they will either be eaten or dug up.

    It is best to pay attention to hard-leaved species (anubias) and, if possible, fix them in special pots or surround them with large stones.

    Behavioral characteristics of cichlases

    For cichlases, as for many species of cichlids are characterized by a number of behavioral features:

    1. Territoriality. A pair of cichlases necessarily chooses a place for their subsequent spawning, while driving away anyone who invades their possessions. Therefore, it is very important to zone the aquarium with decorations so that each fish can safely own its own piece of territory.
    2. Predation. Most of the cichlases are active predators that feed on small fish. This must be taken into account when selecting neighbors in a common aquarium and choosing food.
    3. High intelligence. The predatory lifestyle led to the development of intelligence by cichlases. They are able to recognize the owner and even occasionally allow themselves to be stroked. If a stranger approaches the aquarium, the fish prefer to retreat and hide.
    4. Monogamy. Pairs of cichlases are very strong and remain for life. Even after the death of one of the partners, the survivor often simply does not allow or kills new individuals.
    5. Caring for offspring. Cichlases have a very developed parental instinct. The male and female take care of the offspring from the moment of spawning and until the fry reach the age of 1.5-2 months. With the joint spawning of several pairs in Meek's cichlases, one can observe how parents indiscriminately divide a group of fry among themselves and care for the offspring of their competitors.

    When choosing neighbors in a common aquarium, it is necessary to take into account the fact that all cichlazoma are extremely territorial fish. Having chosen one of the sections of the aquarium, they will not tolerate alien invasions. But if in a normal period of life the maximum that a neighbor gets, swum into someone else's territory - this is a small poke in the side, then during the period nest building and spawning, many species of cichlases become so aggressive that they can even kill any fish that got into its reach.

    When containing several species of fish should not be forgotten about the appropriate volume of the aquarium. Many cichlomas a volume of 150 liters per pair is required, and taking into account other neighbors, this figure may increase several times.

    Choosing roommates it is necessary, first of all, to focus on the size of the fish. Preferably if all individuals will be proportionate, otherwise smaller species are endangered. It has been noted that if fish of different species live in an aquarium while still fry, then the general aggression when they reach adult size is significantly less. IN the aquarium needs to provide enough hiding places so that the fish can hide from each other. If one of the species has spawned, then the neighbors are better for a while transfer to another aquarium. Cichlase is recommended to be kept in pairs or groups with a predominance of females. Some species (for example, Managuan cichlazoma) are better keep in species aquariums.

    In the general aquarium, skirmishes of males are not uncommon

    In most cases, in neighbors to cichlids choose related species or other large cichlids - this there can be both American species and African ones, the main thing is not to forget that that their optimal water parameters may differ. For large catfish (pterygoplichts, red-tails, clariuses) cichlazomas often do not address any attention, so they can safely be settled together. Accordingly, small peaceful fish species are completely unsuitable for keeping together with cichlazoma, early or later they will become live food for voracious predators.

    Feeding cichlase

    Most species cichlases are active and aggressive predators whose natural diet includes live fish (70%) and vegetation (30%). Fish are picky eaters, so well eat any kind of food. Often it can be live fish, homemade minced meat and even baby rodents (naked). Unfortunately, these foods can hardly be called balanced, and often they simply cannot satisfy all nutritional needs of cichlase, and can also often lead to rapid water pollution in the aquarium.

    Specific feeding characteristics of cichlases: large size of most species, need for a high protein content, periodic addition of a vegetable component.

    Tetra Cichlid offers a wide range of foods for all types of cichlids and other cichlids. Tetra food is fully balanced, highly digestible and contains a complex of supporting additives for good health, full growth and development of fish. Do not forget that cichlazomas should regularly receive vegetable top dressing, food with spirulina algae, for example, TetraPro Algae, is well suited for this.

    Feed cichlids it is necessary several times a day with such a portion of food that will be eaten fish in a few minutes.

    Propagation and breeding

    Propagation by cichlase in conditions of the aquarium - the phenomenon is mostly spontaneous, not requiring any effort on the part of the aquarist. To do this, it is enough to have a formed a couple of fish and a suitable place. In most species, pairs form for life. Cichlasomes are substratophiles, that is, they prefer to lay caviar on wide flat stones lying at the bottom. Therefore, the presence of such decorations you need to worry in advance. If there are no suitable stones, then the fish can dig up the soil to the glass and lay eggs on it.

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