Q: How can I tell if my cichlids are male or female?

A: There is no real concrete way to tell until they one day spawn and have fry. Unless of course the male and female have definite appearance traits for the species. However, in most species the male and female cichlids look very much alike, if not identical. Here are some subtle differences to help you figure out what sex your cichlids are. Eggspots are a fairly good indicator of what sex your fish is. The more eggspots, the more likely your fish is a male. If your cichlid has few or none, it is most likely a female. One other way, which is not so definite is the size of the fish. Females are usually smaller, while the males are usually bigger and more dominate. Note that I said usually, there exceptions to this rule. As I said earlier, sometimes you never know for sure until they spawn and have fry.

Q: What is the proper ph for african cichlids?

A: The ph should be between 7.8 to about 8.6

Q: Do they like the water hard or soft?

A: They like the water fairly hard with lots of mineral content.

Q: What should the temperature be for my tank?

A: The temperature should be between 76-86f

Q: How many fish can I have in my tank?

A: A good rule of thumb is about 1 inch of fish per gallon of water. So you need to think about how big your fish will grow. Keep in mind how much "livable space" your tank has. A good example would be if you had a tall tank. Mbuna are more bottom-mid dwellers, so if your tank is taller, it is usually sacrificing width. So then there is less "livable space" for mbuna. Mbuna however like to be overcrowded. Keep all these factors in mind when selecting your fish.

Q: What does "mbuna" mean?

A: "Mbuna" means rock dweller. So if you are planning on having mbuna in your tank you need lots of rock work and caves for them to hide in. They are also very territorial and aggressive. They do best in overcrowded groups, where the aggression is spread out.

Q: How often should I feed my fish?

A: If your fish are full grown one feeding a day should be sufficient. If they are young and growing, feeding them more often will help them grow faster.

Q: What should I feed my fish?

A: You should keep your fish on a regular diet of fish flakes, with occasional treats. Romaine lettuce leaves are a good treat for them. Make sure when you feed them any vegetables, they are thoroughly washed. This is so any chemicals sprayed on them won't get into your fish tank. Don't just throw the leaf in, weight it down with a rock, or you can get a special clip from most pet stores that will hold it down. You can feed your fish live food such as blood worms, tubifex worms and brine shrimp. But you are risking your fish catching a parasite from them. Instead use freeze dried foods, just as good and nutritious, and less risk.

Q: Can I keep african cichlids together with other cichlids and fish in the same tank?

A:Yes and No, african cichlids are very aggressive and any community fish won't survive living with them. You can sometimes keep a catfish and pleco or two, as they are bottom feeders and won't compete for food. Also avoid mixing africans with south american and other cichlids. It can be successfully done, but it is not reccomended. If you are very experienced or think you can make it work, best of luck to you. I advise that you don't, it just simplifies the care of the tank.

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