African Cichlids
African Cichlid Tank maintenance

Tank cleaning/water changes etc. are very important. Without them your fish would die very soon from polluted water. For giving your tank a water change you should have the following equipment:

  • Gravel Cleaner
  • Large Bucket
  • Towel
  • Toothbrush or algae scrubber
  • Some kind of chlorine neutralizer
  • And any other elements that you add to the tap water such as Ph up etc.

I first make sure the power is turned off. I then take off the hoods and scrub the algae off the glass and rocks with the toothbrush. Make sure to do this before you clean the gravel, because when the cleaning the gravel you suck up the algae instead of it just staying in the tank. I always put a towel under the bucket that will hold the water getting siphoned out of the tank, just in case anything slops over it will fall onto the towel and not the carpet.(This ensures you don't get in trouble with parents or spouses, I learned the hard way)

When cleaning the gravel make sure you don't clean all the gravel unless you have a ten gallon or smaller. Other wise you will suck out all the good bacteria and you will overload your biological filter. So only clean sections of it, I clean 1/4 of the gravel in my tank at one time. Also never replace the filter cartridge at the same time as a water change. Some bacteria lives in the filter and you could overload your bio filter by doing both at the same time.

What a good idea to do is with your removed fish water is to pour it into your garden, there is a lot of nutrients in the water, it acts like fertilizer. Also when you rinse out your filter cartridge never rinse it out under tap water, instead take some water from your tank and rinse it out in that. if you did it under the tap the chlorine would kill the bacteria in the filter.

When putting water back into the tank make sure to add chlorine neutralizer to the water to remove it, otherwise you could poison your fish. Remember to add it before you put the water in, to give it time to act and mix in. Also try to get the Ph and tempature as close as possible to your tank water before putting in, to minimize any shock the fish have. When pouring the water into the tank put your hand underneath the stream of water as you pour, so you don't stir up all your gravel. These tips and info should help you maintain a healthy happy fish tank.

Frequency of Changes*

Size of Tank 1-4 Fish 5-7 Fish More than 7 How often How often
75+ G 10% 15% 20% every fourth week for 1-7 fish every third week for more than 7 fish
45-55 G 10% 15% 20% every third week for 1-7 fish every secondweek for more than 7 fish
30-45 G 10% 15% 20% every third week for 1-7 fish every second week for more than 7 fish
15-29 G 15% 20% 25% every third week for 1-7 fish every second week for more than 7 fish
15 G & under 20% 30% 40% every second week every week

*based on adult fish