African cichlids: species diversity, description and content in the aquarium
It is pleasant to have an aquarium in the house as a part of wildlife, and it is doubly joyful when it is inhabited by unusual and exotic fish, shimmering with bright colors. Very widespread and very diverse are African cichlids, which differ in size, shape and spectacular appearance.
The birthplace of fish
All the representatives of the family Tsikhlov live in the Great African Lakes, including Kivu, Albert, Eduard, Rudolph, Nyasa, Tanganyika and Victoria (listed by the area's increase). The inhabitants of the last two reservoirs were best studied, where they occupied all ecological niches that can be accessed by fish. In another African lake - Malawi - they number about 500 species.
The total number of these unusual and bright fish is 1500 species. It is known that they all descended from one ancestor, a rapid divergence (10 million years) contributed to modern diversity. According to the latest data, in Lake Victoria, African cichlids are represented by 200 species, all of which differ in food preferences and morphological features. This is an amazing fact. Especially considering the fact that the lake was formed 400 thousand years ago and for such active speciation, a longer period and isolation of populations from each other is needed. Aquarists fish are attracted not only by their external beauty, but also by amusing behavior, ingenuity, it is believed that they are able to recognize their master.
African Cichlids: description
This is a fairly massive fish with a high body, compressed from the sides, and a large head, on which males with age form a fat "pillow". The anal and dorsal fin are elongated along the trunk, in many species sexual dimorphism is observed. Sizes range from 5 to 70 cm, in particular African tilapia reaches up to half a meter in length. For home content, they are interesting for their bright tropical beauty. It is believed that these are typical predators, which is fundamentally wrong. With the right selection of the species, you can easily and without problems populate them with other fish. They are long-lived and even in captivity can be kept for up to 25 years.
There is every reason to think that African cichlids had a common omnivore or insectivorous ancestor. In the end, they evolved and developed a very narrow specification, each species occupied a certain alimentary niche: mollusks, algae, plankton, insects, other fish or their scales, etc. This division allowed to coexist with a large number of individuals together, while preserving the richest variety. This fact can not be ignored when keeping cichlids in a home aquarium. However, he will not give you any special difficulties.
African cichlids: content
Lake cichlids are very decorative, one of their advantages is a quick adaptation to new habitats. They are not exacting to the fodder base, they are resistant to diseases, they are not exacting to the water temperature and are capable of reproduction in the environment in which they live. One of the main features - poor tolerance of acidic medium and soft water, they should provide pH = 7.0-5.8, the temperature should be kept at + 25 ° C. In nature, in natural habitats, water remains unchanged, so fish do not tolerate temperature fluctuations, moreover, for individual representatives of Lake Tanganyika, the temperature rise above 30 ° C is fatal.
The obligatory attribute of the aquarium, in which the African cichlids live, is its decoration with decorative elements. So, it is recommended to build an imitation of natural rock rocks, with corridors and caves. Best of all, if such a design will be located at the rear wall of the aquarium at its full height. Limestone and marble are allowed. Plants are not planted, but you can add oak, lemongrass, to the interior. And here to get green algae follows, moreover, it is necessary to give them to plaive stones and lateral walls of a vessel. To organic pollutants cichlids are sensitive, so it is necessary to put a carbon filter, change the water regularly, but not more than 10% per week of the total volume.
List all the types of fish that are contained in aquariums, within the framework of one article is impossible, we will only focus your attention on several.
- The Princess of Burundi is the inhabitant of Fr. Tanganyika, is considered insectivorous. It differs in jumping, so it is recommended to cover the aquarium with glass. African cichlids (photo above) of this species are characterized by a noble sand color with a blue tinge and gold "earrings" on the gill covers. For full-fledged content you need a flock of 6-10 individuals.
- The Blue Dolphin. Adult fish of characteristic color, males with large fatty growth on the forehead. It is one of the largest representatives of cichlids and even if kept in an aquarium it can grow up to 25 cm in length. By nature, a calm and balanced fish, peacefully adjacent to other species.
- Melanochromis Johansa - small fish up to 10 cm in size with a clear sexual dimorphism. Males are black-blue with light blue stripes or spots (second photo), females - yellow-orange. Very mobile, omnivorous.
- Hummingbird - dwells in the lake of Malawi, a rare species, but thanks to breeders it is common in aquariums. Has a characteristic canary-yellow color, anal and dorsal fin with a blue stripe. For breeding, you need a couple and an aquarium of at least 80 liters volume.
- Queen Tanganyika - spectacular and bright blue fish with dark stripes (on the first photo). They grow to 35 cm in length, males with an impressive forehead, are characterized by a sedate and measured behavior, interesting features of character and ingenuity. Favorite food - snails, the main food - squid, fish fillet, shrimp.