Friday, 23 January 2009

a more peaceful cichlid setup

i've had cichlids in my fishtank at home now for about 2 months and have learnt a lot. with the little experience i have had with cichlids and what i had read, i thought i could easily change my fishtank from a semi-aggressive community setup to one with similar inhabitants but also with the addition of a couple of species of cichlid. well i was a bit wrong...

my initial interest with american cichlids was not only that they were bigger, more colourful and seemingly much more intelligent. it was their behaviour during breeding that interested me along with the parental care of their young. i really want to witness a breeding pair of cichlids looking after their own fry.

the first thing i did about 3 weeks ago was to take the now obviously smaller ( harassed ) male blue acara back to the pet shop in timperly. the shop still had most of the rainbow cichlids from my previous visit. so i sat in front of their fishtank for about a good 10/15 minutes watching them and trying to discern which were female. the reason for me spending such a long time was because it was almost impossible! they all seemed to look so similar, but i had read that it was particularly tricky to tell the sexes apart with these fish. i picked 2 and took them home.

during the next week i watched the fish quite closely whenever i was able to. it didn't take long for it to dawn on me that this setup was wrong. i had 6 yo-yo loaches and 12 barbs zipping all over the fishtank, creating havoc at feeding time and generally not being conducive to the central american setup i now intended to keep.

i took all 12 barbs and 6 yo-yo loaches back to my still all time favourite shopoasis aquarium in salford and part exchanged them for 8 captive bredcorydoras sterbai. oasis gave me 2/3 of their sale price for the returned fish and i ended up paying £62 (corys) - £38 (barbs+yo-yos) = £24.

3 weeks later and all is well. i am still not certain if any of the rainbow cichlids are female but they never do each other any harm, they just occasionally chase each other out of the way. the remaining acara seems happy enough and never chases the rainbows, if anything the rainbow with red eyes seems to be the owner of the fishtank now. the acara generally swims all over the fishtank pleasing himself. and finally, the corys are fantastic. having 8 of them and watching them form small groups or one big group, especially at feeding time is great as they busily rummage around looking for food and adventure!. :-)

as you can see, the cichlids like the camera. :-)