Details of all species referred to in these Fish Care Sheets can be found in the FBAS Booklet No 6 - National Show Fish Sizes. Click HERE for information.
Rift Valley Cichlids 01/02/2001
Species: Too numerous to list. Approx 60 genera containing 650 species.
Geographic Origin: Lakes Malawi, Tanganyika & Victoria.
Common Names: Mbuna (Malawi) Rift Lake Cichlids.
Compatibility: Should not generally be kept with small fish e.g. Tetras.
In some cases, they cannot be kept with one another.
If considering purchasing these cichlids, we recommend that you
consult specialist books on the subject.
Minimum Aquarium Size: The small Tanganyika cichlids e.g. Julidochromis and
Neolamprologus species, can be kept in 600mm x
380mm x 300mm (24" x 15" x 12") aquaria as a
single species. Similarly, the 'shell-dwelling'
Lamprologus need only modest accommodation.
If considering setting up a 'community' tank of
Malawi or Tanganyika cichlids, then considerably
larger tanks are required.
Temperature: 23o/27oC 73o/81oF, is considered to be ideal, some fluctuation
is normal in nature.
Habitat: Gravel substrate with plenty of rockwork. These fish need plenty of
places to hide and to establish their own territory.
Water Parameters : Prefer a hard water environment in most cases.
Excessive water changes should be avoided.
Health: Generally do not have too many health problems. Damage to fish due to
territorial disputes may have to be treated.
Diet: Most cichlids will accept the whole range of foods.
Some are algae grazers so will probably require algae tablets as part of
their diet. Do not over feed - problems of pollution can occur when food
enters cracks in rockwork and remains uneaten.
Plants: Plants that are firmly attached to rockwork will survive (e.g. Anubias
nana). Only plants that are large and firmly rooted will not be
vulnerable to the digging actions of the tank inhabitants.
Breeding Notes : Spawning methods include egg-depositing (often in caves or
empty shells) and mouthbrooding. Some species raise
successive broods without problems.
Availability: Very wide range of specimens available including many colour
variants based on specific geographical locations.
Research into the species desired (and their compatibility with
other fish) is highly recommended.
Show Class: FBAS show Class Dc.
© FBAS 2001. PWC/RDE Fish Care Sheet 9 1/1