Cichlids can be exciting and rewarding fish to raise. However, their needs differ significantly from those of other freshwater fish; to ensure their wellbeing and happiness they must be kept in an aquarium specifically tailored for their health and happiness. As young cichlids tend to be very aggressive towards other young ones they must also have enough protection in place from an aquarium to keep them calm - creating an attractive yet healthy habitat is relatively straightforward!
At first, a cichlid tank must be large enough. Tank size will depend on what kind of cichlids you intend to raise; most require at least 55 gallons for proper care and exercise. This gives them plenty of room to swim freely around their environment without feeling constrained, while providing space for multiple species without risking territorial disputes or aggressive behavior from one fish in particular.
An effective cichlid aquarium design should go beyond tank size to include an adequate filtration system. Since these aquariums often produce waste, using a filter that processes at least five times the volume of water per hour will help ensure clean and oxygenated water for their wellbeing.
Next, your aquarium must include the appropriate substrate and decorations. Since cichlids like to dig, including a layer of sand in the tank will give them somewhere to excavate while helping keep water clean and healthy. Furthermore, decorative rocks or driftwood for hiding spots is ideal as these species tend to establish territories quickly. Lastly, adding plants as decorative accents adds color and texture into an already vibrant ecosystem.