5 Best South American Cichlids for Beginners

Cichlids are a type of tropical fish that have over 2,000 species and considered as one of the largest families among other species of fish. If you consider including cichclidae in your tank, you should start with the easiest species and work your way toward more difficult species. Cichlids can be difficult to care for because they are aggressive, grow quickly and need specific water parameters to survive.

But fear not, cichlids can be temperamental but most species are very easy to care for. Below we discuss the 5 South American species of Cichlids that are absolutely perfect for the begineer. These species can be kept together, however cichlids are territorial and should be monitored constantly to ensure aggression is minimised. It is always best to add the fish to the aquarium at the same time or restructure the aquarium upon adding new cichlids. This allows the fish to spread out and determine their own territories in the aquarium and greatly reduce the chance of conflict.

Below we discus the easiest South American cichlids to keep in the aquarium. Cichlids are often broken up into South American and South African varieties. The two should never be kept together as this greatly increases the probability of agression.

South American Cichclids can be found in Colombia and Chile. They live in different types of water, but they tend to thrive in in acidic to neutral water.

You can even find South American cichlids in brackish water that is partly saltwater and fresh water. They are considered as tropical fish due to the warmer temperatures of these climates and are often spotted closer to the equator. Most Cichlids are carnivores but will regularly enjoy a diet of omnivorous flakes and mixed foods. These are recommended and will aid in the coloration of your South American Cichlids.

1. Cockatoo Cichlid

A native from Amazon River Basin, this species can live in a dimly lit tank with water of 5.0 to 7.0 pH. The water temperature should be 75-80F, and the tank should be filled with 20 gallon of water for a pair of rams. The Cockatoo cichlid has a stunning red-orange fin that runs down its back. Its a beautiful and easy cichlid to keep.

The Cockatoo cichlid is generally quite easy to source in the LFS but may have to be purchased from other hobbyists in some parts of the world. It is often described to look like the more common Kribensis Cichlid but with a flame orange fin set.

1. Electric Blue Jack Dempsey

A native from Amazon River Basin, this species can live in a dimly lit tank with water of 5.0 to 7.0 pH. The water temperature should be 75-80F, and the tank should be filled with 20 gallon of water for a pair of rams. The Cockatoo cichlid has a stunning red-orange fin that runs down its back. Its a beautiful and easy cichlid to keep.

The Cockatoo cichlid is generally quite easy to source in the LFS but may have to be purchased from other hobbyists in some parts of the world. It is often described to look like the more common Kribensis Cichlid but with a flame orange fin set.

2. Severum

It can be found at the Amazon, and it grows from 5 to 10” long. They thrive in water with lower pH and can live along with small tetras, Oscars and arowanas. If you’ll keep a pair of severums, you should have 75 gallon tank.

3. German Blue Ram

This species is a native of Orinoco River Basin. It is considered as dwarf cichlid because it only grows 2” long. A pair of German Blue Rams would thrive in an aquarium of at least 15 gallons of water. They should be housed either female only or a single pair of female and a male. This will avoid conflict in the group and reduce the possibility of fin-nipping (Blue Rams have beautiful decorative fins).

4. Rainbow cichlids

These species have intense colors and adults are more beautiful than the young ones. The rainbow cichlids grow up to 7” long and can live in higher pH and temperature of water as they naturally live in the wild.

5. Blue Acara

The blue acara is very common in Venezuela as well as in Trinidad and Tobago. They don’t grow longer, but they can destroy live plants and are also active diggers.

Swordtail Fish – Diet, Care and Breeding

Overview


The swordtail is a very popular species of aquarium fish and it’s a great choice for the beginner aquarist. This is because it is tolerant to a range of conditions and has a very peaceful temperament. As the name suggests swordtails have a long, thin, elongated lower tail. Swordtails are livebearers, meaning they will give birth to live fry instead of eggs. Swordtails readily breed when kept in an aquarium of mixed sex, requiring little intervention. The young are very easy to rear and can be raised in the same aquarium as the adults.
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The Best LED Lights for Growing Coral in the Marine Aquarium

LED Lighting Overview

LED Lighting has become very popular in the marine aquarium. The best LED lights for growing coral have higher wattage and improved functionality over cheaper LED fixtures. LED technology improved significantly over the last decade, 2017 has some great LED options for the coral hobbyist.

Gone are the days of hot and expensive Halide lighting that required frequent bulb changes. Spectrum and intensity are often adjusted via a remote control. LED’s have won the marine coral lighting war for three main reasons:

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Using two heaters in the Aquarium

using more than one heater

An aquarium heater is necessary for keeping almost any tropical fish. It is becoming a popular practice to use two aquarium heaters rather than just one. There are many species of marine and freshwater fish that live in warmer climates of the world.

 

The Amazon and the Great Barrier Reef are two locations in which the water temperature rarely falls below 25 degrees. Aquarium heaters replicate these environments. However, using a single heater is never recommended. Using two heaters in the aquarium have a number of advantages.

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3 Ways to Naturally Increase Aquarium pH

How to Increase Aquarium pH Naturally

The aquarium pH is key to a functioning healthy environment. Different species of fish thrive in different ranges of pH. Cichlids, marine fish and growing spirulina need higher pH to function and remain healthy. Sometimes tap water is not at the appropriate pH level required for keeping these fish. Many hobbyists immediately jump to use commercial additives, however these more often than not have a short term effect.

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