Cichlid Aquarium Ideas: Tips to Make Your Aquarium Safe and Beautiful

African cichlids are one of the most popular fish you can keep in your aquarium due to their beauty and easy care. Some cichlids love to swim around tight spaces, providing plenty of hiding spots. With that said, there are various requirements and ideas that you can do for their aquatic tank. In addition to hiding spots, these cichlids have plants and rocks to climb on. Provide regular food and water, and you’re good to go!

Tank Requirements for African Cichlid

Cichlid aquariums are a popular choice for fish enthusiasts all over the world. They add life and color to aquariums and are a great way to invest in an aquarium. Not only that, but cichlid rocks come in many different shapes and sizes to find the perfect rock for your tank. 

Like all fish, African cichlids require particular care to thrive. Make sure to keep your tank clean and sparkling, and provide them with a diet of live aquatic foods. Additionally, add some plants to your tank if you’d like. Just be sure not to overdo it – cichlids need plenty of space to swim around!

Tank Size

A good rule of thumb is to get an aquarium for African cichlids at least 20 gallons in size. You will also need to add plant life to the tank for the cichlids to feed on. This includes plenty of floating plants, algae wafers, and live rocks. Make sure you provide enough hiding spots for your cichlid fish – these creatures like caves and crevices where they can dissimulate (hide). 

Water Requirements

Freshwater cichlids, like most fish, require a lot of water. For example, a tank for cichlids should have at least 20 gallons per fish – more if the cichlids are larger. Overfeeding your cichlids will only make them fat and slow down their growth. They also prefer softer water with an acidic pH level – you can achieve this by regularly using a good aquarium salt mix or adding vinegar to the tank.

Water Temp And pH Levels

You should keep the pH level between 7.4-7.9, and it’s always best to consult with a fish expert before making any changes to ensure your cichlids are adapting well and aren’t experiencing any adverse effects resulting from these adjustments. It’s also important to keep an eye on plants in your tank – if they grow too tall, they may obstruct views of your fish and negatively affect their health overall.

Filtration Requirements

Keeping your cichlids healthy and happy requires proper filtration. To ensure good water quality, it is essential to change the water regularly – up to 15% every week is ideal. In addition to that, a filter with a high turnover rate will remove waste quickly. An appropriate substrate like gravel or crushed coral can be used as the bottom layer of your aquarium’s tank, providing plenty of places for fish to hide and swim. 

African cichlids are particularly fussy about their water conditions and require a lot of movement to feel comfortable – making good filtration an essential part of keeping them healthy!


Plants are a great addition to any cichlid tank, and African cichlid tanks are perfect. Various types of plants can be added, including ferns and java mosses. To keep your plant collection looking fresh, try adding a weekly dose of gravel cleaner. 

Be sure to add some rocks or pieces of wood for the cichlids to grip so they don’t get dizzy in the water column. African cichlid tanks are an excellent option for plants because they require little to no care, making them an easy choice for beginner cichlid enthusiasts.

Rock Work

Cichlid aquariums are a great way to show off your aquarium hobby, and adding rock work is a great way to make it even more special. You should place rocks and plants along the surface of the aquarium to give cichlids places to explore. For example, consider adding a spotlight to brighten up your tank at night, and add an airstone and bubbling fountain to create a natural environment for your cichlids. 

Avoid using sharp or jagged stones, as they can easily injure your fish. Instead, aim for small stones not to be a nuisance but big enough to provide adequate hiding places. Be sure to choose rocks with the right color and shape for your fish and the aquarium water type. Make sure the rocks you choose are compatible with your fish and tank setup.

One rock work option for cichlids is to use caves, crevices, or other areas where they can hide and feel safe. If you’re looking for more ideas, look at our cichlid aquariums page!


Cichlid aquariums are a great way to add excitement and color to your home aquarium. However, choosing a suitable substrate can take time and effort. Here are some tips to help you choose the suitable substrate for your cichlids: 

  • Always check with your local water authority before adding new substrate to your tank, as some may harm aquatic life! 
  • Mud or clay pellets are a suitable substrate for cichlids because they break down and provide the perfect environment for your fish to thrive over time. 
  • Pellets will break down and provide the perfect environment for your fish to thrive over time. 
  • Please do not use any household cleaners on your cichlid aquarium because they can cause health problems.

Types of African Cichlids for Aquariums

As one of the 12 cichlid families, cichlids come in various colors and sizes. They’re also one of the most diversified fish families, meaning they’re experts at eating various foods. Some common cichlid species include the Mbuna, Malawi Cichlid, and Amani Cichlid, all of which make great pets in an aquarium. 

Lake Malawi Cichlids

Lake Malawi cichlids are some of the most popular freshwater fish in the aquarium hobby. They come from lake Malawi and have a lot in common with their African cichlid tank mates. These fish thrive best when kept in small aquariums that can hold no more than 10 gallons apiece – making them perfect for beginner aquarists. 

Although they require regular water changes, these cichlids are easy to take care of and do not need any special dietary attention aside from being supplemented with algae wafers or brine shrimp every once in a while.

Lake Victoria Cichlids

Lake Victoria cichlids are some of the aquariums’ most colorful and entertaining fish. They are famous for their flashy colors and playful nature. These fish can be kept in various water conditions, including hard water – making them adaptable species that can thrive in many different settings. 

Lake Tanganyika Cichlids

These fish originate from Lake Tanganyika in Africa and are known for their peaceful temperament and excellent swimming ability. They can live up to 10 years, making them a long-term investment. A well-behaved cichlid aquarium will delight anyone who loves fish – making it the perfect addition to any home!