Fish and other aquatic creatures

Malawian cichlids: content, breeding


The description of the Malawian cichlids should start with the fact that the fish belong to the perch family, and by nature they are not the most benevolent. However, each representative of the underwater world is very individual. There are both very aggressive and slightly territorial cichlids, which may well live with other waterfowl. Malawian cichlids got their name in honor of the habitat.

In nature, cichlids prefer to dwell in the zone of bottom space. Some of them love more spacious parts of the reservoir, while others live closer to the shore.

Bright lighting do not like. Cichlids are fawns, but what is particularly interesting is that many of them carry eggs in the mouth.

Cichlid groups

All species of Malawi cichlids are divided into two large groups. The main difference between these groups is in the type of food and habitat of fish.

One of the groups of fish prefers to live in conditions of rocky rocks and algae. Such Malawian michuna cichlids are called. The main food for this group is vegetation, they also use live food, but only the one that will be found among the very algae.

The cichlid group called “utaka” is more diverse in the choice of place of residence. She is interested in both crevices in the rocks and caves. It can settle in algae, but will prefer those that are deep. Food is mainly protein.

Malawian cichlid species are diverse. There are individuals of various colors and sizes. As previously mentioned, their behavioral features are also individual. Therefore, we propose to consider some popular species of these fish in more detail.

Labidochromis Yellow (mbuna)

This type of cichlid has a bright yellow color, hence the additional "yellow", but this subspecies has other variations of colors. Juveniles are somewhat paler than adults. Females, like males, have a black edging on the fins. Only in males, it is much more pronounced.

Content requirements for Malawian cichlids and general characteristics:

  • The temperature of the water - from 24 to 28 degrees.
  • The acidity of water is from 7.2 to 8.8.
  • Water hardness - from 10 to 20.
  • Aquarium at least 120 liters.
  • Food: live, vegetable or dry food.
  • In nature, they can grow up to 8 cm, and in an aquarium - up to 10 cm.
  • Life expectancy is from 6 to 10 years.
  • Relatively calm temperament, in the neighbors should not be aggressive fish.

Yodotrofeus Sprenger (mbuna)

The colors of these fish vary according to gender. In males, the head and back are yellow-orange, and the body has a lilac-brown color. Females burgundy with a brown tint. Both sexes have calf spots on their hind fins.

Content requirements for Malawian cichlids and general characteristics:

  • The temperature of the water - from 24 to 27 degrees.
  • The acidity of water is from 7.7 to 8.6.
  • Water hardness - from 6 to 10.
  • Aquarium at least 150 liters.
  • Food: live, frozen or dry food with herbal supplements.
  • Can grow up to 10 cm.
  • Life expectancy is from 7 to 8 years.
  • Character calm.

Psevdotrofeus Zebra (mbuna)

These Malawian cichlids are very diverse. Only one zebra has six color options. There are three more subspecies in the pseudotrofeus family. One is called “pendani”, the other is “crabro” and the third “white prince”. But we will consider only the most popular zebra, bright orange color. Aquarists really appreciate it, as it is able to "paint" almost any aquarium.

Content requirements for Malawian cichlids and general characteristics:

  • The temperature of the water - from 25 to 26 degrees.
  • The acidity of water is from 7 to 8.1.
  • Water hardness - from 8 to 25.
  • Aquarium at least 80 liters.
  • Food: specialized food with spirulina.
  • Can grow up to 12 cm.
  • Life expectancy is up to 8 years.
  • Territorial character. That speaks about a generally non-aggressive disposition, but requires a certain personal space.

Melanochromis Meingano (mbuna)

As in the case of psevdotrofeusa, has several types. In addition to “Meingano”, there are “Johann”, “Pearl of the face” and “Golden” melanochrome. But, as in the previous case, we consider the most popular, and this is meingano. This species has a bright contrasting colors. The main background is blue, and the pattern is in the form of stripes of rich black color.

Content requirements for Malawian cichlids and general characteristics:

  • The temperature of the water - from 24 to 27 degrees.
  • The acidity of water is from 7.7 to 8.6.
  • Water hardness - from 10 to 25.
  • Aquarium at least 100 liters.
  • Food: dry food, frozen or live.
  • Can grow up to 9 cm.
  • Life expectancy is up to 9 years.
  • The nature of the problem, aggressive. This is especially evident during the spawning period.

Blue Zirtokar Dolphin

The color is blue, has vertical darkened stripes on the body. A special feature is the rounded shape of the forehead, which makes this representative look like a dolphin. During spawning and sexual activity in males, the frontal part turns yellow.

Content requirements for Malawian cichlids and general characteristics:

  • The temperature of the water - from 24 to 28 degrees.
  • The acidity of water is from 7.2 to 8.5.
  • Water hardness - from 5 to 20.
  • Aquarium of at least 200 liters! This is very important, as the fish are territorial. Additionally, the aquarium should have a cover.
  • Food: dry food, live and vegetable.
  • Able to grow in nature to 25 cm, in aquarium conditions - from 15 to 20 cm.
  • Life expectancy is up to 15 years.
  • Character calm, but territorial. Neighbors will suit your species or other balanced cichlids.

General content options

It should be noted that the majority of Malawian cichlids live in the ratio of one male and several females. And one species. This should be considered when filling the aquarium. One male, depending on the specific species, needs from two to four females.

The maintenance of Malawian cichlids provides for the presence of a good filter in the aquarium, and you also need to organize a good aeration. In this sense, the care of all cichlids is the same.

Most of the representatives of these fish need to "design" the aquarium. This is due to their lifestyle in natural conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to have an abundance of vegetation, various sills and stone-lined caves. And the more fish you have, the more items should be listed in the "interior".

The protein menu of fish usually consists of artemia, cyclops, corets, krills and music. It is possible to give these products both in dry and ice cream, and in a live form. You can supplement the diet with feeds containing spirulina. Granulated feeds require prior maceration.

As for the choice of vegetation for food, you can use the following products: lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, red pepper, dandelion greens, nettles, pumpkin.

How many fish to settle in an aquarium?

The population density of the aquarium depends on the size of the fish and their nature, as well as on the size of the aquarium itself. Consider the specific volume of the aquarium and its ratio to the number of cichlids.

Aquariums from 100 liters to 250 are suitable for small species of Malawian cichlids. Up to 20 fish can be accommodated per 100-150 liters. In the aquarium 150-250 liters permissible to inhabit 30 small cichlids.

The population density for an aquarium is 250-300 liters - no more than 60 fish. For 300-400 liters - no more than 80. For a volume above 400 liters, the population density is from 100 pieces.

It is necessary to clarify when buying a cichlid their features. Especially in part of the territory. For some you need more space, but for others - less.

Cichlids: description

Outwardly, these underwater inhabitants are very diverse. Their bodies may have an elongated torpedo-shaped form, such as, for example, in predators - African lepidiolamprologists and American krenicichl. But severum, scalar and discus distinguished by tall and flattened bodies. They live in reservoirs with a sufficient number of plants among clusters of branches and coastal plexuses of roots.

Their separating color helps them to hide - vertical black stripes that reproduce the change of shadow and light. But the colorful, conspicuous color of certain African cichlids allows them to notice and recognize the enemy from afar - the male of their breed or the female (the tone of both individuals is quite different).

When excited, most varieties of fish can almost instantly change the shade: it becomes beautiful, contrasting, specks and stripes appear. The same is observed during spawning: females of nannakar greens are painted in a patterned black color with a chess ornament, and females of some apistograms take on an expressive yellow color.

What breeds are there

The types of Malawian cichlids are very diverse and they are divided into two groups: mbuna and utaka.

The first category includes samples choosing coastal terrain. They feed on small invertebrates, however, the main share of the diet is algae. Fish have a rather unusual shape of the mouth, which they specifically use to easily strip off algal layers from stones. But if in the diet of cichlids is the main animal food, it can lead to obesity or lead to a loss of the ability to reproduce.

Fish of the second type are larger. They can reach a length of 17-20 cm. They prefer more spacious areas for enhanced hunting. Utaki are much better adapted to swimming than mbuni. The tone of the females is unattractive and inconspicuous, as a rule, gray shades and small transverse lines. Malawian cichlids feed on 80% of food of animal origin.

Melanochromis Auratus

Considered the most popular species in Lake Malawi. It is distributed everywhere and does not have richly developed color variants. In nature, it does not exceed in size more than 10 cm. The color of females and males differs markedly. Males are almost black with a delicate pink longitudinal stripe that extends from tail to head in body length. In females on amber-yellow color, there are two diametral lines: one in the middle of the body, and the other in the surface part of the body. Fish eat everything, but when feeding you need to pay more attention to vegetable food, as animals are prone to protein intoxication as a result of overeating animal food.

Melanochromis johanna

These are the most popular aquarium cichlids, distinguished by a fantastically elegant yellow-orange shade. With the advent of puberty, males completely change their tone, becoming blue-black with two expressive azure stripes along the body. Males are slightly larger than females and are distinguished by more pronounced spots, similar to eggs in the anal fin zone. Their dimensions in the natural environment do not exceed 8 cm.

Aulonokara Maleri

Among fans from around the world, such cichlids have several names - “Orange Auloncar”, “Yellow Peacock” or “Solar Bird”. Fish are found on the islands of Namandzhi, Maleri, Chidung and many others. Males are medium-sized, up to 9.5 cm. The size of “giants” can reach up to 13 cm, however they form a small natural population. Females of gray, characteristic for all Aulonokar color, are 3-4 cm smaller than males.

Haplochromis Borle

Malawian cichlids of this species are generally considered to be almost the most luxurious fish. Species distinguishes orange-red body color behind the gill covers. Males outside the spawning stage are covered with 3 oval dark spots on the body, which are placed diagonally. Haplokhromisy grow to 15 cm, females a little smaller.

Malawian Cichlids Content

For their existence, it is desirable to have an aquarium with a minimum volume of 150 liters, so that the animals feel comfort in their home. Water must be purified and clear. In aquatic inhabitants, 30% of the amount of water is required every week, as they are extremely sensitive to changes in its size. And the water will be better to pre-defend. It is imperative to have strong aeration and filtration. The best water temperature is 23-25 ​​degrees. The total hardness is 4-8 degrees, and the pH level is 8-8.5.

Relief involves a large number of shelters, for example, shells. Also, aquarium cichlids like to dig in the ground (it should not be very low, but not large). Therefore, when using algae in an aquarium, it is necessary to take care that they are with a strong root system, or you can simply overlay them with pebbles.

Eating fish will also not be difficult: they eat frozen, live and dry food for Malawian cichlids.

How to breed fish

Many species of this breed are not monogamous, they do not have regular partners, and the male can spawn with different females. But some individuals, on the contrary, find a mate for themselves and always spawn together in the future.

Fish are raised by laying eggs in holes dug in the soil, on plants or stones. The peculiarity of the breeding of cichlids is their peculiarity to bear eggs (sometimes fry) in the mouth. This method leads to the fact that most females are not able to refrain from eating in aquarium conditions, and they swallow or spit their eggs. However, many of them harass themselves by exhaustion, but still create offspring.

It is possible to find out whether Malawian cichlids are suitable for breeding by the presence of a 2-3 mm anal hump, which in the female, ready for spawning, is in the form of a truncated cone, and in the male - pointed. The female lays from 3 to 8 eggs at a time, while the male instantly fertilizes them. The total number of eggs of diverse varieties varies. Usually fry hatch after 2-4 days.

Watching for caviar and fry can both female and male cumulatively. There were cases when young parents ate the first laying of caviar.

By and large, it can be noted that the breeding of such extraordinarily beautiful underwater creatures is a rather complicated process, and not even all aquarists succeed. But you can still try to try your luck in breeding these wonderful fish.

What are malawian cichlid diseases?

Any living creatures are exposed to pathogens or other parasites. Our cichlids cannot be an exception. If you see a fish swimming on its side or upside down, this may mean inflammation of the swim bladder. Careless handling during transportation, fights between males, and various infections lead to such a disease. All fish that looks suspicious or already sick, it is better to put in quarantine. Here you need to keep some time and all the copies just bought. We list the common diseases of cichlids:

  • ichthyophthiriosis,
  • Malawi disease,
  • argued
  • hexamitosis,
  • lerney,
  • odinosis,
  • fin rot,
  • bug-eyed
  • various intestinal parasites.

What to feed Malawian cichlids?

When buying fish, ask the seller well what feed they are best adapted to - dry, canned or live. Mbuna feed on vegetation, grow up to 12 cm, and have a bright motley color. But utaka eat food of animal origin, and can reach 20 cm in length. Often these fish can attack even their small relatives. If you start feeding cichlids with uncharacteristic food for them, then this practice can lead to undesirable consequences.

Food must be fresh and be of such size that it is easily swallowed. "Malawians" can be offered cyclops, daphnia or artemia. The latter is suitable for both fry and small cichlids. Lovers of plant foods can be treated with scalded pieces of lettuce, nettle or spinach. Some of the predators indulge in young guppies or small fish of another species if you accidentally have an excess of such live material.

Breeding rules

Malawian cichlids do not differ in monogamy, the male is simultaneously able to spawn with several
females Although there are individuals who choose a mate for life. Females lay their eggs on a flat rock or in a previously prepared nest. Caviar and fry in the mouth. Determining whether fish are ready to breed in an aquarium is simple - the male's anal fin becomes sharp, and in the female it becomes conical.

The number of caviar in all species is different, depending on the age and water conditions. Usually the larvae of fry appear in 2-4 days. Producers take care of offspring, sometimes the female and the male fight for supremacy over offspring, arranging disputes and fights. In this case, the male or female is deposited from the spawning. Also during the spawning period in the general aquarium, hybridization of species is possible. Hybrid offspring does not have such a bright color.

Malawian cichlid compatibility

There are many compatibility tables for aquarium fish. But you need to understand that many factors affect the behavior of these beautiful creatures - the size of the tank, its design, the type of food, even the water temperature. Цихлиды могут уживаться с другими рыбками, особенно если они не слишком отличаются от них своими размерами. Но «малавийцы» предпочитают контролировать территорию, и драки между обитателями вашего аквариума почти неизбежны. Чем можно снизить агрессию? Лучше всего в новый аквариум запускать всех своих цихлид сразу. Если делать это поэтапно, то старожилы могут набрасываться на новичков.Also in this case, an important role is played by various shelters - snags, stones, shells. Each inhabitant will find a shelter for themselves if they wish, and wait out a dangerous period.

Behavioral features of the family Cichlidae

Peculiar and attractive behavior of these representatives of the underwater fauna. Sociable and active in nature cichlids are in constant motion, using the entire space of the aquarium.

Their activity increases in proportion to the increase in hunger. In pursuit of a portion of food, they arrange a real race and can absorb in a moment everything that is offered to them, although such greed does not benefit them.

Some species of fish are very developed hunting skills:

  • livinqstonii, buried in the sand, pretends to be lifeless, thereby luring prey,
  • compresessips, possessing a narrow and strongly flattened body, is not very noticeable for other inhabitants of the reservoir, which allows it to approach the prey unnoticed,
  • copadichromis, having a mouth in the shape of a tube, is able to easily pull in plankton like a vacuum pump.

Attractive for aquarists cichlid intelligence. They are able to recognize their master and demonstrate peculiar social behavior.

So almost all varieties of this family developed parental care for offspring. Aquarium fish cichlids carefully guard their laying, take care of the larvae and fry. Specifically, the Malawian species of fish are carrying clutches in their mouths, hatching fry per minute of danger is found in the parents' throat sack. Therefore, with a relatively small number of eggs in these fish, their survival rate is quite high.

Appearance and varieties of cichl

The cichlid family (Cichlidae) is counted in more than a thousand species. In the majority of water depth ichthy habitants there are two pairs of nostrils, and in cichlids there is only one, which is their characteristic difference.

In addition, they have a somewhat elongated dorsal fin, the first rays of which are tough, like the anal fins of small fishes.

If we consider tsikhlovyhs in general, they are very diverse both in appearance and in lifestyle and behavior. However, they are all brightly colored, and delight their owners with an enchanting festive look.

Malawian cichlids at the local level are divided into two main groups:

  • mbuna,
  • utaka, due to their morphological originality, as well as food preferences.

The first group includes herbivorous fish, the basis of the diet of which consists of algal fouling. If you try to change the nutrition of these pets for a live version of the feed, then this will lead to their obesity and inability to multiply. The mbuna group includes:

  • labidochromis,
  • pseudotroheuses,
  • melanochromism.

Fish of the utaka group prefer live food, they can use their relative as well. These include:

Peculiarities of keeping and breeding Malawian cichlids

For a comfortable life, Malawi fish need a large - from 150 liters - aquarium with clear water, which needs to be updated by a third weekly, after allowing it to stand. It is equally important to subject water to powerful aeration and filtration, cichlids very much need oxygen. Also important for them are other parameters of aquarium water:

  • temperature - 24-26 ° C,
  • stiffness - 4-8,
  • pH level - 8.

Home décor decor should combine a large number of shelters in the form of grottoes, shells and other things. When planting plants, it is necessary to take into account the predilection of Malawian fish for digging up the soil. The roots of greenery should be protected by larger stones.

Depending on the type of cichlids they are fed with plant or live food. What to feed a particular species, you can ask the seller.

Readiness for reproduction of cichlidae is determined by the anal tubercle. In the male, ready for spawning, it is sharp, in the female - truncated cone-shaped. At the same time, the female breeds 3-8 eggs each, which are immediately fertilized by the male. Larvae appear after 2-4 days.

Laying care is carried out by both parents and one female. There are frequent cases of eating caviar by new parents. In general, the breeding of Malawi cichlids is a painstaking process that requires experience and skills.

With all the laboriousness of the process of keeping these fish, with their external attractiveness, well-defined social and social behavior, touching care for their offspring and high intelligence, they have won the love of many amateur aquarists.