Guide: Keeping African Cichlids


Cichlids are from the family Cichlidae. This group of fish is among the largest and most diverse vertebrate family in the world. Cichlids originate from the African Rift Lakes: Victoria, Malawi, and Tanganyika.


Why they make great pets:

Africa Cichlids make great pets because they are some of the most colorful freshwater fish that you can keep. They are very active fish and can exhibit very unique personalities. African Cichlids do require a larger tank and filter, as they can reach very large sizes. A minimum of 115 Liter tank is good size to start with for most species of African Cichlids. They are mainly rock dwellers and will require a variety of rock outcrops and caves to feel comfortable. This is also important to keep aggression to a minimum when housing a lot of Cichlids together.


Water parameters and care:

Ammonia: low to 0 ppm

Nitrite: low to 0 ppm

Nitrate: under 20ppm

pH: 7.8 – 9.4

GH: 12 - 20 dH or 200 - 350 GH ppm

Temperature: 21° - 28° C


  • We recommend the use of Seachem Cichlid Lake Salt to set the ideal general hardness level for the species, Seachem Tanganyika Buffer or Malawi/Victoria Buffer to set the ideal pH and Cichlid Trace to replenish important trace elements to their environment.
  • We also recommend the use of Seachem Prime to remove any chlorine and chloramine in the source water.

Additional product choices:

Food: Africa Cichlids are mainly omnivores, but there are a few herbivorous species as well. We recommend feeding Seachem NutriDiet: Cichlid, which provide all of the essential nutrients, as well as, focusing on a high Chlorella Algae content. Chlorella Algae is considered to be a super food and provides an extremely high nutrient content, including enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.  


Additional food choice: Seachem Nutridiet: Chlorella



Water changes can be done as necessary and we recommend that you change at least 20-30% weekly to keep the fish healthy and tank environment free of organic build-up. In addition, Seachem Stability is a great choice for adding a boost to bio-filtration after water changes as well as between water changes. 

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