African Cichlid Tank Decor

Gareth9113

New Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
7
Points
3
So I have a 40 gallon bow front African cichlid (mbuna) tank. This is my first time owning African cichlid, (I've owned south american). So I have 10 juvi mbunas, and I am wondering is it smarter to add a ton of rocks or only a few? I know with S.A. cichlids its smarter to add a lot of hiding places so they feel more comfortable, but that's why I got rid of my S.A.'s is because they just hide the whole time. So is it going to be the same way? Or should I just add like one or two hiding spots that way they cant claim territory? Is there a fish that can live with mbunas and that it out a lot (to encourage them to come out)? Let me know, and sorry for the long post!
 

Momgoose56

Fishlore VIP
Messages
4,720
Reaction score
2,768
Points
283
Location
Arizona
Experience
More than 10 years
So I have a 40 gallon bow front African cichlid (mbuna) tank. This is my first time owning African cichlid, (I've owned south american). So I have 10 juvi mbunas, and I am wondering is it smarter to add a ton of rocks or only a few? I know with S.A. cichlids its smarter to add a lot of hiding places so they feel more comfortable, but that's why I got rid of my S.A.'s is because they just hide the whole time. So is it going to be the same way? Or should I just add like one or two hiding spots that way they cant claim territory? Is there a fish that can live with mbunas and that it out a lot (to encourage them to come out)? Let me know, and sorry for the long post!
Plenty of rock caves, crevasses and hidey holes plus a flat open sandy area, with some sightline breaks (wood and tall or stacked rock). Mbuna are more aggressive than some of the other Africans so do your research and get Mbunas of similar adult size and temperment. I have an odd African tank (I broke the rules somewhat) with Mbuna, Haps and Peacocks. Here's how I did my 'rock cave' area on one end, left some small sandy spots, and even stuck some plants (anchored with lava rock) in there. One thing, African cichlids move substrate a LOT. So be sure to put rock and other heavy base objects directly on the floor of the tank before adding sand or gravel. Cichlids will move sand and gravel, mouthful by mouthful and can cause rock and objects to shift and fall in the tank.
20190504_235842.jpg
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
OP
G

Gareth9113

New Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
7
Points
3
Plenty of rock caves, crevasses and hidey holes plus a flat open sandy area, with some sightline breaks (wood and tall or stacked rock). Mbuna are more aggressive than some of the other Africans so do your research and get Mbunas of similar adult size and temperment. I have an odd African tank (I broke the rules somewhat) with Mbuna, Haps and Peacocks. Here's how I did my 'rock cave' area on one end, left some small sandy spots, and even stuck some plants (anchored with lava rock) in there. One thing, African cichlids move substrate a LOT. So be sure to put rock and other heavy base objects directly on the floor of the tank before adding sand or gravel. Cichlids will move sand and gravel, mouthful by mouthful and can cause rock and objects to shift and fall in the tank. View attachment 554059
Thank you for the response, now I know they love there sand XD my little guys are completely changed how the tank looks, haha, are these guys onna act like S.A. cichlids? (like hide most of the time)
 

Lajos

Valued Member
Messages
194
Reaction score
65
Points
38
Mbuna are bold, aggressive and active fish and probably one of the best fish that often come to the front of the tank to watch you. And they won't hide from you.

What SA fish that you kept in the past? If you provide hiding places and dithers fish, you will definitely see you SA fish more often. Some SA fish will require more of their same species for them to be less timid.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
OP
G

Gareth9113

New Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
7
Points
3
Mbuna are bold, aggressive and active fish and probably one of the best fish that often come to the front of the tank to watch you. And they won't hide from you.

What SA fish that you kept in the past? If you provide hiding places and dithers fish, you will definitely see you SA fish more often. Some SA fish will require more of their same species for them to be less timid.
Well with the mbunas two of them come to the front but the rest 8 just hide, like one of them I thought jumped out of the tank and died because I didn't see him for 3 days! My fish just disappear most of the time. Now I do have white sand and bright lights, so is it just too bright for them? Now with my S.A. cichlids I had a juvi Jack Dempsey
 

Lajos

Valued Member
Messages
194
Reaction score
65
Points
38
Well with the mbunas two of them come to the front but the rest 8 just hide, like one of them I thought jumped out of the tank and died because I didn't see him for 3 days! My fish just disappear most of the time. Now I do have white sand and bright lights, so is it just too bright for them? Now with my S.A. cichlids I had a juvi Jack Dempsey
Firstly, you shouldn't have bright lights. All fish don't like bright light.
You can change your lights or cover them with blue or red colour transparent plastic wrappers to reduce the light brightness. Blue/red lights seem to give better effects on their colours and make their colours stand out. If you can combine both red and blue lights will be the best.

I think white sand are ok. But for best effect on fish colours, grey colour sand is the best. Black sand is too dark and doesn't look so good.
Grey sand will make their colours more stand out(better contrast) as compare to white sand.

Also, make sure you cover the back of the tank with black papers/paints/plastic bags( thrash bag). They will feel more secure with back background and their colours will be more striking especially for Yellow Lab Cichlids.
Add more tall decors in the tank for them to feel more secure.

The location of your tank is also very important. Don't put near the walkway as the fish might be afraid of too much movement. Put it at a corner of your room where it's away from human movements, television, etc.

The table height of your tank is also important(at least 70cm). Table that is too low, example coffee table is not suitable as the fish is sensitive to anything that move above them.
You must not have any shadow falling on them, else they will run away and hide. I guess this is their natural instincts in the wild to prevent them from being caught by predatory birds, etc.

I guess juvenile fish are more timid for both African and South American fish.
But African fish will become bolder when they grow older.
If not, you can add more of them for them to feel more secure.
And sometimes the juvenile fish will feel more secure with the presence of adults fish. But some adults fish will be too aggressive for the juvenile.(depending on the species).

How long have they been in your tank? They may need more time to get used to the tank and be less timid.

Jack Dempsey is a Central American fish. The fish can be timid when it's small and when it's the only fish around. If you have more of them, they will be less timid.
If not, get more fish that are compatible with it.

Lastly, if a fish continue to hide from the group, it might be sick. Healthy fish will often join a group of fish. Watch for any symptoms of disease (eg. Ich, flukes infection) which can spread very fast.
 
Last edited:
Toggle Sidebar

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom