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African Cichlids water





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Feel free to visit the following link at step #9 before taking in MY AFRICAN CICHLIDS WATER IS SMOKEY!



 Your African Cichlids water appears to have a white smoke swirling around in in!  No reason to panic. First, it is

important to understand what is taking place in your African Cichlids aquarium, and why.  The process taking

place is normal during your African Cichlids aquarium set-up period.  It is usually a part of the ‘cycling period”

after water is added to your tank.  Most likely, there is a concentrated level of ammonia in the water causing

nitrifying bacteria that consume the ammonia to reproduce quickly and over populate to the point that they

become visible , creating what looks like clouds of white smoke swirling in your aquarium water. 


This is a normal reaction in an enclosed ecosystem such as your  African Cichlids water.  This takes place

when an ecosystem has inadequate nitrifying bacteria to consume the ammonia in your aquarium water.

  In most cases, as the nitrogen cycle continues, your  water will clear up.  Be patient, and let nature take

its course. 

When you can do is test your aquarium water for ammonia and nitrite levels when your  water first becomes

cloudy!  What you will probably discover is that your ammonia level will be high, and continue to rise, and the

nitrite could be zero, or low.  As time passes, nitrite reproduction will take place and this level will continue to

increase .  Suddenly, one day ( usually within a week of your aquarium water becomingcloudy), the ammonia

level will drop to zero.  When this happens, nitrite-consuming bacteria, nitrate, begins to colonize and turn the

toxic nitrite into less toxic nitrate, completing the “nitrogen cycle” in your African water.  At this point, you can

test your water for ammonia and nitrite again.  In addition, test the nitrate level.  Ammonia and nitrite levels

should be zero, and the nitrate level close to or zero as well.

So, during the period of “smokey” aquarium water , all you need to do is test your water.  The bacteria in your

African Cichlids water will clear it up. .  It is best to let nature take its course.


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Adfrican Cichlids aquarium filter





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Your African Cichlids aquarium filter system is a key part to the health of your African Cichlids.  Power filters usually

have three main components of filtration:

MECHANICAL MEDIAwhich usually is a pad or sponge, CHEMICAL MEDIA, consisting of carbon, and a

BIOLOGIGAL MEDIA, with a large surface area for bacteria to colonize.  To keep them all in top condition, it is

important to have an understanding what each stage of the filter does, and  how to keep each component doing their

respective job.   This topic will be reference  your African Cichlids aquarium filter system and the

Hagen Aqua Clear Power Filter

                               African Cichlids aquarium filter

The mechanical media acts like a strainer sifting out debris.  If it gets to full it becomes clogged, diverting the water

flow from your  filter, releasing the debris back into your aquarium water where toxic ammonia can form.  This media

should be inspected weekly, and cleaned at least biweekly, in the container of aquarium water you have set aside.

( The 4 gallon plastic bucket).  Simply immerse the sponge into the water and squeeze out the debris until it is clean. 

The purpose of using aquarium water is that it also houses the beneficial bacteria that are in the pores

of the sponge.  This water preserves the bacteria while cleaning it.  The sponge should last several years before

it needs to be replaced.  This should be done when your sponge doesn’t, “spring” back to its original shape when

squeezed.  Following this process will ensure you that it won’t become clogged and will provide you with years of  service

as you African Cichlids aquarium filter system.


The chemical media of your African Cichlids aquarium usually consists of carbon which bonds with dissolved organic and

other impurities.  This needs to be rinsed in your container of aquarium water biweekly, and replaced monthly. 

After the period of time the carbon will have exhausted its chemical benefits and start collecting bacteria which could result

in loss of your biological filtration.  This could also cause an ammonia spike and release nitrites into your aquarium water

causing stress on your cichlids.  So, clean the carbon biweekly, and replace monthly.  Yep, what was just mentioned

was repeated!


The biological media of  your African Cichlids aquarium  filter is a major part of the quality of life within your aquarium.

It should have a large surface area and water flowing through it.  If the water flow through this media becomes diverted, 

that area of bacteria in the sponge dies from lack of oxygen.  In order for this to function properly, this needs to be rinsed

in your container of aquarium water biweekly, and replaced monthly.  Another reason for using aquarium water is

that it is not chlorinated,  so it won’t damage the the bacteria in the media.   The media should last for several years.  When

it does come time to replace  it,  do not clean your aquarium at the same time.  The sponge needs time to colonize bacteria. 

To assist and speed up this process you can add, “cycle” to the aquarium water. This is a bacteria additive which aids in the

bacteria growth process.  Following these guidelines for your African Cichlids aquarium filter system will give you results of

a healthy, efficient filter systemClean the carbon biweekly, and replace monthly. This was mentioned several times

in the article to stress it’s importance, and not to insult your ability to read or intelligence. Thanks for your understanding.

That wraps up this article your aquarium water and African Cichlids aquarium filter.


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african cichlids tank maintenance





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African Cichlids tank maintenance  is key to the continued success of your hard work and patience youhave put forth

in your investment. We have all heard something like, ” an ounce of prevention, is worth a gallon of cure”.  This is

absolutely true when it concerns your aquarium maintenance. This article focuses on your weekly and monthly  steps to

keep your system in “tip top” shape, and your African Cichlids healthy!  The best part of it all is that your aquarium

maintenance won’t take much time to do!




Replace evaporated water with freshly drawn COLD tap water.

Treat with Tap Water Conditioner

TIP → Completely rinsed out plastic gallon milk cartons work great for this, and can save you time if you can save

a few bottles and fill them with water for future use, and put the cap on them after filling with water.

Clean the outside of your aquarium glass by spraying a small area with alcohol and wipe dry.  NO STREAKS!

Clean the inside of the glass your magnet cleaner.

Clean your filter.  ( power filter)



TIP→  Have a 4 gallon plastic square container , FILLED WITH AQUARIUM WATER, set aside for this.

Remove the filter basket and take the sponge and put in the container and squeeze out the debris until clean.

Check to see the filter is level with a small level.

Check the temperature 77ºF

That’s it for your weekly African Cichlids tank maintenance!




Do a water change.

1/3 of the water volume with a “python siphon”.

TIP→  Insert the siphon tube completely into your gravel and keep it in the same spot until the water is clear

before moving on to a different area.  Repeat until you have cleaned all of your gravel.

Reverse your siphon and replace the water with COLD tap water.

Add Algeafix and Tap Water Conditioner per directions.

Clean bubble wall with a denture brush.




  • Done.  That’s it for your African Cichlids tank maintenance. Enjoy your tank!

african cichlids tank maintenance            african cichlids tank maintenance

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African Cichlids aquarium





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1.Wash tank , and anything that will be in it your African Cichlids aquarium , with HOT  water. NO SOAPS. 

        Have 3 or 4 large plastic containers on hand to separate the rock into small, medium,  and large stones. This

        part of the step will make placement easier when putting it in  your tank.

2. Wash your lace rock  until the water running through it is clear as well.

3. Place the rock from step 2 into the tank.

       Larger stones in the back, medium-sized in the middle, and the smallest in the front

       of the tank. ( This process takes a little time, but the end result gives your African Cichlids

                              aquarium  greater feeling of depth when looking at it).

4. Place the lace rock into your tank with larger and taller pieces toward the back , and the smaller shorter pieces

     toward the front of your aquarium, creating caves for your African Cichlids .

5. Place your air curtain at the back of your African Cichlids aquarium, behind the lace rock, so you can’t see it when

     viewing your aquarium from the front side.

6. Install the rest of the equipment that will go into the tank.     Heater, filter, thermometer.

7. Attach air tubing to your air curtain and air pump.

8. Fill your tank with COLD  tap water.

     Let your tank sit overnight to be sure that their are no leaks.

9. Treat the water with tap water conditione and cycle, as recommended.

10.  This is the hardest step.  Be patient.  The water in the tank needs to cycle . Balance itself .  During this  process,

        your water will turn cloudy.  This is normal, indicating that bacterial growth is taking place. The water will clear up

       as the bacteria, “settle into”, the filter media and rock work.  This process will take between 2-4 weeks.   Again, be

       patient, the time and efforts put forth in your African Cichlids aquarium system will give you back years of pleasure,

       enjoyment, and relaxation!


11. This is a good time to to make sure everything with the system is functioning properly:

         Check your thermometer to be sure the temperature 76 degrees F, adjust  if necessary. Check your filter to be sure

         it’s functioning properly.

             remove the filter basket,  take the charcoal filter bag out and rinse it out in a plastic container previously filled with

            COLD tap water.

                 repeat the same process with the sponge filter.

12.  Purchase a pH test and an ammonia, nitrate, nitrite test kit.

         pH should be around 8.0

             * The first test for the ammonia, nitrate, nitrite test should be done no earlier then 2-3  weeks after

               system set-up. 

13.  Replace any evaporated water with COLD tap water. Should have a couple of plastic 1 gallon containers set aside for

       this purpose only.

              * Not used for anything else .The water in these will be going into the tank.

                    be sure to keep the caps to put back on the containers when not in use to keep them clean inside.

14 After 4 weeks, no sooner, test the water for ammonia, nitrate, and nitrites.  All 3 parameters should be  near, “0”,

        or safe enough by this point to add a couple of fish.  This is an exciting day!  Go to a reputable fish store and purchase

        your first African Cichlids. Purchase a pair.

15.  Acclimate your cichlids to their new home before adding them to your tank. Have another plastic container on hand. 

       A plastic ice cream bucket works perfect.  Place the fish bags in this and add about 4oz. of  water from the tank to the

       bags. Repeat this about every 15 minutes, for 1/2 hour.  This lets your cichlids gradually adjust  to the aquarium water

       reducing stress.

      After 30 minutes, net the fish from the bags and introduce them to their new home!  Place the net in the water and let

      the fish swim out on their own. Wash the net out in hot tap water.

16.  Patience is now critical. Your African Cichlids aquarium water needs to adjust to its new inhabitants.  Your fish also

        need time to adjust.  Two weeks.  Better safe then sorry.  During this time, decide on what color of African Cichlids to

        have in your tank.

17. Decide the number of fish that can occupy the tank.

         Guideline.  Every inch of fish requires 1 gallon of aquarium water when full grown.

           Example:   A 100 gallon tank  will have about 90 gallons of water available for fish.  Rock in the your displaces 10

                               gallons 90 gallons of available water = 90 inches of fish that can safety inhabit you tank.

                                 On average, adult  African Cichlids are between 4-6 inches in length.

                                   5 inches makes it easy to figure out the number of fish.   90÷5=18 fish.

    Purchase your African Cichlids in “trios”, 1 male, 2 females. The reasoning behind this is that the male will be

        aggressive to get the female attention. 2 females reduces stress on the female and helps to keep the male, “occupied”,

        and in full color.  18 fish ÷ 3 trios = 6 trio pairs for the tank.

18.  After 2 weeks, purchase another trio. ONLY IF ALL IS WELL WITH YOUR WATER AND FISH

           Follow step # 15 to introduce the fish to the tank.  2-3 weeks later, purchase another trio. Follow this process until you 

            have purchased all of your African Cichlids. 





19. Enjoy your African Cichlids aquarium system


     Follow these steps and your system can look like this


African Cichlids aquarium African Cichlids aquarium        African Cichlids aquarium







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Before pursuing the art and science of African Cichlids aquaria concentrating on tank setup and maintenance, it was important to become knowledgeable on the subject.   Following is what I learned over the past  17 years since  I setup my first African Cichlids  tank, and still holds true today.

They are prized for beautiful coloration.  Difficult to find another freshwater fish that are more colorful.  It is also a challenge to find a saltwater fish more colorful for more money.


They are very hardy animals, and easy to maintain.  African Cichlids require alkaline water. These animals can tolerate a wide range of pH levels, whereas most freshwater fish will “belly-up”, if this water parameter varies more then .5.

These fish are also popular because of their energetic personality, one of the easiest freshwater fish to breed, and range in size from 4-6 inches.

African Cichlids do cost more then other freshwater fish, however, that is a positive because you will be getting more, “fish for you’re dollar”.  The average life span is between 4-10 years in age.

1,200 species have been identified, and only about 1/3 are available to the enthusiast  What this represents is the opportunity for more of these cichlids to be readily available for enjoyment.

Because of their size, they do require a large aquarium.  This is a favorable aspect as well because the larger the aquarium, the easier it is to maintain a stable environment in the tank.

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