Lake Victoria Cichlids
About Lake Victoria Cichlids
There are over 2,000 different species of cichlid which have been described but it is estimated that there are thousands more yet to be discovered. Each species of Lake Victoria cichlid is unique but, for the most part, they are fairly aggressive fish. You should not plan to keep more than one male of any given species together in a tank, though some Lake Victoria cichlids can be kept with other aggressive or semi-aggressive species as long as there is enough space and the tank is decorated to break up sight lines and to provide territories for each fish.
Each species of Lake Victoria cichlid is unique but, for the most part, they are fairly aggressive fish.
Cichlids can be found in all parts of the world including several endemic populations which are limited to a very relatively small area such as Lake Victoria, a lake located in Africa. It is estimated that there are about 200 different species of Lake Victoria Cichlids, many of which have developed special adaptations to thrive in their lake environment.
In general, cichlids are some of the most vibrantly colored freshwater fishes in the world and Lake Victoria cichlids are no exception. Some Lake Victoria cichlids exhibit solid colorations in blue, green or yellow while others have multicolored patterns. Many Lake Victoria cichlids exhibit striping or colors bars that run horizontally or vertically as well as coloring on the fins.
Maintenance and Care
Although there are about 200 species of Lake Victoria cichlid, the water conditions in Lake Victoria remain fairly constant. A tank for Lake Victoria cichlids should be kept at a temperature between 75°F and 82°F with a pH level between 7.8 and 8.5. The water hardness should be between 8 and 12 dKH and the tank should be heavily decorated with rockwork and caves. Breaking up the tank into different territories using rockwork is recommended for tanks that house more than one cichlid.
In general, cichlids are some of the most vibrantly colored freshwater fishes in the world
The diet you feed any cichlid will have an impact on its coloration – the richer and more high-quality the diet, the more colorful the fish will be. Lake Victoria cichlids have slightly different diets depending on the species but, for the most part, these fish will accept a wide variety of fresh, frozen, freeze-dried, and commercial foods. Many cichlid owners recommend feeding small amounts several times per day rather than one larger feeding.
All Lake Victoria cichlids are egg-layers but different species exhibit different breeding habits. Some species scatter their eggs over the substrate while others dig holes in the substrate or lay their eggs in caves. Some Lake Victoria cichlids are mouth brooders – they gather the fertilized eggs in their mouths and incubate them until hatching. Many cichlids do exhibit parental care after the eggs have hatched and they can be very territorial and aggressive in protecting their fry.
It is estimated that there are about 200 different species of Lake Victoria cichlids but some are more popular for the home aquarium than others. Some popular species of Lake Victoria cichlid for freshwater aquariums include the following:
- Crimson Tide Cichlid (Pundamilia nyererei)
- Fire Red Uganda (Haplochromis s. “fire”)
- Ruby Green Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. Ruby Green)
- Zebra Obliquidens (Astatotilapia latifasciata)
- Yellow Belly Albert (Astatotilapia aeneocolor)
- Broken Bar Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. “broken bar”)
- Blue Obliquidens (Haplochromis sp. “blue obliquidens)
- Flameback Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. “flameback”)
- Blue Scraper Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. “blue scraper”)
- Kenya Gold Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. “Kenya gold”)
Photo credit: DennisJacobsen/Bigstock; Neryx/Bigstock
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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