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Cichlids (Cichlidae): How to Equip Aquarium in 2021?

For a closed and fairly limited volume of the aquarium, an important factor in ensuring the vital activity of its inhabitants (Cichlids, Cichlids) is the maintenance of a comfortable constancy of the environment. Simply put, we are talking about the requirements for the state of water in the tank. 

Cichlids (Cichlidae) How to equip an aquarium in 2020 is in the photo.
Cichlids (Cichlidae) How to equip an aquarium in 2020?

It should always be clean, have certain required physical and chemical characteristics. Equally important are timely and uniform illumination and temperature characteristics. So, more about each of these requirements.

Water filtration for cichlids and its types.

The most common option for maintaining and improving the quality of water for the inhabitants of the aquarium is to filter it. Three main types of filtering can be distinguished. Distinguish mechanical, biological и chemical filtering. Further it is worth discussing the features of each type of filtering in order to get a clear understanding of each of them.

Mechanical filtration

Using mechanical filtration, the internal volume is cleaned by removing drowned and free floating particles trapped in water. As a result, we have a sparkling transparent medium. But does water meet all the requirements for cichlids?

Biological filtration

Biological filtration is perhaps the most important type of filtration due to the fact that it provides the decomposition of waste products of all inhabitants using “friendly bacteria” and is based on the activity of beneficial microorganisms in the biofilter. Such bacteria are involved in the conversion of ammonia to nitrite, and then subsequently convert nitrite to nitrate. Below, in the nitrogen cycle, this process will be considered in more detail.

Chemical filtration

Using chemical filtration, you can remove the dissolved biological waste of your cichlids, previously used medicines, dyes, and many other harmful particles from aquarium water. Staying in the aquarium, such substances can greatly harm the fish, as it is very toxic.

Most often, chemical filtration is performed using activated carbon. By the way, after chemical cleaning, many unpleasant odors disappear caused by the presence of the above-mentioned toxins in the water.

Cichlids (Cichlidae) in the Aquarium is in the photo.
Cichlids (Cichlidae) in aquarium.

It should be noted that carbon filters have a very short service life. Therefore, the application and operation requires their frequent change, which can be quite expensive from a financial point of view. The output may be to set a certain frequency of cleanings and extraordinary filtrations if necessary. Spent coal can be recovered by burning. Here, of course, additional experience and related equipment will be required.

It should be remembered if an amateur aquarist does not bother to replace the charcoal filter in the aquarium for Cichlids (Cyclic) at the required time, then the absorbed and filtered waste will again return to where they were collected - in aquarium water. However, zeolites that are effective in filtering and lowering high levels of ammonia, which is known to be harmful to fish, can also be used.

Frontal Cytophotylapia Zebra Cyptotilapia frontosa The Tsikhlov family is in the picture.
Frontal Cytophotylapia Zebra Cyptotilapia frontosa Tsikhlov family

Filter types

You can find a wide selection of filters for use in filtration systems, which consist of different elements for aquarium water. Each filter has its advantages and disadvantages. If a practical and adequate result is required, it is best to combine several filters that will complement each other.

Here, cautious experimentation will be wise advice. During operation, you can try as many filters as you can until a practical and optimal solution is found for a specific volume.

It seems very useful to periodically use other filters to find out which ones are more suitable for an aquarium and fish. Which filters and their combinations you can use to filter your aquarium is up to you.

The following are descriptions of the main types of filter designs to help decide which one is preferable, providing absolute confidence and convenience.

  1. Sponge filter, the simplest, cheapest and most affordable filter. He uses a sponge through which water passes, rising with bubbles using an air pump. It acts mechanically and is an excellent biological filter that purifies water, reducing the amount of organic material that decomposes in the nitrogen cycle. The possibilities of its use are excellent when breeding and rearing small fish of the family.
  2. Underwater (submersible) power filter is an excellent example of a business class filter. As the filtering material, the same sponge or any other non-toxic porous material can be used. Despite the low price, compared to expensive and bulky aquarium filters, the submersible type is rarely used. Such a system is based on an electric pump for supplying water through a filter material, which, as a rule, is the same sponge.
    You can attach filters of various capacities that are found in stores and depending on specific requirements. Underwater power filters provide much greater circulation than air types of filters, and are generally good for mechanical and biological filtration (see above for types of filtration).
    The most effective operation of the submersible filter at a depth of 60 to 120 centimeters. Those. their use is advisable when used with filters for aquariums of large capacity and size. When submersible power systems are combined with gravel filtration, the aquarium receives additional significant advantages in mechanical filtration.
    The use of such a combination is very effective even in small aquariums of about 250 liters. However, in significantly larger aquariums, it can also be used as a secondary filter system.
  3.  Corner filters are considered low-tech products, they are placed on top of one of the corners of the aquarium. There are models that can be glued to the glass anywhere. This type of filter works well in all three types of filtration, although it is quite demanding on maintenance.
    In practice, such maintenance is required constantly. However, not everything is so bad. As a rule, a constant change is needed only for materials used for mechanical and chemical filtrations.
  4.  Gravel filters (UnderGravel) have become very popular due to the fact that, as a rule, they are invested by manufacturers in "kits for beginner aquariums." This type of filter has been widely used for many decades and performs mechanical filtration extremely efficiently. The essence of the method is to draw unwanted particles of various origin from the water in the tank into the gravel, where they fall into the gravel trap.
    Simply put, water rises into a gravel tank and slowly flows through it, and then is pushed back through a tube in the back of the container using an air or water pump. The output can be installed biological and chemical filters.
    Such filtration will take place using activated carbon at the top of the tube. Powerful pump heads contribute to fast and strong circulation.
    Unfortunately, this type of filter has its drawbacks. If the requirements for thorough evacuation of the container with gravel are not observed, gas pockets with harmful compounds can be created in it during operation. When combined with return water, they can cause serious harm to your fishing community. Conclusion: wash filter gravel more often
    5. Box filters or box filters are available in a variety of sizes, from small to medium, and are equipped with an air pump. The air stream created by it lifts water into a box with filter material.
  5. External canister filters are built on the same principle as submersible power cans (see filter No. 2), with one difference: they are installed outside the aquarium tank, draw water through the inlet pipe to the filter and discharge it through another pipe. Then the liquid enters the so-called mudguard or aerator to increase the oxygen content.
    Such canister filters are most often used in large aquariums. A characteristic feature of their design is the ability to perfectly retain organic sludge in large quantities. The design of the external canister filters allows you to work with any filtering materials, which also makes them excellent for mechanical filtration.
    The ability to hold large volumes of organic matter makes filter canisters a real nitrate factory. This is a delight for many aquarists. After all, if regular maintenance of filtration systems is not provided (or you forgot to do it on time), then this type of filter is certainly the best choice among others.
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Cichliformes: How to Choose an Aquarium Heater?

Aquarium heaters, why do we need heaters? Keep in mind that most cichlids require a constant water temperature of 24 to 27 degrees Celsius or 75 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Changing the temperature of the water in the morning and evening and maintaining a constant temperature, obviously, requires the use of a heater with a thermostat.

In such an environment, fish are healthier, eat excellent, are active and live a longer period. The requirement of stable, constant water temperature conditions is achievable only when using an adjustable heater. Conclusion from many years of practice: whenever a heater is not installed in the aquarium, cichlids, such as marines or disco, are easily exposed to stress when temperature fluctuates.

The reason is not only that the water in the aquarium must warm up. It should have a stable, in a constant designated range, temperature. This requirement determines the need for the joint use of heaters and thermostats.

By the way, some heaters of a higher price range, as a rule, already have a built-in thermostat.

Although there are places in the aquarium that do not need a heater, these places are called “tropics” by experienced amateurs.

There are many types of aquarium heaters. When searching for such a device for an aquarium, you will notice that they are all marked or classified by power. Manufacturers made sure that diagrams were presented, with which you can make sure that the best heater for a specific volume of the aquarium was purchased.

A little bit about the types of heaters:

Immersion heaters - are one of the most popular and effective varieties and are completely located under water and can be covertly installed under decorative design elements while maintaining all their functions. Modern models are safe and exclude electric shock to the inhabitants of the aquarium.

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Practical tips when choosing submersible heaters:
  • look for a device with an electronic thermostat, an integrated heating sensor. It is designed to automatically shut off when raised above the surface of the water. This function eliminates the failure of the heating element from overheating;
  • the design should have an indicator of power and heating for ease of monitoring;
  • important is the ability to fine tune the temperature and re-temperature calibration;
  • Digital microprocessor heaters are also suitable for continuous monitoring and display of the temperature of the water in the aquarium. Although these devices are much more expensive, their functionality compensates for the price;
    as an additional option, the color coding function of the temperature limit warning can be activated;
  • a heater with a sealed plastic case that protects the entire device from heat shock and mechanical breakdown is considered to be durable and durable;

It should be understood that an automatic thermostat is a necessary part of a good immersion heater. It regulates heat transfer and maintains the consistency of water at 25 degrees Celsius (78 Fahrenheit). Simplicity of use is also important - just placing the device inside the aquarium and connecting it.
Some heaters require heater protection. This is a plastic protection that fits a conventional heater. They protect the aquarium inhabitants from burns by touching a very hot device.

Important points when using aquarium heaters:
  1. NEVER put the heater in water previously plugged into the power supply. On the contrary, place the heater with the plug disconnected and allow the temperature to stabilize for five to ten minutes before connecting.
    This prevents tearing of the glass. Moreover, before installing a heat generator, it is worth checking the aquarium glass for microcracks. After all, even one such crack can lead to disastrous consequences;
  2. NEVER put your hand in an aquarium with a heater that is connected. Accidents are unpredictable. You should be careful in everything you do. This saves you from unpleasant surprises. Faulty wiring or electrical leakage is possible, and unknowingly forgetting such a fact, you can cause problems;
  3. NEVER insulate damage or a cut in wire insulation with tape or tape - this is too risky for the fish and for you. It is best to completely replace the wire or discard the entire heater and buy a new one in return.

Built-in heaters are the latest technology today with wildly growing popularity among aquarists.

Although such devices are quite expensive compared to other types of heaters on the market, they are superbly equipped. They come with a built-in thermal filter, and without it do not work. Such a heater requires a secondary power unit to pump water through it. The system connects to the water return pipe to supply it to the fish tank.

In this case, you may need only a flexible pipe, and some fittings if the existing pipes do not match in diameter. One of the advantages of built-in heaters is that water circulates through the heater and the heat is evenly distributed around the aquarium.

Such heaters are usually used outside, they can be placed not only from the side of the aquarium, which allows you to maintain the natural look of your aquarium. A fairly small number of weighing devices around your aquarium makes it look clean and tidy

Another advantage of built-in heaters is the external housing. For each device, it is made of heat-resistant plastic. This solution makes their storage and operation safe.

Red Parrot (Crossbreeding 3 species of Cichlasoma citrinellum and Cichlasoma synspilum. Cichlasoma erythraeum and Cichlasoma severum)

External heaters (thermo-filters) - represent a combination of a filter and a heater.

This is a true 2-in-1 product, it is installed outside the aquarium. The design has been developed very carefully in compliance with the requirements of ease of use with, undoubtedly, high efficiency and versatility.

The thermal filter can be used properly in large fish tanks, but is equally effective for smaller volumes and suitable for a wide variety of aquarium sizes.

The advantage of thermo filters is that they do not need additional plumbing and do not leak due to pipe damage.

Perhaps there is only one, but significant point associated with the design and features of the operation of heaters of this type. If the filter does not work on time, then the heater may lose its heating function.

To avoid such troubles, you should often check additional elements of the thermo-filter and keep them in working condition. However, you need to know this and be careful, paying extra attention to each part of the device.

Selecting the required heater (usually characterized by power):

- Let's start with the safest, albeit conservative, way of assessing the power of the heater that you really need, or rather, your favorite cichlids. The first thing to do is determine the required power. This step is performed at the rate of 5 watts per 4 liters of water. For example, if the volume of the aquarium is 160 liters of water, you will need a 200-watt heater.

Practical tip: if there is a larger volume, it is better to buy two heaters of 100 watts. Yes, two separate heaters. You wonder why so? this solution minimizes risk. There are many cases when the heaters left or forgot to turn them off, which led to overheating of the water, killing all the fish in the aquarium.

Obviously, with two smaller consumers, the risks of malfunctioning heaters are also less. Another reason is that if one heater suddenly ceases to function, there is still one at hand that continues to work and maintains vital functions, albeit at a minimum level.

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Aquarium thermometers for aquariums with cichlids.

When using any type of heaters in an aquarium, you need an aquarium thermometer. As you know, the temperature fluctuates throughout the day - changing during the day and night. The thermometer allows you to control the required temperature of the cichlid environment at any time.

It's funny, but a thermometer is inexpensive and absolutely necessary equipment to control the exact temperature of the water, from the word "accurate". Like any measuring device, this simple device has a measurement error. And the cheaper the thermometer, the greater this error.

So you should not demonstrate your thrift when buying the cheapest temperature measuring devices, thinking that it does not matter. A reliable thermometer provides precise control of the temperature of the water in the aquarium. You should choose one of the types of thermometer that best suits your preferences.

What types of thermometers are common on the modern market:

- an external thermometer for a sticker - it is still the most popular thermometer among aquarium enthusiasts. All you have to do is stick it outside the aquarium directly onto glass or acrylic. Nevertheless, this thermometer is not considered the best, although it provides a fairly accurate measurement of the temperature with an error of plus / minus one or two degrees.

- digital thermometer - such a device is also placed outside the aquarium using a suction cup or Velcro. A special probe with an integrated temperature sensor is attached to a suction cup mounted on the inside of the aquarium underwater.

The readings of a digital instrument are more accurate than those of an outdoor thermometer, since they are directly measured in aquarium water, and not outside the glass. Another advantage of the “digital” is that it can be mounted and placed in any place where it is needed.

By the way, such a device works from an external power source or from a battery. Some models are equipped with built-in backlight, which allows you to read temperature readings in the dark. In the most “advanced” models there is a control of exceeding critical temperatures.

Such a device will give a signal if the temperature has dropped below a set threshold or exceeded the maximum allowable level. Such pleasant "little things" increase the safety of the inhabitants of the aquarium.

- a floating glass thermometer is a classic version of a glass tube filled with mercury. The design includes a suction cup to attach the thermometer from the inside of the aquarium. Floating glass thermometers provide accurate readings. The disadvantage can be considered quite a long time required to read the result.

Aquarium Lighting for Cichlids (Cichlidae).

As far as lighting is concerned, most digital ones appreciate the full replicating spectrum light, which in their natural habitat is not too bright. The neutral background makes the fish environment comfortable and homely.
Excessive light and bright colors disturb the peace of cichlids, irritate them and are simply contraindicated. Ideally, the backlight should be made less vivid than reality. The best lighting so far is fluorescent lights that give natural light, similar to the original habitat of the fish of this family. It is wiser to constantly maintain a dim background and turn on all lighting only at the end of the day for a limited time.

On the other hand, if you leave the aquarium shaded throughout the day, it can cause algae problems. Typically, a typical aquarium needs about eight hours of light. If it is difficult to remember and manually control the lighting of aquariums, the installation of a simple timer will help. Modern industry offers many options for such equipment, they are widely represented in specialized pet stores.
An option for passive lighting control can be the organization of darker areas and entire areas of the interior using decorations in the form of grottoes, rocks, etc. Fish can escape into them when they feel the stress of excess light. However, turning lights on and off at the right time is the best way to provide the required lighting for many overly impressionable cichlid breeds.

Communities of aquarium cichlids are like humans, they adapt easily and learn when they are fed at the same time. There is time for sleep and morning time. If you leave the light 24 hours a day, what will happen to your fish? This is guaranteed to provide them with a stressful scenario. They also need the dark time of the day, in which the fish can fully relax.

Amazonium. Net
Cichlids (Cichlidae): How to Equip Aquarium in 2021?
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Cichlids (Cichlidae): How to Equip Aquarium in 2021?
Cichlids, Cichlids (lat. Cichlidae): a family of ray-finned fish from the order Cichliformes. Previously included in the order Perciformes. The article contains a detailed review of equipment for creating optimal conditions in the aquarium with these amazing aquarium fish!
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