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Malawi Species > Quick Stats
Many good vegetable foods, some designed just for Lake Malawi cichlids, are on the market.
Most Malawi cichlids are relatively easy to breed. The young are very easy to care for.
Very specific. Scientifically researched water additives are now available for the Lake Malawi.
This site was created to get straight to the point. Below are some tips on keeping Malawi Cichlids. Send any additional information or questions to Ask An Expert
Background on the Lake:
Lake Malawi was formed between 2-3 million years ago. This rocky lake of the East African Rift is about 375 miles long and 53 miles wide. Surface area of around 30,000 square kilometers and depths in excess of 700 meters. It is the ninth largest lake in the world. The lake is bordered by Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania.
Lake Malawi has unusual water chemistry, a Freshwater lake, the water being particularly hard and alkaline. In the case of Lake Malawi the pH is usually between 7.7 and 8.6, with hardness up to about 22ºdH.
Lake Malawi Cichlids consist of the Haplochromis species, Mbuna, and peacocks. Most of which are free-swimming fishes or rock dwellers that have the perch-like bodies. There are over 100 species of Haplochromis, some of which are most desirable and quite an interesting challenge for fishkeepers.
Generally, Lake Malawi Cichlids are easy to keep, being relatively hardy, and good spawners, although they do need very alkaline pH, hard water, lots of room, with plenty of rocks and caves.
In Lake Malawi cichlids, the female broods the eggs in her mouth to protect them from predators. Some cichlids have adapted to feed on these eggs by ramming the mother between the eyes.
The human population of Africa is growing overfishing has already led to the extinction of several species.
Water hyacinth, an invader from South America which has already caused serious problems in Lake Victoria, has now spread to Lake Malawi.
Malawi cichlids are split into two groups: the Utaka (the open water swimmers) and the Mbuna (or rock dwellers). It is not really advisable to mix the two. Try to purchase trios (one male and two females) where possible.
Most Moors and Scats can cooexist with cichlids as long as they have been acclimated to brackish water. There are also a variety of brackish water catfish to choose from. I have seen several accounts of plecos, gouramis and mollies being kept peacably with rift lake cichlids.
Malawi Species: Key Points, Tips & Tricks - Malawi Cichlids Q/A
- Most Malawi cichlids are relatively easy to breed.
- Mbuna from Lake Malawi will do fine as long as they all are around the same size.
- The young are very easy to care for.
- Water quality is very important for the adults. Scientifically researched pH Alkaline Adjuster water additives are now available for the Lake Malawi cichlids.
- These fish stir up a lot of detritus, which is definitely unsightly and also seems to make the fish uncomfortable.
Malawi Species: DO'S - Malawi Cichlids Q/A
- The aquarist must provide an abundance of rocks for mbuna to feel at home.
- Use crushed coral instead of gravel for these fish.
- Perform frequent partial water changes. Also use special water pH Alkaline Adjuster additives that Lake Malawi cichlids require.
Malawi Species: DONT'S - Malawi Cichlids Q/A
- Don't put ton's of gravel in you Malawi tank, they stir up a lot of detritus, making the water less then desirable.
- Don't forget about the Alkaline adjuster these fish require special water conditions.
Malawi Common Species Care Sheet - (PETCO.com)
Follow the above recommendations and you should have a joyful Malawi Cichlid experience. Send any questions, comments or pictures to Ask An Expert If you are interested in helping out visit our contributions page.