Malawi Rift Lake African Cichlids
Malawi Rift Lake African Cichlids. Malawian fish come from Lake Malawi in Africa. Malawi is one of the great rift lakes of Africa. Malawi was created by the continent of Africa pulling apart. It is one of the lakes in Africa that is known for its diverse cichlid population, and unique water chemistry. Most African cichlids in the hobby today come from Lake Malawi.
Lake Malawi has a very high mineral content. The pH in the lake can range from 7.8 to 8.6. In the aquarium it is recommended that a pH no lower than 7.8 is maintained in order to keep these fish healthy. Most tap water will require some type of alkaline buffer additive to keep the pH up. Therefore the aquarium should have coral or aragonite sand to help maintain a high pH.
The aquarium should be decorated with lots of rocks, and have plenty of caves for the fish to hide. Plastic plants can be added if so desired. Most live aquarium plants do not do well in an aquarium with Malawian cichlids, because of the high pH and the fact that many of them like to eat vegetable mater. Keep the temperature between 70 – 85F.
Most Malawian cichlids will eat frozen brine shrimp and dry foods. The Mbuna cichlids should be given dry food (flake, pellets, or algae wafers) that has spirulina. In the wild most of the Mbuna cichlids eat algae that grow on the rocky reefs in the lake therefore a diet high in red meat is not advised as they are not used to digesting this kind of food and may become very sick.
Behaviour & Tank Size
Many of the Malawian cichlids like to dig. These fish are mostly mouth brooders.Most Malawian cichlids are aggressive and active fish that need a large tank. We recommend a 100L or larger aquarium for these fish. It is also best to buy at least 4 at the same time. The more Malawi cichlids you have the more the aggression can be spread out, and there will be less likely a chance of one fish killed by an aggressor.