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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We can read and hear it all over, in books, on the internet and from lots of people. Cichlids are territorial, they dig, they kill each other and all those stories. But is it true or does it just make a good story?

How about a small case study that indicates not all cichlids are the same.
Can we call it "Grandfather visits" ?

A 75 gallon tank with lots of wood and rocks for cover where 6 rainbow cichlids live and breed. A young pair have laid eggs and now have wigglers when the largest male approachs.


Does he dash in, beat up the small fish and eat the fry?


Or does he approach them slowly and let them know he means no harm?



Maybe he even greets them and checks on the grandkids?


After he leaves the small female still guards the little black pile of wigglers down in the corner.



But that can't happen. All the books say cichlids are killers!

NO! Not all cichlids do that! Some are just plain sweet but you are not likely to see that written in most books.

So just don't believe all you read. I find some of the "experts" who write books may not be that good on the subject. Some of the information you read is correct. Some is totally wrong.
Pick your information carefully and you may find cichlids are not all the same.
 

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Lol! Once a cichlid always a cichlid.
I believe there are some mild ones, like bettas, the reputed "fighting" fish, but you can never trust 100%.

But, in my experience, I had beautiful, mega-large, peaceful Angels in community tank that turned killer over 2 years, that I recently re-homed in Jan. The female has provided her new owner with lovely spawns.
Maybe she was horny or mating aggressive, but that could happen with any cichlid at any time :)

-Stef*
 

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Good notation rich.
Stef you can't just lump all cichlids together. And just because your angels have done so does not mean that someone else's will.. that's like saying all pit bulls are killers and will eventually turn on you, which is a load of cr*p...
That is not a good analogy.
You can't train a fish, nor does inbreeding influence the personality of a fish.
Fish are closer related to reptiles, not mammals.
Yes, there are peaceful cichlids, but don't be shocked if they eat all their tank mates one day, because it is the nature of the beast.
(Heck, I had a blood thirsty PLATY)
I had boas and snakes before that were trustworthy and peaceful.
But, if I was of edible size, I have no doubts my snakes would try to eat me if hungry.

-Stef*
 

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Fish are incapable of perceiving emotions like humans. There's only food, make babies, food, make babies. I know as a passionate member of the community I often find myself thinking if a change I made to my aquarium will make my fish "happy" or do they like their new tank. I don't feel fish are capable of these kinds of feeling, but I often find myself projecting my own feelings onto them.

But if you look in the third photo both the parent fish are in aggressive postures, so the intruder fish probably left because out of fear.

Also let me say congrats on the fish babies!! I've never had much luck getting my cichlids to spawn, but I am going to set up a 30 gallon to try and breed some electric German blue rams.
 

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I wouldnt say the information out there is inaccurate, or that they get a bad rap. They are aggressive by nature and keeping them together is an art. Mulit-species tanks can be quite a challenge, so can a single species for that matter. One of the biggest problems I think is a lot of people decide they want cichlids and just go out and buy a bunch of the prettiest colors. Then one or two gets beat to death they go out and by a couple more. Rinse and repeat.

Given the right environment they can be extremely rewarding. One of the key ingredients is to have TONS of cover and hidey-holes. Rich's tank is a perfect example. Ive had a breeding pair of Brichardi and a breeding pair of Julie in the same 75 gallon tank with half a dozen other cichlids before.
 

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How we keep or perceive our fish is totally up to the individual.
Behavior is the discussion here.
I believe there are peaceful cichlids, like PlantedRichs', just it should not be a shocker if it would go "rouge" or revert back someday, is all.

-Stef*
 

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There aggression also has a lot to do with there environment you have a nice looking tank with a lot of hiding places that greatly reduces stress.
I have 4 tanks that are cichlid only so I have had time to experiment with there aggression , one fish can make all the difference if he wants to be mean , a good tank boss keeps everyone in check peacefully a bad boss uses anger and aggression out of 40 fish I only had to remove 2 in the different tanks to balance the system.
And I don't believe in over stalking to control.
 

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I don't believe overstocking necessarily limits the aggression, its more that the aggression is spread out so not one individual fish gets picked on... you also have to look at environment. Sure in nature they are extremely aggressive(some not all) but in a tank it can be totally opposite. Most cichlids now are tank raised and I believe that makes a ton of difference. Sure if you had a tank full wild caught Africans they would be more aggressive compared to same species that has been tank raised for 10/20 generations. ..
 

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Like everything in the hobby, YMMV.

I built a 240 gallon, 8x2x2 ft. I put in central and south American cichlids, oscars, Salvini, jaguars, dovii, red devils, red terrors, as well as arrowana and tiger shovel nose.

Guess what happened. Nary a death, jaguars, oscars, Salvini all had spawns plus raised some to well beyond fry size. Arrowana met its usual death, jumping out.

In my current 140, leleupi and brichardi are breeding, with juvenile fish present now, with peacocks, brevia and others all in tank.


Cichlids can be housed in a variety of tanks, planted or not, but be prepared that it might not work. My experience has been raise a bunch from juveniles and it MIGHT work out. Adding more mature fish to an established set up is much more problematic
 

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While I agree not ALL ciclids are the same, I'm willing to bet that if the big ciclid got any closer violence would occur.

I would also like to add that we don't watch our tanks 24/7 so we can't really say they never fight.
 

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like everything in the hobby, ymmv.

I built a 240 gallon, 8x2x2 ft. I put in central and south american cichlids, oscars, salvini, jaguars, dovii, red devils, red terrors, as well as arrowana and tiger shovel nose.

Guess what happened. Nary a death, jaguars, oscars, salvini all had spawns plus raised some to well beyond fry size. Arrowana met its usual death, jumping out.

In my current 140, leleupi and brichardi are breeding, with juvenile fish present now, with peacocks, brevia and others all in tank.


Cichlids can be housed in a variety of tanks, planted or not, but be prepared that it might not work. My experience has been raise a bunch from juveniles and it might work out. Adding more mature fish to an established set up is much more problematic
^- +1
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The point I am trying to make is that there are ciclids for all situations if you want to do the study. What is being missed is that these are a cichlid that is different than the more common types we all see. This is not unusual behavior for this type. They have totally diffent behavior than lots of CA/SA cichlids due to the genes, not my tank setup. Reading about them , I find they are often found it dark, dingy, almost mud puddle size ponds. They are not normally breeding in a situation where viloent fights would be good for the species, so they have adapted. I have not done the research so I can only relie on what I read but it fits what I find in my fish. They have dark dramatic color shifts apparently to let everybody know they are breeding even in the dark colored muddy water. They also have a different way of reacting to threats. When adult Rainbow cichlids meet a threat like from a larger cichlid like severum, they often go into a submisive head down attitude. Sometimes it works , sometimes not depending who the threat might be. They do not fight. They bluff, make charges, and flare out their gills, but don't tear fins. If the intruder doesn't leave they will go to the side and push rather than biting.
Much of the bad information passed around about cichlids all being the same seems to just go on forever. If somebody wants to get into fish that do have really interesting lifestyles, the cichlid group is a great place to find what you want. Just be aware that there are tons of different types and you do have to do your study to find what each might be expected to do.
I find keeping cichlids might be compared to taking care of children. You get to feeling really good about what you know when you have a couple two year olds. But then to really know the game, you have to try to keep a couple of ten year olds happy.
Keeping community fish and keeping cichlids is about the same level.
 

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The biggest thing to remember here is this.

All fish have different temperaments, triggers, and habits.

You can have a group of say guppy fry, and there are ten. Not all ten will have the same temperament. Dome will be mild mannered, others passive, but you always run the chance of a bully. Usually the biggest or smallest sometimes the unsuspecting. But not fish, no matter genetics, species, husbandry will have the same temperament of there cousins. Period.

So to say all cichlids are evil and aggressive is inaccurate, but none the less given the behavior during breeding, territory, and solitude can become agressive while others are passive. It's not science guys, it's common sence
 

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They also have a different way of reacting to threats. When adult Rainbow cichlids meet a threat like from a larger cichlid like severum, they often go into a submisive head down attitude. Sometimes it works , sometimes not depending who the threat might be. They do not fight. They bluff, make charges, and flare out their gills, but don't tear fins. If the intruder doesn't leave they will go to the side and push rather than biting.
I can tell you that this is NOT 100% true. Mine (especially my dominant male) gets into lip locking a LOT, ESPECIALLY with my EBJD. Fins get a little torn (more theirs than the EBJD) but its nothing serious or major.

I do agree with you though that cichlids get a bad rap and are very misunderstood. I think its just a matter of knowing what the different species are like, and knowing the dynamics of the individuals in your tank.

I also 100% do NOT agree with any notion that you cannot have any cichlids in a planted tank...its a little harder sure, but its definitely not impossible.
 

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I've been keeping adult discus for a while. I used to get upset watching them fight honestly but the aggression dies down after a while and they all learn to live somewhat peacefully. Never would they fight me though, always just swim to the front like dogs. Swim through my hands when they were in the tank. Until recently, I introduced a big male to my tank last year. He's actually my avatar on this site. He became alpha status not long after introduction. At first when I scaped or cleaned the tank and my arm got to close to his female, he charged and bit me. Now he just flat out bites me constantly when my arm is in, it's a deep tank 120 gallons. He nips me right on the soft inside of my arm. So I push him back now, boy does that make him mad lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Reminds me of the favorite angel I used to have. Very peaceful sort and had him for years but I did have to watch when cleaning if he was close around. I have a small freckle about the size of a period. He could not resist trying to get it any time he got a chance. Not a fatal bite but it did take some getting used to it!

Those who say cichlids don't think have just not kept the right group. That old angel loved for me to come in and go to the frig for brine shrimp but it was shear panic when I tried to feed him with my baseball cap on one night. My current tank obviously knows who is a stranger around their tank.
 

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When it comes to Cichlids there's always going to be a side of caution with any cichlid species. A lot of caution is said around here i think is fair to a good degree as people tend to want to keep them with community fish, and that isn't always going to be the wisest choice.

All i've mostly kept for over 2 decades is cichlids, and they sure do have personality's, and they are much smarter then people credit them. My jack Dempsey always has been the best example of show casing that when people come over, and give me a weird look when i mention those things lol.
 

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We can read and hear it all over, in books, on the internet and from lots of people. Cichlids are territorial, they dig, they kill each other and all those stories. But is it true or does it just make a good story?

How about a small case study that indicates not all cichlids are the same.
Can we call it "Grandfather visits" ?

A 75 gallon tank with lots of wood and rocks for cover where 6 rainbow cichlids live and breed. A young pair have laid eggs and now have wigglers when the largest male approachs.


Does he dash in, beat up the small fish and eat the fry?


Or does he approach them slowly and let them know he means no harm?



Maybe he even greets them and checks on the grandkids?


After he leaves the small female still guards the little black pile of wigglers down in the corner.



But that can't happen. All the books say cichlids are killers!

NO! Not all cichlids do that! Some are just plain sweet but you are not likely to see that written in most books.

So just don't believe all you read. I find some of the "experts" who write books may not be that good on the subject. Some of the information you read is correct. Some is totally wrong.
Pick your information carefully and you may find cichlids are not all the same.
No,,not all cichlid's are bad.
Have kept and bred the herotilapia multispinosa pictured,and these along with Keyhole cichlid's are quite mild compared to some other's.
Sometimes however thing's change as the fish become older, or when protecting fry.
I found the rainbow's to be excellent cleaner's of algae from wood,rock's, But they mowed down my hair grass like duck's on a june bug, and dug spawning pit's all over the tank preventing some stem plant's from ever getting root's down.
Larger leafed plant's did well.
 

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Fish are incapable of perceiving emotions like humans. There's only food, make babies, food, make babies. I know as a passionate member of the community I often find myself thinking if a change I made to my aquarium will make my fish "happy" or do they like their new tank. I don't feel fish are capable of these kinds of feeling, but I often find myself projecting my own feelings onto them.

But if you look in the third photo both the parent fish are in aggressive postures, so the intruder fish probably left because out of fear.

Also let me say congrats on the fish babies!! I've never had much luck getting my cichlids to spawn, but I am going to set up a 30 gallon to try and breed some electric German blue rams.
+one
 
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