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Why do My African Cichlids Keep Dying?   

African Cichlids can die for pretty much the same reasons as any other fish that people keep at home. There are many factors that need to go right in a home aquarium. For example, there should be clean water that contains beneficial bacteria.

They also need to be kept on a healthy diet and in a stress-free environment. This includes keeping them with the right tank mates and ensuring that they have plenty of space to swim around.

Of course, accidents can happen and there are things you might forget when it comes to maintenance.

This article is all about minimizing these accidents and showing you how to do things right when it comes to the health of your fish.

Reasons Why African Cichlids Keep Dying in Your Tank

It is all about the stress levels and the immune system of your African Cichlids. You can ensure that they build up an indestructible immune system in many different ways.

The things we are going to talk about in this article are all equally important for the well-being of your cichlids.

The water quality and the general behavior of your fish should be monitored day by day. Besides that, you should consistently feed them a diverse and, most importantly, nutritious diet.

We are going to talk about every single thing that can affect the health of your African Cichlids in great detail.

– Poor Water Quality

Aquarium maintenance should happen every week or bi-weekly. The most important part of it is changing the water.

You will make things much better for your African Cichlids by introducing some fresh and clean water to your aquarium.

Your fish generate waste day by day and it can build up to an intolerable degree over time. Swimming in such toxic water can potentially kill your fish.

At least 10% of the water should be changed every week. If your fish tank is not crowded, then this little maintenance will surely help your fish stay healthy.

Poor water quality can also be the result of overfeeding. If there is a lot of leftover food in the tank, then it will only break down and contaminate the water in the long run.

Also, if your fish eats more food, then more waste will come out on the other side and thus the water will quickly become toxic.

– Non-Cycled Tank

This is where most beginner fish keepers fail and the consequences can be rather serious. Grabbing a glass tank and filling it with water is not exactly the first step.

In fact, the first thing you need to do is to cycle your aquarium for a while.

Besides the African Cichlids you want to keep, there should be an abundance of bacteria in the water as well. Bacteria are useful when it comes to the safety of your fish.

Putting your fish in plain clean water is a stressful experience for any fish.

The preparation process called cycling can take a couple of weeks, therefore buying your fish can wait for a while.

Don’t get us wrong, you can do the cycling with the fish in the tank but it will be risky and very stressful for your fish.

– Lack of Filtration

Even if there is enough space for all your African Cichlids in the tank, they are going to continually generate waste.

By not overfeeding them, you can make sure the water is not getting contaminated that much. But even then, it is essential to install a good filter in your aquarium.

The power of the filter should be matched accordingly to the size of your tank. If you have a bigger tank, you might need to install two of them.

Otherwise, ammonia and nitrate will build up in your tank. These contaminants will cause your fish to get sick on the long run, which can be fatal in some cases.

– Inadequate Diet

Your African Cichlids need to get their daily dosage of vitamins and proteins day by day in order to thrive.

They need their immune system to be strong enough to protect them against diseases. There are plenty of inadequate fish foods you can buy at the pet store.

It is best to check the ingredients and make sure the food contains all the nutrients they need.

Even if something is missing from it, you can recognize it and then supplement it with something else. For example, it is good to have some extra live foods and vegetables at home to mix their portions with.

Overfeeding is another issue. Your fish will not only eat more and generate more waste but leftover food will also contaminate the water.

– Overcrowded Tank

Overcrowding can be highly effective for handling the aggression of African Cichlids. However, this method is not about reducing their space to the point of it being unhealthy for them.

You definitely shouldn’t overdo it or else it will be fatal for your fish.

Although there are useful bacteria in an aquarium that will help to break down fish waste, they can only break down a certain amount.

In an overcrowded tank, nothing can deal with the waste generated by so many African Cichlids.

Even if you have a good filter, the water in your tank will turn toxic in a rapid rate and will eventually kill your fish.

Furthermore, your fish won’t have enough space to move around and there will be a lack of oxygen as well.

– Diseases or Parasites

When African Cichlids are under stress, their immune system weakens. This causes them to be more vulnerable to diseases.

By reducing stress, feeding them healthy food and keeping the water clean, you can ensure the well-being of your fish.

This is why it is important to read about a particular fish you want to keep or ask an experienced fish keeper about it.

The more you know, the higher the chance that you can take proper care of your fish. If a fish gets sick, it is the owner’s fault more often than not.

– Genetic Conditions

There are some spinal abnormalities and other problems with the skeletal build of African Cichlids that can be linked with genetic predisposition.

The worst genetic disease is the one that causes sudden death, which is a result of an acute condition. These genetic conditions are both extremely rare.

All the other diseases can be linked only to external circumstances.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, the reason behind a fish dying is often a lack of attention from the side of the owner.

This might not be clear right away but as you look back and think things through, it always turns out that one could have prevented it.

Frequent water changes, a good diet and a stress-free environment are all essential for the well-being of an African Cichlid.

Make sure to find compatible tank mates and to welcome your fish with properly cycled water.

Although accidents can certainly happen, let’s put our best foot forward and try to minimize our mistakes.

However, in order to become an experienced fish keeper, you need to go through a lot of mistakes. It is a learning process and every next fish will live a happier life under your hands.

avatar I’m Julia, and I used to work in a fish store for over 5 years. On this blog I help beginners care for their cichlids and share my experience and research on various fishkeeping related topics.

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