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Do African Cichlids Sleep? 5 Things to Consider

What you need to know about fishes in general is that they don’t sleep as mammals do. Their brains have developed in different ways, which allows them to rest differently. It is not even that easy to tell whether they are actually asleep or not.

When African cichlids sleep, their eyes are open and they are rather inactive. For them, sleep is just as essential as to us, humans.

Without a few hours of rest, whey simply can’t function properly. Just like us, they become stressful and eventually sick. The consequences can be fatal on the long term.

In this article, we are going to investigate the sleeping habits of African cichlids by answering you some essential questions. By the end of it, you are going to be completely familiar with their sleeping habits.

How do African Cichlids Sleep?

It is not hard to figure out that your African cichlid is sleeping if you know what to look for. With mammalian species, it is obvious when they sleep because they usually lay down and close their eyes. Since none of the fish species have eyelids, they can’t even close their eyes.

Sleeping phases such as REM sleep (rapid eye movement) is also not something you can detect. Cichlids simply become inactive throughout the night and their brain starts to function differently. During sleep, what you can see is very slow gill movement while the fish basically hovers in the water.

It is easy to wake them up because although their brain is resting, they are still alert to danger. Out in the wild, predators can lurk around them at any given time. Once they spot them, they need to react and get away as fast as they can.

If you notice that your African cichlid has stopped moving and its gills are relaxed, then he is probably sleeping.

How Much Sleep do African Cichlids Need?

One similarity they have with our sleeping habits is that they also need about 6-8 hours of sleep. When the time comes for them to sleep, you also need to switch the lights off. After all, African cichlids are not nocturnal species and they need to have a proper biorhythm in order to function properly.

It is actually a common mistake among fish keepers to leave the lights on during the night. As a result, their cichlids eventually develop health issues due to their unhealthy sleeping pattern. It is really simple. Once the sun gets up, they wake up and once it goes down, they go to sleep.

This is how it works out in the wild. This is also what you need to simulate at home and you can rest assured that they have a healthy sleeping schedule.

Do African Cichlids Sleep in Light?

No, they sleep in the dark just like us, humans do. You need to place the aquarium in a room where you don’t have to keep the lights on during the night. It is acceptable if there is some really weak light source but you should definitely avoid any bright lights.

It can cause huge stress to African cichlids if the lights are on 24/7. This can be so bad for them that it can be fatal on the long term. Their brains need rest, and they can only have high-quality sleep if they are in the dark.

What Lights to Use for African Cichlids Tank?

The type of lights that have a similar effect as natural light are perfect. Remember, the main goal is to make your fish feel like he is living in its natural habitat.

It should feel like sunshine for them. The following LED light I am going to recommend you not only provides ideal lighting conditions but it’s also decorative.

The EA LED aquarium light by BeamsWork is going to bring the right technology for your African cichlid tank.

Among all the other aquarium lights available, this is one of the most sought-after ones. The designers of this product know exactly that basic artificial lights greatly differ from natural sunlight.

The light produced by this LED is going to be great for your fish and your plants as well. The secret behind it is that it produces a wide sprectrum of light waves, making it as good as natural sunlight.

What makes LED so good is the fact that it’s energy efficient and lasts much longer than bulbs.

Besides sunlight, it can produce moonlight as well which is equally important. This makes it even more natural for your African cichlids to sleep in the aquarium. During the night, the lights are dim enough not to disturb your little pets.

The BeamsWork EA LED aquarium light also comes with a convenient timer. There is no need to be around the tank and switch between the two modes manually. This device can do it all by itself without you even thinking about it.

All you need to do is to ask for the time module when you buy it, pay some extra cash and you’re set.

Wrapping Up

Just like all other fish species, African cichlids sleep in a way that might be weird for us humans at first. They just hover around or in place with their eyes wide open and sort of meditate throughout the night.

Their brain is at sleep, yet they are fully alert and on the lookout for any threats that can lurk around them.

African cichlids sleep during the night and spend time awake during the day. Pretty much the only thing you need to remember her is that their sleeping cycle has to be natural.

When the sun comes up, they need to be exposed to light. When it goes down, they need to be in the dark.

The light that I recommended has proven to be helpful for many fish keepers from all around the world. If you didn’t buy one yet, then it’s definitely worth to give it a try.

I hope that this article has answered all your questions regarding the sleeping habits of African cichlids.

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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