Lake Malawi Mbuna Cichlids Tank Setup

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Lake Malawi Mbuna cichlids are a fish species found in Lake Malawi. The lake is home to 1000 different cichlids species.  Lake Malawi is the 9th largest and second deepest lake in the world. It is very big water body. It is a habitat to thousands of fresh water aquatics including Malawi mbuna cichlids species.

For many years the lake has been the major source of protein for people of Malawi. Because fish is cheaper source of protein compared to beef. Some fish from Lake Malawi is exported to international  market as well. The most popular export fish in from Lake Malawi is Chambo.

Fishermen surrounding the lake economically depend on selling fish to earn their living.

Scientists also find the lake as a rich area of scientific interest and research.

Mbuna means ‘rock’ in the local language. As the name suggests mbuna species are found in rock places.  The Malawi cichlids are divided into two different tribes. One tribe is the haplocromines and the other is tilapiines.

Lake Malawi cichlids are popular among aquariums due to their bright colours. Most common colours are yellow and orange. Another interesting characteristic of Lake Malawi Mbuna cichlids species is that they are easy to breed as well as easy to keep.

Mbuna Cichlids Size:

Do you want to know Malawi mbuna cichlids size? You wonder how big they grow.

Well, Malawi mbuna cichlids tend to be small. Mbuna cichlids is small such that they do not grow over 15cm. The mbuna size is within the range of 10 to 15cm.

Due to the fact that mbuna cichlids size is small; therefore, it is possible to keep many species in a single average tank.

Malawi Cichlids Threats

The IUCN consider over 100 species of Malawi cichlids species as threatened. Main threats to cichlids species in Lake Malawi is due to overfishing and water pollution. Overfishing is an increasing challenge because of the overpopulation. The increasing population growth in the country exerts pressure on the limited available resources.  

Lake Malawi Cichlids Tank Setup

Do you want to have a replica of Lake Malawi in your home or office?

If yes, go ahead to set up Lake Malawi cichlid tank and have the bright-colored fishes near you. Looking at the mbuna cichlids list one would not that there are different species. The good thing is that you can keep over thirty species in a single average tank.

To setup a cichlids tank the’re some important things to consider. Shortly, I will list important things necessary conducive environment for Lake Malawi cichlids to survive.

Large Size of the Cichlid Tank

Malawi Cichlids are aggressive as we as territorial. Hence, they adapt well in spacious tanks. A small tank is not conducive for survival of Malawi cichlids. The measurements for an average tank are 120cm x 60cm x 60cm.

Optimal Temperature

Temperature is critical to the survival of fish like is the case of any living animal. The temperature in the tank should be similar to the temperature of natural environment of the fish. Lake Malawi average temperature is ranges from 24o to 28o. Hence, the temperature in the tank has to be within 24o to 28for better survival of Lake Malawi cichlids.

Adequate Light

In its natural environment Mbuna fish is found in shallow water where there is direct sunlight. Hence, for better survival in the tank, Mbuna requires adequate light similar to its natural environment.

Optimal pH

Lake Malawi is a fresh water body. The pH of water in the lake is ranges from minimum of 7.5 to maximum of 9.0. Therefore, a suitable tank for Mbuna should have optimum pH levels with minimum of 7.5 and maximum pH of 9.0.

Sand Substrate

Mbuna or rock fishes in their natural environment leave in rock places. As a result the tank has to mimic the rock surfaces of Lake Malawi. Hence, suitable sand substrate serves the purpose of making the tank similar to natural environment for Mbuna.  Sand substrate also serves as the breeding places for the Malawi cichlids in the tank.  

Appropriate Feeds

Proper food is a basic for survival of every fish.  Feeding the cichlids with unsuitable food would be an easiest way to kill them. Mbuna cichlids feed on phytoplankton such as algae. So, if you want mbuna cichlids to feel happy and comfortable in the tank give feed it phytoplankton.



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