Turquoise cichlids

Turquoise cichlids originally come from Lake Malawi in Africa. Therefore they are used to a rocky environment. Despite their natural habitat, the perches can be kept in an aquarium at home. This article explains what to consider when setting up the aquarium. Additionally, it contains sections with interesting details about this fish breed.

What distinguishes turquoise cichlids?

The exterior of the perch is what gives it its name. They belong to the group of cichlids. With 9 to 11 centimetres they reach an average length, the life expectancy in healthy animals is seven years.


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The appearance of turquoise cichlids:

Vlad Butsky from San Jose, CA, USA, Melanochromis auratus (female), CC BY 2.0

Dark shades of colour are characteristic for male cichlids. They also have lateral stripes that appear bluish. Their anal fin is coloured yellow. The females have a yellow colouring, which can also be observed in the juveniles. Their lateral stripes are black, the same shading can be found on the edge of the dorsal fin. The colouring of the caudal fin looks like it is interspersed with spots.

  • Male perch = black, female and not sexually mature conspecifics = yellow
  • Blue stripes on the sides of the males
  • Dark lateral stripes and fin edges (dorsal fin) in females, spotted caudal fin
  • Yellow anal fin of a male cichlid

Housing conditions:

The edge length of the aquarium should not be less than one meter. Smaller tanks do not allow the cichlids sufficient mobility. The capacity should be 300 litres. The aquarium may be more voluminous, but not narrower. A flow pump is not necessary when keeping turquoise cichlids.

Only fish of the same breed are suitable for keeping in groups. The coexistence of different breeds of perch is not optimal, as turquoise cichlids can be hostile towards them. An uneven gender distribution is sensible for turquoise cichlids. Several female perches can live in the aquarium with a male without problems.

  • Length of the edges: At least one meter
  • Average capacity of the pool: 300 litres and more
  • Artificial flow by pump – no need
  • Turquoise cichlids should live in the aquarium without exception
  • It is not advisable to keep the animals in parallel with other breeds
  • Appropriate proportion: one male perch together with two or more females

Gender differences:

There are differences between male and female perch in terms of their external characteristics. With a size of about 11 centimetres, mature males are larger. The females can grow up to 9 centimetres. In addition, a black colouring is typical for male turquoise perch. Female animals have a yellowish appearance. When sexually mature, the males change colour from black to turquoise green. With the females such a change does not take place. For this reason, cichlids can easily be identified as male or female.

Water values for turquoise cichlids:

Temperatures between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius provide species-appropriate conditions for cichlids. The pH value should be 7.5 to 8.5. A hardness level of 10 to 20 dGH is also appropriate for cichlids.

Food and nutrition for turquoise cichlids:

Turquoise cichlids primarily eat algae plants. When feeding, they consume many invertebrates together with the algae.

The ideal aquarium for turquoise cichlids:

The preference of the cichlids for hiding places should be considered when setting up the aquarium. Piled up rocks form the niches. At the same time, arches should be made from the pieces of rock. The perches swim through the opening when they move freely in the aquarium. Stones overgrown with algae serve as food source. If they are not available, the animals receive dry plant food. Frozen live food also covers the needs of the cichlids.

Special features of turquoise cichlids:

During the breeding season the cichlids keep their eggs in their mouths. After this period they let the hatched young swim out again. The female perches are responsible for hatching.

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