May 22, 2014

I received many notes from students in New Jersey several days ago. They asked about the Rift Lake cichlids that I keep in an aquarium in my bedroom. The questions were great and I enjoyed reading them. You can read all of them in their entirety in the comments section of the original story, My Cichlid Tank.

Here are some things they asked and said:

Francesca wrote: "Wow!!! Those cichlid fish are the coolest fish that I have seen!!! They are so many colors and are really cool different patterns. I think that it is awesome that they react to their surroundings. I also agree to the fact that they are beautiful! I would also love to have a cichlid fish as a pet."

Kevin wrote: "I like that they swim with purpose unlike schooling fish, could you also tell how big they get and what they eat in the wild?"

Nehal asked, "how many eggs?"

Liam asked, "how many do you have?"

Here is my answer to their many questions:

  Cichlids swim individually and with purpose. They don’t school with each other and each seems to react to its surroundings. That’s why I like looking at them; each is an individual.  I just went upstairs to take a new photograph for this story, and this fish swam right over to see what I was doing!

These cichlids are all from the African Rift Lakes in the middle of the continent. They are hundreds of different Rift Lake species and they are found nowhere else in the world. Cichlids are egg layers and lay anywhere from a few dozen to hundreds of eggs. Many species of Rift Lake cichlids are very colorful and they come in a variety of colors and patterns.  In their native lakes cichlids eat a variety of smaller aquatic animals and insects.

Cichlids are often belligerent and you wouldn’t want to keep them in a normal community aquarium, so I keep them in a separate cichlid tank. They sort of pick on each other but not so terribly. I purchased these six cychlids at Eddie’s Tropical Aquarium near Albany, NY when they were about an inch or so long and now some of them are three to four inches long. If they grow too large for my aquarium I will have to bring them back to the aquarium store in which they were purchased and they will place them in much bigger tanks. They are not the easiest fish to keep in a home aquarium, but for me at least, they are definitely worth it!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(19) Comments  •   Labels: Kids Write, Pets, Fish   •  Permalink (link to this article)   •  Share: