05-11-2007, 07:06 PM
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Many fish are now bred outside of their original waters. While many, including myself, try our best to re-create natural biotopes for our fish, many times it is unneccessary and harms the fish in the end.
Some of my breeding colonies, specifically my Victorian cichlids, are not readily available on the market and are wild-caught. These fish do demand that I re-create their original environment. High pH and relatively hard water similar to their home waters is the recipe here. However, as these fish become more readily available, through breeders, their tolerances and requirements change more to that of the conditions in which they are spawned and raised.
I have found that most African cichlids will do well in a system where the pH is neutral (7.0) or a little higher. Many of my Malawian species do very well and also reproduce in these parameters. I do add a little aquarium salt and have coral, or a commercial cichlid, substrate. I also filter over coral, especially for the Tanganyikans.
More important, I believe, is that one provide enough hiding places for refuge for the females and less dominant occupants of the community.