07-07-2008, 12:41 PM
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They don't *need* them in the way that you need high circulation in a reef, but if you've got a well-stocked cichlid aquarium (either big fish, lots of fish, or both) having tons of filtration is certainly a good thing. Cichlids don't really need the extra water movement but don't seem to mind it much, either. If you're running sponge or undergravel filters, yes, powerheads will be a better option than an air pump. Also, if your other filtration on the tank isn't providing much in the way of surface agitation, a well-placed powerhead can cause a decent amount of water movement at the surface, increasing the surface area of your water and therefore increasing oxygen exchange, which is crucial for your fish. So, whether or not you should add a powerhead really depends on what you're using it for and what the rest of your setup looks like.