When you hear the term “bower builder,” maybe your first thought is a bird – the bowerbird. You may then ask, what is a bower? Simply put, it’s a dwelling, often elaborate and leafy in construction. So what’s this have to do with cichlids?
If you keep African cichlids, especially from Lake Malawi, and you have a sand or mini-gravel substrate, you may end up with a bower in your tank. Within the context of fish, a bower is a typically well-defined depression, often on a raised mound. Cichlids aren’t the only Perciformes to exhibit bower building, which is primarily a social behavior exhibited by males for mate attraction. Bass, perch, and bluegill are other common freshwater fish that perform this ritual.