Avoiding water parameter problems

Tank maintenance check list. Image from https://www.talkfishy.com/.

I can’t tell you how many times I come across fish keepers whose water parameters have suddenly degraded and they don’t know why. There are lots of things that can cause ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate spikes or even pH crashes and changes. However, there is one pretty simple solution to minimizing the probability of it happening – routine tank maintenance and consistency. 

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Want a new t-shirt from The Cichlid Stage – for free?

The Cichlid Stage t-shirt, front. Photo by the author.
The Cichlid Stage t-shirt, back. Photo by the author.

One quick-acting blog reader can win a free t-shirt right now. I will even ship it for free (anywhere in the world)! To participate you must be a member of at least two of the Facebook groups listed. Below the list of Facebook groups are the rules. You must complete each step in the rules. The first reader that completes each step below wins!

  • Dwarf Cichlids World Wide
  • Shell Dwellers
  • Cichlid Keepers
  • Tanganyika Cichlids in the USA
  • African Cichlids Worldwide

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Ohio Cichlid Association (OCA) Extravaganza

Image from http://extravaganzashow.com/.

Well, I’m a little late to the party on this one, so I apologize. Because of the coronavirus, this year’s OCA Extravaganza is going to be virtual. Always held the weekend before Thanksgiving, this year’s version promises the same quality speakers as they’ve had in the past. Because the event is virtual, you can register and attend online from wherever you are. 

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Support your LFS!

Small business support appreciation sign. Image from https://www.amazon.com/.

I just wanted to post about the importance of supporting your local small businesses, including your small, local fish stores (LFS). This is always true but even more so right now. The big box stores have the capital to survive reduced business during pandemics and other types of large scale economic slow downs. Your mom & pop businesses often survive month to month. Many of them are struggling right now and, in fact, many of them have already closed up for good. 

I’m not encouraging you to stop buying products online or from large retailers, but I am encouraging you to give some of the smaller shops your business. They depend on it to stay open and compete with the larger stores. I recognize that right now everyone is trying to save a little money, and shopping at the larger retailers often helps achieve that goal. However, if you can, please consider spending an extra couple of dollars and buy from your smaller shops. Losing these neighborhood jewels can be mitigated with a little help from everyone. 

You are not a scientist!

Science word cloud. Image from https://www.researchgate.net/.

I’m going to guess if you are reading this, it’s because you either keep cichlids or you want to for the enjoyment. Neither of those makes you a hobbyist, necessarily. For a lot of us, however, cichlid keeping is a hobby. If your collection of tanks and cichlid species seems to grow, your thoughts are often consumed with cichlids and aquariums, and you spend a lot of your free time maintaining or watching your fish, you can consider yourself a hobbyist. As such, your fish keeping journey should be something to be enjoyed. But it is also a responsibility. 

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ACA 2021

Logo for ACA 2021. Image from https://convention.cichlid.org/.

For those of you who look forward every year to attending the annual convention of the American Cichlid Association (ACA), next year’s convention will be in St. Louis, MO, July 23-25, 2021. This year’s convention, planned for Sacramento, CA, was canceled due to COVID-19. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that 2021 will be much better than 2020 and that the St. Louis event will go off without a hitch.

If you have never attended an ACA convention, I encourage you to do so. Every cichlid fan should experience it!

Registration and pricing information can be found on the convention website (NOTE: As of this post the 2021 convention website was incomplete.)

Lighting and changing behavior of cichlids

Aqueon 33g long tank with tank light only.

Tank lighting can and does affect cichlid behavior. I have posted before about how some fish become killers at night whereas sometimes everything is calm and peaceful. See Lights on or lights off?, Lights off equals calm, When the lights are off, it’s not always tranquil. My show tanks are all individually lighted. My larger tanks, which are community tanks, also contain considerable cover (e.g., caves, rock work). The lights on those tanks are only on for a couple of hours each day. However, those same tanks are also exposed to ambient lighting (e.g., window light or room lights) about 14 hours a day, leaving my fish in complete darkness for the remainder.

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