Fish keeping myth series

Because I’m always thinking about new content for the blog, I’ve decided to start a series on fish keeping myths. This will be posts about various myths that propagate in the hobby. They can be anything from inaccurate claims about tank maintenance to outright misinformation about species and everything in between. There are a lot of myths floating around out there, so this series could get pretty long.

The first post in the series, Myth #1, will be about rinsing filter sponges in tap water. Stay tuned!

First time cichlid keepers

Newbie sticker. Image from

Hopefully, if you’re reading this, it’s because you’re doing some research before embarking on a cichlid keeping journey. Also, I hope you’re not just now beginning with fish keeping. If you’ve SUCCESSFULLY kept tropical freshwater fish before, keep reading. If you’re brand new to fish keeping, you know very little about them, and you’ve already purchased some cichlids, keep reading and you’ll understand why you’ve made your first mistake. 

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Clearing particulate cloudiness

A cloudy aquarium due to substrate change or addition. Image from a member of the forum at the Reef2Reef website –

I have posted about this before. Tank cloudiness due to high particulate concentrations is common when changing substrates or adding substrate for the first time. It is also an easy problem to solve. To do so you have a few options, listed below in no certain order. NOTE: It’s worth mentioning that cloudiness due to bacterial blooms and such require a different solution. That’s a post for another day. 

  1. Let your existing filter(s) do the work
  2. Add a new, temporary mechanical filter
  3. Do nothing and wait for the particulates to settle

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More on nerite snails

Olive nerite snail attached to glass. Photo by the author.

I have posted a couple of times about using nerite snails in cichlid tanks (search the site for those posts). If you aren’t familiar with them, let me add something that I didn’t mention previously. Though you may upright some snails that you find upside down, don’t expect them to always start moving immediately. In fact, sometimes you’ll see an upside down snail and the aperture will look empty. Neither means the snail is dead. 

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Maintaining consistent water parameters

Image from

One of the most detrimental aspects to good fish health is constant swings in water parameters. Once your tank is established, maintaining stable water conditions should be one of your first priorities. I consistently see cichlid keepers, typically newer ones in the hobby, struggling to understand why sudden changes occur in their water parameters. How does this happen and how can it be prevented?

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Avoiding water parameter problems

Tank maintenance check list. Image from

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

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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