Watch those nerite snails


Olive nerite snail (Neritina reclivata) on tank glass. Photo by author.

For those of you looking to add a glass/decoration cleaner to your tank, consider the nerite snail. I’ve posted before about using nerite snails to clean up diatomaceous algae aka brown algae. They are great cleaners, inexpensive, available, and require little maintenance. 

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Lake Tanganyika cichlid photos

Map of large lakes in east Africa. Image from

Looking for a good resource for Lake Tanganyika cichlid photos? There are several online. I posted a few months ago about The Cichlid Room Companion, which is a great resource for all cichlids. If you want something specific to Tangs, check out This is Gregor Bauer’s site, and the language is a mix of English and Slovenian. Photos themselves, thankfully, have no language. Cichlid names are in English.

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Serials (magazines) that cover cichlids

Magazines that cover cichlids. Image by the author.

Looking for some good magazine or journal resources on cichlids? Although there isn’t a wide array of publications that include or focus on cichlid content, there are a few. Below are the English-speaking ones I’m aware of. I’ve done posts on some of these, which you can find using the search box. Formats vary from both digital and print to only print or only digital. All are US based unless otherwise noted. Also note that some of these are general fish publications and don’t focus exclusively on cichlids. 

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The Cichlid Room Companion

The Cichlid Room Companion (CRC) logo. Image from the CRC website.

Whether you’re new to cichlids or a seasoned veteran keeping these wonderful fish, you can always learn something new. A really cool resource for learning about these fish is The Cichlid Room Companion (CRC). Chock full of species profiles and other great information, including authoritative articles, the CRC is a tremendous resource that everyone should take advantage of. Back in 2018, I did an interview with the man responsible for the CRC, Juan Miguel Artigas Azas.

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Substrate can affect spawning behaviors

Various aquarium substrates. Image from

Lot of variables contribute to ideal spawning conditions for cichlids in aquaria. Listing them all is a post for another day. Many aquarists try to identify and exploit certain variables that can increase not just the probability of spawning behavior but also the success of such behavior. Want to get your males more active in spawning? Check your substrate.

A recent study in the journal Animal Welfare found that the sexual behavior of male Oreochromis mossambicus increased in the presence of substrate. Does that translate to all species? No. However, it is food for thought for those who keep cichlids in bare bottom tanks and who have some trouble promoting spawning behavior in MF pairs. Many environmental factors influence spawning behavior, however the simple presence of a substrate (maybe even suitable substrate) can make a difference. 

Reference: Galhardo, L., Correia, J., & Oliveira, R. F. (2008). The effect of substrate availability on behavioural and physiological indicators of welfare in the African cichlid (Oreochromis mossambicus). Animal Welfare, 239-254.

Online cichlid retailers

Image from

Interested in ordering cichlids online? I have posted a couple of times about online purchasing – a post about what to consider when doing so and issues with ordering online. I’ve even posted about some of the online sources I’ve used in the past. While I encourage you to patronize your local fish stores (LFS), they may not always have the most comprehensive selection or the best price. Give them your business but also know there are other options.

Below I’ve compiled a list of online cichlid retailers that I know of or that have reached out to me. While the list isn’t exhaustive, it’s pretty comprehensive. Unless otherwise noted, these are all based in the United States. Cichlid species from Africa, Central America, South America, etc. can be found within various stock lists of these retailers.

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Reducing diatomaceous algae in cichlid tanks

Olive nerite snail on silicon. Photo by author.

Is your tank overrun with diatomaceous algae, more commonly called brown algae? Or does your tank simply contain more of it than you would like? There are numerous factors that can contribute to an overabundance of this brown film. Mostly associated with newly set-up tanks, even established tanks are not immune. I know, because some of my tanks have brown algae even though the they’ve been established and running for years.

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Need more ammonia oxidizing bacteria? Maybe not

Image of archaea by Steve Gschmeissner from

We all know that the nitrogen cycle consists of breaking down ammonia or ammonium into nitrite and then into nitrate. For years, the microorganisms credited with performing these tasks in aquaria were bacteria, specifically from the genera Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter. That is still true, however the notion that bacteria are exclusively responsible has recently been challenged by the scientific community. In fact, it may not be bacteria at all that perform the majority of the work, at least in freshwater aquariums.

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