Master explorers and beggars

During my regular water change yesterday, I removed all of the rock work on one end of the 55g tank. I alternate removing the rock on each end of the tank over the course of a month, though I change water weekly. This tank is all mbuna, so they love their rocks.

If you’ve never kept mbuna cichlids from Lake Malawi, I encourage you to give them a try. Start with just few if you’ve never kept them. As a group, they tend to be rather aggressive. That’s not to say every mbuna species is aggressive nor is every fish of a species. However, I would consider it the rule rather than exception.

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Photo of a 55g mbuna tank courtesy of the author.
I always enjoy watching mine after I’ve removed the rock, cleaned the sand, and returned the rocks in a new arrangement. Within minutes, the cichlids are exploring by going in and out of every crevice and hole they can fit into. You can see the many caves and openings in both photos. It’s quite fun to watch. Unfortunately, when I took the photos, a couple of hours had passed since I cleaned the tank. They were more interested in getting fed rather than exploring, because I was sitting in front of the tank. ​Notice in the bottom photo how many of them are facing the front of the tank staring at me.In the top photo, it looks like I captured the red zebra, one of the yellow labs, and one of the “elongatus chailosi”. In the bottom photo, besides a yellow lab, the zebra, and both chailosis, you can see a perlmutt and a “red top Ndumbi.” I believe I also see the demasoni.

In both photos you can clearly see some species that aren’t African cichlids. They are dithers.

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Photo of a 55g mbuna tank courtesy of the author.

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