What does it mean when someone says their fish are “happy” and how do they know?
Everyone enjoys watching their fish. That’s one reason we keep them. On the other hand, having cichlids visible in your tank because they have little to no cover might be good for you but not always good for them. This is especially true for new fish recently added to a show tank or quarantine tank.
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.
||Just before COVID-19 reared its ugly head here in the states, I came across a university lab doing some fascinating cichlid research on breeding behavior. Using Astatotilapia burtoni, a maternal mouthbrooder from Lake Tanganyika in Africa, as the model fish for the research, Dr. Scott Juntti’s lab is attempting to unlock some of the mysteries surrounding A. burtoni breeding behavior.
Dr. Juntti became interested in neuroscience as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, where he fell in love with life in the lab. After completing his undergraduate work, including stops at labs in Germany and San Diego, he began his graduate work at the University of California, San Francisco. There he began working in Dr. Nirao Shah’s lab, where he studied social behavior using molecular genetic approaches in mice.