If you are new to cichlids, especially African cichlids and more specifically mbuna, you should rarely be surprised when you find one of your fish upside down in your tank looking like it got drug across the driveway. Cichlids fight, get picked on, and get killed by other cichlids. Know this before you set up a cichlid 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.
If you keep fish long enough, you will eventually experience a tank or filter failure that will inevitably leave you with a floor full of water. It WILL happen.
After nearly 20 years of personally avoiding such a disaster, my luck ran out this past weekend. I woke up Sunday morning and, like every other morning, went down to the basement where all but one of my show tanks are located. The basement is partially finished and partially carpeted.
Dr. Todd Streelman
Several months ago, I came across some studies on African cichlids that I thought were intriguing and I thought you, the reader, might also be interested. I reached out to the man behind this research and asked him if he would be willing to do an interview for the blog. Thankfully, he agreed.
Dr. Todd Streelman is Professor and Chair of the School of Biological Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech as it’s more commonly known). With degrees from Bucknell and University of South Florida, Dr. Streelman did his post-doc work at the University of New Hampshire. His research focuses on the relationship between genotype and phenotype in wild vertebrates, using African cichlids as a research model.
For more information, visit the Streelman lab website.
Can you describe your lab’s fish room for the readers?
Our fish room was redesigned as part of a new building on Georgia Tech’s campus in 2015. The room currently consists of ~70 40-gallon tanks and 6 20-gallon tanks (all on a recirculating system) and a separate brood rack. Custom design by Tecniplast. The cichlid room sits within a larger animal facility.