The myriad cichlid species available in the hobby offer something for every cichlidophile. If you like the great big nasties, they’re available. If you like the hand-sized fish, there are plenty to be had. If you’re looking for something small, there’s lots to choose from. So why am I partial to dwarves? Here are my top five reasons in no particular order.
1) They don’t require large tanks – Large tanks take up more space, they cost more to purchase, and they take more effort to maintain. It takes longer to change 20% of the water and vacuum the substrate of a 75 gallon tank than a 20 gallon.
2) They won’t eat your other fish – Large fish generally eat small fish. Cichlids that aren’t strictly herbivores will eat any fish they can fit in their mouths. Dwarf cichlids are typically too small to eat anything other than the fry of fish.
3) You can keep more of them – Defending a smaller territory means you can sometimes keep multiple specimens of various genders together (i.e., multiple breeding pairs) in the same tank.
4) As much personality as their larger cousins – Don’t be fooled by their size! The little guys have just as much spunk as the big guys. The can be just as aggressive towards conspecifics and other species.
5) They eat less – A smaller fish doesn’t require as much food as a larger fish.