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Keeping Dwarf cichlids

Author: William Berg
by William Berg
Posted: Dec 08, 2018
dwarf cichlids

Dwarf cichlids is a name used for a group of fish that is very popular in the aquarium trade. A dwarf cichlid is a species of cichlid that grows no larger than 4 inches in length. Most cichlids grow a lot larger than this which makes them unsuitable for most home aquariums. There are several species of cichlids that can grow to be more than 2 feet in length. Examples of such large species include the peacock bass and the Doovi cichlid.

Dwarf cichlids display the same interesting behavior as the larger species in the family but is a lot more suitable for the home aquarium. Some species are very easy to keep and can be kept in community aquariums. Other species are challenging to keep and best kept by enthusiasts that are experienced in keeping dwarf cichlids. Examples of dwarf cichlids that are easy to keep include kribs and Bolivian rams. More challenging species includes checkerboard cichlids and many Apistogramma species.

A very popular type of dwarf cichlid is the German Blue Ram. The German blue ram can be a rather hardy species if your fish store sells high-quality fish but many German blue rams are breed in poor conditions. Rams bred in poor conditions are usually very sensitive and can be very hard to keep alive. If you are able to keep them alive during the first few months their health will improve and they will be easier to care for. There is numerous color variation available of the German blue ram including the electric blue ram, the balloon ram, and the dark knight ram.

I recommend that the first dwarf cichlid you try to keep should be Kribensis cichlids. Kribensis cichlids are very easy to sex, easy to keep and care for and will do well in a community aquarium. They will also breed very willingly which will give you the opportunity to watch their fascinating breeding behavior. They guard and care for their eggs and young to prevent other fish from eating them.

Setting up an aquarium for dwarf cichlids

Dwarf cichlids should be kept in aquariums that are at least 20 gallons in volume. The aquarium should contain a lot of roots, caves, and crevices to hide in. Plants are not necessary but appreciated. I recommend that you use plants because doing so make it easier to create an environment they feel safe in. Floating plants will make many species feel safer.

Tank mates

Dwarf cichlids can be kept with most other small friendly species. Bristlenosed catfish, corydoras catfish, and different tetra species all make perfect tankmates for dwarf cichlids. Make sure to choose species that prefer the same water condition as the dwarf cichlids.


Some species of dwarf cichlid will eat pellets and flake food but most species prefer frozen or live food. They should be given a varied diet that contains both greens and meaty food. I personally feed my dwarf cichlids a variety of frozen food.

Breeding dwarf cichlids

It is impossible to give any general advice in regards to breeding dwarf cichlids. Some species are very easy to breed while other species are very challenging. Different species have very different spawning behavior. Many species are cave spawners but there are also species who prefer to spawn on a flat surface. Some species are mouth brooders that keep their eggs in their mouth until the fry has hatched and sometimes for weeks after that.

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Finance professional who likes writing about finance and pets.

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Author: William Berg
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William Berg


Member since: Dec 08, 2018
Published articles: 16

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