Many people enjoy caring for cichlids. These are interesting fish that come in quite a few different varieties.
You might be interested in learning a bit more about these fine fish. For instance, you could be wondering whether cichlids are smart or not.
Are cichlids clever fish? Or are they not all that smart when compared to other fish?
Keep reading to learn about how smart cichlids are. This will help you to appreciate cichlids even more.
Cichlids Are Smart Fish
Experts consider cichlids to be rather smart as far as fish go. They’re a lot smarter than many other popular fish such as tetras.
Researchers have observed cichlids and noted that they act very intelligently in aquarium settings. Unlike some fish, they’re very responsive to the aquarium environment.
The problem is that most of the evidence that these fish are smart is anecdotal. They have been observed to be responsive and fairly smart by certain researchers, but there still aren’t many studies that have been published on the topic.
Fish owners have been able to give stories that showcase the intelligence of cichlids. However, some would say that you should take such information with a grain of salt.
Regardless, it’s easy enough to say that cichlids are considered to be pretty smart for fish. That doesn’t mean that they’re going to be smart enough to learn incredibly complex things, but they do seem to be able to be trained to an extent.
The Memory of Cichlids
It has been suggested that the intelligence of cichlids is related to their memory. A recent study has noted that African cichlids are capable of forming memories that will last for twelve days.
More research into this subject might come to light in the future. For now, it’s interesting to note that there are some studies that support that these fish can learn.
Can Cichlids Recognize Their Owners?
Many owners have said that their cichlids have learned to recognize them. Evidence shows that cichlids are capable of learning to recognize their owners’ faces.
If you buy some cichlids, you might notice them reacting to you. For instance, when you approach the tank, you might see the cichlids coming to the front of the tank to greet you.
You might think that this makes cichlids even more appealing. Thinking that your fish remembers you makes you feel as if you have a better connection.
Skeptics would say that the fish are just smart enough to remember who feeds them. This is probably true because the excited nature of the fish is likely related to them anticipating food.
Are Cichlids Easy to Care For?
There are a number of different cichlid types. Depending on what type of fish you buy, cichlids might be easy to care for.
Many of the most popular cichlids that people buy for home aquariums are hardy. Oscars, angelfish, African cichlids, and convict fish are known to be hardy fish.
These fish are hardy enough that beginners will be able to care for them with ease. They’re smart fish and you’re going to enjoy having them in your aquarium.
Some other types of cichlids won’t be so easy to care for. There are cichlids that are a bit more delicate that might die easily if you make a few mistakes.
If you stick to popular options, you’re not going to have a hard time with these fish. Enjoy caring for the cichlids and they should be a good addition to your aquarium.
Watch Out for Aggression
One thing to be aware of is that cichlids are rather aggressive fish. All cichlids are at least mildly aggressive, and some are more aggressive than that.
They will fight with each other and they’re also known to fight with their tank mates. For this reason, you need to be careful if you plan to put cichlids in a community aquarium.
Some of the more aggressive fish might bully their tank mates. You should also know that male cichlids generally don’t get along with each other.
Be sure to keep only the recommended number of fish in the tank together based on the species that you choose. Also, you want to avoid pairing males to keep aggression issues to a minimum.
Giving these fish plenty of space will help to keep them happy. They become territorial easily and will fight with other fish if they feel that things are too cramped.
How to Care for Cichlids
Caring for cichlids won’t be that hard. You just need to take care of their basic needs.
Monitor the water parameters and check things in the tank regularly. Each type of cichlid will have a preferred pH balance and temperature range.
You should also keep the fish tank clean. Be sure to change the water weekly to keep the fish healthy.
Feed your cichlids once or twice per day. Try to feed them no more than you need to so that they don’t have issues with constipation.
It’s best to give them as much as they can eat within two minutes. Don’t go over that amount.
If you’re looking for smart and interesting fish, cichlids will fit the bill. They’re considered to be very smart fish overall.
They have showcased the ability to remember things for as long as twelve days. It’s said that cichlids can remember their owners’ faces, too.
Some think that this makes cichlids more desirable for home aquariums. They probably seem like fun pet fish to own.
They absolutely can be, but you should take the time to consider if they’re right for you. Cichlids are hardy fish for the most part, but they can also be aggressive.
The aggressive nature of cichlids might be a problem if you want to add them to a community fish tank. It could also be problematic if you have more than one male cichlid in the tank.
Keeping the fish in a large aquarium with plenty of space helps to alleviate issues. However, you still need to be careful when choosing tank mates for cichlids.
Overall, these fish are easy to care for when you pick beginner-friendly hardy options. Angelfish and African cichlids are among the most popular choices that you’ll find at pet stores.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.