Owning cichlids can be very satisfying. There are so many pretty types of cichlids that you will love observing.
You want to be able to enjoy these fish and watch them swim around. This is why it’s disheartening when your cichlids appear to be hiding all the time.
Why would the cichlids hide so often? Is this a sign that there’s something wrong in the aquarium?
Continue reading to learn about why cichlids will hide in the fish tank. Once you know what’s going on, it’ll be easier to take steps to turn things around.
Why Do My Cichlids Hide All the Time?
Below, you’ll get information about why cichlids hide. There are many potential reasons to consider.
1 – The Fish Are Still Getting Used to the Tank
Could it be that the fish are still getting used to the tank? When fish are new to the fish tank, they might take time to get used to things.
It’s common for fish to hide when they are still feeling out a new environment. This is commonly seen in many different types of aquarium fish.
Even cichlids might be sort of shy and wary when first introduced to an aquarium. Give it a few more days or a week and see how things go.
The fish might become more comfortable in the tank if you give them time. Simply ensure that the water parameters are good and that the fish have everything that they need to thrive.
It might just take them a little while longer to become comfortable. If things are fine within a week, you don’t have anything to be worried about.
2 – Poor Water Quality
Sometimes cichlids will start hiding in the fish tank when the water quality isn’t where it needs to be. Have you been doing a good job of maintaining the tank?
If you haven’t been testing the water properly, the pH balance could be way off. You might need to use chemicals to adjust things and get them where they need to be.
The water could also be cloudy due to a lack of proper tank maintenance. In this situation, you’ll need to put more effort into caring for the tank.
Fish tanks need to be cleaned every so often. It’s also important to do weekly water changes to avoid letting the tank get too dirty.
Change 15% of the water each week to get good results. See if improving the water quality helps to turn everything around for the cichlids.
3 – Overcrowded Fish Tank
Perhaps the fish are hiding due to the tank being too crowded. It can be very stressful for fish to be put into a fish tank that has too many fish in it.
Cichlids are territorial and will often fight when they don’t have enough space. They might sometimes hide as well.
This can be seen as a way of trying to cope with a cramped fish tank. You should never put too many fish in the aquarium.
It’ll make it harder to keep the fish tank clean. Also, it’s going to cause your fish to become stressed.
Stressed fish are more likely to get sick. This could be a serious issue that you’ll have to address.
4 – Bullying
Bullying could be the cause of the cichlids hiding. Are your fish in a community fish tank?
Cichlids are semi-aggressive fish, but they can be kept in community tanks when you choose the tank mates properly. If you didn’t do the necessary research, you could have put them in a fish tank with fish that are bullies.
Bully fish might harm the cichlids and make them feel stressed. This can make it hard for the cichlids to live normally.
In some cases, cichlids will get so stressed that they won’t even come out of hiding to eat. If things are this bad, you need to check into the compatibility of the fish in your aquarium.
You might need to separate some of the fish for the sake of safety. Don’t put fish in community tanks that aren’t compatible with each other.
5 – Issues with Current
Too much current might make it hard for the fish to swim around. When caring for African cichlids, many enthusiasts have found that they don’t like a strong current in the tank.
When the current is too strong, the fish might choose to hide near rocks. They feel safer among the rocks due to the strength of the current.
Adjust the current if you think that it might be the issue. The cichlids might be more comfortable with a milder current.
It should be easy enough to adjust the current if you need to. You can also check into specific information about the type of cichlids that you own to discover the optimal current for the fish.
6 – Sickness
Of course, it’s possible that the fish might just be sick. Cichlids are susceptible to various health issues like most fish.
Some types of sickness will cause fish to become lethargic. When fish get sick, they might choose to hide instead of swimming around.
Try to pay attention and see if your fish is sick. You might notice certain symptoms that will help you to determine what is wrong.
The fish could be infected or it might be dealing with something such as ich. Take the appropriate action based on what type of illness the fish is dealing with.
Once the fish gets better, it should start to swim around normally again. This could be enough to turn everything around and get the fish to act as it once did before it got sick.
Do Cichlids Need Hiding Places?
It’s a good idea to give cichlids hiding places. They will appreciate having spots to hide in various situations.
Cichlid Hiding Places
There are many potential cichlids hiding places. They might like hiding in aquatic plants or they could utilize rocks or cave decorations.
As you can see, there are a number of different reasons why cichlids will start hiding in the tank. It could be something as simple as the fish still getting used to being in a new tank.
Your fish might be dealing with other issues in the tank, though. Poor water quality will sometimes make fish feel as if they need to hide.
Bullying is a very common reason why fish will start hiding. They might be trying to stay away from fish that are trying to do them harm.
Your fish could even be sick for one reason or another. Do your best to determine what’s wrong so you can make good decisions.
It should be possible to help the fish and make it comfortable enough to come out of hiding. Do your best to be a proactive fish owner and everything should be okay.
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.