You love your cichlids and you want them to do well in your fish tank. It’s simply difficult to figure out what’s happening when the cichlids start doing unusual things.
For example, you might see the cichlids start rubbing against the sand in the tank. This isn’t something that they normally do so you know it has to be a sign of something.
What does this mean? Is there something you need to do to help the cichlids?
Keep reading to learn about cichlids rubbing against sand. It’ll show you how you can help the fish and keep them safe.
It Could Be Perfectly Normal
When fish rub themselves against objects in the tank, it’s referred to as “flashing.” This isn’t necessarily a sign that anything is wrong.
It could be a sign of something negative, but you’ll learn about that later. For now, you should know that flashing can be normal behavior.
Sometimes fish might rub against sand, rocks, or other things in the fish tank. It’s said that this is a sign of aggression in some types of fish.
It might be something that fish do in an attempt to claim territory as well. Sometimes it isn’t always clear what the fish is trying to do when it rubs its body against the sand.
If this is something that only happens occasionally, it’s not likely anything to worry about. However, if it’s happening fairly often, that’s another story.
Check the Water Parameters
It’s likely a good idea to check the water parameters. Test the pH balance of the water and ensure that everything is in the right range.
If something is off, that could be the reason why your cichlids are rubbing against things. They might be uncomfortable due to poor water conditions.
Sometimes poor water quality will make fish do strange things. It could be indicative of another issue as well.
It’s best to start by testing the water quality, though. You can make adjustments to fix issues with the water quality as expediently as possible.
Remember the importance of regular fish tank maintenance. You need to keep the fish tank clean to protect your fish.
Cichlids will become stressed and more likely to get sick or infected if the water quality is low. The water quality suffers when you forget to clean the tank.
Regularly cleaning the tank is an important part of keeping your fish safe. It’s also imperative to change the water frequently enough.
Try to remember to do 15% water changes every week. If you don’t do this, it could be detrimental to the water quality in the tank.
Even missing one or two water changes can be very bad. Remember to do what you need to do to maintain the tank.
Issues with Parasites
One big reason why fish rub their bodies against objects in the tank has to do with parasites. You fish could have become infected with parasites of some sort.
For example, the parasites that cause ich will make the fish very uncomfortable. They will show up as white spots on the body of the fish.
The fish might try to rub up against rocks, sand, and other types of substrate materials. This is being done in an effort to find relief.
It won’t really help anything, though. It’s just something that fish have the instinct to do.
There are various types of parasitic infections that might make the fish start flashing. You should pay attention to this so you can treat the fish accordingly.
If you don’t treat the fish when it has a parasitic infection, it could wind up dying. Even if it won’t die fast, it can wind up dying over the course of time.
Take things seriously and try to treat the fish. You can treat conditions such as ich by using aquarium salt and over-the-counter ich treatments that you purchase from pet stores.
Observe Your Fish
Observe your fish and try to see what’s going on. If you’re not sure if the fish has something wrong with it, you’ll want to make sure.
Examine the fish and see if you can see anything unusual on its body. Do you see any signs of external parasites?
If the fish has ich, you should see white spots all over its body. There could be something else wrong with the fish, too.
You can look out for symptoms that will show you the fish is sick. If you notice something is amiss, you can try to diagnose the issue and then take action.
If you’re worried, you could always consult with an exotic veterinarian. This is the fastest and most reliable way to determine what’s going on.
These professionals have the expertise to determine what’s going on. They can provide you with an optimal treatment plan if the fish is sick, too.
Always pay attention when things like this happen. If it’s occasional, it’s not a big deal, but it could be a problem if the rubbing is happening all the time.
Why Do Cichlids Dig in Sand?
Sometimes cichlids might do this to search for food. Only certain types of cichlids do this.
Why Are My Cichlids Digging Pits?
As mentioned above, some cichlids will dig in the sand. Certain types of cichlids might do this when looking for food, but they could be trying to claim territory as well.
Why Do Cichlids Move Rocks?
Cichlids will often move rocks to create a spawning pit. This is something they’ll do when it’s time to mate.
What Rocks Are Safe for Cichlids?
It’s said that pretty much any rocks will be fine for cichlids. Limestone and dolomite rock might be best since they can help with water chemistry.
Hopefully, your cichlids aren’t sick or anything. It could be normal for cichlids to rub against sand, but it depends on the situation.
When fish rub against sand or other objects in the fish tank, it’s referred to as flashing. This can be a normal activity, but it isn’t something that should be happening all the time.
Sometimes fish will start doing this when they’re dealing with parasitic infections. It’s often done in an effort to get rid of parasites that are stuck to the body.
The efforts of the fish won’t get rid of the parasites, though. To get rid of such infections, it’ll be necessary to treat the fish with medication.
There are various ich treatments that you can buy from local pet stores. You can also order what you need online if you want to.
If you do your best to take care of your fish, everything should be fine. You’ll be able to take the necessary steps to turn things around.
So long as you don’t ignore the problem, it shouldn’t kill the fish. Continue to pay attention to your cichlids so you can keep catching any issues that pop up.
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.