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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Care Guides > African Cichlids Nutrition and Maintenance

African Cichlids

Experience Level: Advanced

African Cichlids in tank

Nutrition & Maintenance

• Choose a flake or pelleted food of the appropriate size for your fish as its staple diet.

• Feed your fish as much food as they will consume in three minutes, twice a day.

• Vary the fish’s diet by occasionally including frozen (thaw first) or freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, tubifex worms and other foods.

• Some species of African Cichlids originally from Lake Malawi, the Mbuna or “Rock Fish” Cichlids, also need vegetable matter in their diet. Feed them Spirulina pellets as well.

Maintaining a healthy environment for your fish is an ongoing commitment. A newly set-up aquarium requires more frequent monitoring. Once water quality is stable, you can keep your aquarium in great shape with minimal effort by following this schedule:

Maintenance Schedule 

Feed fish twice daily.

Check water temperature and general health of fish. 


Remove 10% of thew ater and replace with dechlorinated water.

Test water quality in aquariums or if having problems.

Scrub glass to remove algae, if necessary. 


Vacuum gravel and replace 25% of water with dechlorinated water. 

Test water quality in established aquariums. 

Perform filter maintenance (i.e., replace filter cartridge, replace carbon, rinse pre-filter, etc.)

Scrub algae from tank and prune live plants, if necessary. 


Always add a dechlorinator or water conditioner to tap water before adding it to the aquarium. Do not use any soaps or detergents to clean aquarium or decor, as they are toxic to fish.

Always wash your hands before and after handling fish or cleaning the aquarium.