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Turtle versus Native African Cichlids


In an earlier post I showed native African Cichlids in their natural surrounding of Lake Malawi in a short video .  I will always be on the lookout for other videos that show my favorite fish in their native habitat.

Although I have always seemed to lean towards the Lake Malawian Cichlids when I keep them, it seems I am most fascinated by the mouth brooding cichlids of any location.  Most of those that I am familiar with seem to be found in Africa.

But I digress, this video from National Geographic shows one of the reasons the mouth brooding cichlid is so successful in its habitat.  I wouldn’t want to be the one who gets in between the parents and their brood.  Obviously the turtle is going to learn that this pair is devoted to their fry and well able to withstand the onslaught of a predator that is much larger than they are!

I must admit I have never kept turtles, they are quite difficult to keep in a clean environment.  I don’t recommend trying to keep a turtle with fish of any type.  Even the small red ear sliders will slowly decimate the fish population of a standard community tropical fish tank. In the home aquarium, you should make a conscious decision for the type of fish you are planning to keep and keep similar species, or at least ones with a common temperament.

In most cases African Cichlids are able to be kept only with species from the same lake. I am not making a blanket statement here, there has been mixing of fish from the three lakes before, but be careful when trying to mix continents with these fish. It is usually an exercise in futility to mix cichlids from South America with Africans.  What you saw happen to the turtle will happen to any interlopers.

But in this clip we see how the native African cichlids are suited to protecting their territory and they can work together toward a common goal – protecting their brood from a predator.  The basic habitat shown here is a wide open sandy area.  In the home aquarium this would be a recipe for disaster for any fry.  I have always preferred to use stacks of slate at the back wall to make many tiny channels and paths for the small fish to get away on their own.  With this type of aquascape, many generations of parents and children can live together in the same tank. Sort of makes it an aquarium that is truly green, the tank keeps renewing the occupants with little or no help from the aquarist or having to deplete the natural habitats…

Steve Pond
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Steve Pond, of Tropical Fish Aquarist, has kept fish both personally and professionally for over 50 years.  He writes regularly on the wide range of current topics that are important to people who keep tropical fish tanks as a passion and a hobby.

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About blueram

Steve Pond, of Tropical Fish Aquarist, has kept fish both personally and professionally for over 50 years.  He writes regularly on the wide range of current topics that are important to people who keep tropical fish tanks as a passion and a hobby.

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One Comment

  1. SunilOctober 6, 2012 at 9:22 pmReply

    Ok, let me clear up some things. Betta fish are very tiiretorral. They will not kill just any fish though. They only attack fish that have long or flowy fins. Yes, your betta will attack your gold fish, that is not a good idea. On the other hand Gold fish do not make good tank mates with all fish, there is something about them (I do not know what) that bothers the other fish. Good tank mates for your betta are quick fish that have small fins. I have a female that will kill guppies, but she does just fine with algae eaters (I have a yellow Chinese one with her right now)Long story short, do not mix bettas with gold fish, but you could use a divider in the tank. Buy a divider from a fish store, but make sure that water can flow through it so the tank stays filtered and also make sure it is high enough that the fish can’t jump over it. Canvas (you know the plastic sheet with the square holes in it) make great cheap dividers that can be cut to size or easily sewn together with fishline to make them bigger. Good luck with your fish!

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