As a fish keeper for many years, I always try to accommodate the species to their natural habitat rather than make them live in my water. For my Cichlids I have access to new technology, substrate, and information. Before I get too deep in to this blog let me state I intend to use this space to update the status for the African Cichlids. I think the tank is healthy and well maintained with water parameters very pleasant for African Cichlids.
If you are new to African Cichlids, I suggest you start with two or three of the same species, a tank of 20 gallons with plenty of hiding spots. I use a few ceramic "rocks" with hollow areas, and this seems to work well. It also and area for some micro algae to grow which the fish seem to love.
I use Neptune Systems on my tanks to allow me internet access to monitor PH, Temp, Lights and the chiller. The Neptune is very easy to setup and use and when you think about what it offers it is worth the money spent. With the Neptune I can Setup parameters such as shutting off lamps and turning on the chiller if the temp gets to warm, not to mention PH readouts with Temp logged. The Neptune is a wonderful tank monitoring system.
I use CaribSea Aquarium Substrate designed for African Cichlids and in this case the black and white sand. This is the first freshwater tank I used sand in and since the biocube is glass I don’t have too many worries if I am careful during cleaning but the sand is very fine. The PH seems to hover around 8.0 which is nice for the Cichlids
Filtration: I selected =Eheim for my tank based on 20 years, no Eheim has ever failed me - rock solid.
Today Readings are; Temp 78.5, PH 8.0