Meet the Cichlids

I’ve recently established a 20 gallon aquarium with some African cichlids of two species, Peacocks & Brichardis. My Youtube video tells the story of their arrival & the establishment of the community up to now.

Some of the cichlids in my aquarium

Some of the cichlids in my aquarium

Like most cichlids, these are very aggressive & territorial, & very combative around food. It’s too soon yet to tell the sex of any of them, but the important thing is that the first one to establish territory in the tank is also the largest, both of which are reasons for being top dog in the cat fight! What’s more interesting is that there’s less aggression than might have been; they seem to be getting along pretty well, actually.

I’ve given the two Peacock cichlids names in Tigrinya, the language of highland Eritrea & northern Ethiopia, where I used to live. The first to arrive showed a voracious appetite from the start, so I named him Timuy, which is Tigrinya for Hungry. The second, also a Peacock, is smaller, also voracious, & incredibly fast, which is useful since he is chased a lot, so I named him Qiltuf, which means Speedy. The Brichardis arrived as a group of five, & tend to stay in a school. Up to now, I haven’t been able to find sufficient individuality among them to give any of them names.

Timuy (Tigrinya for Hungry), my first Peacock cichlid

Timuy (Tigrinya for Hungry), my first Peacock 

I’ve kept other cichlids in aquariums previously, including oscars & angelfish, the most famous South American cichlids, but I wanted to move to the Africans, because I like to have critters & plants that remind me of my years living in Eritrea & Ethiopia, & because of my experience catching Lake Naivasha cichlids – a variety of tilapia – during a fishing trip while staying in Kenya. It was a great fishing day, made more exciting by nearly being swamped by a hippo when we got our small boat too close to a papyrus grove! I brought my catch back to the Indian hotel I was staying at in Nairobi, & they made me a wonderful fish curry! Tilapia would be far too large to keep in a small aquarium, & the Eritrean & Ethiopian species aren’t available for hobbyists, but these two species are especially interesting & colorful, which will be more evident as they grow.

I hope to continue posting videos as the tank & its denizens mature. In the meantime, enjoy this first installment, entitled Peacocks & Brichardis.