Where You Can Obtain Your Cichlids

In the past few years, cichlids have increasingly become favorite aquarium fish. Cichlids are ideal as aquarium fish because they are small to medium-sized, easy to feed with commercial fish food; they breed readily, and practice brood care in captivity.

The most common cichlid in pet stores is Pterophyllum scalare from the Amazon River basin in South America, popularly known as the “angelfish”. Other popular species among fish lovers are the Astronotus ocellatus or “oscar”, Archocentrus nigrofasciatus or “convict cichlid” and Symphysodon spp. or “discus”.

For new cichlids enthusiasts, it is important to remember that one does not simply buy cichlids from the local pet store as it may not carry everything you need to care for your cichlids.

It is always rewarding to look around, for you might discover a great store that has everything that you might need for your hobby. It would be cheaper and more time efficient to just go to a single store and purchase everything you need there than go around hopping from shop to shop.

Better yet, check out the online pet shops or fish care supply stores on the internet. If you are getting your cichlids from your local stores, here are some important tips:
  1. Take a close look at the store premises several times before your purchase.
  2. This would enable you to find out if the fish tanks in the store are always kept clean. Stay away from fish stores that only clean their fish tanks once in a while!
  3. Check on the cichlids on the tanks.
  4. Identify the cichlids that you want to purchase. Carefully look for any sign of disease or stress on the fishes. Look at the overall appearance of the fish. You should note if the cichlids in the aquarium are active and alert.
  5. Observe the way they swim – straight or do they tilt?
  6. Healthy cichlids will always look energetic and swim lateral. Eliminate cichlids that stay close to the surface most of the time and look as if they are having difficulty breathing. They could be sick or simply not in the pink of health.
    Naturally, you have no intention of bringing home a sickly fish!
  7. Check out the fins of the cichlids.
  8. Flat fins that lay limp next to the body could also be sign of disease or stress. Look for spots in the body of the cichlid. White sports are signs of on ongoing parasitic attack. Reddened raw spots in the body or on the fins are also bad signs. Fins that are ripped and ragged are unhealthy signs.
  9. Healthy cichlids are good eaters.
  10. Observe when the cichlids are being fed by the store owner. You will see which cichlids are doing fine by the way they attack the food.
  11. Another way of making sure that you are getting healthy cichlids is by observing the set up in the store.
  12. Check if the fish store has quarantine aquariums for new fish. A quarantine aquarium is a very effective way of stopping the spread of diseases. New fish deliveries should be kept in the quarantine aquarium for a while, observing the fishes’ health, before putting them in the community tank.
  13. Observe if the store has a ‘sick tank’.
  14. That will be an encouraging sign if they do. That means that they are separating sickly fishes from the healthy ones to prevent the spread of diseases.
  15. Do your research before going to the fish store.
  16. Ask questions to find out if the personnel of the fish store are knowledgeable about cichlids. If they are, you will have the peace of mind that they took good care of the cichlids they are selling. If the store personnel are totally clueless about the cichlids in their tanks, you cannot be sure that proper care had been given to the cichlids that you are about to take home.
You should be exercising the same kind of care even if you are going to buy from online stores. Ask questions through emails. They usually put their contact number online so you can call and ask questions.

Online stores will be very good alternatives in case your local stores do not carry the kind of cichlids that you want to put in your aquarium.
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