Avoid putting very calm Mbunas with much other speed the calm ones may be too stressed. Try to balance by educating yourself well on the behavior of each species that you want to acquire for the wellbeing of your protégés and a good balance of the population.
These territorial mores oblige to have a large enough aquarium to calm the heat of certain fishes, so we advise you at least an aquarium of 250L to maintain approximately adequately 2 to 3 trios (1 male for two females) of African Cichlids 500L being the best in order to be able to introduce and observe numerous species (5 or 6 trios) and favor a suitable hierarchy between fish.
Favor a large bottom surface rather than a long length in order to be able to make a large hiding place. Do not forget under your bin, between the board that supports your bin and the bin itself, a polystyrene plate the size of your bin and 2 to 5 cm thick depending on the size of your bin so to avoid heat loss and especially to protect the glass from possible small deformations or foreign elements likely to weaken your bottom window or worse.
- A filtration pumps 3 to 5 times the size of the tank (5x being the best to ensure good cleaning and good oxygenation of the tank).
- A stirring pump with a booster system (bubbles) for good oxygenation of the water.
- Heating of course, these are hot water fish.
Like all self-respecting cichlids from Lake Malawi, it needs a rock decoration with cavities to hide there and reproduce. You can either put stacked stones in staggered rows so that there are holes between the stones. Whole stones are also very interesting because they offer natural hiding places and are very decorative. Limestone is not a problem because the water must be of pH 8 and medium hardness (see next paragraph), so no problem (limestone increases the pH of water naturally).
Please Note: regarding the stone pile, take into account that they are digging! First make your heaps of stone before putting all the sand so as not to see your heap collapsing on your fish or worse on the aquarium windows. Check the solidity of your “castles” “to avoid disasters.
You can also add roots that make good hiding places and provide fiber if you have ancestors with your cichlids.
Then you can brighten it up with plants, but without the substrate because by digging, they will make everything go up. That said be careful because they are alguivorous fish and some small plants and tender leaves can pass there. There is also the fact that they dig and sometimes certain plants are uprooted and rise to the surface (for my part, the vallisnerias anchor well in the ground and we don’t have this problem)
We personally advise you, in particular, Anubias and Vallisneria and especially Cryptocorin aponogetifolia. Their leaves being a little harder than the others, they do not attack them, they do not need substrate to grow well and that makes two kinds of different plants; a large one for the backgrounds, and a small one which can be stowed on any support.