Malawi cichlids are more beautiful and brightly colored freshwater fish as compared to those of saltwater fish. However, they are also known for their hostility and territorial behavior, therefore, they can be tricky to care for when not handled rightly. If you want to keep African cichlids with other community fishes or New World cichlids, consider their water requirement and compatibilities with other cichlid species.
Avoid Mixing African Cichlids from Different Regions
First of all, make sure that the fishes in your aquarium are not from different regions. All of them should come from waters with similar pH level. Remember that African cichlids come from three major African lakes, which are Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Malawi. Since pH level of the water of different lakes is not same, hence they should not be mixed in an aquarium. It is better to do some research before putting them together.
Keep African Cichlids with Similar Temperament
The second thing you need to consider is to look at their temperament. This is very important because the behavior of African cichlids towards other cichlids is one of the most complex and difficult issues surrounding them. Many African cichlids display ‘selective aggression’, which means that they show aggression only towards the same species, or species that are similar to them in appearance.
The underlying principle behind this behavior is that African cichlids perceive similarity as a danger to their survival, i.e. struggle for the same food, same mate, same territorial preference, and so on. Therefore, it is highly recommended not to mix cichlids of similar color or shape.
There is no cast-iron rule when it comes to care of African cichlids. Also, no rule shows that female cichlids cannot co-exist with male species. However, it is always better to keep cichlids from similar regions together and avoid mixing them around with fishes from different parts of the world.