The African Cichlids - Lake Tanganyika

7th Jun 2023

The African Cichlids - Lake Tanganyika

Exploring the Depths of Lake Tanganyika Cichlids - A Beginner's Guide

Hello, fellow fish aficionados! Today, let's embark on an aquatic journey to the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the natural home of some truly intriguing African Cichlids. If you've ever wondered about keeping these unique and lively fish, then this guide is for you!

The Beauty of Lake Tanganyika Cichlids

Lake Tanganyika, situated in East Africa, is one of the most biodiverse freshwater bodies in the world, boasting over 200 species of cichlids alone. This diversity extends to their behaviour, colours, and sizes, ensuring that there's a Tanganyika Cichlid suitable for every enthusiast.

Creating a Comfortable Habitat

Lake Tanganyika Cichlids need a spacious tank due to their active nature and size. As a general guideline, aim for a tank capacity of at least 200 litres.

Many species from this lake are rock dwellers. Thus, your aquarium should have plenty of rock formations and hiding spots. Also, use a sandy substrate to allow for their natural digging behaviour.

Navigating Water Parameters

In terms of water conditions, Lake Tanganyika is known for its warm, alkaline waters. Hence, aim to maintain a pH between 7.8 and 9.0. The general hardness (GH) should be around 10-20° dGH, while the carbonate hardness (KH) should be between 10-20° KH. 

The recommended water temperature range is 23-28°C.

Feeding Your Lake Tanganyika Cichlids

Lake Tanganyika Cichlids have varied diets across species. Some are omnivorous, others are mostly herbivorous, while certain species are primarily carnivorous. A diet of high-quality cichlid pellets or flakes, supplemented with vegetables or appropriate live foods depending on their dietary requirements, will keep them healthy and vibrant. We recommend the Hikari Sinking Cichlid Excel Mini.

Selecting Tank Mates

As with their Lake Malawi counterparts, Tanganyika Cichlids can be territorial and may show aggression, especially during breeding. Often, a species-only or single-species tank is the safest bet. If you decide to mix, ensure the tank is large with plenty of hiding spaces, and carefully research species compatibility.

Lake Tanganyika Vs. Lake Malawi Cichlids

Although both lakes harbour diverse cichlid populations, there are some notable differences. Lake Tanganyika Cichlids exhibit a broader range of behaviours and body shapes, while Lake Malawi Cichlids, especially the Mbuna group, are revered for their vivid colours.

Tanganyika Cichlids are generally less aggressive compared to their Malawi counterparts, although this can vary between species.


Keeping Lake Tanganyika African Cichlids can be an enriching endeavour. Their diverse personalities and appearances make for a captivating aquarium display. While they require attentive care and specific conditions, the end result is a rewarding, dynamic underwater community.

So, ready to dive into the realm of Lake Tanganyika Cichlids? Happy fishkeeping!