Calvus Cichlid Care: Complete Guide for Beginners

The Calvus Cichlid, also known as Lamprologus calvus or Neolamprologus calvus, is a fascinating fish. It hails from Lake Tanganyika in Africa. As an aquarium species, it’s prized for its unique shape and behavior.

calvus cichlid

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Calvus Cichlid Species Profile and Identification

The Calvus Cichlid lays claim to a distinctive profile among tropical fresh-water aquarium fishes. Its scientific names, Lamprologus calvus or Neolamprologus calvus, add a touch of academic expertise to its quasi-elegant appeal. With a sleek body, this fish displays an intriguing range of blacks and whites, in stark contrast to its otherwise peaceful disposition.

Native to: Lake Tanganyika, located in Africa, the Calvus Cichlid is a member of the vast Tanganyikan Cichlid community, a hallmark of diversity and resilience.

Maximum size: It’s a relatively modest-sized fish. Expect it to grow up to 5.3 inches or equivalently 13.5 cm.

Key features: To identify a Calvus Cichlid, look for these traits:

  • Slim, elongated body with a steeply sloping forehead.
  • Coloration ranges from black to a pale, almost white.
  • Each scale is edged in gold or yellow, giving them a striated appearance.

Sexual dimorphism: Males from this species stand out. Not only do they grow larger, but they are also taller-bodied. They also develop extended finnage, further confirming their aquatic flair.

In essence, getting a Calvus Cichlid implies more than possessing a pet fish. It’s a study in aquatic biodiversity, a dynamic portal to Lake Tanganyika’s underwater life. More so, it’s an opportunity to share in the beauty and grace that defines these unique fish species. Enjoy the journey!

Calvus Cichlid Supplies

Proper care of your Calvus Cichlid starts with getting the right supplies. These fish are not particularly demanding, but they do need specific conditions to thrive. Below are essential items that every Calvus Cichlid owner should have:

  • Aquarium: A tank of at least 20 gallons (75 litres) is required. An aquarium of this size provides enough space for your fish to swim around. Calvus Cichlids are slow growers, and a large tank will accommodate their growth.
  • Substrate and Decorations: Go for sand or fine gravel substrate. Add rocks and caves to mimic their natural habitat at Lake Tanganyika. Calvus Cichlids are known for their fascination with hiding and exploring crevices.
  • Filter: Invest in a durable and efficient filter. Calvus Cichlids need clean water with low levels of nitrate. Mechanical and biological filtration is recommended.
  • Heater: You’ll need a reliable heater to maintain the water temperature between 73-77°F (23-25°C). Consistency is key for Calvus’ health.
  • Water Testing Kit: To keep an eye on the water parameters, get a testing kit. It should be able to measure pH, dH, and temperature. For Calvus Cichlids, the ideal water conditions are hard, alkaline, with a pH of 8.0-9.0 and dH of 15-25 degrees.
  • Lighting: No special requirements. Any standard aquarium light will do the job.
  • Food: Variety is key in the Calvus diet. Supply them with flakes, granules, cichlid pellets and frozen foods.

These supplies will create a conducive environment that mimics the Calvus’ natural habitat. With the right set-up, your Calvus Cichlids will live a healthy life full of activity. Remember, every fish is a big responsibility. Make sure to provide your Cichlids with the best care you can.

Calvus Cichlid Tank Setup

A critical part of caring for a Calvus Cichlid is preparing a proper tank setup. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Size: Calvus Cichlids need room to grow and exhibit their natural behaviors comfortably. A single adult can thrive in a 50-gallon (190-liter) tank. If you’re considering a cichlid community, an 80-gallon (300-liter) tank is the minimum.
  • Substrate: Opt for a sandy substrate that mimics their natural Lake Tanganyika habitat. Sand is excellent as it facilitates their browsing behavior without damaging their sensitive barbels.
  • Decor: In the wild, Calvus Cichlids use rock crevices for hiding and spawning. Recreate this environment with large rocks and caves.
  • Plants: While not necessary, strategically placed, hardy, alkaline-friendly plants like Anubias or Java Ferns provide additional hiding spots. Ensure they won’t obstruct the swimming space or get uprooted by your cichlids.
  • Filtration: As for all large cichlids, robust filtration is imperative. A strong filter with a capacity appropriate for the tank size helps maintain optimum water purity levels. Make sure it creates a high water current, as Calvus Cichlids are used to such conditions in their native Lake Tanganyika.
  • Heating: Because their natural environment involves temperatures of 23-25°C (73-77°F), install a heater with a thermostat to maintain the steady temperature that Calvus Cichlids require.
  • Lighting: No specific lighting needs exist, and standard aquarium lighting suffices.

Creating a tank setup tailored to accommodate the Calvus Cichlid’s natural habits and preferences plays a vital role in their health and happiness. The combination of a roomy tank, sandy substrate, rock-caves, optional plants, strong filtration, controlled heating, and standard lighting constructs an ideal environment for your fish.

Calvus Cichlid Water Requirements

When it comes to maintaining the water conditions for your Calvus Cichlid, there are specific parameters to follow. The calvus cichlid originates from Lake Tanganyika, Africa, which is known for hard, alkaline water conditions. Essential to replicate in your own aquarium to keep the fish thriving.

  1. Temperature: Your tank water needs to maintain a temperature between 23-25°C (73-77°F). Anything outside this range can put your cichlid under heavy stress.
  2. pH: Calvus Cichlids thrive in a highly alkaline environment. Your tank water should have a pH around 8.0-9.0. Regular intervals of testing the water for pH changes is necessary.
  3. Hardness: The hardness of the water is also a crucial aspect. Calvus Cichlids are used to living in hard water. Therefore, you should aim for a dH (degree of Hardness) level of 15-25 degrees.

Maintaining these water conditions is not only vital for the calvus cichlid’s health but also for imitating its natural habitat. Regular water changes, proper filtration, and routine testings are indispensable actions to provide the best environment for your cichlid.

In the case of any sudden changes in your cichlid’s behavior, it’s advisable to test the water conditions quickly as the water parameters could be off. The right water conditions play an enormous role in the lifespan and general health of your calvus cichlid. So, taking a hands-on approach to manage these parameters will ensure a healthy and comfortable environment for them to grow in.

Calvus Cichlid Diet and Feeding

When it comes to feeding, Calvus Cichlids are not fussy eaters. This aspect makes them easy to care for, especially in a home aquarium. Let’s dive in and learn about what they eat.

  • Calvus Cichlids primarily have a carnivorous diet. They feed on small crustaceans and invertebrates in the wild. In home aquariums, they accept a variety of foods, giving you flexibility in meal planning.
  • Flake foods and granules are a staple of the Calvus Cichlid diet. These foods provide the necessary nutrients and are widely available. Feed them twice a day, enough that they can eat within a few minutes.
  • You can also include Cichlid pellets in their diet. The pellets are species-specific, taking into account the nutritional needs of Cichlids.
  • Frozen foods are another great option. These are usually in the form of shrimp or squid. They are a good source of protein, ensuring your fish are healthy and strong.

Consider creating a feeding schedule that includes a mixture of these feeds.

Food Type Feeding Frequency
Flake foods Twice daily
Granules Twice daily
Cichlid Pellets Once daily
Frozen foods Few times a week

Remember to watch out for overfeeding. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and it dirties the water. Make sure you remove any leftover food after feeding.

Calvus Cichlid Care Schedule

Keeping any aquarium fish healthy and happy requires consistent care. Your Calvus Cichlids are no exception to this rule. The following schedule can serve as a guide for you:

Daily Tasks

  • Feeding: Use a balanced diet of flake, granules, cichlid pellets, and frozen foods. Feed your cichlids twice a day.
  • Tank Inspection: Watch your fish for signs of illness. Look for changes in color, behavior, or movement.

Weekly Tasks

  • Water Testing: Use a test kit to check pH, dH, and temperature. Ensure the pH level is between 8.0-9.0, the dH level is between 15-25 degrees, and the temperature is between 23-25°C (73.4-77°F).
  • Partial Water Change: Do a 10% water change every week. This helps to keep the water parameters in check.

Monthly Tasks

  • Tank Cleaning: Clean algae and undesired substances off your tank. Clean the substrate and check the filter system performance.
  • Equipment Checking: Ensure the heater, filter, and lights are working properly.

In addition to these tasks, you should also watch for any indicators of spawning behavior, especially if you’re breeding your cichlids. Noticeable changes can indicate breeding conditions. Remember, male Calvus Cichlids grow larger, are taller-bodied, and develop extended finnage.

Your consistent attention and dedication to the care of your Calvus Cichlids will ensure they remain in the best health possible. Keep this care schedule in mind as it is an essential part of your Calvus Cichlid’s care routine.

Calvus Cichlid Health Problems

The Calvus Cichlids are generally healthy, but sometimes can fall prey to certain diseases. Here are some potential health risks:

  • Ich: Also known as white spot disease, Ich is a common problem for Calvus Cichlid. Their symptoms include white dots on their body, fins, and gills.
  • Fin Rot: It occurs when the aquarium is not well maintained, leading to bacterial and fungal infections. The fins appear to be decaying or rotting away.
  • Bloat: This commonly occurs due to overfeeding or indigestible food intake. The fish might seem swollen or puffed up.

Now, how can you tackle these issues?

  • Ich: Increase the tank temperature a bit, ideally around the 30°C mark. This paralyzes the parasites causing Ich. Medication is also available at local fish stores.
  • Fin Rot: Maintain a clean tank environment. For severe cases, over-the-counter treatments are effective.
  • Bloat: The key to preventing bloat is a balanced diet. Avoid overfeeding, and ensure you’re providing digestible food.

Remember, prevention is better than cure. Regularly check for any odd behaviour or physical signs. A slight change in color, unusual swimming patterns, loss of appetite, etc. could all be indicators of a potential problem.

Also, investing in a good filtration system is key. It helps eliminate harmful substances, thus keeping the tank environment clean and safe for your Calvus Cichlid.

Keep your Calvus Cichlid stress-free. Stress not only affects their health but also their mood and behavior. Ensure a calm and serene environment for them to thrive.

In short, a clean tank, a balanced diet, and stress-free environment help avert most health issues in Calvus Cichlids. Healthy Calvus equals a happy aquarium!

Calvus Cichlid Tank Mates

When choosing tank mates for your Calvus Cichlid, also known as Lamprologus calvus or Neolamprologus calvus, it’s important to consider a few things.

Firstly, compatible species, it’s essential to note that other Tanganyikan cichlids make excellent tank mates.

Here are a few examples:

  • Julidochromis
  • Synodontis catfish
  • Cyprichromis

Select these species as they exhibit similar water parameters and feeding requirements.

Secondly, size and temperament. Calvus Cichlids attain a length of about 5.3″ (around 13.5cm), and tend to be peaceful toward other species. However, they can show territorial aggression toward their own kind. So, ideally mix sizes, to prevent any competition.

Moving onto space, in order to accommodate these species peacefully, a tank size of at least 55 gallons (around 210 liters) is suggested. Greater space helps to maintain a cordial environment.

And finally, precautionary measures. Despite their peaceful nature, Calvus Cichlids are skilled predators of small fish. Hence, avoid choosing small-sized or slow-moving fish as tank mates.

To summarize, careful selection of compatible, similarly-sized, and suitable temperament tank mates significantly contributes to the successful care of Calvus Cichlids. By following these guidelines, you’re building a healthy, vibrant aquarium ecosystem that will thrive.

Calvus Cichlid Breeding

Breeding Calvus Cichlids is a thrilling endeavor for enthusiasts, but it requires precision and patience. The most prominent aspect to note is sexual dimorphism. Male cichlids tend to be larger, with a taller body and extended finnage.

Success in breeding relies heavily on creating the right conditions. Tank setup should resemble their natural environment in Lake Tanganyika. To encourage breeding, consider the following steps:

  • Ample Hiding Spaces: Use rock formations to create caves and crevices. These mimic the cichlids’ natural environment and provide hiding spots for females to spawn.
  • Water Parameters: Maintain hard, alkaline water conditions. A pH of 8.0 to 9.0 and a dH of 15 to 25 degrees are optimal breeding grounds.
  • Maturity: Calvus Cichlids mature slowly. Females typically become breeding-ready at 2 years, with males taking a bit longer.

Once these prerequisites are met, watch out for signs of breeding behavior. Males become territorial, guarding chosen spots against intruders, while females display a more subdued behavior.

After successful mating, the female lays the eggs within the rock crevices. The eggs hatch in about a week, with the fry remaining in the hiding space until they’re able to freely swim, around a week later. Feeding these young ones start with infusoria or freshly hatched brine shrimp.

Calvus Cichlids breeding is a slow process, sometimes taking up to six months. Be patient and ensure the optimal conditions are consistently maintained. Above all, make sure to observe closely, as much of the crucial stages of Calvus Cichlid breeding happens in the hiding spaces.


Taking care of a Calvus Cichlid may seem overwhelming initially, but with consistent effort, it can be a rewarding experience. This guide should arm you with the knowledge needed to ensure a healthy and vibrant life for your Calvus Cichlid. Do share in the comments what you found most helpful, or any tips you have for fellow beginner aquarium enthusiasts.

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