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Cobalt blue cichlid, also known as zebra malawi cichlids, originate in Africa and can grow to lengths of 5 1/2 inches in captivity. Cobalt blue cichlids are aggressive fish who do well with others who have aggressive personalities. But don't place them with peaceful fish.
To keep cobalt blue cichlids, choose the largest tank you can, at least 20 gallons, in order to give plenty of room for swimming. Place a layer of sand or very small gravel in the bottom of the tank several inches deep. Since cobalt blue cichlids enjoy digging in substrate, use only floating plants or plants that are weighted to stay down without the help of substrate. Place caves and other decorations that provide hiding places. Maintain a water temperature of between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Water pH should be between 8.0 and 9.0.
The largest part of cobalt blue cichlid diet needs to consist of vegetable material. High-quality flake and pellet food given at least twice a day will provide the needed nutrients. Feed only as much as the fish will consume within 20 minutes. Give regular treats of meats such as frozen or live brine shrimp and bloodworms. When feeding live food, buy only from reputable suppliers to lower the risk of bacteria entering your tank.
Observe your tank regularly for signs of illness in your fish. Some signs of sickness are listless swimming, sitting on the bottom of the tank, lack of appetite and swimming sideways. Observe the bodies of the fish, watching for white specks, damaged fins and thin strands hanging from the bottoms of the fish. Remove any fish showing signs of illness to a separate tank until the illness is cured.
To increase the chances of breeding occurring, there should be three females for every male in the tank. Females can be identified by the duller color of the fish. When spawning, a female cobalt blue cichlid will deposit eggs on a rock before scooping them into her mouth. The female then swims behind the male as he fertilizes her eggs. It is best to move the female in to a separate tank after this occurs. It takes approximately three weeks for the eggs to hatch.
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