5 Types of Electric Blue Cichlids

5 Types of Electric Blue Cichlids7 mins read

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5 types of electric blue cichlids
Image from Flickr

Cichlids are a tropical fish species belonging to the Cichlidae family, they are an extremely sought-after freshwater aquarium fish species that comes in many bold and stunning color variations.

With much to be said about cichlids as a species, Electric Blue cichlids exhibit vibrant almost metallic blue hues, and many patterns depending on the species.

An Electric Blue cichlid can bring a splash of color to your aquarium, along with their intriguing and feisty personalities, that many aquarists enjoy.

Cichlid Species Summary

To start off, as can be seen from the selected Electric Blue cichlids there are a variety of species that mostly originate either from South America, Mexico, or Africa. Generally speaking, the African-based species tend to be more aggressive, though it will depend largely on the exact species. Electric Blue cichlids similarly come in species of various sizes that are suitable for communal tanks, and some that are not.

Regarding their environment, most cichlids prefer slightly more tropical water climates, along with harder alkaline water, and a sandy substrate. Similarly, some species evolved to prefer rocky décor and hiding spots, and some that enjoy dense vegetation.

From the Electric Blue cichlid species selected, there are both monogamous and polygamous groups, which are egg layers, and mouth brooders, making each species exceptional. Subsequently, it can be noted that most cichlid species make excellent parents, and are relatively more territorial than aggressive in nature.

Five Of The Best Electric Blue Cichlid Species Care Guide

Thus, as can be seen from the species summary, there are a few very interesting and colorful Electric Blue cichlid species that can be found:

1. Electric Blue Ram Cichlid

Electric Blue Ram Cichlid
The Ram Cichlid or Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, as a species is a freshwater fish found mostly in South American rivers and basins. Image from Flickr

The Ram Cichlid or Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, as a species is a freshwater fish found mostly in South American rivers and basins. It is a very popular aquarium species known under a few common names including the Blue Ram, Asian Ram, Dwarf Butterfly Cichlid, and many more.

  • Size and Color Variations – Ideally Ram cichlids are available in a few forms with long-finned varieties, and high body, or even balloon-shaped varieties, as a result of selective breeding. Two main color strains in the species include the Gold Ram Cichlid and the Electric Blue Ram Cichlid. The species usually only reaches a size of around 3.4 to 4 cm, (1.3 – 1.5 Inches), and are a dwarf species.
  • Aquarium Requirements – In their natural habitat Ram cichlids are used to slow-moving water containing many minerals and tannins with plenty of vegetation. In the aquarium, the required temperatures are between 5-29.5 °C, (78-85 °F), and more acidic pH ranges between 5.2 – 6.7. A well-planted tank with natural settings and live plants is ideal, along with Rocks and elongated structures such as driftwood. Ram Cichlids are extremely sensitive to changes in water temperature, therefore proper acclimation must be done for at least 45 minutes to an hour, before adding them to a new aquarium.
  • Feeding – Essentially omnivores Ram cichlids enjoy a variety of foods, including pellets or flakes as a staple, as well as fresh or frozen meaty treats. Blanched vegetables can be given occasionally, and live or frozen insects, bloodworms, or brine shrimp. Ram Cichlids can be fed twice daily.
  • Temperament – On the contrary the Electric Blue Ram cichlid, or Ram cichlids in general are excellent, and popular aquarium fish for community tanks. They are peaceful, and docile, however in a few rare cases they are known to show some territorial and typical semi-aggressive cichlid behavior.
  • Breeding – Ram Cichlids are monogamous and males become highly territorial during spawning. The female lays adhesive eggs on a flat surface and both the male and the female take care of the eggs and young fry.

2. Electric Blue Texas Cichlid

Electric Blue Texas Cichlid
The Texas cichlid or Herichthys cyanoguttatus, is many times referred to as the Rio Grande Cichlid and is the only cichlid species that is native to the U.S.A, appearing mostly in Texas and Northeast Mexico. Image from pinterest.com

The Texas cichlid or Herichthys cyanoguttatus, is many times referred to as the Rio Grande Cichlid and is the only cichlid species that is native to the U.S.A, appearing mostly in Texas and Northeast Mexico. Ideally when referring to the Texas cichlid the blue version is slightly incorrect, as the Texas cichlid is a pale silver to light blue or gray colored fish, as such the Electric Blue Texas cichlid is a different species known as Herichthys carpintis, naturally only found in Mexico, and sometimes referred to as the Pearlscale or Lowland cichlid. Though the resemblance is so strong that the two share a common name as the Electric Blue Cichlid.

  • Size and Color Variations – The Texas cichlid averages a mature size of 33 cm (13 inches), whereas the Electric Blue Cichlid from Mexico is slightly smaller around 20 – 25 cm (8-10 Inches). Electric Blue Ram Cichlids have very distinctive characteristics, with bold blue scales and a black base color. Mostly recognized by the cream and turquoise color spots on their body, the males similarly exhibit a nuchal hump on their heads.
  • Aquarium Requirements – The older your Texas cichlid gets the harder it may become to keep their aquarium neat and aquascaping more intact, as they are notorious diggers that enjoy moving gravel and items around. In general, they prefer more moderate water conditions with temperatures around 20–28 °C, (68 and 82 °F), and a larger 40 – 50 gallon tank, for a pair Thick gravel or sandy substrate is preferred with hard surfaces such as rocks and driftwoods, and natural vegetation, ideally those that attach to rocks and are not planted in the substrate. Java ferns and Java moss have proven to be aquarium favorites specifically for the Electric Blue Texas cichlid.
  • Feeding – Similarly, they are omnivores that enjoy a more varied diet, with plenty of vegetable matter or detritus. They are opportunistic carnivores in some cases enjoying small vertebrates, and even fish species as an occasional snack. In captivity, they will adjust well to pellets and flakes, along with occasional snacks such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and snails. Younger Texas cichlids can be fed three times a day, and feedings are lessened to twice a day for mature adults.
  • Temperament – Unfortunately this larger cichlid species is also quite aggressive, though, in a community tank, they should get along with larger or medium-sized cichlids. However, it is vital to provide plenty of territory for each male or pair to claim as their own. Tinfoil Barbs Giant Danios, and Silver Dollar fish have proven to be good tank mates, and they are generally too big to be eaten by these large cichlids.
  • Breeding – Remarkably enough, Electric Blue Texas cichlids are outstanding parents, and form monogamous pairs. They will claim and clean a territory together where they will care for their eggs and young. The parents will travel alongside their young teaching them to fend for themselves.

3. Electric Blue Johanni Cichlid

Electric Blue Johanni Cichlid
Also known as the Pseudotropheus Johanna or Bluegray mbuna, the African freshwater cichlid is found mostly in the lakes of Malawi on the east of the Mozambique coastline in Africa. Image from Flickr

Also known as the Pseudotropheus Johanna or Bluegray mbuna, the African freshwater cichlid is found mostly in the lakes of Malawi on the east of the Mozambique coastline in Africa. In the aquarium trade, this popular freshwater species is well known as the Electric Blue Johanni or the Blue Gray Mbuna cichlid.

  • Size and Color Variations – Known as sexually dimorphic the males are blue, to a darker purple or even black base, with a blue line across the forehead and along the body, and a second blue line in the midsection. Females and juveniles are generally yellow, though males are a brilliant sky blue to dark electric blue color. The Johanni cichlid reaches a mature size of around 8-10 cm (3 – 4 Inches) and has a reasonable lifespan of between 5 – 8 years with proper care.
  • Aquarium Requirements – In the aquarium, they fare well in water temperatures of around 22 to 28 °C (72 to 82 °F), and a high alkaline pH between 7.0 and 9.0. They require a tank size of between 30 to 40 gallons, and it is ideal to keep one male per three females, as they are quite aggressive. Typically, they enjoy plenty of rockwork in their aquariums and caves to claim territory.
  • Feeding – Mostly omnivores a staple diet of cichlid pellets or flakes can be provided along with meat-based foods and vegetables. Brine shrimp and bloodworms ensure a tasty snack, along with blanched vegetables. Low-protein frozen foods and fresh vegetables are essential to prevent Malawi Bloat, which is common to this species. Electric Blue Johanni cichlids can be fed three to four times a day as juveniles, but only twice a day as adults.
  • Temperament – African Mbuna cichlids of all species are well known to be very aggressive, and should only be kept in a tank set-up with similar species. It is highly advised that there are three females per single male.
  • Breeding – Known as mouth brooders, the female lays eggs and collects them in her mouth as soon as they are fertilized. After 3-4 weeks they will hatch, and the female will care for them, even take them in her mouth, if she feels that they are threatened.

4. Electric Blue African Cichlid

Electric Blue African Cichlid
Also known as the Electric Blue Hap (Sciaenochromis ahli, the African cichlid species is endemic to Malawian lakes, and quite popular in the aquarium trade for its electric blue coloration. Image from Flickr

Also known as the Electric Blue Hap (Sciaenochromis ahli, the African cichlid species is endemic to Malawian lakes, and quite popular in the aquarium trade for its electric blue coloration.

  • Size and Color Variations – Similarly sexually dimorphic the male is a bright electric blue color with faint blue vertical stripes and fins tinged with yellow. Females have a similar shape; however, they have a dull more grayish color and are relatively smaller. The African Cichlid or Hap species is available in a few more color variations such as the Red Empress with a menagerie of colors, the Yellow Bengas, and the Peacock. African cichlids reach mature sizes of around 20 cm (8 Inches), and have a comparatively long lifespan of between 2-8 years, depending on the care they are offered.
  • Aquarium Requirements – It is vital to keep the species in an aquarium with at least 3 females per single male, as the males are quite territorial. A tank of no less than 55 gallons is essential, with enough swimming space, as well as rock and cave décor to simulate their natural environment and the need for hiding spaces. Similarly, they enjoy hard alkaline water with a pH of between 7.8 and 8.5 and warmer temperatures around 24 -28 °C (75.2-82.4°F).
  • Feeding – The African cichlid is an omnivore, like most cichlid species, and requires a staple diet of good quality flakes or pellets at least once a day. A second feeding of fresh or frozen bloodworms, crustaceans, or smaller live fish can be given, along with blanched fresh vegetables.
  • Temperament – Mostly known to be peaceful in comparison to the African Mbuna species, haps, and Mbunas can be kept together, though both species will feed on smaller and weaker fish. They are similarly very territorial, especially during breeding season.
  • Breeding – The Electric Blue African cichlid is also a mouthbrooder. As mentioned, the female carries fertilized eggs in her mouth until they hatch, and will care for her young after hatching, claiming a territory, which the male in turn protects.

5. Electric Blue Jack Dempsey Cichlid

Electric Blue Jack Dempsey Cichlid
The Jack Dempsey cichlid (Rocio octofasciata) is a freshwater species native to Mexico with strong features and an aggressive nature. Image from Flickr

The Jack Dempsey cichlid (Rocio octofasciata) is a freshwater species native to Mexico with strong features and an aggressive nature. Ideally, the species is named after Jack Dempsey, a boxer from the 1920s. The Jack Dempsey cichlid appears in slow-moving waters, consisting of warm, weedy, and muddy water in canals and drainage ditches. Locally it is also known as the Mexican Blue Frontosa.

  • Size and Color Variations – As the fish matures it will change color from light gray or tan with turquoise specs, to a darker purple and bright iridescent blue, with gold flecks. The dorsal and anal fins of the males have elongated tips, whereas the females lack the elongated tips. Males may also exhibit the nuchal hump when they are mature. Other colors in the species besides the Electric blue, are the Gold and Pink variations. The Electric Blue Jack Dempsey cichlid ranges in size between 20 – 30 cm (8-12 Inches), and the females are slightly smaller. They have a long average lifespan of between 8 and 12 years respectively.
  • Aquarium Requirements – Because it is such a large species an aquarium of at least 55 gallons is required, and it is advisable to keep a pair with a male and female together. They enjoy slow soft currents, and sandy substrate with rooted or artificial plants and hiding areas such as rocks and caves. Water temperatures of 22–30 °C (72–86 °F) are ideal, and more alkaline parameters of between 7.0 and 8.0 pH.
  • Feeding – More carnivorous, than omnivores they need healthy, quality cichlid pellet or flake food, along with live or frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, crickets, earthworms, and ghost shrimps. They will similarly benefit from occasional blanched vegetables.
  • Temperament – They are one of the most striking colored cichlid species, and the Electric Blue gene makes them slightly less aggressive. You could easily keep them in a communal tank that is well populated and densely planted with other significant to medium peaceful species. In fact, they are more territorial than outright aggressive.
  • Breeding – Breeding the Jack Dempsey Cichlid is relatively easy; they are monogamous pairs and superb parents. The parents dig a pit in the substrate where the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. Both parents guard and care for the eggs and young until they are independent.

Common Health Issues In Cichlids

Health issues in cichlids
Common among most freshwater fish, Fin Rot is usually a bacterial infection as a result of physical damage such as Ammonia burns, fighting, or an injury. Image from Flickr

An important topic to be discussed before investing in any new freshwater species is their health and well-being. Ideally, if proper water parameters and feeding schedules are kept, your Electric Blue cichlids will flourish. Though there are a few common health concerns to be recognized as a fair warning, should you encounter any issues.

  • Bloat – Bloat, or Malawi bloat as it is known is quite common in cichlids from Africa. It causes swelling in the abdomen and a loss of appetite. Bloat results from a poor diet or water conditions causing stress. Feeding your fish, a healthy diet and avoiding overfeeding, along with proper medication will help to treat bloat.
  • Fin Rot – Common among most freshwater fish, Fin Rot is usually a bacterial infection as a result of physical damage such as Ammonia burns, fighting, or an injury. By keeping your water quality pristine and using antibacterial treatment the condition can be treated and prevented.
  • Hole in the Head – Also more common in cichlids, the condition causes pitted lesions in the head of your fish and is caused by poor water quality and a vitamin deficiency. Improving water quality and providing proper medication is the best route for treatment. Always ensure your fish get a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals from their diet, and have clean water to prevent the conditions.
  • Ich – Ich is a parasite that will usually be introduced when adding new fish or plants to your aquarium. To treat Ich all the affected fish and plants must be quarantined and medication administered until the parasites have all disappeared.
  • Mouth Fungus – Also known as Cotton Mouth it is a bacterial infection affecting the mouths of mostly African cichlids. Growths on the mouth and lips will be noted. They can be treated using medication, and by isolating the affected fish. It is mainly caused by overcrowding and physical damage; thus, preventative measures will similarly need to be taken.
  • Swim Bladder – When there is a fungal or bacterial infection in the swim bladder organ of your fish, you may note that it struggles to stay upright and will start to swim upside down. The condition can be treated by providing medication and isolation and prevented with a proper healthy diet and water conditions.

Final Thoughts

As can be noted from cichlid species, the African cichlids tend to be more on the aggressive side than those from Mexico and South America. Cichlids are unique in color and personality; however, they should not be taken lightly and are more suitable for knowledgeable aquarists. From each species discussed, there are certain similarities, and certain sensitivities to each Electric Blue cichlid species.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Suitable Electric Blue Cichlids Tank Mates?
In the case of African cichlids, it is best to keep them with other African species of cichlids. However, the less aggressive cichlid species are known to get along well with Giant Danios, Gouramis, Cory Catfish, and similar-sized cichlids.
What Is the Difference Between Electric Blue Cichlid Females and Males?
Particularly in haplochromine cichlids, the rapid divergence of conspicuous male color patterns contrasts with slow and small changes in the females' rather drab coloration. The male electric blue hap sports intense blue coloring broken up by nine to 12 vertical bars on a stocky, elongated body. Females are silver or light blue and are smaller in size than the 6-inch males. Both males and females have orange, red, or yellow markings on the anal fin.
How Aggressive are Electric Blue Cichlids?
While not as aggressive as some species of cichlid, the electric blue hap will eat smaller fish. Best tank mates include other cichlid haplochromis species. If you're keeping more than one electric blue hap, keep no more than one male in the tank with four or more females.
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