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This book has been written by 12 authors, each of them a specialist for many years in his or her field, and is the distillation of a total of more than 300 years experience in keeping cichlids. The result is an invaluable guide to the essentials of enjoying cichlids. The book treats ALL cichlids in a professional and easy to understand manner.
Knowing how cichlids survive and thrive in the wild is the key to keeping them under optimal conditions at home. Imitating the natural environment of our charges in the home aquarium has proved to be a successful technique for keeping and breeding cichlids. Keeping a variety of cichlids over long periods yields a large number of little tricks which can be used to make cichlid keeping more enjoyable. Over the years the authors of this book have tested many different techniques and procedures and have selected those which they use themselves and which they know will be applicable under all the different situations encountered in keeping cichlids.
The field of cichlid keeping is so large and the species are so many that it is almost impossible to be specialized in all the different areas. My specialization is limited to Malawi and Tanganyika cichlids and for this reason I will discuss only the cichlids from these regions. Other specialists, who have much experience with other groups like American and West African cichlids, will share their knowledge of keeping cichlids with you.
This book is not intended to be a complete reference guide for all the possible filtration systems, all the different types of food one can obtain, or all the types of aquaria one can build; it is a book written by specialists who have long-standing experience of keeping their cichlids and who know the natural habitats in which their fishes live. They will inform you how they keep their fishes under optimal conditions and not about all the possible ways you can keep cichlids. The information given in this book is thus not the only way you can keep cichlids successfully but how experts have kept their fishes for many years and are still very much enjoying them.
The purpose of this book is to provide the aquarist with a way of keeping cichlids successfully. When properly housed, cichlids are not likely to contract diseases. This is the main reason why we will not go into detail about all the various diseases. Moreover, excellent books on diseases in fishes are available for those interested. We will, however, discuss some medical treatments for use in case a fish is wounded or for when we want to acclimatize wild-caught cichlids to our tanks.
Over the years it has become apparent that most cichlid aquarists direct their attention to a particular group, the one they enjoy most. This is the reason that I have divided the main part of the book into several groups, each one dealing with cichlids from a single area. Each group is again subdivided into smaller groups containing species with similar aquarium requirements. For each such group of species useful information is given about their behavior in the wild and in the aquarium, about their food requirements, and about the best way to breed them.
When the water and habitat requirements of cichlids originating from different areas are similar there is no objection to keeping these cichlids together in the same aquarium provided they are behaviorally compatible; it is a matter of personal taste. Finally, I hope this second edition of the book will provide its readers with a valuable guide to the essentials of enjoyable cichlid keeping.
Ad Konings (editor)
El Paso, July 2002
240 pages, 300+ color photos, hardcover, and size: 6.