Mastering Freshwater Aquarium Ecosystems
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Fish Selection (Cont.)

Angelfish (a cichlid) live about 4 years on average, but it's not uncommon for them to live 8 or more years. The ram dwarf cichlid (Microgeophagus ramirezi) on average lives only a year, but it reaches reproductive age at only 2 ½ months. Many species of small tetras can live five or more years in the aquarium.

Eating Habits

The eating habits of fish should be considered when setting up the aquarium and choosing fish. Many fish like to eat algae and plants, while others eat only live food. If you plan on keeping live plants, make sure the fish you introduce will not eat plants. Some fish like the clown pleco (Panaque maccus) enjoy wood in their diet, therefore you should consider keeping driftwood in the aquarium.

You should try to avoid feeding live food as much as possible, because live food can introduce harmful parasites, bacteria, and viruses to the aquarium.

Fish that are sand sifters like earth eater cichlids (Geophagus sp.), Corydoras sp. catfish, and loaches should be provided with fine sand as a substrate as it allow the fish to exhibit their natural feeding behavior. Discus are very slow eaters, and should not be kept with fish that are aggressive eaters that will out compete them for food. Discus will eat from the mid water column and off the bottom.

Mollies, mbuna cichilds from Lake Malawi, and Tropheus cichilds from Lake Tanganyika like to forage on algae all day long. Providing or promoting algae growth in the aquarium for fish that are adapted to eating algae can be beneficial.

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