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Video explaining the needs and methods of care for dwarf cichlids from South America. The fish in this video are much smaller than many of the cichlids commonly kept in tropical fish tanks and most species of South American dwarf cichlids will not exceed 9cm (males). Cichlids below 10cm are generally considered to be dwarf varieties. Although dwarf cichlids are found in a variety of habitats throughout South America, generally speaking most will prefer pH below 7 and soft water to show best colouration and be most content. Bogwood, peat balls, almond leaves, oak leaves and alder cones are natural ways to reduce the pH and soften water in a home aquarium. All of these natural treatments may stain the water a light brown, which adds to the authentic look of an 'Amazon tank'. Most of the South American dwarf cichlids will use caves to breed in but some (including blue ram) are classed as 'open spawners' and prefer to lay their eggs on curled up leaves eg almond or oak in an aquarium. Almond and oak leaves have natural anti fungal and anti bacterial properties which leach out into the water, protecting the eggs and help to acheive a better hatch rate. A good dwarf cichlid aquarium set-up would generally include a sand substrate, bogwood and plants. Natural tankmates include corydoras, tetra species, small plec species (and angelfish or discus in a large tank). Whilst generally very peaceful fish, all dwarf cichlids will defend their eggs and fry from other tankmates so it is ...