I borrow Aquarium Care of Cichlids by Claudia Dickinson from the national library.

There are many books about Cichlids in the national library. The reason I borrow this book is due to the numerous photos of beautiful Cichlids.

I like the pictures of those Cichlids taking care of their fries. The picture on page 97 that shows the Discus feeding their fries with secretions from their bodies is especially touching.

Aquarium Care of Cichlids by Claudia Dickinson is an introductory book for people who are thinking of buying Cichlids.

The first chapter talks about the history of this marvelous fish. This fish evolves through million of years. That is why the fish is so hardy, and easy to care for.

I agree with the author that Cichlids are smart. They are smarter than many other fishes. They can recognize the owners, and differentiate between owners and their friends.

Aquarium Care of Cichlids by Claudia Dickinson talks in detail about getting the fish tank ready. The size of the fish tank depends on the breed of the fish. Some Cichlids are small. These are the Dwarf Cichlids. They do not grow beyond 3.5 inches. The medium size fish can grow up to 6 inches. The large Cichlids grow to the length of 12 inches. However, in some cases, the large Cichlids become the super-sized. One good example is the Oscar.

On page 35 of this book, there is a small text box that says "Bigger is Better!"

While the author refers to the size of the tank, I personally feel that the same applies to the fish. It is easier to take care of Oscar than Angel Fish. The bigger the fish, the more hardy it is.

I like the short write up about Oscar fish. Oscar fish is one of the hardiest fish in the world. It is also one of the most aggressive. If you have a few Oscar in the tank, you would notice a wounded Oscar every day.

I like the part where the writer informs us about the ability of Oscar to produce 1000 or more offspring in a clutch. Imagine all the 1000 fries grow to adulthood and fighting each other. That must be hellish.

An advice that runs throughout Aquarium Care of Cichlids by Claudia Dickinson is the importance of frequent water change.

The author advises owner of Cichlids to change water regularly, at least once a week, and changes 60% of the water.

However, I know of some friends who change the water every night. They take care of Discus, and probably love Discus more than their wives.

The author advises to change water when you suspect the fish is getting sick. For example, you notice that the Cichlids do not display the same enthusiasm when it comes to feeding time. The first thing you must do is change water.

While the author does not mention anything about adding salt with every change of water, I find that it is a good practice to add salt into the water. Cichlids originate from marine ancestors. They can tolerate salt. The salt in the water helps to kill the bacteria in the water too.

If you are new to the world of Cichlids, you must read this book before you buy the first fish. While Cichlids are hardy fish and do not die easily, the ignorant owners can kill them.

Resource: Aquarium Care of Cichlids (Animal Planet Pet Care Library)