Why Are My Cichlids Hiding?

Written by a.n. pike
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Why Are My Cichlids Hiding?
Cichlids enjoy hiding areas placed throughout the tank. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Cichlids are a complex fish. While some species of cichlids are overly aggressive and downright nasty, other species are completely docile. Regardless of the temperament of the fish, many species of cichlids seek hiding spots. Cichlids hide for a number of reasons such as a comfort mechanism and a place of rest.

Avoiding Aggressive Behavior

Many species of cichlids are aggressive. When a fish is aggressive, it needs a retreat area. Fish often adopt designated decorations or plants as their retreat area. Decoration and plants are a comfort to cichlids. A certain plant becomes the territory of one cichlid while a decoration becomes the territory of another. After establishing territories, fish respect those territories and do not often impede on them. This cuts down on aggressive behaviour and gives each fish a hiding place or area of retreat instead of feeling cramped in an open tank.

Retreating from Bully Fish

Introducing new fish to a fish tank results in bullying from many types of cichlids. Bullying behaviour is typical from a larger cichlid when a smaller cichlid is introduced. Bullied fish seek shelter in hiding spots such as behind rocks and plants when bullied. This helps the bullied fish avoid further confrontation with the other fish.

Comfort in New Surroundings

A new cichlid must adapt to its new surroundings. On top of hiding from established tank mates, adapting to new surroundings is an overwhelming experience for a fish. Hiding is a mechanism that cichlids use as they become more comfortable in the tank. No tank is exactly the same as another. From different water to different decorations and tank mates, cichlids enjoy hiding in order to observe the surroundings.

Nocturnal Hiding Spot

Certain species of cichlids are nocturnal. During the day, nocturnal cichlids hide from the daylight. Hiding spots serve as resting areas for the cichlids. A tank with too much light during the day is not beneficial for a nocturnal cichlid. Too bright tanks force nocturnal cichlids into hiding to ensure the species gets the proper amount of rest it needs.

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