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Why are my African Cichlids acting strange!


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Hey all just curious as to why my African cichlids are acting strange!.

These are there symptoms.

Chasing each other around the tank!

Swimming up and down the side of the tank

Shaking Vigorously


Scratching on ornaments.

Scared to come to the surface to eat the food( swim fast to the top, then when they are almost there they turn and go back down.

Water has a tinge of yellow, dont know if this helps?

Thanks in advance!


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Hey Andrew,

Some of the behaviour is normal for many cichlids... i.e. the chasing each other around...lol

Scratching on ornaments could be indicative of an ectoparasite, like whitespot for example. Examine the fish closely and if you have whitespot in your tank, you will need to treat it accordingly.

Many cichlids will also be shy to come up and eat. Dither fish will help the situation and for these, I recommend Australian Rainbowfish, Clown barbs or silver dollars.

As for the rest, can you provide some background info, such as tank size, filtration, water parameters, etc? Have you got driftwoon in there? If you do, it will discolour the water and would explain the yellow.

If you do not have equipment to properly test your water parameters, I suggest taking a good jar full of water to your lfs for testing.

Hope this helps.


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my red empress started breeding a week ago which pretty much means all the other fish where hiding in corners and only came to feed as fast as they could. he established his territory in the middle of the tank which didn't give all the others a lot of room. the "shaking" and swimming up and down is part of the mating process.

as for the scratching: cichlids do this sometimes but keep a close eye on them, it might be whitespot as well...

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