With cichlids sky rocketing in popularity right now within the fish keeping community, we are seeing a huge spike in the number of questions that we see each month about keeping cichlids in your tanks.
Many species of cichlid can be problematic but we have seen a number of people generally reaching out to ask about their cichlids losing color.
This can be a common issue but thankfully there are a few things that you as an owner can do to help correct the situation.
In this article we will go over some of the potential causes of cichlids losing color as well as what you can do to help return their colors back to normal levels!
There are also a few things that you are able to do to prevent your cichlids losing color again in the future too that we will be sharing!
Is It Normal For A Cichlid To Start Losing Color?
It is normal for a small number of cichlids to start losing color their color in some situations but this is rare and the majority of cichlid species shouldn’t be losing their color over the long term.
There are some causes of short term color loss or fade usually stress related but if this is the problem, the color should return to your cichlid within a week or two.
The vast majority of cichlids that do lose color or start to fade are doing so because of one or more problems with their environment.
So many people feed their cichlids an unsuitable food too with this being a very common cause of cichlids losing color that is commonly overlooked.
This is due to cichlids being carnivores and usually needing large amounts of animal protein in their diet to maintain their bright colors. Many people new to keeping cichlids in their tanks feed them a fish food designed for omnivores resulting in color fade.
Thankfully, there are a number of excellent cichlid food options on the market that you are able to use. If the issue causing color fade in your cichlid is due to their diet then something as simple as switching over to a suitable food may be enough to prevent any long term issues.
Why Are My Cichlids Losing Colour?
The most common reason that cichlids start to lose color is because of stress. This can be caused by a change in the cichlid’s environment, aggression from other fish or cichlids in the tank, or even something as simple as having an unsuitable diet.
Cichlids are very sensitive to changes in their environment and even something as small as a change in the water temperature or quality can cause cichlids to start losing color. If you have made any changes to your cichlid’s tank recently, then this may be the cause of their color loss.
It is also worth noting that cichlids can be very territorial and aggressive towards one another. If you have recently added any new cichlids to your tank, then this may be causing stress to your other cichlids resulting in them losing color.
As we mentioned earlier, cichlids are carnivores and require a diet that is high in animal protein to maintain their bright colors making a good cichlid food an essential.
Although the lighting intensity does not affect all species of cichlid, a high lighting intensity in your cichlid tank can cause their colors to change and give the impression of the cichlid losing color but this is rare.
How Can I Stop My Cichlids Losing Color?
The best way to stop your cichlids from losing color is to identify the cause of the stress and address it. If you have made any changes to your cichlid’s tank recently, then try reverting back to the previous setup and see if their color improves.
If you have added any new cichlids to your tank, then you may need to remove them if they are causing stress to your other cichlids. You should also check that you are feeding your cichlids a suitable diet and consider switching to a food that is high in animal protein if you are not already doing so.
As we mentioned earlier, cichlids are very sensitive to changes in their environment and even something as small as a change in the water temperature or quality can cause cichlids to start losing color. To prevent this from happening, you should regularly test your cichlid’s water parameters and make sure that they are within the ideal range for your cichlid species.
You should also make sure that your cichlid’s tank has plenty of hiding places and is not too crowded as this can also cause stress which may result in color loss.
How Can I Improve My Cichlids Color?
If your cichlids are already losing color, then there are a number of things that you can do to try and improve their coloration.
One of the best ways to improve the color of your cichlids is to ensure that they are stress-free and have plenty of hiding places in their tank. Even something as simple as live plants can offer some cichlids the protection they crave to feel safe and improve their current colors.
You can also try adding some color-enhancing foods to your cichlid’s diet such as Spirulina or Krill. These foods are high in carotenoids which are known to improve the colors of cichlids (and other fish).
Another way to improve the color of your cichlids is to increase the lighting intensity in their tank. This is only suitable for cichlids that are not sensitive to light but adding some additional light to your cichlid’s tank can really make their colors pop.
Always do your own research specific to the exact type of cichlid you keep when it comes to their lighting intensity tolerance though as this can backfire on the cichlids that are sensitive to light and actually cause them to lose their color.
Can I Prevent My Cichlids Losing Color In The Future?
The best way to prevent your cichlids from losing color in the future is to keep a close eye on their environment and diet and make sure that any changes are made slowly to avoid shocking them.
You should also regularly test your cichlid’s water parameters and make sure that they are within the ideal range for your cichlid species.
Sticking to a good cichlid food can also offer all of the nutrition that your cichlid requires too. This allows the fish to easily maintain their colors of even improve their colors and patterns in the future.
Finally, make sure that your cichlid’s tank has plenty of hiding places and is not too crowded as this can also cause stress which may result in color loss.