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Top tip for encouraging new dwarf cichlids to feed


New Member
Hi everyone!

I'm new here, a long-time fish fan but I recently got my very first Apisto, a lovely cockatoo dwarf Cichlid male. He settled in to the tank really well, and isn't afraid to come out and about to see what's going on. However, I had been getting a bit worried about him because he was not eating anything on offer. Thanks to searching this great forum I learned that it may take a few days for him to settle in, and to check the water quality (which was fine). I then thought that perhaps he had only been offered live foods in the store, so perhaps he wasn't used to eating pellets, flakes, or dried insects.

I noticed that he didn't want to chase the flakes, or go up to the surface for the insects, and the pellets sunk too fast so he wasn't searching the bottom for them like he should be. So I had an idea to suspend some food for him to try. I took a length of cotton thread and tied a small loop at one end. I then took a few Cichlid pellets (the soft kind) and squashed them together around the thread loop so they stuck to it. I then dangled the thread in the tank about half way up, and what do you know- he swam right up to it. At first he just looked at it so I gently moved the thread to make it 'wiggle', and he started breaking bits off and eating it. Once he'd got a taste for the pellet he was then able to start looking for them in the substrate and hovering them up. I was amazed it only took one go at it to get him started!

Thought this might help others (plus it was quite fun as my zebra loaches also enjoyed a game of 'chase the pellet'!).



Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
N.W. Fl.
I had the same problem with a batch of Cacs. I just received, the best thing I found that works is live mosquito larva, after about a week I put some in today and they went crazy trying to get them all.

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