Why Do African Cichlids Dig Holes?

African Cichlids Digging in Sand YouTube
African Cichlids Digging in Sand YouTube from www.youtube.com

Why Do African Cichlids Dig Holes?

The Behaviour of African Cichlids

African cichlids are a type of freshwater fish that inhabit the waters of the African continent. They are known for their vibrant colours and interesting behaviours, one of which is their tendency to dig holes. But why do African cichlids dig holes?

The Reasons Behind the Digging

One of the primary reasons African cichlids dig is to create a safe place to hide from predators. In the wild, these fish are often preyed upon by larger species, so they will often take shelter in the holes they have dug. This behaviour is also seen in the aquarium environment, where they may dig to escape from larger tank-mates.

Another common reason for hole-digging is for spawning. Male cichlids will often dig a pit in the substrate to attract a female and entice her to lay her eggs. The male will then guard the pit and care for the eggs until they hatch.

African cichlids will also dig as part of their natural instinct to keep their environment clean. By digging, they can stir up sediment and debris on the bottom of the tank, allowing it to be filtered out by the water current. This helps to keep the water clean and healthy.

How to Prevent Digging

If you want to prevent your cichlids from digging, there are a few things you can do. You can provide plenty of hiding places in the tank, such as rocks and caves, to discourage digging. You can also provide a substrate with a larger grain size, as smaller grains are easier for the cichlids to move around and dig in. Finally, you can use a sealant or aquarium-safe epoxy to seal the bottom of the tank to limit digging.


African cichlids dig for a variety of reasons, including hiding from predators, spawning, and keeping their environment clean. While this behaviour is natural, it can sometimes be annoying to tank owners. Fortunately, there are ways to discourage digging, such as providing plenty of hiding places and using a larger grain size substrate.

Previous Post Next Post