What is normal cichlid behavior?

Normal cichlid behavior includes:

  • Energetic swimming, especially when someone walks near their tank
  • Sifting substrate
  • Burrowing or making nests in the substrate
  • Shimmying and shaking fins
  • Twitching or shimmering to attract mates
  • Pushing decorations around
  • Uprooting plants

Additionally, because cichlids are naturally aggressive, chasing each other, lip-locking, nipping, and fighting are also normal behaviors, but be prepared to separate your cichlids if the situation becomes too hostile.

In some cases, hiding is also normal. Some shy and less aggressive cichlids, such as keyhole cichlids, also love hiding. As long as they still come out of hiding to swim around and eat regularly, you shouldn’t worry about it.