Why do my cichilids “shake and vibrate”?

I was wondering why the fish “shake and vibrate”? I just got my tank and the fish are amazing.

37 thoughts on “Why do my cichilids “shake and vibrate”?”

  1. I would like to say… i am having the same issue with mine i don’t know why someone told me that it meant they were mating but mine have been doing it for about 3 weeks now and i have yet tosee a baby fish or any eggs.

  2. I would like to say… I agree with the previous comment. It seems to be their mating behavior. We ended up with 12 babies sometime after this behavior. We didn’t notice them for the first few weeks as they were in hiding. Make sure you have plenty of cover for them to hide. I also want to mention that the bigger male fish (I think) in addition to the vibrating behavior started rearranging the gravel and cleared away a big hole almost down to the glass. This seemed to go along with the mating behavior. By the way, all 12 babies survived and we didn’t even have to remove them from the tank! The tank is getting pretty crowded now though and I think we are going to have to find a new home for some of them pretty soon.

  3. I would like to say…you probably will not see the babys the adults will eat them as fast as they are born the shaking and vibrating is the cichlids matting ritual and you probably wont see eggs as cichlids are live bearers and mouth brooders

  4. I would like to say…that i have 1 huge cichlid and trust me they behave like that i would say they are kind of violent fish if u will he splash the water and he is always in the attack mode some time he eats real good and some times he just goes without food 4 days . i had him since he was little baby so it been like 5 years now and they just love 2 move stuff round and build theme selfs little caves so they can hide u got 2 have gravle little rocks and some plants in ur tank thats 4 sure

  5. I would like to know is it a good idea to put the female in a breeding tank with the eggs in her mouth?

  6. I would like to say…they are definately breeding. Mine do this all the time and my tank is full of cichlid fry. I keep giving them away. and no the adults will not eat them. in fact they are great at protecting the babies. they are mouth brooders and that contributes to the misinformation that they are eating the baby fish..

  7. I would like to say…everyone here says they shake becasue they are breeding. I just brought home a electric blue a little smaller than my 5 inch bumble bee and the bumble bee was shaking crazy. now the electric blue is in a hospital tank with serve battle wounds. We have had to do this in the past and saved some fish but this one won’t make it. I believe the shaking is aggression…

  8. I would like to say…I just inherited a 125 gal. tank with about 28 assorted cichilids in it, I am having a problem with slime buildup every other day in the filters and cartridges. I rinse the cartridges every other day and replace them once a week. The tank is in my living/dining room which is well lit all day, is this a problem? Or are there too many fish in one tank? Can someone please help me???
    Thank-You

  9. I would like to say…Fish are shaking because they are territorial and are confronting each other

  10. I would like to say…my african cichlid was in a comunity tank but i brought him a new friend thinking hed be happy but hes doen the shaking thing to and hes just biteing the fins of the other one and tryna kill it does this mean thea matting

  11. I would like to say… that my fish have been shaking alot for a bout 1 months and we have only have one baby sofar?

  12. I would like to say…your ammonia levels may be off. Take a sample to your local pet shop! They may be stressing from you inheriting the tank. If it is goldish green, then that could be it. The best thing to do is a partial water change and then an ammonia treatment. Ammonia can be caused from over feeding as well….

  13. My electric blue jack dempsey is vibrating. Is this a way to tell if its male or female or is it a charecteristic of mating? Im new to cichlids and need to know what this behavior means. Thanks.

  14. I would like to say… My female chichild is agressive and always in attack mode she attact’s the male chichild that i just got a few days ago and the female chichild keeps on doing this shaking thing and i don’t know what it means. She is always attaking the male chichild

  15. reading everyoes comments… i would like to know also? but im guessing no one knows fighting or mating ha ha …..does anyone know?????

  16. I would like to say… i have two malawi cichlids, one of which is hiding at the top of the tank in the rocks, and does not come out to feed for the last three days, the other one is swimming freely and feeding ok.
    is the one hiding going to give out some small fry ?

  17. I would like to say…I’m going with the aggression theory here. My 6 year old Electric Yellow Lab cichlid is in a tank by himself and he shakes and puffs out his black striped fins at me and then tries to bite the tank walls closest to where I am. He also spits gravel and snails (when I can afford them) like basketballs at me. That he despises me is a given (he is a crazy cool fish to watch though) and I believe all his actions scream “aggression!”

  18. I knew this was aggression if there are 2 males in too small of a tank, but i had to isolate one from the other male as it would get chased all around and constantly hide.

    well the larger male died (from natural causes i belive, it was pretty old years wise) so i tried putting the male i removed back in the tank with some tiny random lake fish (about inch long could be grasscarp, snagged a few bass too) theres also about a 6-7 inch long catfish in there that the other fish occasionally buged but stopped once it got barbed too many times.

    the male i removed kept attacking every other fish in there so i had to remove him again and is currently in a tank all by himself. he still does that fast shaking/vibrating. seems to do it at the big rock i have in the tank and the heater. dunno what to do with this overly aggressive fish. its also very skiddish and hides when you walk in the room.

  19. I would like to say…my chichilds keep on itching on the sand rocks almost everythink, at 1st it was just 2 of them doing it but now all 30 keep doing it, is this normal?

  20. I would like to say…i have an agressive chichlid at home,he is attacking all the other fish all the time and is shaking everytime the fish come near him,therefore i think is agression..

  21. I would like to say… you should never clean your filter media, the carbon filter is okay to clean but that’s it. also if your fish are itching/scratching but don’t have white salt like spots it’s just a mating ritual. Africans are an amazing fish and very easy to take care of but you should do a 25% water change each week if you would like them to grow because they have something in there poop that will slow their growth down. i love to watch them!! 😀 happy fish farming ya’ll

  22. I would like to say…I also believe its aggression …my cichlid is only about 3-4 in. And every time other fish swim by…..it will start to shake/vibrate and it will chase them around the tank and my tank is approx. 6 ft. Long…… but there’s never a dull moment ……..

  23. I would like to say…I have about 18 assorted cichlids in our tank. recently two of them began to vibrate and sake violently. Is this a sign of aggression or matting?

  24. I would like to say…i need help ….i have a 180 tank and my two green terrors shake or shimmer and fight over and over again but yet one green t ….still wants to swim next to the other one…even tho the other one will fight it … What doea this mean

  25. I would like to say…ok to get the story straight if your cichlids are mouth brooders the male which will have egg spots on his anal fin he will shake his tail fin in front of the female to make her think she is selling eggs when she gets to pic them up she gets a mouthful of sperm and that is how the eggs are fertilized and you also have open brooders which will lay eggs on substraight rocks leaves or wood and their are also cave brooders which will lay eggs is caves all cichlids are very protective of their young … You can tell agressive “shaking” usually two males sip be side to side with their tailfin in the others face you will also notice all their fins ate up and they are trying to look as big as possible they will push water into the others face with their tailfin to show dominance if one doesn’t submit they will proceed to charging at one another locking mouths and biting of this happens seperate them because their st s point were they won’t stop till one of them are dead… I breed cichlids as a hobby I have many years of experience with these amazing fish if anyone has any questions or concerns about cichlids feel free to email me and I will be able to answer any questions you may have my email address is txmartin.km@gmail.com

  26. Whoever said adult cichlids do NOT eat baby fish is entirely wrong. That is the sole reason as to why so many people hardly ever see babies in their tank. As we all know, cichlids are VERY aggressive and they do like to eat smaller once for snacks. Not all are mouth brooders either. After doing some research, if you are striving to have little baby fish the best way to go about this is to find rocks that are very porous. This will allow eggs to be laid or little fry that you can’t even see yet to hide in a safer place and out of reach of the bigger cichlids.

  27. I would like to say…I think agression.my fish stays in the middle and vibrates when other fish come near him. He also attacks anyone that is in his territory.i think they also do it for the reason that when they are having babies they protect themselves and thats why people think they do it because there mating

  28. I would like to say…Adult female cichlids do not generally eat their own fry and they do protect them in their mouth(if mouthbrooders), however, the first few times they may eat them. The Male DOES shake its anal fin during the females egg laying, BUT they also shake to display different things. My medium sized cichlid shakes to display to the female and hopefully get lucky- she turns him down a lot. My other cichlid shakes whenever the other, slightly smaller cichlid threatens it. It shows dominance (or in the case of the one that is threatened, trying to be dominant)

  29. @MAD : Not all mouth breeders, no, but most, i say again, most malawi cichlids are mouth breeders. If your female doesn’t hold onto the eggs, then it means she is way too stressed. Having a porous rock is NOT the way it should go. The best way is once you notice a female with eggs, then separate the female until she lets fry go and separate the female after that.

    And No. They don’t usually eat their fry. If your fish eats them, then there is something very wrong with the way you are keeping them. The main reason behind a female letting eggs go, or eating them, is if she thinks her eggs have no chance of developing, or is too stressed.

    If you have haps, however, then they may eat smaller fish of other species because they are carnivorous.

  30. it either means it is trying to mate with another fish in your tank or it could also mean its showing dominince to another male in your tank . their is no issues with you water . your fish is just being a male.

  31. Hi if yr fish shake vibrate or even lock mouths together they are breeding definitely I know This as I’ve kept Malawis for yrs and I also have had loads of baby’s
    If your not sure about these fish read up about them xos u will be rewarded with lots of baby’s if done right, u need to get ph levels right etc, to be honest I have never used all that rubbish I just put a bit of ocean rock in my tank and with all the calcium that comes from the rock it sorts the fish out. So why spend loads on kits testers etc when u can just put ocean rock in there

  32. I would say to have your water tested, could be very high levels of nitrites /nitrates and ammonia due to waste buildup in the rocks. This was the case with our cichlid, we were told its poisoning the fish, its toxic and can kill them if you don’t use something to balance out the ammonia, like API Ammo lock. This will take care of the ammonia build-up, but the nitrite/nitrate can only be fixed by weekly 25% water changes and plants (if your cichlids wont eat them or tear them apart, and moss balls as well). Hope it helps….

  33. This is my first Cichlid tank. We have six cichlids that about a month old ranging from an inch and a half to 3 inches end to end. To be honest with you I don’t know the exact names of them. But the fish store asured us that these three get along with each other they had a tank with them themselves and they were all cohabitating nicely. I’ve noticed that the pair with the three dots on them are doing the whole shaking and it looks like they’re having seizures. It is a new tank so I know we’ve gone through this whole new tank syndrome and we’ve put the water conditioner in it and we put the water stress in it as well. I do know that we also have two of the yellow fish with a black stripe on the upper fins and those are growing as fast as the other for fish but those aren’t doing the shaking. But then we have I believe they’re called the electric bluefish they are can be either blue or yellow with the stripes we have one that is blue and we have one that is turning yellow and the blue one is doing the shaking and the yellow one is the more aggressive one the blue one has dug a hole under a cave down to the glass we have yet to figure out if we have males or females of any of these fish. We know that there’s a lot of fin showing puffing up and a lot of shaking and a lot of seizure like activity. I’ve searched for answers I could be anything from meeting vitamin deficiency overfed underfed is there any other suggestions on what it could be. It’s not like there’s a vet that sees fishes

  34. I would like to know why my albino African Cichlids swim laying on their sides or why they stand upside down in the tank? Its a 48 gallon with 8- 6 inch males and 1 female and 1- 12 inch plechostamus. They have also taken to all but 2 crowding in a corner. I haved all of them for 5 years and they are pretty big.

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