Cichlids produce a lot of waste, more so than the average freshwater tropical fish. So robust filtration is required to ensure good water quality. Tip: 10-15 times the tank volume per hour.
Example: A 55-gallon tank would require a 550gph filter. Canister filtration is a good choice.
Fluorescent or LED lighting can be used; however, LED is preferred because it won’t add extra, unwanted heat to the aquarium. And consider more intense lighting to highlight the Cichlid’s intense colors.
An environment with lots of rocks and a sand substrate closely replicates the natural Cichlid habitat. It also gives them a place to dwell and protect offspring.
Live Plants: Research your species as some Cichlids are aggressive towards plants (Oscars, Dempseys), while others do well in a planted tank (Angels, Discus, Frontosas).
Cichlids grow to a large size, so the bigger the tank the better.
The bottom of the environment should be sand. Some Cichlid species will ingest a small amount to aid in digestion, while others use the sand bed to build their nest. Larger Cichlids like Oscars are fine with gravel.