Cichlids are one of the most kept fish in the aquarium hobby. For years hobbyists have been enjoying the unique varieties of these fish and the interesting behaviors they exhibit. From African cichlids to Central and South American cichlids, there certainly is no shortage of cichlids in the hobby. What defines a cichlid? A Cichlid is defined by a fish with only two nostrils ( most fish have 4 ), but that is not all. Admired for their aggressive breeding and unique care for their young, keeping a cichlid takes a bit of understanding. There is a Cichlid for practically every kind of tank and water parameters let’s go over a few.
Central American Cichlid’s are some of the mostpopular varieties today, this includes Convict cichlids,Firemouth Cichlids, Vieja varieties, Texas cichlid, Red devil Cichlid, Wolf Cichlid, Jaguar Cichlid, three spot Cichlid, T bar Cichlid, Salvini cichlid and more from Amphilopus, just to name a few. Most of these are large and aggressive fish that typically do best in their own tank. These Cichlids tend to pair up without effort and are possibly the easiest variety to breed. They appreciate hard, alkaline water which is most of what the US water parameters consist of, as our water supply runs through the desert picking up many minerals on the way. Large beautiful fish with interesting behavior have made central American cichlids a staple in the hobby.
South American cichlids consist of a more diverse group including large fish, dwarf fish and disc shaped fish. To name a few the Oscar Cichlid, Green Terror, Keyhole Cichlid, Severums, Geophagus, Apistogramma, Mikrogeophagus, Uaru, Angelfish, Discus and Acara. Many of these fish come from acidic waters filled with tannins, making them slightly more difficult to keep and breed as these parameters are very important for success. We can emulate these parameters by using RO water which is more acidic and adding things such as Driftwood and Cattapa Leafs for the “blackwater” tannins. These type of tanks are considered blackwater. South American cichlids tend to be more picky with their breeding site and require a cave or a special situation.
African cichlids are often kept in a group setting and are more tolerable of each other. Ranging from larger size to smaller shell-dwelling fish, there are many variety of African cichlids. African cichlids are unique in that many are mouth brooders Keeping the eggs and fry in their mouth for quite some time. They also appreciate harder water with a stone structure. These fish are fun as there are many different types with many different colors and are usually good to mix in the same tank. Originating from the African Great Lakes, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria, Lake Edward and Lake Kyoga. Contact us today for any questions about Cichlids.