The cichlid is a freshwater fish characterized by bright colors. The size of this fish varies considerably, from a few centimeters up to few meters. The species of cichlid do not vary much in terms of appearance but they do so in their size and color.


Cichlid Species


According to Cichlid facts, there are currently more than 1,300 species of cichlid recorded but there are still discoveries of new species made every year with an estimated total of over 3,000 species all in all! Despite the many varieties of cichlids, all the species of this fish can only be found in Africa and in very specific places.


Natural Habitat of Cichlids


Cichlids are indigenous to the lakes of eastern Africa such as the Victoria, Malawi, and Edward Lakes and also to the largest lake in central Africa, the Tanganyika Lake. It has been postulated that the two types of cichlids evolved from different species of fish. The huge variety of cichlid species in these places plays a vital role in the study of evolution in these areas by scientists.


Cichlid as Aquarium Fish


The cichlid is a very popular fish in aquariums because some species are small and come in a variety of colors. They are also easier to keep in artificial aquariums than fish from the sea. On another note, some species of cichlids are bred for consumption because they grow to enormous sizes. Local fishermen also capture cichlids from the wild.


Cichlid Diet


Depending on the species of cichlid, the diet of these fish varies largely. Some cichlid species mainly live off on algae and water-dwelling invertebrates. Other species have diets that consist of small fish and insects. Because cichlids can consume almost anything edible that is available, this trait has proved to be pestilent for those fish introduced by humans to places such as Asia and North America.


More Cichlid Fun Facts


  • Cichlids have a lot of predators and that includes humans, predatory birds and other fish. A strange fact about these fish is that the smallest of the cichlids in the area serve as prey to the larger fish in the same area.


  • Cichlids are known to have very strong parental bond with her brood during the breeding season. As the female cichlid lays her eggs and latches them on the rocks, she guards the eggs and fans them with water. Meanwhile, the male parent guards the area and defends it from other fish. The parents still look after the new hatchlings (called fry) until the hatchlings are able to swim freely.


  • Strangely, some species of cichlids can be located at the Amazon basin in South America. These species include the freshwater angelfish, the Oscar (marbled cichlid) and the discus fish. These estranged species of cichlid are thought to have crossed the Atlantic Ocean years ago and have evolved since then in their current environment.

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