Cichlids (Cichlidae) They are a species of fish aquarium tropical freshwater, of which there are more than 900 species surveyed, with a very wide geographical distribution. Most aquarium cichlids from Africa, although there are species from Central and South America, and very few of Southeast Asia, which provides a variety of aquarium fish of other species. Although not everyone is fit to live in aquariums, there is a large enough representation, which provides a good variety and showiness to freshwater aquariums.

Varieties of cichlids

As I commented, there are over 900 these original fish species, but they not all are available for sale, nor all adapted well to life in the aquarium. When it comes to cichlids, aquatics enthusiasts often make two distinct distributions, the African and American cichlids cichlids, that binds a third, What are the dwarf cichlid. Let's look at the unique characteristics of each of these varieties of cichlid fish.

African cichlids

African cichlid They come mostly from lakes Malawi, Tanganica, Victoria Y Eduardo, It is the most popular and known of Malawi and Tanganyika lakes, that they name the species that come from these lakes. It is thought that there are still many undiscovered species and although we have a 900 described (among African cichlids and American), It could reach the least 1.600 African cichlid species.

African cichlid aquarium

African cichlid refer waters with pH and gH high, with scarce vegetation. African cichlid They are likely to move the aquarium plants. The reason is very simple, the lakes from which not usually have much vegetation, by special conditions. This pretty complicated custom development and maintenance of a planted aquarium. But if you still want to contemplate adding some vegetation, plants that best support their behavior are Vallisnerias and the Anubias. Malawai aquarium cichlids Ideal conditions for an aquarium Malawi are:

  • pH: 7.5 a 8.5
  • gH: 8º a 20º
  • Temperature: 25º C

Malawi cichlids are especially curious, as They are mouthbrooder. They are cichlid fish characterized by a colorful striking. Aquarium Lake Tanganyika cichlids The quality of water for this aquarium has to move within the following parameters:

  • pH: 7.5 a 9
  • gH: 10º
  • Temperature: 25ºC

The big difference between the cichlids of Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi in is diversity. While the Tnaganica are very diverse in forms and attitudes, those in Malawi are much more homogeneous.

Varieties of African cichlids

American cichlids

American Cichlids, contrary to what happens with African, They are more common to find them in rivers than in lakes, Convict cichlid as, inhabitant of the rivers of Central America. They also usually require other types of more acidic waters and soft, Typical of the rivers in which they live, as the Black River or the Amazon. Provide fewer species of cichlid known and named, just a 200.

American Cichlid Aquarium

Freshwater cichlids American, preferred planted aquariums. The reason is obvious, their habitats often have a lot of aquatic plants. As they match each other cichlids is the need for a powerful filtration, besides having to propose a Extra oxygen to the aquarium. Water quality for American Cichlids have to move on the following parameters:

  • pH: Between them four.5 6.5
  • gH: The 2º to 12º
  • Temperature: 25ºC a 30ºC

dwarf cichlid

Dwarf cichlids can be framed within the group of Americans, as it is usual that we are talking about these fish by reference to the Apistograma genres, Microgeophagus y Nanacara, varieties that tend to not exceed the 10 centimeters. They are calm fish character, they can share space with a variety of fish. We can apply the same requirements for water quality for American Cichlids, considering they are quite delicate, and you have to show a lot about aquarium management.

American varieties of cichlids

Habits and customs

Most cichlids reaches a size of between 5 cms y 30 cms inside the aquarium. At the appeal of its color and forms, You need to add your more interesting breeding habits, as these species are very attentive to their offspring, while the other species come to eat. As we are talking about a very broad genre, behaviors between individuals of the same species, and the other inhabitants of the aquarium is very uneven. As a rule we can say that they are quite territorial, so it is necessary to have good sized aquarium If we introduce several copies. Usually they swim at the bottom of the aquarium, where they must provide shelter where they feel safe.

Feeding Cichlids

They are omnivorous, They will have a difficult time being not fed in the aquarium. At Cichlidae usually they feed them live prey,, Freeze-dried foods and processed foods intended for them: flakes, granules ... Be careful with your diet in captivity, as often they suffer from overfeeding. To avoid this point they should be fed twice a day, with all you can eat, but for a short time.


Reproduction in home aquariums is relatively simple, for those varieties adapted to home aquariums. It is usually important that the couple have a comparable age, because if it is not, often they face and seen as adversaries. We must distinguish two major types of sunsets, those made on the substrate aquarium, and it carried out in caves. Some species perform mouthbrooding, in which fertilization of eggs occurs in the mouth of the female.

Maintaining a cichlid aquarium

Aquariums for Cichlidae should be spacious. The aquarium should be very best throughout, without much to matter height pot, since most of these fish require space enough for swimming. Within the aquarium must strategically place stones Y wooden logs, so they can have their refuge and demarcate their territory. While it is always good idea to have plants inside the aquarium, to help us improve the maintenance process, Africans tend to move the, thereby greatly hinder maintenance. Nevertheless, Americans tend to be perfect in planted aquariums. In any case the best that the plants are well anchored, to avoid having to be fixing up the inside of the aquarium every day. A very important point to have a good aquarium cichlids, It is caring filtration system. Cichlids are fish that stain much, so that we have a good filter, and also think about providing a good amount of oxygen further. The Aquarium lighting It is not a point of conflict for cichlids. Normal fluorescent lighting is more than enough, unless we have plants that require greater luminescence environments. Many fans like to introduce lsunlamps leds, They are highlighting the natural color of Cichlidae.

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