Common Cichlid Species

Cichlids first became popular aquarium fish in 1945. Aquarium enthusiasts found them suitable for home tanks because of their size and because they were easy to feed and bred readily, caring for their brood even in captivity.

Among the more than 1,900 species of cichlids, here are the most common cichlid species that have gained popularity among aquarium enthusiasts around the world. There are many reasons for their popularity. Some are well-loved because of their stunning appearance, while others for being hardy cichlid species that are easy to keep, feed, and breed.

The Five Most Common Cichlid Species:

  1. Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare)- Originating from the Amazon, Orinoco, and Essequibo rivers in South America, the angelfish has become one of the more popular cichlids because of its unique, elegant appearance, inquisitive nature, and mild-mannered disposition.
  2. Oscar fish (Astronotus ocellatus)- Also called Oscar, tiger oscar, velvet cichlid, or marble cichlid, the oscar fish comes from South Americaand have even been considered food fish. Hardy and tough, they can tolerate a wide range of water conditions and high toxin levels. This fast-growing fish (it can grow beyond 18 inches) will eat a range of food, including pellets, live food, and flakes. Make sure you feed themenough live food so they stay healthy and their colors stay bright.
  3. Convict cichlid (Archocentrus nigrofasciatus) - This type of cichlid is a good fish for beginners because of its small size and its ease in keeping and breeding. They are not fussy about food or water conditions. When keeping convict cichlids, one needs to recreate their original habitat, putting in rocks and artificial caves-they’ll eventually use these for breeding-into the aquarium. They tend to burrow intothe substrate, so external filtration is best for this type of cichlid.
  4. Discus fish (Symphysodon sppi) – Another favorite among aquarium enthusiasts, the discus fish is probably one of the more socialized cichlids. They are probably one of the few schooling cichlids and, in their original habitat, live in large groups. They require much social interaction for them to enhance their character, so when getting discus fish, it is wise to get more than two of them. Their breeding tanks are simple at best-no substrate needed, simple filtration system, and a lot of spawning sites. The aquarium water should be soft enough to let the eggs develop properly.
  5. Jack Dempsey – Named after a boxing heavyweight, Jack Dempsey cichlids are easy to breed and feed and can live up to 10 years. It is their stunning coloration that piques people’s interest. When they are young, Jack Dempsey cichlids show a tan or light gray color with some turquoise specks. As they mature, their colors turns purple gray with some blue and green highlights while its specks turn gold.

AuratusMelanochromis auratus
AngelfishPterophyllum scalare
Blue AcaraAequidens pulcher
Cockatoo Dwarf CichlidApistogramma cacatuoides
ConvictAmatitlania (Archocentrus) nigrofasciata
DiscusSymphysodon aequifasciata
EartheaterSatanoperca jurupari
Electric Yellow LabidochromisLabidochromis caeruleus
Fairy CichlidNeolamprologus brichardi
FestivumMesonauta festivus
FiremouthThorichthys (Cichlasoma) meeki
Flower Horn FishHybrid species
FrontosaCyphotilapia frontosa
Giraffe CichlidNimbochromis venustus
Green TerrorAequidens rivulatus
Jack DempseyRocio octofasciata,(Cichlasoma octofasciatum)
Keyhole CichlidCleithracara maronii
KribensisPelvicachromis pulcher
OscarAstronotus ocellatus
Pseudotropheus ornatusPseudotropheus elongatus-ornatus
Rainbow CichlidHerotilapia Multispinosa
RamMikrogeophagus ramirezi
Red devilAmphilophus labiatum
Redfin kandangoCopadichromis borleyi
Red Striped EartheaterGeophagus surinamensis
SeverumHeros efasciatus
UaruUaru amphiacanthoides
Zebra cichlidMaylandia zebra (Pseudotropheus)
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