Cichlids ( /ˈsɪklɨd/) are fishes from the family Cichlidae in the order Perciformes. Cichlids are members of a group known as the Labroidei along with the wrasses (Labridae), damselfish (Pomacentridae), and surfperches (Embiotocidae).This family is both large and diverse. At least 1,300 species have been scientifically described, making it one of the largest vertebrate families. New species are discovered annually, and many species remain undescribed. The actual number of species is therefore unknown, with estimates varying between 1,300 and 3,000.


Cichlids span a wide range of body sizes, from species as small as 2.5 centimeters (0.98 in) in length (e.g., female Neolamprologus multifasciatus) to much larger species approaching 1 meter (3.3 ft) in length (e.g. Boulengerochromis and Cichla). As a group, cichlids exhibit a similar diversity of body shapes, ranging from strongly laterally compressed species (such as Altolamprologus, Pterophyllum, and Symphysodon) to species that are cylindrical and highly elongate (such as Julidochromis, Teleogramma, Teleocichla, Crenicichla, and Gobiocichla). Generally, however, cichlids tend to be of medium size, ovate in shape and slightly laterally compressed, and generally similar to the North American sunfishes in morphology, behavior, and ecology.

Many cichlids, particularly tilapia, are important food fishes, while others are valued game fish (e.g. Cichla species). The family also includes many familiar aquarium fish, including the angelfish, oscars, and discus. Cichlids have the largest number of endangered species among vertebrate families, most in the haplochromine group. Cichlids are particularly well known for having evolved rapidly into a large number of closely related but morphologically diverse species within large lakes, particularly Tanganyika, Victoria, Malawi, and Edward. Their diversity in the African Great Lakes is important for the study of speciation in evolution. Many cichlids that have been introduced into waters outside of their natural range have become nuisances, such as tilapia in the southern United States.

Courtesy: Wikipedia


Articles about breeding

Mouthbrooders by Marc Elieson

Getting Your Cichlids to Breed by Marc Elieson

So Your Malawi Cichlids Are Breeding! by Rafal Izdebski

How to Strip Mouthbrooders by Marc Elieson

Stripping Fry – A Pictoral Tutorial by Eric Glab

Raising Cichlid Mouthbrooder Fry by Marc Elieson

Tumbling Eggs by Marc Elieson

Determing Your Cichlids’ Gender by Marc Elieson

Cichlid Breeding Terminology by D. Jones

Breeding Discus From a Beginner’s Perspective by Ryan Williams

The Odds of Obtaining Desired Breeding Groups From Juveniles

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Cichlid Companion Fish

These are some other aquatic fish and animals you may consider keeping with your cichlids.

The robust nature of most cichlidae means that other fish can become the target of territorial and feeding behaviour. This is the main concern when choosing a suitable tankmate.

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