Cichlid fish are one of the favorite families of fish for owners who love vivid colors, high variety, and fish which are very social in the aquarium. The challenge with Cichlid fish is figuring out which one you are talking about.
The Cichlid fish family is vast with over 2000 species already identified and more being found every year. With some species topping out at only a few inches, others reach almost a meter in length. Obviously the smaller fish are the ones you will be interested in for your aquarium, with the most common size of cichld fish for aquariums being about 5 to 6 inches in size as mature adults.
While there may be over 2000 species of Cichlid fish, you will discover the number carried in most pet stores to be much more limited. Commonly you will find they carry about 5 to 10 different species. Some of the most common ones you will find in the pet stores are as follows;
Kenyi African Cichlid – This species of Cichlid reaches approximately 6 inches in length. They are commonly a beautiful light blue coloration with darker blue fins. Another common coloration is a bright yellow with vertical tan strips on their body. The Kenyi is considered a fish for more advanced hobbyist, primarily due to feeding needs and their tendency to be a bit aggressive towards smaller fish.
Jewel Cichlid – This pretty example of Cichlid fish sports a salmon colored body with orange highlights near the gills and eyes. Their sides carry a few beautiful light blue spots to increase their beauty even further. They grow to almost 6 inches in length. Due to size, this Cichlid needs to be housed in a larger tank, with a 30 gallon tank being a good starting size.
Electric Blue Cichlid – The Electric Blue is a very brightly colored neon blue with deeper blue highlights on their body. They are slightly smaller at only 5” long, but still require a larger tank of arould 30 gallons. For any of these variety of Cichlid you need to have rocks and driftwood on the bottom of the tank to provide them with places to hide and play.
Bumblebee Cichlid – True to the name the Bumblebee cichlid is decorated with beautiful deep yellow and black colors in a vertical striped pattern. They are another of the 6” long fish, making them ideal for slightly larger tanks.
Feeding Cichlid fish is not hard. They take readily to tropical fish flakes, frozen foods, or even live spirulina algae. Caring for their temperature needs is just as easy, since they are comfortable in ranges from 72 degress to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
The biggest challenge with your Cichlid fish will be maintaining proper water quality. Since they are a larger fish they produce more waste products. Do not neglect filter cleaning or changing out 15 percent of the water weekly. If you maintain great water quality your Cichlid will stay healthy and last for many years.