25 Amazing Types Of Cichlids With Images

types of cichlids

The types of cichlids are often overlooked by many hobbyists because they don’t know much about them. They’re given little research and attention in the aquarium trade, which is unfortunate because there are so many types that have unique characteristics to offer!

There are over 500 types of cichlids in the world, and they come in many different shapes, sizes, colors and types.

In this article, we’ll cover 25 types of cichlids for beginners.

Origin and descriptions

One of the first things you will notice is that the different types of cichlids originate from different parts of the world. It may surprise you to find out that there are cichlids originating in Asia, Africa, and North America.

Another thing you may notice is that some cichlids are very small, while others can get quite large. Some of the larger varieties include flowerhorn and red devil fish. When it comes to smaller types of cichlids there are many options including neon tetra, glowlight tetra, and rummy nose tetra just to name a few.

Larger types of cichlids are often more aggressive than smaller types of fish, which is why it’s important to know what type you want before setting up your aquarium. If you’re looking for an interesting and fun pet that will also add color to any room in your home, cichlids may be the perfect choice for you.

How do I identify my cichlids?

If you’re wondering how to identify what types of cichlids you have, there are a few key things to look for. The first is the shape of their mouth. Cichlids have what’s called an “up-turned” mouth which allows them to feed on the surface of the water. You’ll also want to check out their coloring – cichlids can range in color from bright reds to neon greens.

Lastly, you’ll want to look at the size of your cichlid’s tail fin because that will help you determine whether or not it is a type of tetra fish. Cichlids have tall tails while other types of fish like rasboras have short tails.

Cichlid tanks

Cichlid tanks can be either freshwater or saltwater, depending on the types of cichlids you bought or are planning to keep, and they can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. When choosing a tank for cichlids, it is important to make sure that there is enough room for the fish to swim around comfortably and that there are plenty of hiding places where they can feel safe.

Tank mates for cichlids

There are a number of other fish that can be kept in the same tank as cichlids, but it is important to choose species that will not provoke aggression from them. Some peaceful and compatible types of fish for cichlid tanks include small catfish such as Corydoras or Otocinclus , Loaches like Kuhli loaches, and Tetra species such as the Neon tetra. Others are African Red-Eyed Tetra, Giant Danio, and Leopard Bushfish.

Cichlids are a fascinating group of fish that come in an incredible variety of shapes and colors, making them popular with aquarists from both novice to expert levels. They can be easy to care for if given enough space in which to live comfortably, but they should not be kept with other fish species due to their aggressive nature.

With careful selection and proper care, cichlids can provide hours of enjoyment for both novice and experienced aquarists alike.

Are cichlids aggressive?

Some types of cichlids are more aggressive than others, but most will become territorial and may even attack other fish if they feel that their territory is being threatened. However, some types of cichlids can be very docile or nonaggressive depending on the environment in which they live.

What types of cichlids are the most aggressive?

The most aggressive types of cichlids are typically those from the genus Cichlasoma. These fish can be very territorial and protective of their territory, and they will often attack other fish in order to defend it. Other aggressive cichlid species include those from the genera Amphilophus, Heros, and Thorichthys.

Are cichlids hard to keep?

Cichlids can be a challenge to keep in the home aquarium due to their aggressive nature and sometimes large size. However, many types of cichlids are relatively easy to care for if they have plenty of room in which to swim around and live comfortably.

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Can cichlids live with other fish?

In general, cichlids should not be kept with other fish species because they can be quite aggressive. However, there are some types of cichlids that can live peacefully with other fish if they are introduced to the tank at the same time and given enough space to avoid confrontations.

Cichlids make an excellent addition to any home aquarium, and with so many different species available, there is sure to be one that will fit the needs of any fish enthusiast. With careful selection and proper care, cichlids can provide hours of enjoyment for both novice and experienced aquarists alike.

Cichlids pests and diseases

Like other types of fish, cichlids are also affected by many pests and diseases, some of which are swim bladder disease, malawi bloat, cotton wool disease, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, and gill flukes. These diseases should be identified and treated early so as to save the life of your pet.

25 Best types of cichlids

Electric Blue Cichlid (Sciaenochromis fryeri)

Electric Blue Cichlid Sciaenochromis fryeri - types of cichlids

The electric blue cichlid is known for its brilliant turquoise coloration that can shine brighter than any gem. Males are more brightly colored, with iridescent lines running down the length of their bodies. This species displays a wide range of behaviors and should be kept in an aquarium by experienced aquarists only. They have a tendency to be territorial and may harass other fish.

These types of cichlids are carnivorous species that will feed on both live and frozen foods. They prefer to dwell in the upper levels of the tank, so make sure to provide plenty of hiding places for them to retreat to.

Angelfish (Pterophyllum)

Angelfish Pterophyllum - types of cichlids

The angelfish are another types of cichlids and a popular freshwater aquarium fish that is known for its beautiful colors and graceful swimming. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with the most common type being the black angelfish.

Angelfish are relatively easy to care for and can adapt to a wide range of water conditions. They prefer to live in schools of at least six individuals, so make sure to keep them in groups. They are carnivores that will eat a variety of live foods including brine shrimp and bloodworms.

They can be housed with other peaceful species in an aquarium that has plenty of plants for cover. Males may become territorial when breeding, but otherwise, they do not pose much of a threat to other tank mates.

These majestic fish have a beautiful silver body with black markings that resemble an angel’s wings. They grow up to six inches in length and make impressive additions to any tank.

Angelfish are a peaceful species that do well when housed with other community fish. However, they should not be kept with aggressive cichlids or fish that are too small, as they may become prey.

Angelfish require a tank of at least 30 gallons and should be provided with plenty of hiding places in the form of rocks and plants.

Discus Fish (Symphysodon)

Discus Symphysodon - types of cichlids

The discus is a beautiful freshwater fish that hails from the Amazon Basin. They are known for their bright colors and unique shape, which resembles an arrowhead with pointed dorsal and anal fins.

Discus prefers to live in groups of three or more individuals and will do best when kept as pairs during the breeding season. These cichlids can be quite aggressive with tank mates and may harass other fish in the aquarium.

These types of cichlids are carnivores that need a diet rich in protein, so they should only be fed live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp or bloodworms. This species can become territorial when breeding, but otherwise do not pose much of a threat to their tankmates.

Discus fish require a lot of care and should only be kept by experienced aquarists. They need warm water (80-86 degrees F) and a low pH (below six). They also require very high water quality and must be fed a specialized diet.

Discus fish can grow up to eight inches in length and should be housed in a tank of at least 125 gallons.

Convict Cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata)

Convict Cichlid Amatitlania nigrofasciata - types of cichlids

 

The convict cichlid is a freshwater species that originated in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins. Males are very territorial during the breeding season, but otherwise do not pose much of a threat to their tankmates.

There are several color morphs available, which include turquoise convicts with bright yellow fins as well as albino convicts. These types of cichlids are omnivorous and do well on a diet that consists of both meaty and plant-based foods.

Convict cichlids can reach up to six inches in length and should be kept in tanks of at least 30 gallons.

Oscar Cichlid (Astronotus ocellatus)

Oscar Cichlid Astronotus ocellatus - types of cichlids

Oscars are incredibly popular types of cichlids, which are also one of the largest freshwater species. These fish can reach up to 18 inches in length and require a tank that offers at least 125 gallons of space.

These carnivores will eat just about anything they can fit into their mouth, so it’s important to feed them smaller, more manageable meals several times a day. Oscars are best kept in schools of six or more individuals, as they tend to be less aggressive when living in groups.

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Oscars can be quite territorial and will often fight with other fish in the aquarium for dominance. They are not recommended for beginner aquarists.

Electric Yellow Cichlid (Labidochromis caeruleus)

Electric Yellow Cichlid - types of cichlids

Electric yellow cichlids, also known as yellow lab cichlids, are colorful types of cichlids that are perfect for beginners. These fish have bright gold and black stripes along their body, with patches on the dorsal fin and tail.

These omnivorous freshwater fish will eat anything from flakes to live foods such as brine shrimp or bloodworms. They do best in schools of six or more individuals and should be kept in a tank that offers at least 30 gallons of space.

Electric yellow cichlids get their name from the small organ located near their gills, which can emit an electric shock if they feel threatened. These types of cichlids are best suited for community tanks with fish of similar size and temperament.

They are an African species of fish that originates from the waters off of Mozambique.

Labidochromis caeruleus are best kept in groups with one male and several females or with a single female alone, as males can be aggressive towards each other if housed together.

They prefer to be housed in large tanks, with lots of rockwork to provide hiding places. Yellow labs are not picky eaters and will consume flakes or pellets offered at the top of the tank.

They can be bred fairly easily if water conditions are correct. These fish have been known to live for over 20 years in captivity!

Dwarf Cichlid

Dwarf Cichlid - types of cichlids

Dwarf cichlids are small but feisty types of cichlids that make excellent additions to community tanks. These fish get their name from their diminutive size, which ranges from just two inches up to four inches in length.

The most common variety of dwarf cichlid is the kribensis, a colorful fish with alternating bands of red and yellow running along its body. These fish are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods, from flakes to live insects.

Dwarf cichlids do best when kept in groups of six or more individuals and should be housed in a tank that provides at least 20 gallons of space.

Cockatoo Cichlid (Apistogramma cacatuoides)

Cockatoo Cichlid Apistogramma cacatuoides - types of cichlids

Cockatoo cichlids are one of the more popular dwarf types of cichlids. They get their name from the yellow crest that sits atop their heads, which resembles a cockatoo’s head feathers. These beautiful fish grow to just six inches in length and make fascinating additions to community tanks with larger tank mates.

Cockatoo cichlids are relatively easy to care for and will eat a variety of foods, including flakes, pellets, and live insects.

They can be housed in tanks as small as 20 gallons but require frequent water changes due to their sensitivity to nitrate buildup. They should also not be kept with aggressive fish or those that are too small, as they may become prey.

They are best kept in groups of three or more and prefer a tank with plenty of rocks and plants for hiding places.

Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara jacobfreibergi)

Peacock Cichlid Aulonocara jacobfreibergi - types of cichlids

Also known as the blue dolphin, this fascinating cichlid is one of several types of peacock cichlids that belong to a monotypic genus. They get their name from the beautiful “dolphin” pattern on their scales and are native to Lake Malawi in Africa.

Peacock cichlids reach a length of six to eight inches and make lively additions to the home aquarium. These types of cichlids are easy to care for, but do require good water quality and plenty of rocks and plants for hiding.

Peacock cichlids are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods, including flakes, pellets, live insects, and crustaceans.

They can be housed in tanks as small as 30 gallons and prefer to live with other cichlids, but they should not be kept with aggressive fish or those that are too large.

Many types of peacock cichlid have been bred in captivity and come in a variety of beautiful colors including red, gold, blue and green.

Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki)

Firemouth Cichlid Thorichthys meeki - types of cichlids

The firemouth cichlids are also popular types of cichlids that are native to Central America. They get their name from the red “fire” mark on their throat and are easily recognized by their bright green coloration.

Firemouth cichlids are relatively easy to care for and will readily accept a variety of foods, including flakes, pellets, insects, and live fish.

They can be housed in tanks as small as 30 gallons but require frequent water changes due to their sensitivity to nitrate buildup. They should not be kept with aggressive tank mates or those that are too small.

They are best kept in groups of three or more and prefer a tank with plenty of rocks and plants for hiding. Many hobbyists consider the firemouth cichlid to be one of the most attractive species of cichlid available.

Kribensis Cichlid (Pelvicachromis pulcher)

Kribensis Cichlid Pelvicachromis pulcher - types of cichlids

The Kribensis cichlid is a popular species of African cichlid that originates from West Africa. They are relatively easy to care for and will readily accept a variety of foods, including flakes, pellets, insects, and live fish.

They can be housed in tanks as small as 30 gallons but require frequent water changes due to their sensitivity to nitrate buildup. They should not be kept with aggressive tank mates or those that are too small.

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Kribensis cichlids are best kept in groups of three or more and prefer a tank with plenty of rocks and plants for hiding.

Frontosa cichlid (Cyphotilapia frontosa)

Frontosa cichlid Cyphotilapia frontosa - types of cichlids

The Cyphotilapia frontosa is a large, beautiful cichlid that originates from Lake Tanganyika in Africa. They can grow up to 18 inches in length and require a very large tank – at least 125 gallons.

Frontosa are peaceful fish that can be kept in groups of six or more. They do best when housed with other Tanganyika cichlids such as mbuna.

These fish can be aggressive towards new tank mates, so it is best to introduce them into the aquarium first and allow time for aggression to settle down before adding additional species of fish. Frontosa are also territorial toward others of their own kind and should not be housed in the same tank.

Frontosa are schooling fish and do best when kept in a group. They are omnivorous and will eat both plant and meat-based foods.

Jewel cichlid (Hemichromis bimaculatus)

Jewel cichlid Hemichromis bimaculatus - types of cichlids

The Jewel cichlid is a colorful fish that originates from the African Great Lakes.

Hemichromis bimaculatus can reach up to six inches in length and prefers a tank size of at least 30 gallons. These fish are best kept in groups of five or more but can be housed with other species of cichlids with caution.

These types of cichlids are very territorial and will defend their territory against other fish. They should not be housed in the same tank as other Jewel cichlids. These types of cichlids are omnivorous and will eat both plant and meat-based foods. Jewel cichlids make excellent additions to the community aquarium and will add color and excitement to any tank.

Venustus cichlid (Nimbochromis venustus)

types of cichlids

The Venustus cichlid is a beautiful fish that originates from Lake Malawi in Africa. These types of cichlids can reach up to ten inches in length and prefers a tank size of at least 55 gallons. Venustus cichlids should be housed in groups of five or more but can be kept with other Malawi cichlids without issue. They are peaceful fish that will not bother tank mates but will defend their territory when necessary.

They have a diet of both meaty and plant-based foods and should be fed twice a day. Venustus cichlids are fairly easy to care for and make a great addition to any cichlid tank.

Jack Dempsey cichlid (Rocio octofasciata)

Jack Dempsey cichlid Rocio octofasciata - types of cichlids

The Jack Dempsey cichlid is an extremely popular fish that comes from Central America. They can reach up to twelve inches in length and should be housed with other tank mates of similar size, as they are very aggressive towards anything smaller than themselves.

These types of cichlids prefer a water temperature between 77-86 degrees Fahrenheit (25-30 degrees Celsius) and a pH between seven and eight. They are not very picky about their diet but should be fed meat-based foods at least twice per day.

Jack Dempsey cichlids can become extremely territorial when they reach sexual maturity, so make sure to only add one male fish in the tank for every ten females (if keeping multiple males).

Livingstoni Cichlid (Nimbochromis livingstonii)

Livingstonii Cichlid Amphilophus citrinellum - types of cichlids

The Livingstoni cichlid, also known as the black moor cichlid or red terror, is a popular aquarium fish that originates from Central America. It can reach lengths of up to twelve inches and should be kept with other tank mates similar in size. The male will become highly aggressive when it comes to the time to breed and can be quite dangerous towards other fish.

Livingstoni cichlids prefer a water temperature between 73-82 degrees Fahrenheit (23-28 Celsius) and should never be kept in an aquarium smaller than fifty gallons, as they are incredibly active swimmers. These types of cichlids will eat flake food but should also be fed live brine shrimp or worms at least once per day.

They are quite hardy fish that can adapt to a variety of water conditions, but if kept in acidic waters, they will develop holes along their sides and dorsal fins. They are best suited for slightly alkaline pH levels between seven and eight.

Flavescent Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara stuartgranti)

Flavescent Peacock Cichlid Aulonocara stuartgranti - types of cichlids

The Flavescent Peacock cichlid, also called the yellow lab or Stuart’s peacock, originates from Lake Malawi and has a blue-grey body with vertical stripes of gold, orange, red, white, or black. The male will develop large nuchal humps on its head when it becomes mature and the female will have a more subdued coloration.

These types of cichlids are territorial fish and should only be kept in groups of five or more. They can reach up to ten inches in length and should be housed in an aquarium of at least 55 gallons with plenty of rockwork for hiding places.

They are carnivorous and prefer a diet of meaty foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and frozen foods.

Sunshine Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara Baenschi)

Sunshine Peacock Cichlid Aulonocara Baenschi - types of cichlids

The Sunshine Peacock cichlid is also known as the yellow lab or Baensch’s peacock. It originates from Lake Malawi and has a blue-grey to yellow body with vertical stripes of gold, orange, red, white, or black. The male will develop large nuchal humps on its head when it becomes mature.

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These types of cichlids can reach up to 11 inches in length and are considered moderate to aggressive fish. It should only be kept with other similarly-sized, aggressive cichlids. The Sunshine Peacock Cichlid prefers a pH of around alkaline and a water temperature of 72-77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chitande aulonocara (Aulonocara ethelwynnae)

Chitande aulonocara Aulonocara ethelwynnae - types of cichlids

This cichlid originates from Lake Malawi and is one of the very few peacock species that will breed in brackish water. It has a blue-grey to the silver body with vertical stripes of gold, orange, red, white, or black – much like its cousins the Sunshine Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara Baenschi) and Aulonocara steveni. It is smaller than both of its cousins, growing to just around six inches in length.

Chitande aulonocaras are peaceful types of cichlids that can be kept with other peacocks as well as non-aggressive African cichlid species. They prefer a pH of around alkaline and a water temperature of 72-77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bumblebee Mouthbrooder (Pseudotropheus crabro)

Bumblebee Mouthbrooder Pseudotropheus crabro - types of cichlids

These types of cichlids are found in the rocky shores of Lake Malawi and get their name from the black and yellow bands that run along its body, making it look like a bumblebee. It grows to around four inches in length and is an aggressive eater, so be sure to provide plenty of food for them.

Bumblebee Mouthbrooders are maternal mouthbrooding cichlid. After spawning, the female will pick up the eggs in her mouth and keep them there until they hatch. She will then release the fry into her territory and protect them until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

These types of cichlids can be kept with other aggressive cichlids, but should not be housed with any fish smaller than themselves. They prefer a pH of around alkaline and a water temperature of 74-79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Kenyi Cichlid (Maylandia lombardoi)

Kenyi Cichlid Maylandia lombardoi - types of cichlids

The Kenyi Cichlid is a beautiful fish that can be found in the rivers and lakes of Africa. It grows to around six inches in length and has a silver body with black markings.

Kenyi Cichlids are very peaceful cichlids and can be housed with other non-aggressive fish. They prefer a pH of around neutral and a water temperature of 72-79 degrees Fahrenheit, and grow to around four inches in length, and are an aggressive eater, so make sure you have plenty of food available for it.

Kenyi Cichlids make a great addition to any aquarium and are sure to bring beauty and color to your tank.

Convict Julie Cichlid (Julidochromis regani)

Convict Julie Cichlid Julidochromis regani - types of cichlids

The Convict Julie Cichlid is a beautiful fish that can be found in the rivers and lakes of Africa. It grows to around six inches in length and has a silver body with black markings.

These types of cichlids are very peaceful cichlids and can be housed with other non-aggressive fish. They prefer a pH of around neutral and a water temperature of around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

This cichlid is a great choice for the beginner aquarist.

Red Devil Cichlid (Amphilophus labiatus)

Red Devil Cichlid Amphilophus labiatus - types of cichlids

The Red Devil Cichlid is a large, aggressive cichlid that can grow up to twelve inches in length. It is native to Central America and Mexico, but has also been found in Colombia.

The Red Devil gets its name from the red coloring on its head that can appear when it becomes excited or aggressive. These types of cichlids are very territorial fish and should not be housed with other fish unless they are of a larger size than them. These types of cichlids prefer a pH of around neutral and a water temperature of around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Red Devil Cichlid is not recommended for the beginner aquarist.

Electric Blue Johannii Cichlid (Melanochromis johannii)

Electric Blue Johannii Cichlid Melanochromis johannii - types of cichlids

The Electric Blue Johannii Cichlid is a beautiful fish that can be found in the rivers and lakes of Africa. It grows to around six inches in length and has a silver body with electric blue markings.

Electric Blue Johannii cichlids are very peaceful cichlids and can be housed with other non-aggressive fish. They are also considered reef safe and can be housed with invertebrates like mollusks, crustaceans, sea urchins, anemones, or corals.

These types of cichlids spawn on flat surfaces of rocks in the wild and will often reproduce in aquariums as well if they have a suitable spawning surface available.

Sardine Cichlid (Cyprichromis leptosoma)

Sardine Cichlid Cyprichromis leptosoma - types of cichlids

The Sardine Cichlid is one of the most popular African cichlids that can be found in fish tanks. It has an electric blue body with yellow markings and grows to around two inches long as adults.

Sardine Cichlids are easy to care for but will often eat smaller fish so they should only be housed with larger fish. They are best kept in groups and prefer a tank that is well planted to provide plenty of hiding places for the cichlids.

These African types of cichlids spawn on flat surfaces and will often reproduce successfully in aquariums if they have a suitable spawning surface available.

Conclusion

Cichlids are a very interesting and unique type of fish. They have so many different species that there is always something new to learn about them! Before you go out and buy one, make sure you do your research on the specific types of cichlids that interests you.