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Related FAQs: Neotropical Cichlids, Neotropical Cichlids 2, Neotropical Cichlids 3, Cichlid Fishes in General, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid DiseaseCichlid Reproduction,

Related Articles: Central American Cichlids by Neale Monks, Angelfish, Discus, Juraparoids/Eartheaters, Convicts, Oscars, Firemouths, Pike Cichlids, Crenicichla spp, Texas CichlidsFlowerhorns, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Cichlids of the World

/A Diversity of Aquatic Life

Neotropical Cichlid Fishes 

By Bob Fenner

Howdy Tex

Species on Parade:

Acarichthys heckelii (Muller and Troschel 1849), the Threadfin Acara. Monotypic genus...

Aequidens rivulatus (Gunther 1867), the Green Terror, an adult here at the 2014 Aq. Exp. TiffB pic

Genus Amphilophus:
Amphilophus citrinellus (Gunther 1864), the Midas Cichlid, aka one of the Mesoamerican Cichlids called a/the Red Devil.  Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and the world through the aquarium trade. To about ten inches in length. Can be a real terror, bully with other livestock. 

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

 Amphilophus (formerly Cichlasoma) trimaculatus (Gunther 1867), the three-spot Cichlid. TiffB pic at Aq Exp 2014

Genus Cichla:
Cichla ocellaris Bloch & Schneider 1801, the Peacock Cichlid. Tropical South America in originally, many places now through careless and purposeful introduction as a food and game fish. To twenty inches, more than 5kg. Below at two, four and eighteen inches in captivity.

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available
Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Genus Cichlasoma:
Cichlasoma octofasciatum, the Jack Dempsey. Central America; Mexico to Honduras. To ten inches (large females, males about half this size). Shown: a new blue sport juvenile, and a very metallic adult female. 

Herichthys cyanoguttatus Baird & Girard 1854, the Rio Grande or Texas Cichlid. North America; Texas to northeastern Mexico. To a foot total length. Aquarium images.

The Golden Severum, xanthic variety of the Banded Cichlid, Heros severus Heckel 1840. Hails from the Amazon Basin originally. To eight inches. Eats algae, plants, fruits, seeds, detritus in the wild. A peaceful species best kept by itself, in pairs. Conditions: pH 6-6.5, dH 4-6, temp. 23-25 C., though much broader in its environmental tolerance than the wild values stated.  

Mesonauta festivus (Heckel 1840), the Flag Cichlid. South America; Orinoco to Paraguay. To six inches in length. An old standard in the more peaceful medium sized cichlids in the aquarium interest.

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available

Genus Nandopsis:
Nandopsis managuense (Gunther 1867), the Managuense Cichlid. TiffB pic from Aq. Exp. 2014

Genus Thorichthys:
Thorichthys aureus Gunther 1862, the Blue Flash Cichlid. Central America; Atlantic Slope, Belize (Golden Creek) to Honduras (Motagua River basin). To 15 cm. in length. Cond.s: pH to 7.5, DH 2-15, Temp. 24-28 C. Aquarium photo.  

Thorichthys meeki Brind 1918, the Firemouth Cichlid. Central America; Atlantic Slope. To 17 cm. in length. Feeds primarily on algae in the wild. Utilized in behavioral studies and monster truck ads.  

Uaru amphiacanthoides Heckel 1840, the Uaru or Triangle Cichlid. To ten inches in length. pH range: 5.0 - 7.0; dH range: 5.0 - 12.0, temp.: 26-28  C. South America: Rio Amazonas basin, along the Rio Amazonas-Solimões drainage from the Rio Japurá to the Rio Tapajós, and in the middle and lower Rio Negro in slow moving streams. Feeds on insects, crustaceans and plants. 

Hybrids... Beautiful Mutants, Crosses

The Parrot Cichlid. Perhaps a mix between Amphilophus citrinellum (the Midas Cichlid) and Cichlasoma synspilum (the Redhead Cichlid), this hybrid was produced first in the mid-1980's in Taiwan. Other possible "donor" species include: Heros severus  (the Severum) and one of  the Red Devils (Amphilophus labiatum). To eight inches in length. Beauty is indeed, in the eye of the beholder. This one on show at the 6/01 Aquarama Show in Singapore.  http://www.geocities.com/parrotcichlid/main.html, and a batch of juveniles there...

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A dihybrid "new cichlid" out of the Far East... this pic shot a month back at the Aquarama show in Singapore... is likely (my guess) a Vieja (formerly Cichlasoma) maculicauda (Black Belt) and Cichlasoma trimaculatum cichlid cross... a beauty, but still a cross.                      Re: What is this "new cichlid"? Something bifasciatum? Not according to fishbase.org Bob, This fish will sell well in Singapore or in a Buddhist country. The bump on the head resembles the forehead of one of the Buddhist Arhats by the name of Luo Han. Imagine owning a fish that reminds you of a Buddhist deity that you are worshipping. Will bring plenty of good luck and fortune. Perry <Thanks for this Perry. Will post with image on our sites. Bob Fenner>  Re: What is this "new cichlid"?  Dear Bob, our expert for American cichlids Uwe Werner wrote me, that he feels the cichlid is not a natural form, but an Asian-bred form of Cichlasoma amphilophus. He says that there is total red specimens too. Here in Germany the sun is shining like in Southern California. Take care Werner <Ah, danke shoen. Will post your input to this image on our site (www.WetWebMedia.com). More images, articles on their way to you at das Aquarium. Wiedersen. Bob Fenner>

Kirin (not the beer) Hi! How is everyone this evening? Good I hope. <Very well!> I was just browsing the web for info on my new baby Texas Cichlids, and I came across a website dedicated to that new hybrid you have a pic of in the section on neo tropical cichlids. According to the info on the site, it's a Kirin. And yes, it is a hybrid. It's a Cyanoguttatum or Carpinte and Trimaculatus cross. It's supposed to bring prosperity with it's bump head, good fortune with it's jeweled speckles symbolizing wealth, and scare away evil spirits with its red eyes. The website address is www.kirin.com.sg/species.html Just what the world needs, another cichlid hybrid from the far east. At least it's not as hideously ugly as the parrot fish. SMILE). I have a parrotfish myself, and I love his funny looking little face. Goodnight, Kristen:) <Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are some truly striking looking fish on that webpage, though. -Steven Pro>

Excerpted from: Forgotten Fish; Old-timers with plenty to offer by Neale Monks   

Forgotten cichlids 

Of course as a group the cichlids are far from forgotten, with many species being among the most popular fish in the hobby. From the elegant angels of the Amazon to the feisty Rift Valley species from Africa, the cichlids have firmly established themselves as the most intelligent and engaging of all the fish kept by hobbyists. Nonetheless, there are a surprising number of species that have somehow fallen out of favor. One of the loveliest is the keyhole cichlid, Cleithracara maronii, a gentle species perfectly suited to life in a community tank. The main problem with this fish is its lack of color: basically yellowy-brown with black markings on the head and flanks, compared with the brilliant blues and yellows of the average African cichlid, the poor old keyhole does rather lose out. But on the flip side, this is a small species (around 3" or so) that barely digs and never harasses tankmates. Gentle almost to the point of shyness, this is a splendid choice for the aquarist who wants to observe cichlid behavior without disrupting the serenity of a South American-themed community of tetras and Corydoras catfish. While it prefers soft and acid water for breeding purposes, the keyhole is very adaptable and will do well in even fairly hard and basic water conditions. 

Another South American cichlid that has lost some of its popularity over the years is Laetacara curviceps, the flag acara. A smaller fish than even the keyhole cichlid, the flag acara is an excellent community tank resident. A master of color changes even by cichlid standards, a flag acara can switch from tan to green to blue in seconds. Superimposed on its basic coloration is black band running along the midline of the fish, though this can fade away to practically nothing depending on the mood of the fish. All in all, these are interesting fish to watch. They are also surprisingly adaptable and easy to tame for such small fish, and once settled in can be fed by hand. Perhaps overshadowed by the more brightly colored Apistogramma species from South America and the showy dwarf cichlids like the krib from West Africa, like so many of the old-timers of the aquarium hobby, it is a fish well worth rediscovering. 

Bibliography/Further Reading:

Leibel, Wayne S. 1993. A Fishkeeper's Guide to South American Cichlids. A splendid survey of this attractive and diverse group of freshwater tropical fishes. Tetra Press, Blacksburg, VA. 

Loiselle, Paul V. 1985. The Cichlid Aquarium. Tetra Press, Melle Germany.  

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