African Cichlids Species

Here are some of the most common cichlid species as found in pet stores. Most often when you look up cichlid information, you’ll find the scientific names instead of the common names. The reason for this is because common names change with the trends and there may be a few different variations of common names so to make it easier, most reference books refer to the scientific name of the fish, while in pet stores they will use the common name. That can be very confusing! Here’ we’ve included both to help you in your search for the perfect cichlid species for your home aquarium.

Kenyi (Pseudotropheus lombardoi)
- Maximum size: 5 inches
- Origin: Lake Malawi
- Average aggressiveness
- Females are bright blue with vertical black bars, males are yellow. Both sexes are blue when babies and the color changes as they mature.

Electric Yellow Lab (Labidochromis Caeruleus)
- Maximum size: 4 inches
- Origin: Lake Malawi
- Not overly aggressive to other fish.
- Lemon yellow sometimes with a black stripe on the fins. Males usually have the black stripes, otherwise there is no difference between male female.

Electric Blue (Melanochromis Johanni)
- Maximum Size: 5 inches
- Origin: Lake Malawi
- Relatively aggressive. Keep only 1 of this species
- Likes to hide in caves and in holes of rocks, can be shy.
Males are dark blue with light blue stripes. Females are orange/yellow.

Peacock Cichlid (Melanochromis Johanni)
- Maximum Size: Varies per species, normally between 4 and 6 inches
- Origin: Lake Malawi
- Not overly aggressive to other fish.
- Many different species of peacock cichlids, characterized by spots or blotches of colors. Normally gray or brown when young and develop color as they mature.

Red Zebra Cichlid (Maylandia estherae)
- Maximum Size: 6 inches
- Origin: Lake Malawi
- Moderately aggressive.
- Female colors can vary from yellow/orange/peach/red. Males are blue or orange. Can have bright yellow spots on the doral fin and tail. The Albino Zebra is also available.

BumbleBee Cichlid (Pseudotropheus crabro)
- Maximum Size: 6 inches
- Origin: Lake Malawi
- Very aggressive to other fish.
- No difference between males and females. Yellow with black stripes, they can change the color to be bright, or mute it to be darer depending on their mood.

Auratus (Melanochromis auratus)
- Maximum Size: 5 inches
- Origin: Lake Malawi
- High aggression, one of the most aggressive species of cichlid.
- Females have the appearance of the photo on the left. males are usually blue with faint horizontal stripes similar to those of the females.

Venustus (Nimbochromis Venustus)
- Maximum size: 10 inches
- Origin: Lake Malawi
- Relatively aggressive. Keep only 1 of this species
- Light brown with dark brown patches. When males get larger, the cheeks & fin tips turn dark blue. Females aren’t as vividly colored.

Jewel Cichlid (Hemichromis bimaculatus)
- Maximum size: 5 inches
- Origin: Lake Malawi
- One of the least aggressive cichlids. Can even be kept in a semi-agressive tank.
- Range of color variation from gray, dark & light red with black to blue spots. Males are more colorful and the color brightens as they get bigger.

Demasoni (Pseudotropheus demasoni)
- Maximum size: 4 inches
- Origin: Lake Malawi
- Not overly aggressive, tends to be more vicious to others that have the same stripes.
- Dark blue with light blue stripes, some consider this a dwarf cichlid due to it’s size. A vividly colored, attractive fish. Keep only 1 of the species.

Zebra Obliquidens (Astatotilapia latifasciata)
- Maximum size: 5 inches
- Origin: Lake Malawi
- Minimal aggression, can be kept together to form a school.
- White with black stripes, males develop a yellow or red belly, females are not as colorful.

Livingston (Nimbochromis livingstonii)
- Maximum size: 8 inches
- Origin: Lake Malawi
- Very aggressive and predatorial, will eat smaller fish.
- Cream colored with brown spots or patches. Males can develop an orange dorsal fin and tail stripe.

Red Empress (Protomelas taeniolatus)
- Maximum size: 6 inches
- Origin: Lake Malawi
- Somewhat aggressive.
- Males are very colorful, showing reds, blues and orange. Females are gray or brown sometimes with stripes. When young, they are difficult to sex, both sexes are silver.

Compressiceps (Altolamprologus compressiceps)
- Maximum size: 5 inches
- Origin: Lake Tanganyika
- Very low aggression, a calmer cichlid species.
- Very unique body shape, the head is flattened and the lips are large and pointed. Large fins look great on display. Light brown or cream with darker brown stripes.

 

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