Cichlids! If you’re reading this magazine, it’s a good bet you’ve kept at least one or two cichlid species in your day, and you may even be sitting near a tank (or multiple tanks) of them right now. They are the fishkeeper’s fish to keep, after
all, and the sheer number of species and variety of shapes, colors,
sizes, temperaments, and more that they represent make the family
Cichlidae one of the most popular in the aquarium hobby.
My cichlid-keeping résumé reads sort of backward, progressing
from difficult to easy. It started with a small school of wild-caught
blue Heckel discus, probably the most challenging species I’ve ever
tried to keep. Sometime after that I acquired a pair of Amatitlania
(then Cryptoheros) sajica, which spawned and produced hundreds
of offspring before their ability to breed outpaced my ability to
find new homes for them and I had to give the entire colony to a
friend. Then one day I happened upon a group of what many would
consider classic “starter” cichlids in my local shop: koi angels. They
were so easy they practically kept themselves, even if they were
terrible at raising their fry after so many generations removed from
their wild form.
Cichlids have long been staples of the aquarium hobby, though they
are not all easy-to-keep community fish by any means. Some, like
the Central American wolf cichlid (Parachromis dovii), are big and
nasty, while others may only become aggressive when pairing off to
breed, like the African jewel cichlids (Hemichromis spp.). On the
other end of the spectrum there are small and peaceful cichlids,
such as the South American ram (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) or
the shell-dwelling Neolamprologus species from Lake Tanganyika,
whose temperaments reportedly fall somewhere between “kitten”
What all of these fishes seem to share is an intelligence that
manifests in complex behaviors and superior parenting skills, which
is really what keeps hardcore hobbyists coming back to the family
Cichlidae. They are fascinating fish to watch as they rearrange their
aquascapes, compete for territory and mates, and employ a number
of clever strategies to take care of their young.
In this special cichlid issue, American
Cichlid Association fellow Richard
F. Stratton lays out the case to be
made for these special fishes with
“The Cichlid Mystique” (p. 44), and
Ted Judy’s Cichlid World column
focuses in on the etroplines, Asia’s
only endemic cichlids (p. 16). Then we explore the South American
genera Teleocichla and Retroculus, which come to the hobby from
fast-moving streams in the Amazon basin (p. 50), and we take a
deep dive into the care, keeping, and breeding of Lake Tanganyika’s
golden Julie (Julidochromis ornatus), with illustrated notes on its
larval development (p. 56).
And speaking of those hard-to-feed larvae, an expert in culturing
infusoria gives his advice for culturing these tiny yet nutritious
first live foods for fry (p. 84). And once they have grown and are
ready for their close-up, aquatic photographer Mo Devlin has some
timely advice on how to take better photos of your fish, from tips
on making the most of a cell-phone camera on up to using a DSLR
and multiple flashes (p. 62).
Reporting in from the marine side of the hobby, in this issue we
survey the best butterflyfishes to keep in a fish-only setup (p. 70);
Bob Fenner gives his notes on keeping the corkscrew anemone as
a special-guest Reef and Coral Corner columnist (p. 26); and we
walk through an impressive 93-gallon (352-liter) “reef cube” build
bursting with healthy corals and fish (p. 76).
And that’s not nearly all. Whatever type of setup(s) you keep, this
issue of TFH will help you better understand and appreciate the art
and science of your fishkeeping hobby. So read on!
Scalare, keyhole, Mikrogeophagus altispinosus, Heros severus,
Currently Lamprologus ocellatus and one managuense, but I’ve kept
parrot cichlids and severums in the past.
I bred angels for a while, and I like South American dwarf cichlids.
My angels just bred regardless, but looking after the tiny fry was a
different matter altogether.
Love my tank full of African cichlids, even though they keep
rearranging the tank. We have different thoughts on what their
home should look like.
Bolivian ram and blood parrot cichlids.
I have kept and breed all sorts of species including electric yellows,
afra jalo reef, brichardis, dragon blood peacocks, red veined severum,
etc. I have 21 different aquariums for all the species I keep.
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Facebook Poll: Do you keep cichlids, or have you kept them in the past? What kind?
6 www.tfhmagazine.com Jul/Aug 2017
Albert J. Connelly, Jr., Publisher
Tropical Fish Hobbyist