South American Cichlids are very beautiful and agile freshwater fish. They come in a variety of colourful patterns and sizes. They are also very playful fish, making a great friend for fishkeepers of all experience levels.
These cichlids require an intermediate experience level to keep. With good care, they may live up to 20 years old.
The diet of South American Cichlids depends on the species. In captivity, they may eat a mixture of meat and plants, along with premade and homemade foods.
Bottom dwelling cichlids will readily eat wafers and pellet food that sink to the bottom.
Peacocks and convicts are insectivores and will eat live or frozen insects.
Mbuna are mainly herbivorous and will eat algae wafers and plant matter.
Always be careful not to overfeed your fish, as they'll become overly aggressive. You may feed them a couple times a day, enough to be fully consumed after 2 - 3 minutes. Remove any leftover foods.
Habitat and Environment
- Minimum 30 gallon tank is recommended
- pH between 6.0 - 7.5
- Temperatures between 24°C - 29°C (75°C - 85°C)
- Rocks and caves are needed. These are especially useful for Mbunas, which give them a hiding spot and room for their own territory.
- Make sure to have a lid over your tank to avoid the cichlids from jumping out. They are known to be very good swimmers
- A soft substrate at the bottom of the tank is important. Cichlids love to dig and scavenge for food.
- If adding plants, make sure to add ones that are sturdy. Java ferns and amazon swords are good options for cichlids.
- Some specific Cichlids may need different parameters and requirements. Be sure to check carefully and consult an expert first.
Behavior & Compatibility
South American Cichlids are aggressive and territorial. Be cautious not to add any weak fish into your tank.
Two males locking lips is a sign of territorial dispute, potentially because of a female. A female and male locking lips is most likely a mating ritual.
When adding tank mates, note that they should be of similar size and they must be aggressive themselves. Bottom dwelling fishes should be fine with free-swimming cichlids since they occupy a different area of the tank.
A good example of a tank mate is African catfish, which are fast and aggressive. Bristlenose plecos are also very good and are also good algae eaters.
Different Types of South American Cichlids
- Tiger Oscar Cichlid
- Ram Cichlid
- Butterfly Cichlid
- Dwarf American Cichlid
- Festive Cichlid
- Severum Cichlid
- Convict Cichlid