Three Most Popular Cichlid Species
The cichlid species includes fish that fall into the family Cichlidae. There are a number of fish in this category—several thousand, in fact—and each is as diverse as the other! The average size of cichlid species falls between one inch and three feet in length. Their colors are completely varying but most of the species in this family tend to have a narrow oval shape. We will be talking about some of the most recognizable cichlid fish: Angelfish, Jack Dempsey, Discus, and Oscar.
The Angelfish is probably one of the single most recognizable cichlid species. This species is a freshwater tropical fish that are quite easy to maintain in a home aquarium. They can grow up to six inches in size and live to a ripe old age of about ten years. The angelfish requires a 20 gallon tank in order to have plenty of room to grow and swim. It is important to know that while angelfish have a pretty easygoing personality, they can be aggressive during feeding time and may fight with other aggressive fish. That’s why it’s a good idea that the angelfish’s tank buddies are non-aggressive.
The Jack Dempsey species is named after the 1920’s boxer. It’s quite a fitting name as this fish tends to have an aggressive attitude and should only be tank mates with a similar species. The bigger the tank, the less likely the owner is to see aggressiveness in the Jack Dempsey. The smaller the environment, the more likely this fish is to become aggressive towards his tank buddies, especially during mating time. For this reason, it is recommended that an owner allow 55 gallons of tank space for one of these fish, and a much larger tank for more than one. The Jack Dempsey can grow to be anywhere from six to ten inches long and has a life expectancy between ten and fifteen years.
The Oscar species is a very popular fish due to its loveable character. An Oscar fish seems to enjoy being watched and will actually beg when it’s time to be fed! Talk about personality! While they are only available in a handful of colors, their playful antics make them a true joy to watch. Future owners should be aware that the Oscar will grow to be quite large—we’re talking an average around a foot long! This means a minimum tank size requirement of 55 gallons, but bigger is better. As much of a delight as this hefty guy’s personality can be, one should expect their fair share of responsibility when caring for the Oscar, as he will be a messy fish to clean up after. One can start by getting a good water filtration system to help keep on top of the mess, but frequent tank cleanings and water exchanges are most likely in the future of an Oscar fish owner.
The last fish we are going to talk about is the Discus. The name is quite fitting for this fish because its body is shaped like a disc! It is long from top to bottom, but very narrow when looked at face-to-face. This is a common characteristic of most cichlid species, but this fish really sports the disc shape to its fullest. Unfortunately, this fish is not a good species for the aquarium novice. The discus is very sensitive to water conditions which means an excellent filtration system and frequent tank and water cleanings. It also needs to have slightly warmer water than most other tropical fish, which makes proper tank mates a little harder to find. This fish prefers live food, which again makes it difficult for the average household to keep. The average size for a fully grown discus is about six inches in length and can live up to ten years if they are given the proper living conditions. This fish will need a minimum tank size of about 30 gallons.