African Cichlids over the last couple of decades have become one of the most commonly kept fish by hobbyists. Thanks to the increasing knowledge and equipment we have at our disposals it means these fish can now be kept by novice and advances aquarists alike. The variety of these fish has also somewhat increased with wild caught specimens being introduced into the hobby as well line bred varieties (hybrids) turning up at your LFS but we won’t get into that discussion! Below you will find the different varieties of African Cichlids from the three main Rift Valley Lakes (Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika & Lake Victoria). They make for great pets and you can spend hours watching them express their natural behaviour and grow attached to them as they get bigger.
Not all fish from the 3 lakes can be mixed in together so care must be taken to read about the fish you want to keep and make sure their environmental preferences, feeding and behaviour match. The most common mix is putting Frontosa Cichlids (from Lake Tanganyika) in with peaceful Malawi Cichlids such as peacocks. Check out the “Setting up Your Aquarium” page for information about setting up your very own African Cichlid tank!
Cichlids from Lake Malawi are probably the most popular of the lot and chances are any pet shop that sells live fish will stock these fish. The reason they are so popular is due to variety of colourations, sizes and shapes much more than the fish from the other 2 lakes. To find out about what species are in this category click here.
The 2nd most popular of the lakes. Fish from Lake Tanganyika are also common in the hobby especially the Frontosa. Popular because of their huge size and beautiful markings, not to mention the hump on their head often more distinct in males of the species. To find out about species from this lake click here.