Central American Cichlid Fish
The coloration and behavior of Central American cichlids, combined with their willingness to reproduce easily, makes them attractive fish for species aquaria.
Can Central American Cichlids be kept in a community tank?
Some species, such as the firemouth cichlid (Thorichthys meeki), and its rarer and more beautiful relatives, Thorichthys ellioti, Thorichthys affinis, and Thorichthys aureum, are placid enough to be housed in a community tank containing larger aquarium fish..
However, most species do better when housed with other cichlids, large catfish, or other more robust species. Many species will happily co-exist with community fish when young, but when mature or spawning they can quickly become quite aggressive.
How are these species best kept?
Central American cichlids are best kept in a tank that contains other fish of a similar size. They have a tendency to burrow and uproot or eat aquarium plants.
Tanks are best stocked with swamp wood and large, smooth rock piles, which can then act as spawning grounds. Larger species need large tanks, often over 120cm long to allow them to reach their full size.
They are large and powerful fish so aquarium heaters will need protection within the aquarium to prevent them from being damaged.
Are they easy to breed?
Most Central American Cichlids are fairly easy to breed and the fish form true pair bonds. Usually the nest is dug in gravel and the eggs are deposited on a nearby rock, the parents can herd the fry around the tank and care for them for several weeks.
The smallest species produce about 300 eggs, but the largest species can lay more than 1,000.