Lifestyles for Better Living

Where Cichlids Come From

You may wonder why successful cichlid owners know these seemingly trivial facts. As you watch your Oscar or Angelfish lazily swim or vigorously protect its territory, you contend you don't care where this beautiful fish comes from.

But if you know where these fish originated from then you'll be able to better understand why they have the requirements of food, water and general care that they do - and you'll be a much more successful owner for it!

While you can find them in aquariums across the world, there are only a limited number of geographical locations a cichlid would call a home. A few species are found as far north as the state of Texas in the U.S. From there if you travel south, you'll see them down through to Argentina.

Cichlids can also be spotted throughout all of Africa as well as certain areas in the Middle East. Cichlids, for example, are found off the island of Madagascar as well in the waters surrounding Sri Lanka and along the southern coast of India.

In fact, there are few areas where native cichlids aren't found.

They aren't found naturally in the Far East. They aren't found naturally in Australia. And you can't find any living as natives in North America north of the state of Texas.

That's not to say, that you won't find them living in parts of the world that is not their natural home. These fish have been transplanted to just about all areas of the globe. Even though they aren't a native species, you can find them living in many of the waters of southern Florida.

As you can probably imagine with so many species, the cichlid family is a lesson in diversity. They come in just about every imaginable color and size. What's more, the various species cover a range of behaviors and are found in an array of environments.

That, in turn, makes them a challenge to characterize and sometimes, just a challenge to recognize! A true cichlid lover, though, seems to be able to identify that "cichlid look". And yes, if you continue on with this hobby, so will you.

What you probably haven't realized is that you've no doubt seen cichlids before but just didn't know they were a part of the cichlid family. Have you ever admired an angelfish? Yep, it's a cichlid.

How about the tropical fish, Oscar? No, it's not his first name, it's his species. Yes, he's a cichlid, too. Surprised?

By now, you may be wondering if there are any freshwater tropical fish that don't belong to the cichlid family. There are! Quite a few of them, in fact! You may be fooled because countless marine fish resemble the cichlids.

What makes a cichlid a cichlid? Quite a few characteristics, starting with being freshwater fish as previously mentioned. Sure, there is an occasional exception, but for the most part, you can safely say that being a freshwater fish is a unifying trait of all family members.

To learn more about this topic and more about caring cichlid fish, you can purchase one of these books.