Lifestyles for Better Living

Cichlid Fish

Cichlids are part of an extensive family of freshwater, perch-like fish. Scientists aren't quite sure of the exact number, but they estimate that there are probably more than 1,500 species of this fish.

This makes them one of the one of the largest families of fish known today. For the most part, every species is a freshwater fish. A species or two exists which can tolerate brackish water, but those are definitely in the minority.

As you can probably imagine with so many species, the cichlid family is a lesson in diversity - actually several lessons. 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? 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?

And as you can imagine, each species possesses its own requirements for health and happiness!

As you watch your Oscar or Angelfish lazily swim or vigorously protect its territory, you contend you don't care where these beautiful fish come from.

But there's where you are wrong! You really do care! Bet you didn't even realize this. 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, though, 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.

For more information and help keeping healthy happy cichlids, get the Nook book, Cichlid Care Secrets: For Keeping Healthy Happy Fish" at at Barns and Noble.

  You can also buy the PDF file from Paypal for $4.99

For more information, continue to Part 2.

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