You can find small cichlids about 5 cm, and there are half a meter. The natural habitat of cichlids is quite wide, they live around the world, but the most popular cichlids of Africa, South and Central America. Most captive cichlids come from the Great African lakes: Malawi, Tanganyika, and the Amazon.
Due to the large number of cichlid species, it is very difficult to distinguish any typical behavior for them. But, nevertheless, it is safe to say that many cichlids are characterized by aggressive behavior. Also, cichlids are very caring parents.
In cichlids there are several possible variants of the relationship between the female and the male:
– monogamy. The female and the male remain together after spawning
– polygamy. The male stays together with several females
– polyandry. The female stays with several males (very rare)
– agamogenesis. There is no strong bond between male and female after spawning.
Care of offspring
Cichlids are very caring parents. It is possible to allocate the following ways by means of which cichlids protect the kids:
Both parents equally share the responsibilities of caring for the young.
The female watches the brood, while the male protects the territory.
The male protects several spawning grounds of several females.
The female takes care of the offspring, the male does not participate in the cultivation of young animals
Cichlids usually lay their eggs. The number of eggs in the clutch can reach 10,000 pieces. As a rule, the caviar is quite small. There are cichlids that lay their eggs on exposed surfaces (eg. Pterophyllum, Symphysodon, and most cichlasoma species).
Cichlids hatch fry in the mouth
Many species spawn in shelters. They can be divided into two subspecies: cichlids that lay eggs in artificial shelters (in caves) (Apistogrammetr, Julidochromis, Neolamprologus) and cichlids that bear eggs in the mouth. When the fry hatch, they remain in the mouth of the parents until the age when they will be able to take care of themselves.
Cichlids are mostly omnivorous. In nature, these fish feed mainly on insects, crustaceans and worms. But, sometimes, also eat plants. Thus, in aquariums cichlids should be offered a varied menu. Among cichlids there are also predators. In aquariums, predatory cichlids can be fed live fish, worms, insect larvae. Of prepared feeds should be given them food for predators. Among carnivorous cichlids can be called Haplochromines. There are also exclusively herbivorous cichlids. With such cichlids it is impossible to grow live plants. The cichlids will eat them. Usually they are given food with a high content of algae, spirulina. Examples of herbivorous cichlids are tilapia.