Cichlids comprise a vast family of fishes ranging from common species like the tilapia to other types kept by aquarium enthusiasts. The latter include angelfish and discus fish. These fish are primarily freshwater fishes and are found all across the globe from the American tropics to mainland Africa.
Despite cichlids being one of the most abundant fish species in the world, very little is known about them. This article will show you some surprising facts about cichlid fish you didn’t know.
Cichlids are one of the most numerous fish species. For this reason, cichlid fishes are found in almost every freshwater body across the globe.
These kinds of fish need warm water to thrive and will certainly not do well at high elevations. Rivers, lakes, and swamps are favorite hangout spots for these cichlids. Due to their hardy nature and prolific breeding, they have been able to conquer different habitats with much success.
These types of fish are herbivorous and often feed on plants growing in water. Algae is a favorite for cichlids. In aquaculture farms where tilapia fish are reared, pond fertilization takes place to allow algae growth. The tilapia will then clear the algae as they eat it.
Other cichlids are, however, carnivorous. These will eat other smaller sized fish, insects, and even animals if they come across them.
Their habitat dictates the choice of cichlid diet. Over time, cichlids have evolved to exploit their environment.
3. Aquaculture Of Cichlids
For many years, the tilapia has been a vital source of food and critically, affordable protein across the world. The farming of tilapia, a well-known cichlid species began during the Egyptian age and has been growing ever since. New technologies today allow them to be produced efficiently and fast. Today, they are the most prominent type of fish being consumed.
4. Family Life
Cichlids are notoriously territorial, and this is especially exhibited when they are housed in aquariums. They will become aggressive when other fish species are around. However, when other cichlids are present, they often tone down this kind of behavior.
Both male and female cichlids will play an active role during parenting. The male fertilizes the eggs that the female will lay.
Fish, like reptiles, are not known to provide parental care to their young. What they do is lay eggs, fertilize them and incubate them till they hatch. Cichlids are, however, one of the few fish species that provide some form of care to their young.
Many cichlids will house their young in their mouths hence the name ‘mouth brooders.’ After hatching the eggs, a female cichlid will hold her young in her mouth. This is essential in the case of danger where the baby fish can easily find safety in the mother’s mouth.
Finally, cichlid fish are a diverse kind. They can be kept indoors in fish tanks or aquariums. They can also be farmed for food as well. Whatever your aim is with cichlids, you can be sure they won’t let you down.