Cichlids come from various parts of the world, however Rift Valley Cichlids must not be kept with any other fish that does not come from their area. Rift Valley is the area around lakes Tanganyika, Malawi, Victoria and other small lakes, ponds and rivers. Millions of years ago, earth had major movements. By doing so, this large area developed for millions of years and such things as volcanoes created rivers to be formed. As for today's fish, they are hardy but as already mentioned they are very territorial. Those in other parts of the world are territorial, but as said, some are worse than others.

Angel (Pterophyllum scalare) is a fish that has regularly been seen in films and I think some of you have seen 'A Fish Called Wonder'. I found out that it could ages for those involved with the film to locate the Angels they wanted. In the wild, they come from central Amazon and they are unlikely, in colour, to be like the ones in shops. Their colour is a silver background with dark stripes and can grow to 20cm (8"). A number of colours are available in shops. It is hard to decide their sex and apparently that is quite common. They are not especially territorial, however one of them laid eggs and two were fanning the eggs. As soon as another fish came close, they were soon cleared off. Sadly the eggs never hatched and possible got eaten somewhere along the line.


Brichardi (Neolamprologus brichardi) come from Lake Tanganyika and grow to 10cm (4"), mine got halfway to it. These were one of the first to be exported and are liked by buyers. Due to the surrounding area of the lake, no plants are there. The tanks should be full of rocks, which form a cave for the fish.


Golden Cichlid (Melanochromis auratus) often has 'Malawi' in front of his name with the reason being that they come from Lake Malawi. This fish is very territorial and has caused serious damage to other fish, sadly with some others I had! In wild, the size goes to 12.5cm (5"), however the largest one I have is roughly 7.5cm (3"). The colour changes between males and females. Males, when mature, become blue with strips. The word 'Golden' is never seen as it is in the wild. There the colour is a yellow gold livery and hence the name 'auratus' means gold in latin.

Golden Cichlid

Herotilpia multispinosa appears not to have a common name therefore Latin it is. Their natural habitat is Panama to Lake Managua, Nicaragua. Having said that, it has been captive-bred in Canada. I am unaware of their size, in both wild and tanks, however the two I bought, their parents were beside them. The parents' size was roughly 10cm (4"). They are classed as being not too territorial, but should be kept with fish of a similar size.

Herotilpia multispinosa

Out of all the fish I have got, Kribs (Pelvicachromis pulcher) have given me the most enjoyment. It is called Kribs, but that is an abbreviation to Kribensis, which is a Latin word meaning 'beautiful'. Their size in wild is 10cm (4") for the males and just over 7.5cm (3") for the female and they are from Nigeria and seen in River Kribi. Like most Cichlids, they pair themselves and the purple belly is the sign of possible breeding. I put the two, males and female, into a tank on their own. Within a few days, the eggs were in a submerged flowerpot. When the eggs hatched, the fry were taken care off. After a period of time, the parental part seemed to stop therefore I took the parents out of the tank and watched the other grow.


Lemon Cichlid (Neolamprologus leleupi) is from Lake Tanganyika, with its size being 10cm (4"). The male is larger and does have a bump on his head. In the lake they swim to the levels of 20-40 metres. Food wise, they tend to eat small invertebrates, however it has been warned not to give them meat products, which include bloodworms, but obviously flakes are fine.

Lemon Cichlid

Zebra Cichlid (Pseudotropheus zebra) is sometimes called Nyasa Blue Cichlid. They are found in Lake Malawi and is known to have a number colour varieties called Red, Cobalt Blue and Green Zebras. The fish is pugnacious and territorial and should be kept in a large tank. They are a maternal mouthbrooders, which mean they carry the eggs in their mouths and the fry leave when their capable of swimming.

Zebra Cichlid

The Ram (Papiliochromis ramirezi) is popular fish. They are shy and should not be put into a community tank if any of the others are boisterous. To tell the difference between males and females there are two things. The male's second dorsal fin is larger than their other and females are plumper. They are peaceful, however during breeding they guard their eggs and soon their fry. In case you do not know, fry are fish that have just been born. Rams are found in Colombia and Venezuela and their size is 5cm (2") with the female being less.


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