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February Featured Fish: Cichlids

Photo courtesy of Cichlid Bros

This month’s featured fish is not just one species; it’s actually a family of fish. Cichlids are very commonly kept aquarium fish, and the family offers a lot of variety and options for fishkeepers.

That being said, various cichlid species not only look different from one another, they can also have different needs. That’s why this article both covers types of cichlids and covers the needs of various species.


I covered angelfish in their own article recently, which you can find here. They are one of the most popular cichlids and have beautiful, flowing fins. Although they’re not hard to take care of, they do have a few specific requirements, including a larger tank to accommodate their size and appropriate tank mates that won’t nip at their long fins. Angelfish also prefer a warmer tank than some fish.

Discus fish

Discus fish are a calm, peaceful species; however, they can become aggressive with their own kind. They’re great for a community tank, and they really do stand out with their beautiful color patterns. That being said, they can be difficult for beginners to keep. Like angelfish, discus fish prefer quite warm waters between 82 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit and need more space than smaller species.

Oscar cichlid

Oscar fish are one of the more aggressive cichlid species, and as such, they are recommended for more experienced fish keepers. The biggest problem with keeping them is finding appropriate tank mates and ensuring enough space to reduce aggressive behaviors. Oscars are, however, omnivores that are easy to feed.

Peacock cichlid

Peacock fish are beautifully colorful cichlids that definitely stand out in an aquarium. They came in many different color variations, with a lot of blue, red, and yellow. As with many other cichlid types, they are omnivores that need room to grow. Unlike the oscar fish, peacock cichlids are mostly peaceful and work well in community aquariums. The males do tend to be territorial, especially with their own species.

Cockatoo cichlid

A cute, colorful fish, the cockatoo cichlid is one of the smaller cichlid species and can live in a tank as small as 20 gallons for a pair of cockatoos. It’s easier to care for than many of the larger cichlid species and has a calmer temperament that makes it a good candidate for community aquariums that don’t have aggressive species. Many cichlid species prefer hard water and high pH, but the cockatoo cichlid thrives in slightly acidic, soft water.

If you see a species you like, be sure to look up the specific care requirements for it, or ask us on The Tye-Dyed Iguana facebook page.