So how did my cichlid addiction begin and why are cichlids anything other then a normal slimy, scaley fish better dead and in the cooking pot then alive in a stream you may ask. After all, A fish in the pot is better then two in the water right??? I must admit that some people still think that, and continue eating they’re fried oscars and peacock bass’s 😦 Anyway looking at a cichlid when your hungry is just wrong so grab a bite to eat and then read the rest.
There are subtle differences that help ID a cichlid from the rest of fish.
1: Dorsal fin, in almost all cichlids the dorsal fin starts a little behind the eye on the crest of the back. The fin usually continues connected untill almost touching the caudal fin (tail fin) Though there are other some fishes that have the same type of fin and are not cichlids (bluegill and sunfish for example) this is the easiest, at a glance way to identify a cichlid and unless you live in places where there are no cichlids it ussually helps. peacock bass look like theyre dorsal fin is interrupetd but it is not so. Peacock bass are cichlids unlike north american largemouth and smallmouth bass.
2: one of the surest external way of IDing a cichlid is the interrupted lateral line. the only fish with an interupted latteral line is a type of african tetra. You can usually see the interrupted lines if you look carefully on the side of the fish.
3 except some fish that are being prepared for eating by the locals, as far as i know ALL cichlids have scales, rather tiny or large.
4 All cichlids have 7 fins, the dorsal (the fin on its back), the caudal fins (tail fins), the anal fin (under the tail), the pair of ventral fins (under the body and close to the gills, and lastly the pectoral fins (the translucent fins on either side of the body behind the gills.
Cichlids are personable fish to. Oscars commonly beg for food, large parachromis will attack and bite your hand, the jack dempsey will show larger fish whos boss, the taeniacaras are little fish with big personalities and the tiny apistogramma will constantly flare up at other fish and then look at you through those huge eyes and seem to smile. cichlids are the best fish in the world. There is everything from discus babies who suck slime from their parents, to tilapia that after enticing the femal to a pit he has dug and spawning with her holds the eggs in his mouth. cichlids are a crazy group, one that deserves all the attention they get, and more.
Check out the profiles and Keeping S/A american cichlids for more info.