5 Best South American Cichlids for Beginners

Cichlids are a type of tropical fish that have over 2,000 species and considered as one of the largest families among other species of fish. If you consider including cichclidae in your tank, you should start with the easiest species and work your way toward more difficult species. Cichlids can be difficult to care for because they are aggressive, grow quickly and need specific water parameters to survive.

But fear not, cichlids can be temperamental but most species are very easy to care for. Below we discuss the 5 South American species of Cichlids that are absolutely perfect for the begineer. These species can be kept together, however cichlids are territorial and should be monitored constantly to ensure aggression is minimised. It is always best to add the fish to the aquarium at the same time or restructure the aquarium upon adding new cichlids. This allows the fish to spread out and determine their own territories in the aquarium and greatly reduce the chance of conflict.

Below we discus the easiest South American cichlids to keep in the aquarium. Cichlids are often broken up into South American and South African varieties. The two should never be kept together as this greatly increases the probability of agression.

South American Cichclids can be found in Colombia and Chile. They live in different types of water, but they tend to thrive in in acidic to neutral water.

You can even find South American cichlids in brackish water that is partly saltwater and fresh water. They are considered as tropical fish due to the warmer temperatures of these climates and are often spotted closer to the equator. Most Cichlids are carnivores but will regularly enjoy a diet of omnivorous flakes and mixed foods. These are recommended and will aid in the coloration of your South American Cichlids.

1. Cockatoo Cichlid

A native from Amazon River Basin, this species can live in a dimly lit tank with water of 5.0 to 7.0 pH. The water temperature should be 75-80F, and the tank should be filled with 20 gallon of water for a pair of rams. The Cockatoo cichlid has a stunning red-orange fin that runs down its back. Its a beautiful and easy cichlid to keep.

The Cockatoo cichlid is generally quite easy to source in the LFS but may have to be purchased from other hobbyists in some parts of the world. It is often described to look like the more common Kribensis Cichlid but with a flame orange fin set.

1. Electric Blue Jack Dempsey

A native from Amazon River Basin, this species can live in a dimly lit tank with water of 5.0 to 7.0 pH. The water temperature should be 75-80F, and the tank should be filled with 20 gallon of water for a pair of rams. The Cockatoo cichlid has a stunning red-orange fin that runs down its back. Its a beautiful and easy cichlid to keep.

The Cockatoo cichlid is generally quite easy to source in the LFS but may have to be purchased from other hobbyists in some parts of the world. It is often described to look like the more common Kribensis Cichlid but with a flame orange fin set.

2. Severum

It can be found at the Amazon, and it grows from 5 to 10” long. They thrive in water with lower pH and can live along with small tetras, Oscars and arowanas. If you’ll keep a pair of severums, you should have 75 gallon tank.

3. German Blue Ram

This species is a native of Orinoco River Basin. It is considered as dwarf cichlid because it only grows 2” long. A pair of German Blue Rams would thrive in an aquarium of at least 15 gallons of water. They should be housed either female only or a single pair of female and a male. This will avoid conflict in the group and reduce the possibility of fin-nipping (Blue Rams have beautiful decorative fins).

4. Rainbow cichlids

These species have intense colors and adults are more beautiful than the young ones. The rainbow cichlids grow up to 7” long and can live in higher pH and temperature of water as they naturally live in the wild.

5. Blue Acara

The blue acara is very common in Venezuela as well as in Trinidad and Tobago. They don’t grow longer, but they can destroy live plants and are also active diggers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *