A Beginner's Introduction to African Cichlids: Part 1 - the Peacocks


So, you want to get into African Cichlids.
But where to start?
It is easy to be bedazzled when you visit the African section in the fish store. There seem to be hundreds of fish of every shape and color. Which one is which? After you visit a couple stores, it appears that about 20 different species are called the “Electric Blue Cichlid”. And “Sunshine Peacock” can mean anything yellow.

You start picking up a little Latin here and there. Words like Haplochromis and Aulonocara slip into your vocabulary. You start to recognize words like Pseudotropheus and Labeotropheus.

Assortedi Africanus seems to be a very popular species.

You start learning to identify a few cichlids. The Dragon Blood peacock and OB are easy to recognize and remember. Maybe the Venustus.
But what are all the others?

This guide is a compilation of research that I started making for myself as I prepare for my 170 gallon. I made it because I was frustrated by the resources online. There is a lot of information out there, but it is spread so widely.... If you try looking up "African Cichlid Tank" or "All Male Tank", mostly you just get a lot of the same generalities over and over again and an exhortation to do more research. Which is frustrating because that's what you were trying to do in the first place. It takes a lot of work to find out what each fish is.

Most of the good sites have a few of the fish, but never all of them. Cichlid Forum has all of the fish, I think, but they don't always have pictures and you have to know the name of the fish before you can search for it, making it really hard to learn new fish and what is the difference between them. Their pages are also pretty sparse with information sometimes. That said, it is a great resource. The best resource I used was Malawi-Guru.de. (Thank you MacZ !!!) It can be a little hard to navigate sometimes, but nobody provides such deep information as they do. I think I have barely scratched the surface of that site yet. I can't recommend visiting that site strongly enough. The site is in German, so it won't come up in your google search, but you can switch the language to English.

This is a visual guide. Every fish has: At least two pictures (some of the haps have more). The Latin Name. The Common Name (if they have one). Basic stats on size, temperament, diet and tank size. And links to the best articles I could find on each fish. Although some fish didn't have much. Each fish also comes with a link to a short video, so you can get a better feel for the fish.

I have another 60 pages or so (on the haps) that I haven't finished polishing up yet - and more fish to add - but I wanted to see if it is worth the time. This little booklet has been countless hours of research already. My biggest fear is that the pictures will be a No-No. I have written the website for each photo on the picture and generally tried to site my sources whenever possible. I am not looking to profit or steal anyone's work. If you see a fish you like, please visit their site.

Disclaimer: This is a research compilation, not my personal experience. I am just trying to share what I have found. My experience from years back was with American cichlids and planted tanks. And it was a long hiatus between my recent interest and my last tank. My wife and I bought a flat last year and it finally seemed like a good time to get back into it.

Lastly, this is just an introductory guide. When you find the fish you like, it's time to dig deep and learn more about them.

All the best,
Big Beard


  • Lake Malawi Peacocks.pdf
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"Wow" How did I miss this.
Very Informative.
Nicely done!
Upvote 0

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