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South American Cichlids, Central American Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids & North American Cichlids form a wonderful group of fish known as New World Cichlids.
Most of the Central & North American Cichlids are monogamous substrate breeders. South American Cichlids, and a good part of the Central & North American Cichlids originate from one single lineage – the Cichlasomine. Central & North American Cichlids that do not originate from Cichlasomine are found in Panama, and actually developed in South America who then later reached Panama. Since Central & North American Cichlids inhabit various waters in a large region of the world, they have naturally adapted to a multitude of different water conditions and their preferences will vary when it comes to water chemistry, temperature and more. ALL Apistogramma & Dwarf New World Cichlids are peaceful fish and generally hang out in the lower regions of the tank and prefer rock formations to dwell around. For the most part, many of the South American Cichlids are peaceful as well. We will notate aggressive behaviors within the item description throughout the site when applied. It’s kinda funny, but the cichlids that “look” mean in this group of fish usually are. In fact, many of the North American Cichlids seem to be on the aggressive side. This behavior can be brought on by too few fish stocked, or breeding competition of males for females, etc. If you think about it, most fish, when breeding or spawning, will become territorial! This is just normal behavior. If you provide areas for your fish to retreat to for spawning, or make a refuge that creates a territory, you will keep aggressiveness to a minimum. Using stacked up driftwood, or large rocks, even plants will help achieve this naturally, and also keep your fish less stressed. When you stock in larger numbers, this also decreases your chances for fighting. For example: Firemouth Cichlids can be aggressive when kept in small numbers like 1 or 2, however, if you have a tank full of Firemouth or even just 5 or 6, fighting is rare, and is actually a prettier display. If you are re-stocking new cichlids to a tank that already has cichlids stocked in it, we suggest adding several new fish all at once, as adding just a couple newcomers won’t be so welcome by your existing tank dwellers.
If you need help figuring out what goes with what, or how to build a better habitat, call us. We’ve been building zoological displays since 1987. When you do this everyday, you become an expert from experience, and we are here to help you!