Lake Victoria, Lake Tanginika and Lake Malawi are breeding grounds for a breed of cichlids known as the African cichlids. Lake Malawi is the second deepest and third largest lake in Africa and here you can find over a thousand species of cichlids.
African cichlids are unique in the sense their stunningly colorful patterns cannot be found in any other fresh water fishes. Their vibrantly attractive colors make them the most sought after fishes by enthusiasts.
African cichlids are extremely intelligent and they are known for their fascinating social behavior. Cichlids in the tank respond to passersby by getting active. They swim in swarms and are a delight to feed as they consume whatever is given to them.
These fascinating creatures employ interesting techniques for hunting. N. Livingstonii attracts its prey by posing dead on the sand. When small fishes come closer, it jumps up to catch them.
These fishes are easy to maintain and breed why they are popular pets of African cichid lovers. Scientists and hobbyists are fascinated by these creatures' proliferation and their ability to adapt to captivity. Being hardy by nature, African cichlids can survive under any environmental conditions and are therefore easy to maintain. This is one of the reasons why beginners choose them as pets.
For thousands of years a kind of African cichlid the Tilapia has been an important food source. Right from 2500 BC, Tilapia has been farmed in Egypt according to hieroglyphics. Though Egyptians kept tilapia in aquariums, they were mostly eaten as they are not colorful as compared to other cichlids.
Eggs and young ones are carried by the female African cichlids in their mouths. Depending on the species type, the eggs are carried and nurtured by the females in the mouth after being fertilized by the male. This process is known as mouth brooding and it lasts anywhere between three and 31 days.
During mouth brooding, no food is eaten by the mother. It is interesting to note the motherly love on display even after the young ones are released. When in danger, these little ones are protected by the mother who takes them back into her mouth.
Protective African cichlid parents take great care of their little ones even if they are a part of crowded communities.
Most freshwater fishes do not grow larger than two or three inches. African cichlids however are known to grow up to six inches. Their life span is between four and ten years and some even life for fifteen years.
As compared to other fish types, this species is found to be extremely aggressive, territorial and voracious. It is highly recommended to keep African cichlids with other fishes of their size to avoid any aggressive behavior. They tend to stick to their own kind in groups when in their wild habitat. Mature cichlids even guard their territory. They are not known to be welcoming or hospitable and do not get along with any other fishes including different species cichlids.