Few fish show as clearly how dynamic things can get in aquaristics as Cichla. These large cichlids are among the most popular food fish in South America, but until the turn of the millennium they were not considered very suitable for aquarium care: they were considered too large and too sensitive.
In the meantime, however, the 5 species known until then have become 15 species and this increased the interest of aquarists interested in biology and nowadays the demand for these magnificent animals has grown so much that for some of them even commercial breeding in SE Asia is worthwhile!
Of course these magnificent fish are and remain animals for specialists and show aquariums, because they easily break the 40 cm mark, as maximum length 80-100 cm are given for record animals. But one should not underestimate how many enthusiasts are willing to set up really large aquariums for their favorite animals. And so also local offsprings come from time to time into the trade.
We have received an absolute speciality from a German breeder: Hybrids between Cichla ocellaris and C. melaniae. Especially interesting is how these hybrids present themselves externally, namely in all possible intermediate levels between the coloration of the parent species. Some look almost like pure C. ocellaris regarding juvenile coloration, others almost like pure C. melaniae, but most somehow in between. There are also patterns that have not yet been described from any free-living Cichla species. This is significant in that hybrids must always be expected in the wild as well, since Cichla were and are widely shipped as stock fish within South America as popular food fish.
The pictures show juveniles (9-12 cm) from our current stock, as well as a 10 months old specimen, whose picture was provided to us by the breeder.
For our customers: the animals have code 636534 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer