African Cichlids are the most colorful, interesting and funniest to watch of the readily available tropical (freshwater) fish. From an aquarium keepers standpoint, they are the perfect middle between a basic and simple to take care of tropical aquarium full of Goldfish or Tetras, and the more advanced Marine (saltwater) show-tanks and living reef tanks.
Warning! There are two families of commonly found cichlids; African and South American Cichlids. Do Not put these separate species in the same tank.
The most common African Cichlids come from Lake Malawi and are from the Mbuna (pronounced um-boo-na) Family. These fish range from blue to yellow in color and often have a mix of these colors with black being a common secondary color either in “tiger” stripes or fin highlights.
The most common Mbuna African Cichlids that you will find are at your local PETSMART® and include:
Kenyi African Cichlid (Maylandia lombardoi)
Electric Yellow Labidochromis (a naturally occurring variant of Labidochromis caeruleus)
Electric Blue Cichlid (Sciaenochromis ahli)
Auratus African Cichlid (Melanochromis auratus)
Acei Cichlid (Pseudotropheus acei)
These fish are a good starting point for your African Cichlid Aquarium, but you need to think about how much you are willing to spend on your fish. African Cichlids, even common ones, can range in price from $4.00 to $25.00 per fish and if you do not have your aquarium set up correctly to begin with, you could be wasting your money.