South American Species

Here is a list of the most South American common cichlid species that are kept in the home aquarium. You can get the common names and scientific names of the cichlids. Most often you’ll see the scientific names listed but not the common names and this can be quite confusing. The reason for this is because common names change with the trends and there may be a few different variations so to make it easier, most reference books refer to the scientific name of the fish along with a photo with always helps in identifying a cichlid species!

Most of the Central American and South American cichlid species are very large, so keep this in mind if you have a smaller sized fish tank. Minimum size for these species should be at least 55 gallons.

Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki)
– Maximum size: 6 inches
– Origin: Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico
– Average aggressiveness, can be kept in a school or pair.
– One of the most popular cichlid species. Silver with bright red bellies. They can intensity the color depending on mood. Males have brighter color.

Convict Cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata)
– Maximum size: 4 inches
– Origin: Central America
– Very aggressive to other fish.
– White with black stripes. Females develop a orange spot on the side when bigger. Convict cichlids prefer rocks instead of plants. Very easy to breed in the aquarium.

Oscar(Astronotus ocellatus)
– Maximum Size: 18 inches
– Origin: Amazon River basin
– Relatively aggressive. Best kept with their own species due to the large growth size.
– Large fish with personality, black with orange markings. Also available in an Albino Oscar version which is white and orange and Red Oscar which is dark red and black.

Sevrum Cichlid (Amphilophus robertsoni)
– Maximum Size: Varies per species, normally up to 4- 7 inches.
– Origin: Central America
– Average aggressiveness.
– There are different species of sevrums, ranging in color from turquoise, red, cream and gold. Some have spots or stripes, but the flattened body shapes are all similar.

Jack Dempsey (Maylandia estherae)
– Maximum Size: 10 inches
– Origin: Central America
– Extremely aggressive, best kept with it’s own species.
– Will eat any live plants you have in the aquarium. Enjoys sand and mud as the substrate. Brilliantly colored with green, blue and brown speckled throughout.

Green Terror (Andinoacara rivulatus)
– Maximum Size: 12 inches
– Origin: South America
– Extremely aggressive and territorial.
– Silver when juveniles, the green color is enhanced as they grow, a shimmering brilliant color with shiny scales and long flowing fins. A very attractive fish.

Red Devil (Amphilophus Labiatus)
– Maximum Size: 12 inches
– Origin: Central America
– Extremely aggressive and territorial.
– Colors can vary different shades from peach to red to orange. The color intensifies as they get larger. Males have a large bump on their forehead, females do not.

Ram Cichlid(Amphilophus Labiatus)
– Maximum Size: 3 inches
– Origin: South America
– Peaceful, best kept in a semi-aggressive community tank, not with other cichlids.
– There are a few different ram species, all have similar body shapes. Coloration can vary from blue to gold to speckled. Calmer fish are best kept in a community tank.