Identifying African cichlids

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Most long time cichlidophiles can identify cichlid species quite easily. Just like true gearheads can quickly identify cars without the benefit of seeing the make’s logo, experienced cichlidophiles can tell what species they’re looking at by just the color patterns, the shape of the body, and/or tail. 

If you’re new to cichlid keeping and need a bit of a primer to help you identify an African  species, check out the’s nicely assembled chart. It’s neither comprehensive nor exhaustive but it does provide a nice color pictorial of the more popular African’s in the hobby. 

2 thoughts on “Identifying African cichlids”

  1. Hello, I’m hoping you can help me with my fish “Timmy” (named by a neighbors son.) He is an African Cichlid and lives by himself.
    Timmy is pretty old, maybe 25 years old or older, I’ve had him from the beginning and has out survived every other fish. He’s been in about a 30 square tank and has been happily moving gravel at regular intervals, watches TV and looks out the front window. He’s survived a couple moves and a recent divorce, I got custody.
    Lately though he has been lethargic and is tending to sit at the back and bottom of the tank and has not been eating like normal. I’ve looked at the internet and have not really found anything useful. He does not have any marks or obvious signs that something is wrong. He has been my friend and I Love him. I hope you can help. Thanks, Frank

    • Hi Frank. Without knowing what species the fish is or being able to see it, it’s hard to say what might be wrong with it. However, if it’s as old as you claim, it could well be just near the end of its normal life expectancy.


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