Aquarium Fish

Rainbow Cichlid

posted: 05/15/12
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Rainbow Cichlid
Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith
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The Rainbow Cichlid is capable of altering colors according to its moods. The background color is a lemon yellow to golden color, with a horizontal black bar running from just behind the eyes to the base of the caudal fin. When showing its most brilliant coloration, usually during breeding, the scales may have alternating rows of blue on the latter half of the body and the edges of the anal, pectoral, and dorsal fins, and may also have a brilliant blue tint. The Rainbow Cichlid, Herotilapia multispinosa genus is monotypic, meaning, it is the only species in this genus.

The Rainbow Cichlid requires a minimum tank of 50 gallons with a fine gravel bottom, and rocks and roots for hiding. Hardy, well-rooted plants are recommended, as well as upturned pots and shards for additional hiding places. Rainbow Cichlids do not usually burrow, so most plantscapes should stay in place. It is a peaceful fish that is territorial and rarely aggressive, except during spawning. It can easily be kept with other medium-sized cichlids such as Convicts, Firemouths, and Parrots.

It is difficult to differentiate between the male and female Rainbow Cichlid. The male tends to be larger and longer with pointed anal and dorsal fins. The female has a short ovipositor. They will form lasting pairs and make a nuclear family. The fry are usually well cared for, but the parents may eat some of them. Water should be neutral with soft to medium hardness (pH approximately 7.0, dH 5-10) and a temperature of 79-81°F. Rainbow Cichlids are open breeders and the female will drop from 600-1,000 eggs on rocks and roots. The female will circulate water over the eggs by fanning them with her fins, carefully guarding them in pits.

The Rainbow Cichlid is an omnivore and will eat most prepared and frozen foods, including freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and ocean plankton, as well as flake food and Cichlid pellets.

Ideal tank mates include similar sized: Other South American Cichlids, Plecos, Scavenger Catfish and similar sized, miscellaneous fish.

Fish Facts

Name: Rainbow Cichlid (Herotilapia multispinosa)

Family: Cichlidae

Range: Central America

Size: Up to 5 inches

Diet: Omnivore

Tank Set-up: Freshwater: Fine gravel with rocks and roots, hardy, well-rooted plants

Tank Conditions: 72-77°F; pH 6.5-8.0; dH 9-20

Minimum Tank Capacity: 50 gallons

Light: Medium

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Swimming Level: Middle to bottom

Care Level: Moderate

Reproduction: Egg Layer

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