The Rainbow Cichlid is said to be the smallest of the Central American Cichlids. While it can reach just over 17cm in the wild, they are significantly smaller in the aquarium and generally only reach a length of about 7cm.
They are personable fish and have been a long time inhabitant in the aquarium hobby. Some of their most notable and desired characteristics are their eponymous ‘rainbow’ coloring, their peaceful nature, and their compact and manageable size. Interestingly, their color is subject to a wide breadth of variability and will change significantly depending on its mood or if it is spawning. They normally present a brilliantly colored body in gold to orange with a broken black horizontal bar running the length of their body. They also display bright accents with orange on the eyes and on most of the fins, along with some beautiful blue hues on their lower body and fins and on the fin tips.
The colorful Rainbow Cichlid is a great addition to a community aquarium, and, due to its relatively small size, can be kept in a fairly small tank, unlike many other cichlids. Being peaceful it can be kept with regular tropical fish, much like Discus and German Rams. It can also make a very attractive show specimen in a species tank.
These are hardy fish and very easy to care for, and they are also not difficult to breed. They do require very clean water, however, so it is recommended to change their water regularly. A fine gravel substrate with rocks and pieces of driftwood for hiding places will make this dwarf cichlid feel right at home. They will also enjoy a heavily planted aquarium and will not generally disturb the plants. If you are going to have plants though, it’s best to make sure they are hardy and and well rooted.
The Rainbow Cichlids, unlike other Central American cichlids, have tricuspid teeth. These teeth allow them to feed on the filamentous algae which makes up a good part of their diet in the wild. This does not pose any real dietary restrictions in the aquarium though, because they are not overly picky eaters. Their teeth had gained them their own monotypic genus under the name of Herotilapia with this fish being the only species in this genus. But more recently it was moved into the Archocentrus as one of three species.
- Species – Archocentrus multispinosus
- Common Name – Rainbow Cichlid
- Origin – Central America
- Diet – Omnivores
- PH Range – 6 – 7
- Temperature – Tropical 24°c – 30°c
- Breed Type – Egg Layer
- Max Size – 7cm
- Sex – Un-sexed