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New World Cichlid Fish

New World Cichlids can be found in the continents of North America, South America, and Central America. These cichlid fish make wonderful pets due to their unique colors, their interesting personalities, and the ease with which they may be maintained.

The angelfish is one of the most common new world cichlids. A South American cichlid, the angelfish is beautiful and queenly but needs very specific water conditions. Angelfish are generally triangular-shaped with long, string-like fins trailing behind them and sometimes a stripe or two across their backs.


Another common new world cichlid is the convict, so named because of its feisty temperament. Most experienced Cichlid owners would agree that the convict is one of the most aggressive cichlids. Convicts may be bullies but they can live in a wide variety of aquarium conditions and are easy to keep and breed. Convicts can be identified by their light blue bodies and the dark black, zebra stripes across their backs.

Convict Cichlid

The Jack Dempsey is also a favorite among cichlid lovers. Like the convict, the Jack Dempsey is also commonly listed as one of the most aggressive cichlids, and as an adult, they can grow up to nearly a foot in length. Jack Dempseys are dark brown but males usually have splashes or dots of bright blue or green on their sides and humps on their foreheads. Jack Dempseys are easy to keep and need large open spaces as well as caves to hide in.

Jack Dempsey Cichlid

The Texas cichlid fish can grow to about a foot in length when fully mature. Its flesh is golden in color with turquoise or white freckles dotted across the length of its body. Texas is known to be a slightly aggressive cichlid.

Texas Cichlid

In the wild, most North and Central American cichlids are found in rivers and lakes. Some lay their eggs in the sand of the river bottoms while others lay them simply on top of rocks at the bottom of the lake in which they reside. Some even make their homes in tiny underwater caves and tunnels. South American cichlids are usually found in water conditions that are more acidic such as black water regions in the Amazonian basin.

The aquarium requirements for these types of fish vary according to their natural habit. North and Central American cichlids are more adept at adapting to vary aquarium conditions but need good hiding places or caves in their aquarium for refuge. These should not be kept in any tank with a length of less than 48 inches. To find out how to properly care for your new world cichlid aquarium, I recommend checking out Keeping Cichlids.

The South American cichlid usually needs much more specific water conditions in the aquarium in which it is kept. The pH balance of the water needs to be quite low – sometimes as low as six – and the water itself needs to be very soft. Plants are popular with the South American cichlid, although certain species may cause havoc to underwater plants.

South American Plant Aquarium

One of the best things about the New World cichlids is that there are so many from which to choose. The variety available among these species of fish is simply astounding and there is always something new to discover. New world cichlid fish can be a joy to take care of and a delight to own.


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