Dwarf cichlid

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Like most (but not all) South American dwarf cichlids, Apistogramma nijsseni is a member of the subfamily Geophaginae

Dwarf cichlid is a term used by fishkeeping hobbyists to describe an arbitrary assemblage of small-sized fish from the family Cichlidae. Although the grouping is widely used in the aquarium industry and hobby, the grouping has no taxonomic or ecological basis and is poorly defined.[1] Though dwarf cichlids are by definition small-sized cichlids, there is no accepted maximum length of a dwarf-sized cichlid. Some authors suggest a maximum of 10 centimetres (3.9 in.), while other suggest a maximum length of 12 centimetres (4.7 in.).[1][2] The term is most frequently used to describe small South American or West African species which are suitable for soft, acidic (pH 4 to 7) densely planted aquariums,[1] however, some aquarists and authors include within this "dwarf cichlid group" a variety of small-sized cichlids from the alkaline African rift lakes.[2][3]

Despite being called dwarf cichlids, males of Pelvicachromis pulcher frequently exceed the conventional maximum length of 12 centimetres.

Dwarf cichlids prefer aquaria with plenty of hard-leafed plants. They are generally shy, except when they're breeding, and are considered ideal for community tanks, though they should not be placed with other, non-dwarf, cichlids or other boisterous or aggressive species.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Linke H, Staeck L (1994) American cichlids I: Dwarf Cichlids. A handbook for their identification, care and breeding. Tetra Press. Germany. ISBN 1-56465-168-1
  2. ^ a b Richter H-J (1989) Complete Book of Dwarf Cichlids. Tropical Fish Hobbyist, USA
  3. ^ Loiselle PV. (1994) The Cichlid Aquarium, Voyageur Press, ISBN 1-56465-146-0