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Angels, Discus, & Cichlids
Angelfishes and Discus are among the most respected and desirable of all freshwater aquarium fishes. They were first brought to the attention of aquarists in the 1930′s and have been a mainstay ever since. Both types of fishes are restricted to the Amazon River and its primary tributaries. They can be found in all types of aquatic environments from very acidic, slow-moving black waters to lakes and streams. Their round bodies are associated with their habit of staying in protected areas with an abundance of tree roots and heavy vegetation. These fishes are very shy and are often more active at night. Angels differ from Discus in that they are smaller, less colorful, and have very long dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins.
Cichlids comprise well over a thousand species from tropical Africa and Central and South America. These fishes are ovate in shape, laterally compressed, and many are known for their atypical patterns and beautiful colors—from bright yellows and metallic greens to electric blues. Though most are herbivores, several species are carnivorous. Some Cichlids even consume organic waste (detritivores). Besides Angels and Discus, other Central and South American Cichlids include Oscars, Severums, Jack Dempsey and Texas Cichlids, as well as Apistogramma species like Rams. African Cichlids refer to thousands of species that originate from a series of rift lakes in the southeastern part of the continent (Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Malawi). All Cichlids are renowned as highly prolific; with very few exceptions, they are among the easiest aquarium fishes to breed.
Cichlids are fascinating to observe and often amaze aquarists with their intelligence and complex social behaviors. They range in temperament from extremely shy to unaccommodatingly aggressive. They are efficient feeders and accept a very wide variety of foods.