Cichlids are distributed in North America, South America, West Indies, Africa, Madagascar, Syria, Israel, Iran, Sri Lanka, and southern India. They are recognized by having interrupted lateral line, a single nostril on each side of the head, a single dorsal fin and anal fin with 3 spines.

They are primarily freshwater fishes with some species that can tolerate brackish water. Many species have been introduced into the wild by accidental release of aquaculture or aquarium fish specimens. Some of the cichlids are predators while some feed on plant and sediment.

There are 221 genera and at least 1,900 species worldwide. All the species in Malaysian water are accidentally or deliberately introduced.


Scientific Name: Etroplus suratensis  (Bloch, 1790)
English Name: Green Chromide, Pearlspot Cichlid, Banded Pearlspot, Striped Chromide
Chinese Name: 绿腹丽鱼 (Lǜ fù lì yú)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Tilapia
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาหมอโครมายด์เขียว (Plā mo kho rmāyd̒ k̄heīyw) Main Identification Features: Body oval in shape with a short snout. Gray-green in colour with dark bars and a dark spot at the base of the pectoral fin.
Size: Maximum total length 40 cm, commonly to 20 cm.
Remark: Photo of the fish below was caught in brackish water.

Scientific Name: Oreochromis mossambicus  (Peters, 1852)
English Name: Mozambique Tilapia
Chinese Name | 鱼类中文名: 非洲鱼 (Fēizhōu yú)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Tilapia, Mudjair
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาหมอเทศ (Plā mo thed), ปลานิล (Plā nil)
Local Hokkien: Hui Chiu
Size: Maximum standard length 39 cm.

Scientific Name: Pterophyllum scalare  (Schultze, 1823)
English Name: Freshwater Angelfish
Chinese Name | 鱼类中文名: 大神仙鱼 (Dà shénxiān yú), 艾氏神仙鱼 (Ài shì shénxiān yú)
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาเทวดาสกาแลร์ (Plā thewdā s̄kā lær)
Size: Maximum standard length 7.5 cm.

Scientific Name: Symphysodon discus  Heckel, 1840
English Name: Red Discus
Chinese Name | 鱼类中文名: 盘丽鱼 (Pán lì yú), 五彩神仙鱼 (Wǔcǎi shénxiān yú)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Discus Merah
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาปอมปาดัวร์ (Plā pxm pādạ wr)
Size: Maximum standard length 12.5 cm.