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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. Anal fin with 12-13 spines.
Size: Maximum total length 40 cm, commonly to 20 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Euryhaline, inhabits mainly brackish water and river mouths. Mainly herbivorous, feeds on filamentous algae, plant material, and also insects and molluscs.

Scientific Name: Oreochromis niloticus  (Linnaeus, 1758)
English Name: Nile Tilapia
Chinese Name | 鱼类中文名: 非洲鱼 (Fēizhōu yú), 尼罗罗非鱼 (Níluó luófēiyú)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Tilapia, Nila
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาหมอเทศ (Plā mo thed), ปลานิล (Plā nil)
Local Hokkien: Hui Chiu
Main Identification Features: Body compressed with long dorsal fin. Dorsal spines 16-18 (normally 17). Scales in lateral line series are 30-34. A knob-like protuberance absent on dorsal surface of snout. Caudal fin truncated, with distinct dark narrow bars. During breeding time, both sexes show red flush on the belly and lower flanks, while the males dorsal and caudal fin margins become bright red.
Size: Maximum standard length 60 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Native to the Nile River basin. Primarily fresh water, but can breed and live in brackish water. Maternal mouth brooders, females incubate eggs in their mouth. Primarily herbivorous, feeds mainly on aquatic macrophytes, algae, and diatoms. But will also consumes aquatic insects and crustaceans and fish eggs.

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)
Main Identification Features: Body compressed and disc-shaped. Dorsal and the anal spiny rays increase in length from front to back of the fin. Body silver with dark vertical bars. Juvenile have 7 bars on their side and adults have 4 bars.
Size: Maximum standard length 7.5 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Native to the Amazon river and the coastal rivers of Guinea in South America. Inhabits swamps or flooded grounds where the aquatic vegetations are dense and the water is clear or silty. Highly social, typically occurring in groups. Omnivorous, but wild fish predominantly carnivorous, feeding on insects, larvae, crustaceans, and small fishes.

Scientific Name: Symphysodon discus  Heckel, 1840
English Name: Red Discus, Pompadour Fish, Heckel 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)
Main Identification Features: Body compressed and disc-shaped.
Size: Maximum standard length 12.5 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Native to the Amazon Basin of South America. Highly social, typically occurring in groups. Omnivorous, feeds on algae, worms, crustaceans, insects and plant matter.