Cichlids are a family of fish that are commonly found in home aquariums. Variations of these fish number in the thousands, but lakes play a key role in making such differences possible as many cichlid types originate from just one lake.
The African Great Lakes are known to provide many of these popular aquarium fish.
This lake is the ninth largest in the world and projected to hold more than 1,000 species of cichlids in its waters. These include peacock cichlids like the Rubin Red Peacock and zebra cichlids like the Bumblebee Mouthbrooder.
At least 250 species of cichlids can be found in Lake Tanganyika’s waters. Most of these are endemic to the lake, nearly 98 percent of them, and can be found in open water. Some of these include the Blue Neon cichlid and the Dickfeld’s Julie.
Home to Africa’s largest inland fishery, cichlid speciation, or the process by which new species evolve, is one of Lake Victoria’s trademarks. Cichlids in its waters include the Lionhead and the Kribensis.
The smallest of Africa’s Great Lakes, Lake Edward still supports more than 50 species of Haplochromis cichlids. These are nicknamed “happies” among aquarium enthusiasts. Lake Edward also features many fish in the same haplochromi tribe, many of which are yet to be scientifically described.
Shallow areas in Lake Kyoga are usually covered by water lilies, providing great shelter for its more than 46 species of fish. Cichlids in its waters include the Zebra Obliquidens and the Kyoga flameback.