The Rainbow Cichlid (Herotilapia multispinosa) is a tropical freshwater fish.
The Rainbow Cichlid is yellowish with hints of reds and browns. It has a line of central black spots from its eyes to the base of its tail. The female is duller in colour than the male.
It measures 12-15 centimetres (5-6 inches) long.
The Rainbow Cichlid is native to the waters of central America, in countries such as Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. It prefers shallow freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, and swamps with muddy bottoms.
It feeds mostly on algae. It is an omnivore, because it also eats small fish and insects, as well as detritus (shedded skin).
The Rainbow Cichlid is territorial and the male keeps away other cichlids from its territory.
Males and females form a monogamous pair for life. The female lays 500-1,500 eggs on a rock or in an underwater cave. She fans the eggs with her fins to create a flow of water that give the eggs oxygen.
The eggs hatch after 2 days. The young are called fry or wrigglers. The parents protect the fry by taking them into their mouths and spitting them into a pit, guarded by one of the parents. After a few days, the fry come out of the pit and remain together, protected by both parents, until they are older and become independent – after about four weeks.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM