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The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animale, neuter of animalis, and is derived from anima, meaning vital breath or soul. In everyday colloquial usage, the word usually refers to non-human animals. The biological definition of the word refers to all members of the Kingdom Animalia. Therefore, when the word "animal" is used in a biological context, humans are included.
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Cichlid Fish

Posted by WishbonE at 12:57 AM

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cichlids are fishes belonging to family Cichlidae. Many cichlids, particularly the tilapias, are important food fishes. Some of the most known cichlid species are Angelfish, Oscar, Jack Dempsey and Discus are highly valued in the aquarium trade. The Family Cichlidae is both large and diverse. The different cichlid species have developed in order to fit their own specific niches and different cichlid species can therefore vary significantly when it comes to size, temperament, feeding habits, preferred water quality, etcetera. The smallest cichlids such as Apistogramma cichlids, grows no longer than 3 centimeters, while the largest cichlids, such as Boulengerochromis cichlids, can exceed one meter. The body shapes of the cichlid species include everything from very compressed bodies to extremely elongated ones. Aquarists commonly divide the popular aquarium species into three main groups: American cichlids, African cichlids and Asian cichlids.

Cichlids are members of a group of perciform fish known as the Labroidei alongside the wrasses Labridae, damselfish Pomacentridae, and surfperches Embiotocidae.This very large grouping shares a single key trait: the fusion of the lower pharyngeal bones into a single tooth-bearing structure.

Cichlids are commonly fresh-water fish and are less commonly found in brackish and salt water habitats, although some species can tolerate brackish water. Cichlids are also diverse in term of diet. Some of them are primarily herbivores feeding on plants, algae and small animals that are only a small part of their diet. Other cichlids, these includes generalist that catches small animals including fishes and insect larvae.

All cichlid species show some parental care for both eggs and larvae and even extends until several weeks and months. Parental substrate brooding cichlids assist in finding food resources for their fry. Communal parental care can also be observed in number of cichlids where multiple monogamous pairs care for a mixed school of young.

Although cichlids are mostly small and medium-sized fishes, a substantial number of species are notable as food and game fishes. Cichlids have become increasingly popular as aquarium fish. Cichlids are ideally suited as aquarium fish as many are small to medium-sized, easy to feed with a range of prepared fish foods, breed readily, and practice brood care, in captivity.

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