These awesome tropical fish are widely distributed throughout Central and South America. Species can be found in ditches, swamps, flooded plains, streams, tributaries, ponds, lakes, and rivers. The most well known river system, the Amazon River is a major source of the “American” cichlids we keep in the hobby today.
Central and South American cichlids typically are larger in size when compared to their African counterparts. They may not have all of the color that the African Malawi cichlids possess, but they will have very unique personalities.
Central and South American cichlids are kept in the home aquarium tank for many reasons. One of the most attractive reasons is the sure size of the cichlid. Oscars, Silver Viejas, Red Devils, Jack Dempsey, Green Terrors, and Severums are just a few of the popular N. W. cichlids that can offer size to your tropical fish tank.
N. W. cichlids (on average) prefer soft water, and a lower pH when compared to African cichlids. Most of the N. W. cichlids come from tanned water (tannins released from wood and decomposing leaf matter), which contributes, to the softer water. This is why when you view pictures of Central and South American Cichlids, you will notice water that has a slight brown tint. This is natural and happens when tropical fish-keepers put driftwood in their home aquarium tank.