Any of more than 600 primarily freshwater fish species (family Cichlidae), including many popular aquarium species. Cichlids are found in the New World tropics, Africa and Madagascar, and southern Asia. Most species are African, appearing in great diversity in the major African lakes. Cichlids are deep-bodied and have a rounded tail. They usually grow no longer than about 12 in. (30 cm). Species may be omnivores, herbivores, or carnivores. Cichlids are noted for their complex mating and breeding behavior. Certain species (e.g., tilapia), known as mouthbreeders, carry their eggs in the mouth until hatched. See also angelfish.

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