Fun Midas Cichlid Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 17, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Tehil David
Midas cichlid facts for kids are educational.

The Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus) is found primarily in South America. It is commonly found in rivers and lakes across Nicaragua and Costa Rica. They have a robust body, due to which they can adapt to various habitats, making them a great addition to any aquarist's collection!

Midas cichlids are easily recognizable by the lump of their head which is known as a 'nuchal hump'. This hump is only present in adults.

Midas cichlids come in a variety of colors; they can be yellow, orange, gray, white, or even black. They are large fish and can grow up to 14 in (35.5 cm) in length!

In the wild, they live at a depth of 3-114 ft (0.91-34.7 m) in slow, calm waters with lots of food around them in the form of small fish, snails, worms, and algae.

They are docile towards their carers but will aggressively attack other fish who come close to their territory! Due to their fast and effective breeding, these fish are found all across the world and are a great addition to aquariums.

If you liked these facts about the Midas cichlid, then you'll surely like these facts about the peacock cichlid and convict cichlid too.

Midas Cichlid Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Midas cichlid?

The Midas cichlid fish is a large species of cichlid fish that is part of the cichlid group and has a deep, compressed body that is oval and can come in a variety of colors. They inhabit open, clear waters of lakes and rivers and have robust bodies with sharp teeth.

They have a nuchal hump on their head that helps in differentiating the Midas cichlid from other cichlids.

What class of animal does a Midas cichlid belong to?

Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus) fish belong to the class of Actinopterygii as they are ray-finned fish. Actinopterygii is divided into two different classes, Cladistia and Actinopteri. Actinopterygians comprise almost 30,000 species of fish including piranha and other species.

How many Midas cichlids are there in the world?

An accurate number of the population of the Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus) is not currently known. However, due to their high demand as a great aquarium or fish tank pet fish, the Midas cichlid has been bred in large numbers, due to which their population is high.

Their population in the rivers and lakes of Nicaragua and Costa Rica is also stable.

Where does a Midas cichlid live?

Midas cichlids (Amphilophus citrinellus) are known to live in tropical climates and can be found in the wild in clear water bodies. They are found in the South American regions of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and if proper water conditions are met, they can also be found in the wild in the North American region of southern Florida.

What is a Midas cichlid's habitat?

Midas cichlids are often observed to stay near the bottom of the lake they are found in, particularly in Lake Nicaragua and Lake Apoyo. In case of an attack from a predator, they will dive into deeper waters to escape.

They are mostly found swimming and breeding in clear water where food sources are easily found. These fish use the trees, rocks, bushes, and other forms of cover to hide in water to prevent themselves from becoming the prey of larger fish and birds.

When cover is not available they dig holes in the ground large enough to hide in.

Who do Midas cichlids live with?

These fish usually live in pairs in the wild and often come together in larger groups during breeding periods. Midas cichlids (Amphilophus citrinellus) are monogamous in nature and males and females often pair up for life both in the wild and a tank or aquarium setup.

How long does a Midas cichlid live?

The Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus) has a lifespan of around 10-12 years which can be prolonged in captivity by providing a proper diet and a large enough aquarium or tank for their needs.

How do they reproduce?

When males and females are ready to breed, they start swimming in circles around each other and slap each other on their sides with their tail fins.

A female will rub her side on the nuchal hump of males and males will do the same to females. This can continue for two weeks to six months before the females lay eggs.

After the females lay eggs, a male will fertilize them.

This is done over two to five days and after the eggs are hatched, the babies are active swimmers. This fish species shows strong paternal instincts and the male will try to protect its babies even from the mother and often considers her a danger.

Therefore, in captivity, it is recommended to leave cichlid babies with the male fish and a tank divider should be placed between the male and female to prevent the male from killing the female with aggressive behavior.

What is their conservation status?

The Midas cichlid is currently not listed by the IUCN Red List. Since these fish are found in abundance in South American regions like Costa Rica and Nicaragua, it is believed that they are not currently in danger of becoming endangered or extinct.

Midas Cichlid Fun Facts

What do Midas cichlids look like?

Midas cichlids are robust and can adapt to any aquarium or community fish tank setup. They have a large body with a powerful jaw and sharp teeth.

As the species develops, both males and females grow a nuchal hump on their heads, and the hump on a male will be larger than that of a female.

They come in a variety of colors and can be dark brown, orange, or gray. Did you know that when a barred Midas cichlid is introduced into an aquarium it will slowly lose its pattern and turn into a solid color?

Underwater view of a Midas cichlid.

How cute are they?

The nuchal hump on their head makes these fish quite cute! They are also very cute when they are swimming and playing around in a tank.

How do they communicate?

These fish communicate with each other through sound, motion, color, smell, and bioluminescence. These methods are often used in navigation, alerting predators to stay away, as a call for spawning or breeding, and while fighting.

How big is a Midas cichlid?

The Midas cichlid falls under the larger side of fish that are kept as pets. They grow from 10-14 in (25.4-35.5 cm) long and in rare instances, they can grow up to 16 in (40.6 cm).

How fast can a Midas cichlid swim?

Due to a lack of sufficient data, the speed at which this fish can swim isn't currently known.

How much does a Midas Cichlid weigh?

A healthy adult Midas cichlid can weigh around 2.5 lb (1.1 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific names have been assigned to either sex of this species of fish.

What would you call a baby Midas cichlid?

Like most baby fish, a Midas cichlid baby is also called a 'fry'. After breeding, unfertilized eggs are usually eaten by the parents, and the eggs that hatch are then taken care of by the parents.

Both males and females will show aggressive behavior when protecting their fry and defending their territory. Fry fish stay in a group and are gray at birth but they develop color as they mature later on. Juveniles also lack the famous nuchal hump on their heads.

What do they eat?

In the wild snails make up a large part of the diet of these fish. They also eat aquatic insects, small fish, and plants as a food source. In captivity, they will accept foods like vegetables, worms, and fish flakes.

Are they dangerous?

No, these fish are not dangerous to humans, but their aggressive nature might be harmful to other smaller fish species that are residents of the same aquarium.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, they make good pets, but we should keep in mind that they are not for beginners. They need to be handled carefully and you will need a large aquarium of around 125 gallons for a pair of these fish!

If you want to keep them with other tank mates and prevent their aggressive behavior, then you will at least need a 200-gallon aquarium. Since this fish is big, they might break objects in an aquarium, so make sure to hide inlets like filters.

These fish are bottom dwellers so make sure you have lots of sand and rocks at the bottom of your aquarium for them to dig into and hide in if they sense any danger. Their water should be changed weekly and replaced with fresh water.

The temperature should be around 69.8 -78.8 F (21–26 C). Make sure to keep their diet in check to avoid overfeeding!

Did you know...

The nuchal hump found on the head of the males and females of this species can decrease in size after they have mated successfully!

Midas cichlid fish can be bred with other types of cichlids. For example, breeding red devil cichlid and Midas cichlid fish is commonly carried out in captivity, resulting in a hybrid fish!

Midas cichlids can suffer from diseases that plague all freshwater fish, so it is recommended to keep their water quality and oxygenation at high levels.

Colors of the Midas cichlid

The evolutionary process of the color changes in the Midas cichlid is still unknown! Wild Midas cichlids are gray when they are born and as they develop they can become a variety of colors, ranging from orange to dull gray, black, red, and white.

Midas cichlids vs. red devil cichlids

Midas cichlids and red devil cichlids can often be found in a novice aquarist's setup and look very similar, with both having an orange coat with black or white spots and growing to similar lengths.

Juveniles are hard to distinguish from each other but there are a few ways to tell the red devil cichlid apart from the Midas cichlid.

Firstly, devil cichlids have fleshy lips that extend from their surrounding skin, whereas the Midas cichlid has lips that are flat against their snout. The mouth of a red devil cichlid (Cichlasoma citrinellum) is longer in comparison to a Midas cichlid's mouth, and it is narrower from side to side.

Also, the red devil (Cichlasoma citrinellum) has a long forehead that slopes back from its snout, whereas the forehead of a Midas cichlid rises more abruptly.

Lastly, adult Midas cichlids have a stockier appearance than a red devil (Cichlasoma citrinellum) making it easier to differentiate between the two.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including the rainbow cichlid or the three-spot gourami.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Midas cichlid coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Tehil David

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David picture

Tehil DavidBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David Singh is a fact checker with a Bachelor's degree in English literature from St.Xavier's College, Palayamkottai, and a Master's degree in Philosophy, and Religion from Madurai Kamaraj University. He has a passion for writing and hopes to become a story writer in the future. Tehil has previously interned in content writing and has been a content creator for the last three years. In his personal life, he enjoys singing, songwriting, performing, and writing stories.

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