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The Chromide: A Fascinating Fish

Unlike most cichlids, the chromides are from Asia — and they exhibit some noteworthy behavior.

By Mary Bailey |

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The Americas and Africa are the strongholds of cichlid distribution, though a few species have made their way from Africa to the Middle East. But there are only three species of truly Asian cichlids, all in the genus Etroplus and commonly known as the chromides. They are restricted to the Indian subcontinent, including Sri Lanka. Their closest relatives are probably the Paretroplus of Madagascar, usually regarded as part of Africa, even though it has very different fauna and flora.

Many aquarists will be aware of two of the chromides: the orange (or red) chromide (Etroplus maculatus), which is common in the hobby, and the larger green (or silver) chromide (E. suratensis). The third, E. canarensis, was described in 1878 but long thought extinct until rediscovered by a fish-fauna survey in the 1990s. It is now sometimes seen in the aquarium hobby and is apparently not difficult to keep.

It is the first two chromides that are our subject matter here, as few aquarists are aware of their fascinating ecological interactions in the wild and their ideal aquarium requirements.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the September 2009 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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