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Rainbow cichlid - Herotilapia multispinosa

Rainbow cichlid - Herotilapia multispinosa

Scientific name: Herotilapia multispinosa

Common name: Rainbow cichlid

Family: Cichlidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 11 - 12 cm (4.33 - 4.72 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 7 - 8

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 10 - 20°N (178.57 - 357.14ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 22 - 29 °C (71.6 - 84.2°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: Central America

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Bottom levels


Central America; Rainbow cichlid is to be found in the Honduras and Nicaragua.


The expected life span for Herotilapia multispinosa is 8 years.

Short description Herotilapia multispinosa will change colouration according to its moods. A peaceful species compared to other American cichlids, it is also tolerant of water conditions. The Rainbow cichlid inhabits muddy waters in the wild but this would be very hard to re-create in the aquarium. The best a keeper could do in reality is to keep the lighting dim and add plenty of plants to diffuse the light even further. These fish like to dig do use sand for the substrate and as they occupy inland waters in their natural habitat, it is best to keep the water flow low. They will require some swimming space in the aquarium so make sure that the minimum size for the aquarium is at least 36 inches (91.44 cm), the depth is not critical but obviously the larger the water volume, the easier it is to control the water quality and parameters.

As mentioned above they are classed as a peaceful species compared to the other cichlid species available so can be housed with other species of fish with a similar disposition.

Food and feeding

The Rainbow cichlid is an omnivore; it will accept quality flake and cichlid pellets. Blood worms and brine shrimp will also be accepted as treats. The diet should be supplemented with other treats such as spirulina which is classed as vegetable matter and they are often seen to be grazing on any algae present in the aquarium.


Males will have extended dorsal and anal fins. As they mature, the males will also be larger than the females and more colourful.


Condition the parents on brine shrimp and blood worms, in the breeding tank add a couple of upturned plant pots. Prior to spawning, the parent fish may darken , in some cases the fish may even turn black. When the spawning site has been cleaned, a batch of approx. 300 eggs will be laid. The eggs should hatch after 3 days, the parents may move the fry to another area in the tank. Once free swimming the fry can be fed on finely crushed flake.

Both parents will show parental care towards the eggs and once hatched, the fry. There is no reason to separate the male and female once the eggs have been fertilised. They may show aggression towards other tank mates when spawning so it is always advised to use a separate breeding tank.


Thanks to Richard Smith for picture! Other pictures were bought from by

Rainbow cichlid Rainbow cichlid picture 2 Rainbow cichlid picture 3 Rainbow cichlid picture 4

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