Max Size: 17cm

Rainbow Cichlid (Herotilapia multispinosa)

Rainbow Cichlids are relatively peaceful especially compared to other Central American Cichlids. However, as their common name implies, Rainbow Cichlids can be very colourful fish in good condition and are popular because of their manageable size and calm nature.

It would be best if you kept these Cichlids with other easygoing Cichlids that are of similar size as well as other reasonably peaceable fish such as medium-sized, deep-bodied Tetras, medium-sized Barbs and Robust Livebearers. You can also keep these fish with doradids and Suckermouth Catfish.

The aquarium will need to be at least 3ft long for a pair of these fish and larger if you maintain them in a group. In addition, these fish prefer a muddy substrate, so it is best to choose sand rather than gravel as a substrate in the aquarium.

These Cichlids will also appreciate shelter in the form of driftwood, smooth rocky caves, pipes, flower pots, and some areas of robust planting for additional cover.

Filtration should be efficient, with a moderate amount of water flow, but make sure you create some calmer areas using the decor. These Cichlids require clean water, so be sure to carry out partial water changes regularly so that nitrate is kept to a minimum.

Rainbow Cichlids generally have a golden to orange body colour with an irregular black horizontal bar that runs from behind the eye on the gill cover back to the caudal fin. The eyes are orange, and they have orange in most of the fins. The exceptions are the pelvic fins which are bright blue, and the anal fins, which are a mix of the two colours, with more blue towards the front and the last third being all orange. In addition, their dorsal fin is orange with this same blue at the tips.

As an individual's mood and environment change, they can adjust their colouration between dark brown and bright yellow. They can either have a connected line of spots, a black horizontal stripe or vertical stripes that span across the top and front of the fish. These colour changes occur over a few seconds, which is unusual in freshwater fish.


Rainbow Cichlid
Rainbow Cichlid
Rainbow Cichlid
Quick Facts
Scientific NameHerotilapia multispinosa
Year Described1903
Other NamesNone
OriginsCosta Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua
Aquarium LevelAll Levels
Best kept asPairs
Lifespan7 - 10 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.0 - 8.0
GH5 - 20
72 - 82℉
22.2 - 27.8℃


In the home aquarium, the Rainbow Cichlid will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is pretty challenging to differentiate between male and female Rainbow Cichlids; however, mature males are usually larger and develop elongated or more pointed dorsal and anal fins.

Other Cichlids of interest

African Butterfly Cichlid(Anomalochromis thomasi)
Banded Apistogramma(Apistogramma bitaeniata)
Blue Panda Apistogramma(Apistogramma panduro, Apistogramma pandurini)
Bolivian Ram Cichlid(Mikrogeophagus altispinosus)
Checkerboard Cichlid(Dicrossus filamentosus)
Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid(Apistogramma cacatuoides)
View all Cichlids
Date Added: 20/10/2022 09:10:53 - Updated: 20/10/2022 09:49:06