If there is one genus of cichlid sure to dazzle, it has to be Paratilapia from Madagascar. Large, resplendent in colour and demeanour they are hardy, unusual and sure to earn a place in the heart of any keeper.
Paratilapia are the most widespread genus of cichlid in Madagascar and once found throughout the island. Today they are less common but still extant in the north-west and north-east, and along the entire east coast. There are also relic populations in the Central Massif and in pockets of the south-east.
A key question discussed by hobbyists and scientists involves the number of species of Paratilapia. Initially only one, P. polleni, was described and the name was mistakenly used to describe small spotted fish in the hobby. it was later found that the true Paratilapia polleni from north-west Madagascar is large and spotted.
A second species was later described as Paratilapia bleekeri and thought to differ from P. polleni in jaw shape, coloration, spot size and genital shape.