Cichlids are rather deep-bodied and have one nostril (rather than the usual two) on each side of the head. The lateral line is discontinuous, and there are three or more anal spines. They generally have rounded tails and, though sizable for aquarium fishes, usually do not grow longer than about 30 cm (12 inches).
African cichlids are a diverse fish group, available in a variety of sizes, colors, patterns, and fin styles. Most African cichlids are torpedo shaped, with flat, rounded fins and curved triangular tails.