How do you impress your date? Perhaps you bring a bouquet of flowers or maybe even a box of chocolates. But I bet you’ve never made a sandcastle to swoon her?   Believe it or not, that’s what male Cichlid fish do to attract a mate and intimidate fellow rivals.

These sandcastles that Cichlid fish create are called bowers. The bowers vary slightly in shape and size based on the species of Cichlid. There is also research suggesting that the shape of the bowers has a direct relation to how many fights the male fish gets in with his neighboring pals.


The male Cichlid fish creates these sandcastle mounds by sucking up sand with their mouths and spiting it out into piles. It’s almost as if they’re creating art to catch the eye of a female Cichlid swimming by.

Cichlid fish vary greatly in size, shape, and appearance, depending on what species it is, ranging from as small as an inch to just over three feet in length. There are over 1,500 known species of Cichlid fish across the globe, with many more going undiscovered or unnamed. The most recognizable species of Cichlid fish has to be tilapia.

The fish are found mostly in freshwater ecosystems across the globe. From South America to Africa, and Europe to North America, there are specific species associated with different locations. They are also very popular fish for freshwater aquariums.

So next time you’re out to swoon a date, why not take the Cichlid’s advice and build a sandcastle!


Image Credit: Benoit Rochon