The most common peacock bass species found in Malaysia is the butterfly peacock bass which is similar to the introduced species in Florida, USA to control tilapia.
King of Fish
The local Malays call it ‘Ikan Raja’ and is also known as the ‘Wong Tai Yee’ to the local chinese, both literally translated as King of Fish. How that name came about I have absolutely no idea.
The butterfly peacock bass’ hometown is in northern Guyana shield drainages. It only occurs in the upper Rio Branco (Tacutu and Urariquera) in Brazil.
The temensis peacock (Cichla temensis) can also be found in Malaysia but their numbers are scarce at the time of writing.
The butterfly peacock bass can grow to 6kg or 13 lbs. This fish is not a bass, but is related instead to other cichlids such as the oscar and spotted tilapia. Its lower fins are bright red, and there are three vertical black bars on the body that are more pronounced in younger fish.
Unlike most other fish, bigger butterfly peacocks will most likely be males rather than females. Male peacocks can also be distinguished by a pronounced hump on the forehead during the breeding season.
This fish is first imported, bred and marketed in the aquarium business as the butterfly peacock bass and peacock cichlid.
There are a few versions of stories how this fish came about in the local scene. Whichever story is true I’m not sure but they first started appearing around the early 1990’s. The largest population of the Peacock Bass is found in and around an area called the Kinta Valley which is located on the southern end of the state of Perak.