For a long time the Cichlinae were what most aquarists thought of in association with the word "Cichlid" - the family that includes the scalare Angelfish, the discus, dwarf cichlids of the genus Apistogramma, Oscars and all those small medium and large cichlids from Rams to Ports to the largest Cichla.
Historically one does not associate the Asian subcontinent with cichlid fishes because Cichlids from South America were first to be introduced into the aquarium hobby and were for many years nearly all there was. Other then the odd P. kribensis or the even less common Nannachromis are just about all that came in from Africa as far as cichlids went. The opening up of the Rift lakes due to the jetliner industry caused these rift valley cichlids to increase dramatically in popularity.
So it is perhaps easily forgotten that there are in fact cichlids on the Asian subcontinent- India has two: the green chromide and the orange chromide, both long known to science and aquarists alike. That there are relatives of these in Madagascar was a more recent discovery and in large part due to one man, Dr. Paul Loiselle, the authority on Madagascar fishes.
These appear to be remnants from a time when marine Perciformes got trapped in inland lakes as the oceans dried up. The species of the Etroplinae are found in fresh water while many species are also found in brackish water.
A very small number of these have been in the aquarium hobby since around 1900, but it was jet travel then opened up Africa to become a rich source of imports with the interest being split between the marine-like mouthbrooders of the great rift lakes of Africa and the west African dwarf cichlids a group which seems to also include Congo basin fish from Central Africa.