I find this statement very broad. Not all cichlids are like that.cichlids really arent compatable with any fish. they'll beat the hell out of any fish thats small enough. wouldnt recomend them.
My tins run from my pleco. Iv never touched my plec, I thought about it last week but got scared. I have a hard time letting my fantail suck my finger once, the tin foils thought about it and I yanked my hand out of the tank. NO TOUCH!!!I have one of those common plecos. It felt like "rock" when I touched them. But even with that, it got shreded easily by tinfoil barbs. Even if it is a bit "armored" doesn't mean that it can withstand any beating. There are still some soft spots in their like the fins and as mentioned, the eye.
Some guys here made wallets out of their skin (school project). And their body secretions are being studied as an alternative biofuel source.
No need to be afraid of your plec! His skin is rough and very firm, covered in little horns at the plate joins, his fins are often serrated along the leading edge, and needles reside in the larger rays. For all that, the horns are not sharp, the serrations are more like sandpaper than a knife, and the needles break fairly easily. They are also all pointed to keep him from being swallowed from behind. Some species keep a fighting hook under the gills, but even this is a little thing, that can barely scratch the skin in a casual touching. Commons don't have one I believe, and are generally more apt to flee than fight. Very powerfull fish, they are difficult to hold, even for the experienced fish keeper, but for gentle slow petting, commons are a worth while fish to interact with. Go on, slow and easy, give him a try...My tins run from my pleco. Iv never touched my plec, I thought about it last week but got scared. I have a hard time letting my fantail suck my finger once, the tin foils thought about it and I yanked my hand out of the tank. NO TOUCH!!!