Color vision is the capacity to discriminate color regardless of brightness. It is essential for many fish species as they rely on color discrimination for numerous ecological tasks. The study of color vision is important because it can unveil the mechanisms that shape coloration patterns, visual system sensitivities and, hence, visual signals. In order to better understand the mechanisms underlying color vision, an integrative approach is necessary. This usually requires combining behavioral, physiological and genetic experiments with quantitative modeling, resulting in a distinctive characterization of the visual system. Here, we provide new data on the color vision of a rock-dwelling cichlid from Lake Malawi: Metriaclima benetos. For this study we used a behavioral approach to demonstrate color vision through classical conditioning, complemented with modeling of color vision to estimate color contrast. For our experiments we took into account opsin coexpression and considered whether cichlids exhibit a dichromatic or a trichromatic visual system. Behavioral experiments confirmed color vision in M. benetos; most fish were significantly more likely to choose the trained over the distracter stimuli, irrespective of brightness. Our results are supported by visual modeling that suggests that cichlids are trichromats and achieve color vision through color opponency mechanisms, which are a result of three different photoreceptor channels. Our analyses also suggest that opsin coexpression can negatively affect perceived color contrast. This study is particularly relevant for research on the cichlid lineage because cichlid visual capabilities and coloration patterns are implicated in their adaptive radiation.