As you learn about tankmates for African Cichlids it’s also important to know some interesting fun facts and myths.
Did you know?….
African Cichlids are great parents. Both the moms and dads take care of the eggs. The males protect the nest against predators while the females move their tales to mix water and make sure the eggs are intact.
African Cichlids have the fastest evolution of all vertebrates. Single species of cichlids evolved into 500 new species during a period of one million years. Compare that to the ape that only evolved into three different species over a matter of 10 million years.
African Cichlids are not “killer fish” like some people like to think. Yes, they are aggressive. But, they don’t kill everything in sight.
One of the most well-known edible Cichlids is Tilapia which has been imported and farmed worldwide.
You may see Cichlids swim to the top of the water in the tank and maybe even try to eat out of your hand!
Cichlids like to dig up plants. While a couple may be nice for decoration inside the tank, you don’t want to add too many.
Cichlids are strong fish and are rarely prone to disease.
You do not need to add salt minerals to the Cichlid tank. They can thrive in freshwater just as well.
African Cichlids can make great additions to your aquarium. Just give them enough space and some cool hiding places! Remember to keep the small fish out and the big fish that can hold their own in with the Cichlids.
Can All African Cichlids Live Together?
Since African Cichlids are known to be territorial and aggressive, it’s best to keep them with fish of their kind. Keep in mind only cichlids from the same continent should be kept in the same tank.
With that said, you don’t want to have African Cichlids from closely related species together because they may produce undesirable hybrids. You can keep an Auloncara with Utaka and Mbuna cichlids from in the same aquarium.
Other species of fish can live with African Cichlids, which we will discuss next.
What other fish can live with African cichlids?
Although most Cichlids would be considered aggressive fish, most Cichlids can live with most loaches, catfish, shark species, plecos, and larger tetra species.
Below we will go into detail about all the other fish that can live with your African Cichlids as well as which ones you should avoid.
Can African Cichlids Live with South American Cichlids
No, in most cases, you shouldn’t mix the two different species for many reasons.
One reason is that African Cichlids and South American Cichlids require different water parameters. For example, fish from South America tend to require more acidic water and a lower pH, while some African Cichlids will want harder water set up with a more alkaline pH.
Aggression, spawning & diet are also excellent reasons not to mix cichlids from different continents.
However, some have noted success with mixing African cichlids with South American Cichlids noting that to succeed, you’ll need a big enough tank and lost of fish to ensure not one fish is getting bullied all the time.
Can African Cichlids Live with Clown Loaches
The answer here is a bit mixed, many have had success with Clown Loaches (CL’s) in an African Cichlid tank, and many that warn against it.
Most complaints or issues with keeping them in the same tank seem to be regarding the water parameters, not the behavior of the fish themselves. The problem seems to be that the PH will be too high for Clown Loach, and the fish might eventually die.
When looking at pH, the clown loach prefers a pH of 6 to 7.5. Most African Cichlids prefer 7.8 – 8.5, which is quite a difference, so I would tend to stick with the naysayers on this one.
On the flip side, some keepers have noted success and don’t seem to believe there is an issue.
Can African Cichlids Live with Discus
No, Discus fish are from South America and require very different water conditions. Most African Cichlids would be considered too aggressive for Discus. Discus should be kept with other South American species like Tetras that are smaller and peaceful.
Can African Cichlids Live with Driftwood
African Cichlids love plenty of hiding places to create their territory. Rocks, caves, and other ornaments and shells are best for this. In most cases, try to avoid using driftwood as some driftwood has naturally occurring tannins that can sometimes lower the pH of the water.
However, fake and ornamental driftwood would be more than acceptable.
Can African Cichlids Live with Jack Dempseys
No, it’s not a good idea. In most cases, the Jack Dempsey can grow up to 10″ in size and will become very territorial. Jack Dempsey’s are very aggressive and are very likely to kill off the smaller African Cichlids.
In some very rare cases, you can accomplish a balance between Africans and New World Cichlids; however, it’s best to try something other than the Jack Dempsey.
Can African Cichlids Live with Flowerhorn
This is another mixed answer. Some say yes, some say no.
Those that say no, claim the Flowerhorn is too aggressive and large and will ultimately kill the smaller African Cichlids.
However, those that disagree state quite the opposite and claim that the smaller size, aggressive nature, and lighting quick reflexes is what makes them compatible.
Those that keep them together state that African Cichlids can out-maneuver and hide before ever getting injured from the flower horn.
Can African Cichlids Live with Silver Dollars
No, in general, there is a difference in requirements for PH, GH, and KH when it comes to mixing Silver Dollars with African Cichlids.
However, Silver Dollars would make excellent tank mates for any mid-sized South American cichlids.
Can African Cichlids Live with Oscars
No, African Cichlids and Oscars should not be kept in the same tank. For many reasons but the obvious one being that they are from different parts of the world and require very different water parameters.
Also, depending on how aggressive your Oscar is and the Africans in the tank, they are likely to fight to the death.
Can African Cichlids Live with Angelfish
No, Angelfish are moderate to peaceful species and will not last in a tank full of African Cichlids. Angels will do best if kept with other fish from the same habitat.
If you want some small cichlids, try small ram cichlids and some Kribs.
Can African Cichlids Live with Bala Sharks
Bala sharks can get up to 10 inches in size and are more than fast enough to escape a few African Cichlids. As long as the Bala Sharks are bigger than 4″ in size, they would be fine in an African Cichlid tank.
Can African Cichlids Live with Tiger Barbs
Tiger Barbs are known to be pesky aggressive little fish. That said, they are nothing compared to the aggressive nature and force of African Cichlids.
Tiger Barbs are not compatible with African Cichlids and should not be kept together.
Can African Cichlids Live with Tetras
Almost all African Cichlids will grow much larger than most Tetras and likely feast on them. To be safe, you can not keep tetra with African Cichlids.
Some recommend that you can keep Silver Dollars (which are a Tetra Species) with African Cichlids; however, as mentioned above, this is not recommended due to the different water parameters.
Can African Cichlids Live with Crayfish
Maybe, some say yes, some say no. Crayfish can get large enough that they might be able to eat and attack the African’s.
However, when the crayfish molts, it’s will become irresistible to cichlids, and they will try to eat the crayfish.
What kind of fish can you put with Cichlids?
Although most Cichlids would be considered aggressive fish most Cichlids can live with most loaches, catfish, shark species, plecos, and larger tetra species.
Can Cichlids and Angelfish be in the same tank?
Angelfish are one of the more docile of all cichlid species and can live with other Cichlids from the same regions such as ram Cichlids. However, African Cichlids are not likely to get along with angelfish.
Can I put an Oscar with African Cichlids?
In this case, it’s not the Cichlids you need to worry about. Oscars should only be kept with other Oscars in very large and open aquariums.
While most Cichlids are too aggressive for most community tanks there are a few more docile Cichlids that can be used in a community tank such as; Angelfish, Rams & Apistogramma.
Did you know you can keep some Cichlids in tanks as small as 10 gallons? Read our article about Cichlids for a 10-gallon tank.
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