What Lives With African Cichlids?

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What Lives With African Cichlids?

An Overview of African Cichlids

African cichlids, also known as the Mbuna cichlid, are a diverse group of fish that originate in the rocky, clear waters of Lake Malawi in East Africa. African cichlids are unique among aquarium fish in that they are mouthbrooders, with the female cichlid carrying the eggs and fry in her mouth until they are ready to be released. As a result, African cichlids are typically hardy and adaptable to a wide range of conditions and tank mates.

Best Tank Mates for African Cichlids

When it comes to choosing tank mates for African cichlids, it is important to choose species that are both compatible and complementary. While African cichlids are generally peaceful and do not usually bother other tank mates, they can be territorial and aggressive towards their own kind. It is best to find tank mates that will not compete with the African cichlids for food or territory. Some of the best tank mates for African cichlids include:

  • Other African Cichlids
  • Tetras
  • Guppies
  • Danios
  • Barbs
  • Bristlenose Plecos
  • Otocinclus Catfish

It is important to note that when selecting tank mates, the size of the tank should be taken into consideration. A larger tank can accommodate more fish and give them more space to swim and hide. Additionally, it is important to research the fish species before adding them to the tank. Some fish may be too large, or may not be compatible with the African cichlids.

Selecting the Right Environment for African Cichlids

When setting up a tank for African cichlids, the environment is just as important as the tank mates. African cichlids are best kept in tanks with a pH of 7.5-8.5, a temperature of 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit, and a hardness of 8-12 dH. African cichlids also prefer tanks with plenty of hiding places and plenty of rocks, plants, and driftwood to provide shelter and spawning sites. Additionally, African cichlids are very sensitive to changes in water chemistry and require regular water changes.

Types of African Cichlids

There are hundreds of species of African cichlids, with more being discovered every year. Some of the most popular species include the Electric Blue Ahli, the Auratus, the Yellow Lab, the Red Zebra, and the Kenyi. Each species of African cichlid has its own unique behavior and requirements, so it is important to research each species before adding them to the tank.


African cichlids can be great additions to a freshwater tank, but it is important to select the right tank mates and environment. By selecting compatible tank mates and providing the right environment, African cichlids can thrive in the aquarium and bring a splash of color and activity to any home aquarium.

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