Angelfish are among the most popular choices for freshwater aquariums. But can they actually share a tank with larger, typically more aggressive species like cichlids?
Which cichlid species can live with angelfish in the same tank? From which species should you avoid? And how can you make the two coexist peacefully?
In this article, I’ll discuss all these questions and more, so you leave with all the information you need. Let’s get started.
|Cichlid Species||Can Live With Angelfish|
|Electric Yellow Cichlid||No|
|Red Devil Cichlid||No|
Can Angelfish Live With Cichlids?
Yes, angelfish can live with certain cichlids, but it requires careful planning and consideration. This combination is not straightforward and needs specific conditions to work.
- Compatibility Challenges: Angelfish are peaceful, while many cichlids are aggressive. This temperament difference can lead to stress and conflict in the tank.
- Water Conditions: Both thrive in slightly acidic to neutral pH (6.8-7.8), but specific temperature and hardness needs vary, demanding close monitoring.
- Tank Size Matters: A large tank (minimum 55 gallons) is crucial to provide enough space and reduce territorial behavior, essential for cohabitation.
- Careful Species Selection: Choose less aggressive cichlids like Kribensis or Rams, which are more likely to coexist peacefully with angelfish in a community tank.
Also Read: Angelfish Tank Mates
Cichlid Species That Get Along With Angelfish
Not all cichlids get along with angelfish. Here are a few examples of species that can coexist:
1. Kribensis Cichlid
Kribensis are known for their relatively peaceful nature, making them a suitable tank mate for angelfish. They share similar water condition requirements, which aids in compatibility.
- Temperament Match: Kribensis are less aggressive than other cichlids, aligning well with the peaceful nature of angelfish, reducing chances of conflict.
- Size Compatibility: Growing up to 4 inches, Kribensis are small enough not to intimidate angelfish, fostering a more harmonious tank environment.
- Breeding Behavior: During breeding, Kribensis can become territorial. It’s advisable to provide ample hiding spaces to prevent stress on angelfish.
2. Blue Acara
Blue Acaras are known for their relatively calm demeanor among cichlids, making them good companions for angelfish. They require similar water conditions, easing the maintenance of a shared tank.
- Aggression Levels: Blue Acaras are moderately aggressive but usually tolerant towards species like angelfish, especially in well-structured tanks.
- Tank Environment: They thrive in a tank with plenty of hiding spots and swimming space, which also benefits angelfish by reducing territorial disputes.
- Dietary Habits: Both Blue Acaras and angelfish have similar feeding requirements, allowing for a shared diet plan which simplifies feeding routines.
Severums are larger cichlids but are known for their gentle nature, making them compatible with angelfish under the right conditions. They require similar water parameters, which is a plus.
- Gentle Giants: Despite their size (up to 8 inches), Severums are not overly aggressive, making them suitable tank mates for angelfish in spacious tanks.
- Space Requirement: Due to their size, a larger tank (at least 75 gallons) is recommended to ensure both species have ample space and reduce stress.
- Decor and Territory: Creating a well-decorated tank with plenty of hiding places helps maintain peace, especially important for cohabiting different species.
4. Keyhole Cichlid
Keyhole Cichlids are one of the most peaceful cichlid species, ideal for a community tank with angelfish. They share similar requirements for water quality and environment.
- Peaceful Nature: Keyhole Cichlids are known for their non-aggressive behavior, making them excellent companions for angelfish in a community aquarium.
- Tank Setup: Both species appreciate a tank with plenty of plants and hiding spaces, which helps in creating a stress-free environment for them.
- Breeding Caution: While generally peaceful, Keyhole Cichlids can become territorial during breeding. Providing separate breeding areas can mitigate potential issues.
5. Ram Cichlid
Ram Cichlids, particularly the German Blue Ram, are known for their peaceful and timid nature, making them excellent tank mates for angelfish.
They thrive in similar water conditions, which simplifies tank management.
- Gentle Behavior: Rams are non-aggressive and shy, aligning well with the calm nature of angelfish, reducing the likelihood of conflicts in the tank.
- Environmental Needs: Both prefer warm, slightly acidic water, with a temperature range of 78-85°F and pH around 6.0-7.5, making them compatible.
- Size Consideration: Ram Cichlids are small, reaching about 2-3 inches, which prevents them from intimidating angelfish and aids in peaceful cohabitation.
Discus are not cichlids, but they are often considered compatible with angelfish due to similar water parameter needs and temperament.
They are known for their striking appearance and peaceful nature.
- Similar Requirements: Both Discus and angelfish prefer warm, soft, and slightly acidic water, making it easier to maintain a balanced tank environment.
- Peaceful Coexistence: Discus are calm and non-aggressive, matching the temperament of angelfish and promoting a tranquil aquarium setting.
- Dietary Habits: They have similar feeding preferences, enjoying a varied diet, which allows for a shared feeding regimen, simplifying meal times.
7. Peacock Cichlid
Peacock Cichlids, particularly from the Aulonocara genus, are one of the more peaceful African cichlids and can sometimes be compatible with angelfish, although this is less common due to different water requirements.
- Mild Temperament: Peacock Cichlids are less aggressive than other African cichlids, but compatibility with angelfish can be tricky due to their different natural habitats.
- Water Parameter Differences: Peacocks typically prefer harder, more alkaline water (pH 7.8-8.6), which can be challenging to reconcile with angelfish’s preference for softer, more acidic conditions.
- Tank Size and Layout: A large, well-structured aquarium with plenty of hiding spots can help in managing territorial behaviors and stress levels in both species.
Also Read: Can Angelfish And Turtles Live Together?
Cichlids That Shouldn’t Be Kept With Angelfish
On the other hand, a few cichlid species should not be kept with angelfish. Here are some of the most common ones:
1. African Cichlids
Generally, African Cichlids are not suitable tank mates for angelfish due to their aggressive nature and differing water requirements.
The vastly different environments they come from make cohabitation challenging.
- Aggressive Behavior: African Cichlids are known for their territorial and aggressive tendencies, which can lead to stress and harm for the more peaceful angelfish.
- Water Parameters: They prefer alkaline water (pH 7.8-8.5), while angelfish thrive in softer, more acidic conditions, making the water chemistry incompatible.
- Environmental Needs: African Cichlids are accustomed to rocky, open water environments, unlike the densely planted settings preferred by angelfish.
2. Electric Yellow Cichlid
Electric Yellow Cichlids, or Labidochromis caeruleus, are popular for their vibrant color but are not ideal companions for angelfish.
Their semi-aggressive nature and specific water needs make them incompatible.
- Semi-Aggressive Temperament: These cichlids can exhibit territorial behavior, especially during breeding, which can be stressful for angelfish.
- Different Habitat Preferences: Originating from Lake Malawi, Electric Yellow Cichlids are adapted to hard, alkaline water, unlike the softer conditions preferred by angelfish.
- Dietary Differences: They have specific dietary needs, focusing on high-protein foods, which differs from the varied diet of angelfish, complicating feeding routines.
3. Convict Cichlid
Convict Cichlids are known for their bold stripes and aggressive behavior, making them unsuitable for a tank with angelfish.
Their territorial nature and breeding aggression are significant concerns.
- High Aggression Levels: Convict Cichlids are highly territorial and can become particularly aggressive during breeding, posing a threat to angelfish.
- Breeding Territoriality: When breeding, Convict Cichlids become extremely territorial and can attack other fish, including angelfish, to protect their young.
- Different Water Needs: They can adapt to a range of water conditions but generally prefer harder, more alkaline water, unlike the soft, acidic environment for angelfish.
4. Malawi Cichlids
Malawi Cichlids, native to Lake Malawi in Africa, are typically not recommended to be kept with angelfish due to their aggressive nature and different environmental requirements.
- Inherent Aggression: Many Malawi Cichlids are known for their assertive and territorial behavior, which can lead to conflicts with the more peaceful angelfish.
- Habitat Discrepancy: They are used to the hard, alkaline waters of Lake Malawi, which contrasts sharply with the soft, acidic water preferred by angelfish.
- Diet and Health Concerns: Malawi Cichlids often require a diet high in vegetable content to prevent health issues, differing from the omnivorous diet suitable for angelfish.
Frontosas are a species of African Cichlids known for their size and majestic appearance but are not suitable to be kept with angelfish.
Their large size and specific water conditions make them incompatible tank mates.
- Large Size and Dominance: Frontosas can grow up to 12 inches, making them much larger and potentially more dominant than angelfish, leading to intimidation and stress.
- Water Condition Differences: They require hard, alkaline water typical of the African Rift Lakes, which is not conducive to the soft, acidic preferences of angelfish.
- Dietary Needs: Frontosas have a diet that leans more towards carnivorous, differing from the omnivorous diet of angelfish, complicating feeding schedules in a shared tank.
6. Mbuna Cichlids
Mbuna are a group of African Cichlids from Lake Malawi, known for their bright colors and active behavior.
However, their aggressive nature and environmental needs make them unsuitable for cohabitation with angelfish.
- High Aggression and Territoriality: Mbunas are very territorial and can be aggressive, especially in confined spaces, posing a risk to the more docile angelfish.
- Alkaline Water Preference: Mbunas thrive in the high pH, hard water of Lake Malawi, which is a stark contrast to the water conditions preferred by angelfish.
- Activity and Space Requirements: Mbunas are active swimmers and require lots of space and rocky structures, differing from the angelfish’s need for planted areas.
7. Red Devil Cichlid
Red Devil Cichlids are known for their bright coloration and strong personalities, but they are notoriously aggressive, making them a poor choice for a tank with angelfish.
- Extreme Aggression: Red Devils are one of the most aggressive cichlid species, often attacking and bullying tank mates, including larger and peaceful species like angelfish.
- Large Size and Dominance: Growing up to 15 inches, their size and dominant nature can be intimidating to angelfish, causing stress and potential harm.
- Specific Habitat Needs: They prefer environments with plenty of open swimming space and minimal vegetation, which can conflict with the angelfish’s preference for densely planted areas.
8. Jewel Cichlid
Jewel Cichlids are admired for their stunning colors but are known for their aggressive and territorial behavior, making them unsuitable companions for angelfish.
- Territorial and Aggressive Nature: Jewels are highly territorial, especially during breeding, and can be aggressive towards other fish, including angelfish.
- Breeding Aggression: Their aggression intensifies during breeding, posing a significant risk to other tank inhabitants, particularly more peaceful species like angelfish.
- Different Environmental Preferences: Jewel Cichlids often prefer water that’s more neutral to slightly alkaline, which can conflict with the angelfish’s preference for slightly acidic conditions.
How to Make Angelfish Coexist With Cichlids Peacefully
To make angelfish coexist peacefully with cichlids, careful selection of cichlid species and meticulous tank management are key.
Balancing the environment to suit both types of fish is crucial for their cohabitation.
- Choose Compatible Species: Opt for peaceful cichlids like Kribensis, Blue Acara, or Keyhole, which are less likely to bully or stress angelfish.
- Large Tank Size: A tank of at least 55 gallons is necessary to provide sufficient space, reducing territorial conflicts and stress among fish.
- Structured Environment: Design the tank with numerous plants, caves, and driftwood to create hiding spots and visual barriers, minimizing aggressive encounters.
- Monitor Water Conditions: Keep water pH between 6.8-7.8, temperature around 78-82°F, and hardness within 3-8 dGH to cater to both species’ needs.
- Proper Feeding Routine: Feed a balanced diet that meets the nutritional needs of both species, with a mix of flakes, pellets, and occasional live or frozen foods.
- Regular Tank Maintenance: Perform weekly water changes of 10-15% and clean the substrate to maintain water quality, crucial for reducing stress and disease.
- Observation and Intervention: Regularly observe fish behavior, ready to intervene or rearrange the tank setup if signs of excessive aggression or stress are noticed.
Other Fish That Can Live With Angelfish
Angelfish can live harmoniously with a variety of other fish species that share similar water parameters and have a peaceful temperament.
Choosing tank mates that won’t nip at the angelfish’s long fins or compete aggressively for food is crucial.
- Tetras: Small and peaceful, like Neon or Cardinal Tetras, are great companions; they prefer similar water conditions and don’t bother angelfish.
- Corydoras Catfish: Bottom-dwelling and non-aggressive, they clean up leftover food without disturbing angelfish, preferring similar water temperatures.
- Dwarf Gouramis: These peaceful fish are a good match in temperament and size, thriving in the same soft, slightly acidic water as angelfish.
- Platies and Mollies: Hardy and peaceful, these livebearers coexist well with angelfish, requiring similar water conditions and offering varied coloration.
- Rasboras: Small, peaceful schooling fish like Harlequin Rasboras are excellent choices, requiring similar water parameters and not competing with angelfish for space.
- Loaches: Species like Kuhli Loaches are peaceful bottom dwellers, great for keeping the substrate clean and not interfering with the angelfish’s swimming area.
Also Read: Do Angelfish Eat Tetras?
For quick readers, here’s a short summary:
- Angelfish can coexist with some cichlids like Kribensis and Blue Acaras, but require careful species selection and a large, well-structured tank to minimize aggression.
- Successful cohabitation depends on matching water conditions, as both angelfish and compatible cichlids thrive in slightly acidic to neutral pH and similar temperatures.
- Tank size is critical for peace, with a minimum of 55 gallons recommended to provide sufficient space and reduce territorial conflicts among the fish.
- Not all cichlids are suitable for living with angelfish; notably, aggressive African Cichlids and species like Convict and Red Devil Cichlids should be avoided due to behavioral and environmental mismatches.
- To ensure peaceful coexistence, the tank environment should include hiding spots and visual barriers, with regular monitoring and maintenance of water conditions and feeding routines.