What Other Fish Can You Have With African Cichlids? Discover the Best Tankmates for Your Aquarium

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Are you looking for the perfect tankmates to keep with your African cichlids? While these fish are known for being slightly aggressive, that doesn’t mean they can’t coexist peacefully in an aquarium setting. In fact, there are several other fish species that make great compatible companions for African cichlids.

One of the most important things to consider when choosing tankmates is making sure they have similar water requirements as African cichlids. This means ensuring they need a high pH and hard water just like their cichlid counterparts. Additionally, it’s crucial to choose fish that are relatively similar in size so no one gets bullied or eaten.

“While aggression may be a characteristic often associated with Africans… in full functionally complete tanks where planning has gone into both selection of species and habitat design aggressiveness will rarely ever reach unacceptable levels. ” – Dave Schumacher

With all that said, here are some top choices for what other fish can you have with African cichlids:

  • Synodontis catfish
  • Tinfoil barbs
  • Bristlenose plecos
  • Rainbowfish
  • Catostomus catfish

The key takeaway is putting thought into selecting appropriate tank mates while keeping up on good maintenance practices – this way everyone should be able to live comfortably together without any issues!

Peaceful Fish Species That Can Coexist with African Cichlids

African cichlids are beautiful and colorful fish species that can create an eye-catching aquarium. However, sometimes it’s nice to add some variety to the tank by adding other peaceful fish species. When considering adding new fish to your African cichlid tank, it is essential to consider their compatibility.

The first option is the bristlenose pleco, a great addition as they are known for their algae-eating abilities; therefore, maintaining a clean tank in-between water changes.

The second choice is catfish such as Synodontis Petricola- excellent additions because of its blue-gray skin color and dotted pattern. They also feed off the food leftovers from your African cichlid without causing any havoc in the tank or distracting them while feeding themselves just fine.

If you’re into tetras, then Black Skirt Tetra would be perfect for this particular type of tank environment. These black-skinned tropical fish hangout peacefully displaying elegant schooling behavior amongst each other which compliments perfectly with an African cichlid setup.

“It is always best practice to research before purchasing any additional fishes”

Last but not least on our list includes various types of Rasbora species (Harlequin, Scissortail)) – attractive small schoolers that maintain peace within the community tank setting. Nevertheless, care should still take place when choosing these harmless-looking aquatic creatures

Overall there are several options out there if you wish to explore beyond African cichlids keeping company consisting solely of one type of African cichlid species only particularly when we talk about peaceful coexisting alternatives. Remember I mentioned earlier proper research always goes a long way!


Guppies are one of the most popular and easy-to-care-for aquarium fish. They come in a variety of colors, making them an attractive addition to any tank. But can they coexist with African Cichlids? Let’s find out.

Firstly, it is not recommended to keep guppies with African Cichlids as they have different water requirements. Cichlids prefer hard alkaline water while guppies thrive in soft acidic water.

In addition, African Cichlids can be aggressive towards smaller fish like guppies. They might see them as prey or competition for resources which could lead to serious injury or death for the guppy.

If you still want to add some colorful fish to your cichlid aquarium, consider adding larger species that can hold their own against the aggression of African Cichlids such as Giant Danios, Silver Dollars, Tinfoil Barbs, Rainbowfish or Jack Dempsey Fishes.

It is important to always research suitable tankmates before introducing them into a shared habitat so welfare considerations take top priority over desire for aesthetic visuals

African Cichlids also need plenty of hiding places within their environment so make sure there are ample spots for safe shelter if needed. Furthermore ensure all plants ornaments are sturdy because Cichlids will move things around creating a stronger territorial value on areas. So ultimately It does seem wise to avoid keeping Guppies with African Cichilds due to differences in water conditions and temperament but researching more compatible species prior introduction will encompass better animal husbandry/ care practices & importantly safer healthier living environments overall.

Neon Tetras

If you are thinking of keeping African Cichlids in your aquarium, then choosing the right tank mates is essential for their well-being. Neon tetras could be a great option to consider as they can coexist with many types of fish without causing any trouble.

These small and vibrant freshwater fish from South America usually prefer to swim around mid-level areas of the aquarium, making them an excellent addition to complete the look of your aquarium.

Their peaceful temperament makes them perfect companions for African Cichlids who tend to dominate other species if kept with aggressive varieties. However, make sure not to add too many neon tetras or any other type of schooling fish at once, which might stress out your cichlids due to over-crowding.

“It’s always better to start slow and gradually increase the number of fishes while monitoring their behavior frequently. “

You may also want to include some bottom dwellers like Plecos or Corydoras Catfish that inhabit lower levels of water while complementing aquatic life beautifully. Bottom-feeders will keep the area clean by consuming leftover food particles and waste materials adding another layer of pleasure for both you and your pets.

In conclusion, careful planning and research must be done before selecting suitable tank partners with African Cichlids so that everyone thrives harmoniously together in one ecosystem, creating a beautiful underwater world ready for exploration.

Corydoras Catfish

When it comes to keeping African cichlids, many aquarists wonder what other fish they can have in their tank. One great option are the peaceful and hardy Corydoras catfish.

Native to South America, these bottom-dwelling fish make for perfect companions to African cichlids as they occupy different areas of the aquarium. As cichlids tend to occupy the middle and upper levels of the tank, Corydoras catfish stay at the bottom and help clean up any leftover food or debris.

In addition to being good cleaners, Corydoras also provide interesting behavior with their playful antics. They are known for constantly moving about on the substrate searching for food, making them a pleasure to watch.

It’s important to note that not all species of Corydoras may be suitable tankmates for African cichlids due to differences in water parameters. Therefore, it’s recommended to research which species would do well with your specific type of cichlid before adding them to your aquarium.

If you’re looking to add some diversity and personality into your African cichlid tank, consider the fascinating and helpful Corydoras catfish!

Bottom-Dwelling Fish That Can Share the Same Tank as African Cichlids

African cichlids are popular among aquarium enthusiasts due to their vibrant colors and active behavior. However, it can be challenging to find suitable tankmates for these fish. Many potential companions may become aggressive or attempt to eat smaller cichlids.

If you’re looking for bottom-dwelling fish that can coexist with your African cichlids, consider adding catfish species such as plecos or Corydoras. These fish are peaceful and won’t compete with the cichlids for food since they primarily feed on algae and leftover scraps from the surface layers of the aquarium water.

Another option is to add some freshwater shrimp, which serve a dual purpose: they keep the aquarium clean by consuming uneaten food particles and algae while also being an ideal snack-sized meal for larger cichlid species like peacock bass. Ghost shrimp, cherry shrimp, amano shrimp make excellent choices when selecting a compatible pet shrimps in an African ciclhets community tank setup.

“It’s essential to research each potential addition carefully before introducing them into your established aquarium environment. ”

In conclusion, there are several bottom-dwelling options available when considering what other fish can live happily alongside African cichlids. Catfish species and freshwater shrimp are great choices because of their low competition levels with these colorful and sometimes aggressive fish. As with anything involving aquatic life setups; vigilance is key to ensuring all inhabitants stay healthy & happy; maintaining pre-set parameters creates thriving environmental setups leading towards proper care of every animal involved best practice.


Plecos are a type of freshwater catfish that can be great companions for African Cichlids in an aquarium setting. These fish have a unique look, with their sucker mouths and flat bodies covered in bony plates.

One important thing to keep in mind when adding plecos to your African Cichlid tank is size compatibility. Plecos come in many different species, some of which can grow up to two feet long! Therefore, it’s crucial to research the specific species you’re interested in before introducing them into your aquarium.

In addition to being interesting visually, plecos also serve a practical purpose within the tank. Their sucker mouths allow them to cling onto surfaces like rocks and glass walls, where they’ll scrape away algae buildup and other debris.

While not aggressive towards other fish, it’s worth noting that larger pleco species may become territorial over preferred hiding spots or feeding areas within the aquarium. Because African Cichlids tend to be more assertive as well, these potential conflicts should be taken into account during setup.

Overall, if properly researched and introduced carefully, plecos can make excellent additions to tanks containing African Cichlids. As always with any aquatic environment, frequent monitoring of water conditions and behavior is key to keeping all inhabitants healthy and happy!


Loaches are a great addition to an African Cichlid tank as they can help keep it clean. They have a peaceful demeanor and come in various colors, making them visually appealing.

One type of loach that pairs well with African Cichlids is the Yo-Yo Loach. These fish are known for their algae-eating abilities, which makes them a valuable asset in keeping your tank clean.

The Kuhli Loach is another popular option for African Cichlid tanks. Their slender build allows them to navigate through rocky terrain easily without disturbing any other inhabitants.

Coolie Loaches also work well with African Cichlids due to their easy-going nature. They tend to stay toward the bottom of the aquarium, providing added depth to your tank’s overall appearance.

You should always research any potential new species before adding them to your African Cichlid tank! Some fish can be aggressive or may not coexist peacefully together!
In conclusion, when considering what other fish you can have with African Cichlids, loaches make an excellent choice if you want a peaceful yet functional addition to your community aquarium. Just remember to do your research beforehand and choose compatible tankmates wisely.

Mid-Level Swimmers That Can Thrive in African Cichlid Aquariums

If you have an African cichlid aquarium, you may be wondering what other fish can live harmoniously with them. While cichlids are known for being aggressive towards other species, there are some mid-level swimmers that can thrive alongside them.

The first option is the Bristlenose Pleco. These fish love to clean algae off of rocks and decorations, making them a great addition to any aquarium. They also tend to stay near the bottom of the tank, which means they won’t interfere with your cichlids’ territory.

Anohter good choice would be Kribensis Cichlids, as they come from the same region as their larger cousins and have evolved together over time. Kribensis will often find their own hiding spots in caves or between rocks and plants so territoriality hasn’t become much problem with these two – although some caution needs to be exercised during breeding season.

Synodontis Catfish prefer fast-moving rivers back home but adjusted well into aquarium conditions in captivity. Known for voraciously consuming leftover pellets at night before anyone could see it happening. – Except sometime when Cichlids try eating up all food first.

Note: Remember to avoid adding small schooling fishes such as tetras or molly’s. There’s no guarantee that your pet Cihclides wouldn’t attack/eat all of them eventually.

In conclusion, if you want newswimming companions for your African cichlid aquarium, consider Bristlenose Plecos, Kribensis Cichlids & Synodontis catfish – Mid-Level Species which won’t spark direct competition that may not end well for the small-and-quick species introduced thereafter.


Swordtails are a type of fish that can be kept with African Cichlids. These freshwater fish are native to Mexico and Central America, but they have been widely distributed throughout the world as aquarium pets.

They are active swimmers and come in various colors including red, orange, yellow, green, and black. Swordtails get their name from the sword-like extension found on their tail fin.

The colorful appearance and peaceful nature make swordtails great companions for African Cichlids. They share similar water requirements and diet preferences which means they can thrive together.

It is important to provide enough hiding spots for the swordtails since African Cichlids tend to be aggressive towards other fish. Plants and rock formations can serve as ideal locations for hiding.

“I’ve had success keeping my African Cichlids with some small species of livebearers like swordtails. ” – Fish enthusiast
In summary, Swordtails make wonderful tank mates for your African cichlid tanks due to their striking colors and compatibility within certain conditions. Live plants or shelter caves act as hiding spaces to avoid being targeted by the more aggressive cichlid fishes. Consider adding them into your community when choosing suitable pairings for the most effective space-loving experience!


When it comes to finding the perfect tank mate for African cichlids, gouramis are a great option. Gouramis and cichlids have similar compatibility needs in terms of water conditions and swimming habits.

One type of gourami that mixes well with African cichlids is the dwarf gourami (Trichogaster lalius). This species has peaceful behavior and won’t compete with the territorial cichlid fish.

The blue or three-spot gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus) is another good match for African cichlids. They are adaptable to different types of environments, which makes them compatible with many other types of freshwater fish as well.

Kissing gouramis (Helostoma temminckii) can also live harmoniously in an aquarium housing African cihclids. These unique creatures have large lips and will often engage in “kissing” each other – though this behavior usually only happens between males during breeding season.

If you’re opting to keep more aggressive or larger fish such as Oscars or peacock bass, avoid adding any kind of small schooling fish like tetras as they’ll likely become prey. However, you might be able to pair these carnivorous giants up with robust catfish such as Doradidae or Loricariidae family members without significant problems (Aquarium Adviser).
In addition to gouramis, there are several other complementary options when it comes to sharing an aquarium space with your African Cichlids. Larger fish like plecos make good companions since they occupy different sections of the tank and typically don’t interfere with one another’s territory. Ultimately, careful research should guide all decisions about which species to add and which to avoid when creating a harmonious tank environment for your African cichlids. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that all of the inhabitants in your aquarium are happy and healthy.

Other African Cichlid Species That Can Live Together in the Same Tank

If you are looking for other fish species to keep with your African cichlids, there are several options that can coexist and thrive in the same aquarium.

Mbunas are a type of rock-dwelling African cichlid that are often kept together. Some popular mbuna species include:

  • Yellow Lab (Labidochromis caeruleus)
  • Demasoni (Pseudotropheus demasoni)
  • Johanni (Melanochromis johannii)

Haplochromines are another group of African cichlids which originate from open waters as opposed to rocky areas. Examples of haplochromine species include:

  • Bumblebee (Pseudotropheus crabro)
  • Electric Yellow (Labidochromis electric yellow)
  • Red Zebra (Metriaclima estherae)
It is important to note that while many varieties of African cichlids can be housed together, it is best to avoid mixing them with other types of fish because they have very different temperature, pH, and dietary needs.

In addition to selecting compatible cichlid species, it is also crucial to provide ample hiding spots and territories for each fish. This helps reduce aggression by allowing each fish to claim its own dedicated space within the aquarium. Providing live plants or artificial decor such as rocks and caves can help create these hiding places.

When setting up an African cichlid tank, proper research and planning will ensure a harmonious and thriving aquatic environment.

Electric Yellow Cichlid

The Electric Yellow Cichlid is a popular species of African cichlid known for its vibrant, yellow coloration and peaceful temperament. They can be kept in community tanks with other non-aggressive fish species of similar size.

When it comes to keeping other fish with African cichlids, it’s important to consider the specific needs and behaviors of each species. In general, most peaceful and medium-sized fish that are compatible with the water parameters of African cichlids can make good tankmates.

Some examples of suitable tankmates for Electric Yellow Cichlids include:

  • Bristlenose or Clown Pleco
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Rainbow Shark
Note that while some types of tetras (such as Congo Tetras) may work well with African cichlids, others may not due to their small size and tendency to become targets for aggression.

To avoid territorial conflicts between different species, it’s best to provide plenty of hiding spots and territories within the aquarium. Plants and decorations such as caves will also help create natural boundaries between fish. As always, monitoring the compatibility among your chosen species is important when building any aquarium community.

Peacock Cichlid

The Peacock Cichlid belongs to the African Cichlids family, which includes various species found in different lakes of Africa. They are aquatic creatures that require specific conditions to thrive and survive happily.

When planning a community tank with Peacock Cichlids, you should consider other non-aggressive fish species that can coexist peacefully with them. These fish must have similar water requirements as Peacock Cichlids.

Some suitable options for compatible fish include:

  • African Catfish
  • Tetras Fish
  • Loaches
  • Bristlenose catfish
Note that some cichlid species are highly territorial, so introducing new tank mates takes patience and careful observation. It is best to avoid any aggressive or dominant species, including larger cichlids, during selection.

Your aquarium size matters too when choosing your tank mate for Peacocks since they need ample space. A minimum 55 gallons or bigger is recommended since it provides enough room for multiple fishes while minimizing aggressive behavior or overcrowding issues.

If maintaining a healthy ecosystem, adding plants like java ferns or Anubias would be an excellent idea where these fit right inside their natural habitat and aid in providing cover/hiding spaces if needed by the fishes to relieve stress.

In conclusion, narrowing down ideal tankmates requires effort before making decisions based on compatibility, aggression levels, environmental factors. Consider researching more about specific breeds’ habits and consult with experienced aquarists for appropriate options.

Fish to Avoid When Keeping African Cichlids

African cichlids are some of the most popular types of fish for aquariums. They come in various shapes, sizes and colors, making them an excellent choice when planning your aquarium setup. However, it is vital to keep in mind that not every type of aquatic creature can easily live with African cichlids.

If you want to create a harmonious environment for these beautiful fish species, then there are specific fish types you should avoid keeping together:

1. Slow-moving or docile community fish: Fish such as tetra and guppies may seem like ideal tank companions due to their relaxed demeanor; however, they’re at risk from assertive African cichlids who might mistake them for food sources.

2. Bottom-dwelling species like catfish: Catfish tend to occupy the same space as African cichlids because they share similar territorial behavior. Since both species fight over limited territory or hiding spots under rocks, coexisting peacefully could be challenging.

3. Aggressive carnivorous cichlid varieties: If your aquarium features different aggressive carnivorous cichlid breeds, competing for dominance will lead to significant amounts of stress and aggression within the tank system.

“When selecting other fish species to keep alongside ​​African Cichlets, always remember that choosing peaceful schooling shoaling fishes that can tolerate harder water conditions is essential”

In summary, if you decide on creating an African cichlid-based aquarium, selecting compatible tankmates requires careful thought about temperament combinations above everything else.


Angelfish are a popular freshwater fish that can be a great addition to your aquarium. They come in various colors and patterns, ranging from silver to black, with stripes or spots.

If you have African cichlids in your tank, angelfish may not be the best option as they require different water conditions. However, if you still want to add an angelfish, it’s important to select other compatible fish species.

A few good options include:

  • Tetras – Neon tetras, cardinal tetras and glowlight tetras are all peaceful species that can coexist well with African cichlids and angelfish
  • Corydoras catfish – These bottom dwellers are easy-going and help keep the tank clean
  • Otocinclus – Another small catfish known for its algae-eating abilities and peace-loving demeanor
It’s essential to research and choose suitable tank mates when keeping any kind of fish.

In general, avoid adding aggressive or territorial species like bettas or some types of barbs as this could result in fighting or stress among your other fish. Always make sure that any new additions share similar dietary needs and environment preferences so everyone will thrive together in harmony.

Discus Fish

Discus fish are a fascinating species of freshwater fish that belong in the Cichlid family. These fish have been popular among aquarium hobbyists for decades, and it is no surprise why! They come in an array of colors and patterns, making them quite the spectacle to look at.

However, when it comes to coexisting with other species of fish such as African Cichlids, you need to be more careful as not all fish can live together harmoniously.

If you’re thinking about setting up a tank with Discus Fish and African Cichlids, you want to avoid any aggresive Cichlid species. Some recommended peaceful companion fishes would include:

  • Tetras (such as neon tetras)
  • Corydoras Catfish or Plecos
  • Gouramis
“It’s essential always to research each type of fish before placing it into your community aquarium. “

The trick with housing different types of fish together is ensuring they are compatible. Therefore doing adequate research on temperament compatibility, dietary requirements and environmental conditions allows for a thriving aquatitc eco-system full of healthy happy creatures living side-by-side!

Remember Hawaiian Reef contains various aquatic animals; be sure you know which organisms pair well together before adding any inhabitants so everyone stays safe in a happy environment!

Betta Fish

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are a popular freshwater aquarium species. These colorful and lively fish come in various shades and can be kept alone or with other peaceful fish types.

Although betta fish are generally territorial and aggressive towards their own kind, they can coexist splendidly with specific marine creatures. The key to keeping bettas harmoniously is selecting the right tank mates that won’t disturb them or provoke battles for territory.

A few compatible species of aquatic animals include:

  • Schooling Tetras: Cardinal tetra and neon tetra varieties may work well because they stay close together without provoking your Betta. Additionally, tetras’ swimming style makes it nearly impossible for them to steal food from bettas.
  • Otocinclus Catfish: Otocinclus catfishes are suitable little scavengers that help maintain clean tanks by managing uneaten foods and algae growth on plants. They’re tiny enough not to bother Bettas but good company.
  • Corydoras Catfish: Corydoras catfish get along fine with male Bettas because these bottom-feeders keep themselves low enough not to attract attention very often. Being social too makes corys an excellent addition to most community aquarium setups
  • Mystery Snail: If you want a non-fish pet that fits in beautifully with friendly fishes like Bettas, try owning Mystery snails. Besides being an appealing form element option within any aquarium setup, its sluggish nature prohibits disturbing bettas much at all while searching around peacefully on plant leaves and decor elements such as rocks!
Always remember when choosing water buddies for different breeds just like African Cichlids take precautions; research extensively before making any purchase. Make sure the tank harmonious with each species’ housing requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of catfish can coexist with African cichlids?

There are several types of catfish that can coexist with African cichlids, including the Synodontis catfish, the Upside-Down Catfish, and the Pictus catfish. These catfish are all peaceful and can help keep the aquarium clean by scavenging for leftover food and waste. It’s important to make sure that the catfish are similar in size to the cichlids, as larger catfish may be seen as a threat and smaller catfish may become prey.

Are there any shrimp that can survive with African cichlids?

It is generally not recommended to keep shrimp with African cichlids, as they may be seen as a food source and quickly eaten. However, some species of larger, more aggressive shrimp such as the Amano shrimp or the Vampire shrimp may be able to survive with African cichlids. It’s important to carefully monitor their interactions and provide plenty of hiding places for the shrimp to retreat to if necessary.

What are some peaceful schooling fish that can be kept with African cichlids?

There are several peaceful schooling fish that can be kept with African cichlids, including the Congo tetra, the Rosy tetra, and the Red Eye tetra. These fish are all active and colorful, and can help add variety to the aquarium. It’s important to make sure that the schooling fish are not too small or slow-moving, as they may be seen as prey by the cichlids.

What types of bottom-dwelling fish can live with African cichlids?

There are several types of bottom-dwelling fish that can live with African cichlids, including the Kribensis cichlid, the Bristlenose pleco, and the Corydoras catfish. These fish are all peaceful and can help keep the aquarium clean by scavenging for leftover food and waste. It’s important to make sure that the bottom-dwelling fish are similar in size to the cichlids, as larger fish may be seen as a threat and smaller fish may become prey.

Can African cichlids coexist with angelfish or discus?

It is generally not recommended to keep African cichlids with angelfish or discus, as they have different water parameter requirements and may not be able to coexist peacefully. African cichlids prefer hard, alkaline water while angelfish and discus prefer soft, acidic water. Additionally, African cichlids are generally more aggressive and may harass or attack the more peaceful angelfish and discus.

What other types of cichlids can be kept with African cichlids?

There are several other types of cichlids that can be kept with African cichlids, including the South American cichlids and the Central American cichlids. However, it’s important to make sure that the cichlids have similar temperaments and water parameter requirements, as well as similar sizes. Mixing cichlid species can be challenging and should only be done by experienced aquarists.

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