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Cichlid Fish: Which Fish Can Live with Them?

If you are into the aquarium hobby, one of the most popular fish is the cichlid. If you’re looking for fish to pair with your cichlids, you should read this guide.

Contrary to what many people believe, cichlids are aggressive and territorial fish due to their nature. Therefore, if you have a cichlid aquarium, there are things to consider before adding new fish to your tank.

In this article, we will not only talk about fish species that are compatible with cichlids, but we will also discuss the behaviors of cichlids to help you create a more peaceful aquarium environment.

Things to Consider When Adding Fish to a Cichlid Aquarium

Just like us, fish, especially larger aquarium fish like cichlids, need certain standards to stay healthy and calm. Therefore, when choosing fish to accompany cichlids, you should definitely consider the following.


While cichlids can be kept with other aquarium fish, you should definitely choose fish with behavior traits similar to them before adding any to their side.

Cichlids can be extremely ruthless and aggressive. The main reason underlying this is their territorial nature. If you don’t have an adequately sized aquarium, you’ll undoubtedly witness intense fights from time to time.

Especially almost all African cichlid species are very aggressive fish. Therefore, it’s known that it’s more appropriate to keep African cichlids alone (although some species can still be added). Malawi and American cichlid species are more suitable for living with other fish.

The fish you add must have the following features:

  • Ability to defend itself during an attack
  • Show as little aggression to other fish as possible
  • Ability to swim fast


The size of the fish is extremely important for them to get along well. While some cichlid species can reach 35 cm, others may only grow to 6 cm. The sizes of the fish you keep together should be similar.

If you want to add smaller-sized fish, you should definitely choose schooling fish and pay attention to their ability to swim very fast. When two cichlids want to fight, if their sizes are roughly the same, the fight will often end before it even begins.

Water Parameters

The water parameters that provide the living conditions of the cichlid fish you want to keep together should be the same or very close. Similar values of pH, gH, and water temperature play an important role in keeping all your fish healthy.

In addition, in addition to water parameters, the volume of the aquarium must also be selected correctly. When you set up a sufficiently large aquarium, rival fish will encounter and conflict with each other less often.

Which Fish Can Live with Cichlids? A List of 10 Compatible Fish

Generally, cichlids can be kept with other cichlid species. The important point is the region the cichlid belongs to (African, Malawi, and American). We have provided a quick answer to the question of which fish cichlids can live with in the list below.

Outside of their own species, cichlids can live with the following fish:

  1. Clown Loach (Makrakanta)
  2. Siamese Algae Eater (Sae Balığı)
  3. Jewel Cichlid (Mücevher Ciklet)
  4. Rainbow Fish (Gökkuşağı Balığı)
  5. Synodontis Catfish (Gugukkuşu Kedibalığı)
  6. African Butterfly Cichlid (Afrika Kelebeği, Kelebek Ciklet Balığı)
  7. Leopard Pleco (Leopar Vatoz Balığı)
  8. Scat Fish (Argus Balığı)
  9. Red-Tail Shark (Labio, Kırmızı Kuyruklu Köpekbalığı)
  10. Silver Dollar (Silver Dolar)

Now, let’s look more closely at these species to help you choose fish that are compatible with your cichlids.

Clown Loach

Makrakanta balığı ciklet balıklarıyla yaşar mı?Pin

Clown Loaches enjoy swimming in groups at the bottom regions and can coexist with cichlids. Feeding on the bottom, Clown Loaches are nourished by appropriate bottom feeds, brine shrimp, live feeds, and leftover feeds that remain at the bottom.

Because they are as aggressive as cichlids, it is essential for the added aquarium to be adequately sized.

  • Scientific Name: Chromobotia Macracanthus
  • Adult Size: 40 cm
  • Water Temperature: 25°C – 30°C
  • Minimum Aquarium Volume: 350 liters

Siamese Algae Eater

Sae balığı ciklet ile yaşar mı?Pin

The Siamese Algae Eater, a type of algae-eating fish, typically resides in the bottom regions of the aquarium. They can coexist with cichlids of similar size. Being a peaceful and calm fish, it’s appropriate to keep the Siamese Algae Eater in groups of 5-6.

  • Scientific Name: Crossocheulus oblongus
  • Adult Size: 15 cm
  • Water Temperature: 24°C – 26°C
  • Minimum Aquarium Volume: 120 liters

Jewel Cichlid (Mücevher Ciklet)

Mücevher cikletPin

Endearing itself with its appearance and behavior, the Jewel Cichlid can be kept without issues alongside certain cichlid species. Generally of a moderate aggression level, this species can exhibit increased aggressive behaviors and tendencies during breeding periods.

  • Scientific Name: Hemichromis guttatus
  • Adult Size: 14 cm
  • Water Temperature: 24°C – 26°C
  • Minimum Aquarium Volume: 120 liters

Rainbow Fish

Gökkuşağı balığıPin

Rainbow Fish, which can be kept with American cichlid species, comes in various colors and has a peaceful and calm temperament. They enjoy having plants in the aquarium and, like Siamese Algae Eaters, they should be kept in schools. It’s suitable to acquire them in groups of at least six.

  • Scientific Name: Melanotaeniidae sp.
  • Adult Size: 13 cm
  • Water Temperature: 24°C – 30°C
  • Minimum Aquarium Volume: 100 liters

Synodontis Catfish

Ciklet balıgı hangi balıklarla yaşar - Gugukkuşu balığı Pin

The Synodontis Catfish is one of the answers to the question of which fish can live with cichlids. They possess spines that can protect them from potential cichlid attacks. However, they don’t use these spines for offensive purposes. Moreover, they are not aggressive in nature but rather docile. These characteristics have earned them a spot in our article on which fish can cohabit with cichlids.

  • Scientific Name: Synodontis multipunctatus
  • Adult Size: 16 cm
  • Water Temperature: 24°C – 26°C
  • Minimum Aquarium Volume: 125 liters

African Butterfly, Butterfly Cichlid

Afrika kelebeği - Ciklet balığı hangi balıklarla yaşarPin

A tropical fish, the African Butterfly can cohabit with many types of cichlids. One of the primary things to ensure is that you provide an adequate space in the aquarium. One of the best aspects of this fish is that, like many cichlids, it requires minimal care and is easy to maintain. Due to this feature, it’s also a suitable species for beginners.

  • Scientific Name: Synodontis multipunctatus
  • Adult Size: 10 cm
  • Water Temperature: 23°C – 27°C
  • Minimum Aquarium Volume: 80 liters

Leopard Pleco

Leopar vatoz balığıPin

Spending most of its time at the bottom and on the glass surfaces of the tank, the Leopard Pleco is large and agile enough to defend itself against cichlids. It can thrive in a wide range of water parameters, making it adaptable to many aquarium environments.

  • Scientific Name: Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps
  • Adult Size: 40 cm
  • Water Temperature: 20°C – 30°C
  • Minimum Aquarium Volume: 450 liters

Scat Fish (Argus Balığı)

Argus balığıPin

This species is suitable to be housed with cichlids. They can survive both in freshwater and brackish water. They naturally inhabit the brackish regions of the Indian Ocean.

  • Scientific Name: Scatophagus argus
  • Adult Size: 30 cm
  • Water Temperature: 20°C – 28°C
  • Minimum Aquarium Volume: 400 liters

Red-Tail Shark

Kırmızı kuyruklu köpekbalığıPin

A member of the Cyprinid family, the red-tailed shark is robust enough to cohabit with even the most aggressive cichlid species. They generally don’t exhibit aggressive behavior unless their territories are threatened. Proper tank setup with adequate hiding and cave spaces will ensure their comfortable existence in the aquarium.

  • Scientific Name: Epalzeorhynchos sp.
  • Adult Size: 15 cm
  • Water Temperature: 22°C – 26°C
  • Minimum Aquarium Volume: 150 liters

Silver Dollar

Silver dolar balığıPin

Concluding our list of which fish can cohabit with cichlids is the Silver Dollar. Native to the freshwater rivers of South America, Silver Dollars are compatible tank mates with cichlids. Visually, they resemble the discus fish due to their round bodies. If you wish to keep them, ensure plenty of hiding spots in your aquarium. Being schooling fish, they thrive best in groups of at least five.

  • Scientific Name: Myleus rubripinnis
  • Adult Size: 15 cm
  • Water Temperature: 23°C – 27°C
  • Minimum Aquarium Volume: 150 liters

Now you’re equipped with the knowledge of which fish species can live harmoniously with cichlids and the necessary precautions to take. To provide the best life possible for the fish, it’s vital to do a brief research about their needs before purchasing them.

If you have any questions or feedback related to this guide on cichlid companionship, please don’t hesitate to use the comment section below.


At What Temperature Do Cichlids Live?

While the answer can vary depending on the specific species, cichlids, being suitable for tropical waters, typically thrive in temperatures ranging from 24°C to 28°C.

Which Are the Most Beautiful Cichlids?

While each cichlid is uniquely beautiful in its own right, making it difficult to choose, some of the most renowned ones include:
Angel Fish
Blue Ram
Green Terror
Rainbow Cichlid
Kribensis … and many more.
Each of these cichlids has distinct colors, patterns, and personalities, making them popular choices among aquarium enthusiasts.

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