Angelfish Live With Cichlids: Compatibility, Dos And Don’ts, And Tank Requirements!

Angelfish with cichlids make a curious pair. Angelfish is a semi-aggressive sideline of cichlids, and it’s not always a good idea to put mixed breeds of angelfish together with other cichlids, especially African cichlids because they are full-on aggressive. However, some other species of cichlids coexist peacefully with angelfish relatives. Let’s get to know the possibilities and find out if it’s possible to pair these species.

Can Angelfish Live With Cichlids?

Yes, but it depends. Angelfish can cohabit with cichlids, but aquarists have to proactively sort out types of cichlids that aren’t too aggressive. African cichlids are the type that most avoid housing with angelfish given that they belong to the more negative side. When picking cichlids to accompany angelfish, I recommend those from South America.

The trick is to investigate breeds that share the same environment requirements with your already existing angelfish. When we pair 2 o 3 different species together without considering their preferable water parameters, we risk making them stressed out and go against each other.

Furthermore, those that originate from a tough natural environment where they have to fight for food with other fish species won’t do well in a community tank. If you want to keep the predators from your aquarium, choosing a species that has gone through captive breeding also is a good choice to lower aggressions and bullies.

What Cichlids Can Live With Angelfish? 

Keeping angelfish with cichlids is easier when choosing one of these five cichlid breeds. Please get to know them with me below.


Discus are extremely social cichlids

Discus are extremely social cichlids, and they enjoy living in a group. This fish species live in blackwater habitats and require a lot of attention to detail when adjusting the home aquarium to their needs.

Discus are maintained in the hands of fishkeepers and are prized for their attractive appearance. They are thought of as difficult to maintain because of the strict requirements regarding water quality and the need to keep them in groups.

Discus and angelfish can live together in harmony due to similarities in water parameters and diet. They are quite peaceful toward each other as well. However, since these breeds are semi-aggressive by nature, it’s important to introduce a new fish into the tank. It takes time for them to get used to each other. Therefore, I recommend using a separator net if your home aquarium doesn’t have hiding places for fish.

Bolivian Ram Cichlids

Bolivian Rams cichlids are very peaceful fish. The only occasion they may exhibit aggression is when they are breeding. Most of the time, this aggression is directed at fish too close to the breeding zone. Apart from that, the fish can be alongside any peaceful species, so keeping angelfish with cichlids is possible in this case.

But, the Bolivian Ram Cichlids of the ram requires refuges within the aquarium. Why? They are very small in size compared to angelfish and might become prey for the bigger fish. Therefore, you should include lots of aquatic plants in an aquarium that provide needed protection for the small cichlids.

German Blue Ram Cichlids

Adult German blue rams can grow up to 3 inches in captivity if they are males. Males are bigger than females. In the wild, German blue rams may reach 4 inches in length.

German blue Cichlids are stunning and well-known freshwater cichlids. They’re fairly docile and are a good choice for non-aggressive tankmates. However, while generally calm, German blue rams can get hostile during mating season.

They are excellent tankmates for angelfish. But, you must choose a suitable tank with proper water filtration since rams require clean and fresh water. And having some decorations or greens that work as hiding places is a must in the tank.

Dwarf Cichlids

The dwarf cichlids are bottom dwellers, which means they generally enjoy staying in a deep part of the tank. Therefore, the most suitable tank mates for dwarf cichlids should enjoy staying in the middle layer or near the surface. In this case, angelfish, which are mid-level swimmers, is compatible with dwarf cichlids.

Angelfish Also, they are content to share their tanks with cichlids that are dwarfs. They have a calm personality. But, it would help if you didn’t put any small fish less than 2 inches in size into the tank alongside your angelfish as they’ll try to consume them.

Rainbow Cichlids

Rainbow cichlids

The rainbow cichlids can grow to just over 6 1/2 inches in the wild. They are considerably smaller in captivity and generally have a maximum length of around 3 inches only. Rainbow Cichlids aren’t aggressive fish. They are great for tanks in community aquariums and are is compatible with angelfish.

Due to their significantly smaller size and docile nature, I suggest you provide hiding spots in the tank for them, just in case the angelfish decide to be a little too excited with the new tank mate.

Rainbow Cichlids are also simple to take care of and are able to adapt to a new habitat. But, they must be kept in clean and healthy conditions with the right water parameters in order for them to thrive.

Tank Requirements For African Cichlids And Angelfish

Get to know the three basic tank requirements for African cichlids and angelfish. I will also mention tips on the level of compatibility and how to adjust things or what to avoid.

Water Parameters

Water parameters of angelfish:

  • Temperature: 78° to 84° F
  • pH: 6.8 to 7.8
  • Water hardness: 54 to 145 ppm
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm

Water parameters of African cichlids:

  • Temperature: 72° to 82°F
  • pH: 7.8 to 8.5
  • Water hardness: 160 to 320 ppm
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm

Diet And Portions

  • Angelfish

Angelfish eat all kinds of food and feed on live, small prey. They will eat larvae, rotifers, and insects. Fish consumes plant matter, however, less frequently than meat. They require a diet rich in fiber and protein.

Foods frozen or live are the best option. We suggest frozen food as it lowers the likelihood of parasites getting into the tank. A few available good food items include tubifex the worms, brine shrimp, or water fleas.

Give your fish as many as they’ll take in just a few minutes (3-4 minutes). Then, remove any food items that are not consumed. Feeding 2-3 times per day in small portions is recommendable. Feeding once per day is not a good option for the fish.

  • African cichlids

African cichlids are fish that eat everything. It is essential to adhere to proper feeding guidelines to ensure your fish do not become overfed.

It is possible to feed your cichlids pellets, flake food, and frozen food items. Bloodworms and brine shrimps are good picks, as well as African cichlids. It is possible to feed the cichlid greens, like spinach, from time to time.

It will take 3-5 minutes for the fish to consume everything you let in the tank. After this period, it’s possible that whatever is left won’t be eaten anyway. So removing it from the water is advisable for maintaining the cleanliness of the environment. As for the vegetable pieces, they can reside in the tank for up to 2 hours.

Tank Size

Angelfish can reach 6-8 inches long and 8-12 inches tall, which indicates that they need a lot of tank space to swim freely. It’s important to pick an elevated tank as well to adjust to their natural body shape. As for the African cichlids, they have the typical oval shape and can reach up to 12 inches in the adult phase.

In conclusion, both angelfish and African cichlids are large breeds requiring a big tank. For a single adult angelfish or African cichlids, or any other adult cichlid, I recommend at least a 20-gallon tank. This is the minimum tank size for these beauties. For them to have the best swimming expansion, a 30-gallon tank and bigger is much preferable.

3 Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Pair African Cichlids And Angelfish 

African cichlids are aggressive in nature and captive. Even though housing them with angelfish is possible, I notice more harm than good pairing them. Here are the 3 reasons why.

We shouldn’t pair African Cichlids and angelfish 

Both Are Aggressive Fish Breeds

Cichlids are hostile when competing for food and territory with other tankmates. On the other hand, Angelfish are much more laid back than their cousins.

Angelfish are often chased and threatened by aggressive cichlids, and African cichlids are some of them. While angelfish can be very aggressive during the spawning and mating season, they’re generally calm and gentle with other species.

Living constantly in such a stressful environment poses a big threat on the health of both the angelfish and other tank mates. When the stress level is too high, the fish’s immune system will weaken. Thus, they are more exposed to the possibility of catching diseases and have a harder time processing and protecting themselves from bacteria or harmful elements in the tank. Mouth or fin rot is a common consequence.

Keeping angelfish in large-sized cichlids can be risky for angelfish since they are likely to be harassed and stressed. But keeping angelfish with smaller cichlids stuffed into their mouths can be equally harmful to cichlids.

Differences In Living Environment 

Each fish breed prefers different conditions or water parameters. Pairing different breeds with slightly distinctive preferences of living environment is still possible. Still, the fish will be exposed to a higher chance of having stress, suffering a premature death, or catching diseases.

Angelfish prefer acidic or soft water, in contrast with the alkaline and hard water favored by African Cichlids. Thus, keeping them close together could strain the angelfish or the African cichlids and harm their health.

Constant Upkeep And Attention 

Changing water, adjusting the heater, creating a safe space, and ensuring that the fishes don’t bully each other are standard tasks that we have to keep watch of when housing angelfish with cichlids. As I have declared, these breeds aren’t highly compatible, despite being able to survive in the same tank and enjoy the same diet.

Therefore, paying extra attention to upkeeping is inevitable. If you are not a full-time aquarist, this activity will be tricky.


Will angelfish mate with cichlids?

In normal conditions, angelfish and cichlids won’t mate and spawn. If you want to breed these two, you will have to do it artificially and force the process. I don’t recommend it if you are not a professional in this field. Crossbreeding fish can lower the stock quality as well.

Are angelfish and cichlids compatible tank mates?

Angelfish and docile South American cichlids are compatible tank mates. They grow to a similar size and don’t tend to attack each other if there is enough space for all of them to cohabit peacefully. African cichlids are those that don’t complement angelfish well due to their aggressive nature.

Is angelfish a cichlid?

Yes, angelfish is a type of cichlid. But it belongs to another branch. In general, angelfish and other cichlids are like cousins. Some can live together in harmony while others fight tooth and nail as a matter of territory.

Can African cichlids live with angelfish?

Yes, they can. But due to the aggressive behavior of the African cichlids, owners have to keep an eye on their interactions and schooling behavior.

Video: Fish Breeding Vlog #1: African Cichlids and Angelfish

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