Can Angelfish Live With African Cichlids?


Angelfish cannot live with african cichlids due to their different temperaments and water parameter requirements. Angelfish are peaceful and prefer softer and slightly acidic water, while african cichlids are generally more aggressive and thrive in harder and alkaline water conditions.

Characteristics Of Angelfish And African Cichlids

Angelfish and african cichlids are two popular freshwater fish species with their own unique characteristics and temperaments. Understanding their traits is essential when considering if they can live together in a shared tank. Let’s delve into the distinct attributes of both angelfish and african cichlids.

Highlight The Unique Characteristics And Behavior Of Angelfish:

  • Angelfish are known for their graceful appearance and triangular body shape.
  • They have long, flowing fins and come in various color variations, including silver, black, and striped patterns.
  • These fish are peaceful and can be kept in community tanks with other non-aggressive fish species.
  • Angelfish are generally calm and prefer slow-moving water.
  • They are omnivorous and can consume a varied diet of flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods.
  • Angelfish tend to be shy and may hide among plants or driftwood in the aquarium.

Discuss The Distinct Attributes And Temperament Of African Cichlids:

  • African cichlids exhibit vibrant colors and patterns, enhancing their visual appeal.
  • They come from the lakes in africa, such as lake malawi, lake tanganyika, and lake victoria.
  • African cichlids are known for their diverse temperament, with some being aggressive and others more docile.
  • Their behavior can vary based on the specific species and individual fish.
  • They require ample space and a well-decorated tank with hiding spots and territories.
  • African cichlids are primarily herbivorous, requiring a diet rich in vegetable matter but also benefiting from occasional protein-based foods.

Emphasize The Potential Compatibility Issues Between These Two Species:

  • Combining angelfish and african cichlids can be challenging due to their contrasting temperaments.
  • Angelfish’s peaceful nature may make them vulnerable to aggression from more aggressive cichlid species.
  • African cichlids, especially those from lake malawi, have a reputation for being territorial and may bully or attack angelfish.
  • Different species of african cichlids have different levels of aggression, so careful selection is necessary.
  • Tank size, decor, and the number of fish can influence compatibility, but even then, conflicts can arise.
  • It is advisable to provide plenty of hiding spots and create multiple territories within the tank, reducing the chance of aggression.

Angelfish and african cichlids possess distinct characteristics and temperaments. While angelfish are generally peaceful and have a graceful demeanor, african cichlids can vary in their aggression levels. Introducing these species together requires careful consideration and monitoring to ensure a harmonious environment for all tank occupants.

Factors To Consider Before Housing Angelfish With African Cichlids

Angelfish and african cichlids are both beautiful and popular fish species in the aquarium hobby. However, before considering housing them together, there are several factors to take into account to ensure the well-being of both species.

Water Parameters:

  • Angelfish prefer slightly acidic to neutral water, with a ph level between 6.0 and 7.5.
  • African cichlids, on the other hand, thrive in alkaline water conditions, with a ph level ranging from 7.8 to 8.6.
  • It can be challenging to maintain the ideal conditions for both species in the same tank, as their ph requirements differ significantly.

Size And Tank Space:

  • Angelfish can grow up to 6 inches in height and require a minimum tank size of 20 gallons.
  • African cichlids come in various sizes, but most require larger tanks due to their active nature and territorial behaviors.
  • Providing enough space is crucial for both species to establish their territories and reduce aggression.

Aggressiveness And Territoriality:

  • Angelfish are generally peaceful, but they can become territorial during breeding or if they feel threatened.
  • African cichlids, especially the more aggressive species, have a strong territorial instinct and may engage in aggressive behaviors.
  • The size and aggression levels of the african cichlids should be carefully considered before introducing them to a tank with angelfish, as they may exhibit aggressive behaviors towards the more peaceful angelfish.

In Summary:

  • Angelfish and African cichlids have different water parameter requirements, with angelfish favoring acidic to neutral ph levels and African cichlids thriving in alkaline conditions.
  • Tank size and space are crucial for both species, with angelfish requiring a minimum tank size of 20 gallons and African cichlids often needing larger tanks.
  • It is important to consider the aggression and territorial behaviors of African cichlids, as they may pose a threat to the more peaceful angelfish.
  • Before housing angelfish with African cichlids, it is essential to carefully research and understand the specific needs and behaviors of both species to ensure compatibility and create a harmonious aquarium environment.

Can Angelfish And African Cichlids Coexist?

If you’re considering setting up a mixed aquarium, you may be wondering if angelfish and African cichlids can live together harmoniously. While these two species have different habitat preferences and temperaments, under the right conditions, they can coexist in the same tank.

Let’s explore the compatibility considerations, successful tank setups, and potential challenges of housing angelfish and African cichlids together.

Compatibility Considerations:

When determining the likelihood of successful coexistence between angelfish and African cichlids, several factors come into play. It’s essential to keep these considerations in mind before introducing these species into the same tank:

  • Tank size: Providing an adequately sized tank is crucial to ensure both species have enough space to establish territories and reduce aggression.
  • Water parameters: African cichlids generally prefer hard, alkaline water, while angelfish thrive in softer, slightly acidic water. Striking a balance and maintaining suitable water conditions is essential for the well-being of both species.
  • Temperament: African cichlids are known for their territorial and aggressive behavior, whereas angelfish are more peaceful by nature. Selecting compatible species of African cichlids and angelfish with similar temperaments can increase the chances of cohabitation success.

Examples Of Successful Tank Setups:

While successful cohabitation between angelfish and African cichlids requires careful consideration, many aquarists have achieved harmonious tank setups. Here are a few examples:

  • A 55-gallon tank housing a group of peaceful angelfish, such as the silver variety, alongside smaller, less aggressive African cichlid species like electric yellow labs or peacock cichlids.
  • A larger 75-gallon or 100-gallon tank featuring a well-planned aquascape with plenty of hiding spots and territories for both species. In this setup, angelfish are introduced as juveniles to acclimate them to the presence of the established African cichlids.
  • A spacious community tank comprised of peaceful African cichlid species and angelfish with similar temperaments. Careful observation, compatible species selection, and regular monitoring of tank dynamics are crucial for success in this setup.

Potential Challenges And Risks:

While coexistence between angelfish and African cichlids is possible, it’s essential to be aware of potential challenges and risks:

  • Aggression: African cichlids, especially males, can become territorial and aggressive, which may pose a threat to angelfish. Providing ample hiding spots, territories, and a well-structured aquascape can help mitigate aggression.
  • Diet variations: African cichlids are primarily herbivorous or omnivorous, while angelfish have a more varied diet, including live or frozen foods. Ensuring that the dietary needs of both species are met can be a challenge in a mixed tank.
  • Diseases and compatibility: African cichlids are more prone to several diseases than angelfish. Care should be taken to select healthy specimens of both species and monitor their health regularly to prevent the spread of diseases.

While the coexistence of angelfish and african cichlids requires careful planning, adequate tank size, and compatible species selection, it can result in a diverse and visually appealing aquarium. By considering the compatibility factors, learning from successful tank setups, and being aware of potential challenges, you can increase the chances of creating a thriving mixed tank with both angelfish and african cichlids.

Tips For Creating A Harmonious Environment

Tank Setup

To create a harmonious environment for both angelfish and african cichlids, it’s important to set up the tank in a way that suits the needs of both species. Here are some suggestions for creating an optimal tank environment:

  • Ensure the tank size is appropriate: Both angelfish and african cichlids require a spacious tank to thrive. Aim for a tank size of at least 55 gallons to accommodate their size and swimming habits.
  • Provide plenty of hiding spots: Both species appreciate having hiding spots in the tank. Use various decorations like rocks, caves, and plants to create hiding spots and territories for each fish.
  • Maintain water parameters: Angelfish prefer slightly acidic water conditions (ph around 6.5-7) while african cichlids thrive in alkaline water (ph around 7.8-8.5). Aim for a neutral ph around 7 to create a compromise between the two.
  • Consider the temperature needs: Angelfish prefer warmer water around 78-82°f, while african cichlids are comfortable in slightly higher temperatures around 80-84°f. Adjust the heater to create a temperature range that suits both species.
  • Pay attention to lighting: Provide moderate lighting in the tank, as both species appreciate a balance of light and shade. Use floating plants or tall decor to create areas of shade and dim the brightness.

Tank Mates Selection

Selecting compatible tank mates for angelfish and african cichlids is essential to maintain a harmonious environment. Here are some recommended tank mates that can coexist with both species:

For angelfish:

  • Tetras: Species like cardinal tetras and rummy-nose tetras can be good companions for angelfish. They are peaceful and come from the same region as angelfish.
  • Gouramis: Dwarf gouramis and honey gouramis can coexist with angelfish as they have similar temperament and water requirements.
  • Corydoras catfish: These bottom-dwelling catfish can peacefully inhabit the tank with angelfish without causing any conflicts.

For african cichlids:

  • Synodontis catfish: These catfish are compatible with african cichlids as they inhabit different areas of the tank, helping to minimize territorial disputes.
  • Clown loaches: These peaceful and active fish can coexist with african cichlids, adding movement and color to the tank.
  • Rainbowfish: Certain species of rainbowfish, like the madagascar rainbowfish or the threadfin rainbowfish, can thrive alongside african cichlids.

Monitoring And Problem-Solving

Maintaining a close watch on the tank and addressing any conflicts promptly is crucial for creating a harmonious environment for both angelfish and african cichlids. Here’s why monitoring and problem-solving is important:

  • Avoid aggression: Some angelfish and african cichlids may display aggression towards each other. Monitor their behavior closely to prevent any physical harm, and separate any fish that become overly aggressive.
  • Ensure balanced feeding: Make sure all fish in the tank receive adequate nutrition. Overfeeding can lead to aggression, so feed them small portions multiple times a day and ensure all fish are getting their share of food.
  • Regular water testing: Monitor the water parameters regularly using test kits to ensure they remain within the suitable range for both angelfish and african cichlids. Address any deviations promptly to prevent stress or health issues.
  • Provide ample hiding spots: If conflicts occur, ensure there are enough hiding spots in the tank for fish to escape and establish territories. Adding more décor or rearranging the tank may help resolve territorial disputes.
  • Observe compatibility: Pay attention to the behavior and compatibility of the tank mates. If any particular species consistently causes conflicts or stress among the others, consider rehoming or separating them.

Creating a harmonious environment for angelfish and african cichlids requires careful attention to tank setup, selecting compatible tank mates, and monitoring the tank closely. By following these tips, you can foster a peaceful coexistence between these two beautiful species in your aquarium.

Frequently Asked Questions For Can Angelfish Live With African Cichlids?

Q1: Can Angelfish And African Cichlids Coexist Peacefully In The Same Tank?

Angelfish and african cichlids have different temperaments and requirements, which can lead to aggression and compatibility issues.

Q2: What Are The Ideal Tank Conditions For Angelfish And African Cichlids?

Angelfish prefer warmer water and peaceful environments, while african cichlids need stable water conditions and a moderate level of aggression.

Q3: Will Angelfish And African Cichlids Fight For Territory In The Tank?

Yes, angelfish and african cichlids have territorial instincts and may compete for space, resulting in conflicts and stress.

Q4: Are There Any Specific Breeds Of African Cichlids That Can Cohabitate With Angelfish?

Some semi-aggressive african cichlid breeds, such as the electric yellow cichlid, can potentially live peacefully with angelfish.

Q5: What Are Some Potential Issues To Consider When Keeping Angelfish And African Cichlids Together?

Concerns include size differences, aggression levels, and the need for adequate hiding spots to minimize conflicts and provide each species with their necessary refuge.


It is essential to consider the compatibility and needs of fish before introducing them into the same tank. While angelfish and african cichlids share certain similarities in terms of size and dietary requirements, their temperaments can pose challenges. African cichlids tend to be more aggressive and territorial, which can lead to stress, injury, or even death for angelfish.

Hence, it is not recommended to keep them together unless the tank is large enough to provide ample hiding spots and territories. If you are determined to have a mixed tank, constant monitoring and proper management are crucial. Additionally, it is advisable to introduce tank mates when the fish are young and of similar sizes to reduce aggressive behavior.

Following these guidelines will ensure a harmonious and safe environment for both angelfish and african cichlids in your aquarium.


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