Can angelfish and cichlids live together?

In this article we will discuss angelfish and cichlids.We will also discuss their relationship & other tank parameters which are suitable for them to survive together in aquarium settings.

Overview 

In this blog

  • Can angelfish and cichlids live together?
  • Key specifications of angelfish and cichlids
  • Where are angelfish and cichlids found?
  • How long do angelfish and cichlids live?
  • What tank size do angelfish and cichlids need?
  • Are angelfish and cichlids aggressive in nature?
  • What do angelfish and cichlids eat?
  • Are water parameters same for angelfish and cichlids in aquarium conditions?
  • Do angelfish and cichlids need the same aquarium plants in their tanks?
  • Do angelfish and cichlids need the same light intensity in their tanks?
  • Do angelfish and cichlids need similar substrates in their tank?
  • Is it easy to care for angelfish and cichlids togethers in the same aquariums?
  • Are angelfish and cichlids both perfect community fish?
  • Are angelfish and cichlids beginner friendly or for experienced aquarists?
  • Can angelfish and cichlids live in the same aquariums?
  • Summary
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference 

Can angelfish and cichlids live together?

Angelfish and cichlids are both aggressive, but angels are relatively less aggressive than cichlids and can’t be kept with any cichlid in a similar aquarium.

Few peaceful cichlids can go well with angelfish.But it’s very important to watch their interaction on a daily basis.

Some South American cichlids can also be kept with angelfish but need to choose their tank mates wisely to avoid fights and aggression in tanks.

Key specifications of angelfish and cichlids

Key specificationsAngelfish Cichlids
Scientific nameTypes


Family 
Pterophyllum GenusFreshwater angelfishAltum angelfishLeopold’s angelfishCichlidaeCichlids African cichlidsSouth American cichlidsDwarf cichlidsConvict cichlidsCichlidae
Temperament Semi-aggressive African cichlids are very aggressive
Diet OmnivoresOmnivores
Habitat South America90 different speciesDiverse habitatMore than 1300 species.

Where are angelfish and cichlids found?

Angelfish are found in quiet, slow moving water,dimly lit areas, overhanging vegetation of tropical South America,specifically Amazon river system.

Cichlids are a diverse group of species and are found in tropical America, mainland Africa and Madagascar, and southern Asia.

How long do angelfish and cichlids live?

Lifespan of an aquarium species depends on the type of food they are eating,the tank size and shape they are kept in,the stress free environment and water parameters.

If these conditions are proper like their natural habitat then they can easily live for years in aquarium conditions too.

Angelfish can live up to 10 years in captivity,if they are kept in a right size aquarium,given nutritions, balanced diet meals and optimal water conditions.

The lifespan of cichlids differs from species to species,but on an average the cichlids can live around 10 years.Among cichlids,the oscars have a longest lifespan between 10-20 years.

What tank size do angelfish and cichlids need?

Tank size for angelfish

  • Angels are bigger in size and need a bigger,taller and spacious tank of 40-45 gallons to house them.
  • An 80 gallon tank will keep a small school of angelfish together.
  • A 40 gallon tank is best for a pair of angels.
  • Angels need an open swimming area  and lots of hiding space in their tank.
  • Taller aquariums are best for angelfish as it can accommodate their body shape.
  • Angels do well in bigger and spacious tanks.
  • Minimum tank size for angels is 30 gallons
  • Angels don’t do well in smaller and crowded aquariums.

Tank size for cichlids

  • Smaller cichlids need a tank size of 20 gallons.
  • Additional gallons for smaller cichlids is 3 gallons.
  • Six inches long cichlids need a tank size of 30 gallons.
  • Eight inches long cichlids need a yank size of 45 gallons.
  • A 55 gallons tank can accommodate 15 african cichlids.
  • Bigger cichlids like oscars need a 55 gallons tank,i.e 1 oscar in a 55 gallons tank.
  • Bigger is always better for cichlids.
  • A 4-foot wide tank is suitable for african cichlids.

Are angelfish and cichlids aggressive in nature?

Angelfish are normally peaceful cichlids but get aggressive towards their own kind during breeding season.

Angelfish are called opportunists by some fish keepers,as they tend to eat anything in their vicinity,which can easily fit in their mouth.They also show aggression to establish their hierarchy in aquariums.

Not all cichlids are aggressive in nature,some aggressive especially African cichlids show aggression for food,for territories and during mating season.Oscar cichlids are known to bully every other tank mate.

Aggressive cichlids:

  • Wolf cichlid or Dovii 
  • Red devil
  • Flowerhorn cichlid
  • Jaguar cichlid
  • Mini dovii
  • Tiger barb
  • Arowana
  • Bucktooth tetra

What do angelfish and cichlids eat? 

Angelfish are omnivores and bottom feeders.Being an omnivore they too accept a wide range of food.

Food preference for angelfish:

  • Hikari vibra bites
  • Tubifex worms
  • Tropical flakes,color flakes,tropical granules
  • Shrimp pellets
  • Freeze dried bloodworms (most favorite)
  • Fluval bug bites
  • Veggies-Zucchini and other fresh veggies from your kitchen
  • Algae wafers
  • Frozen mysis shrimp
  • Cichlid flake and protein rich pellets

Cichlids are omnivores like angelfish and eat a wide variety of food in their diet.

Food preference for cichlids:

  • Sinking pellets or flakes – Staple food
  • Green food – Occasionally
  • Live or frozen- Occasionally
  • Fluval bug bites pellets 
  • Omega one super color cichlid pellets
  • Zoo med spirulina 20
  • Repashy super green
  • Hikari bio-gold plus pellets
  • Northfin food veggie formula
  • Omega one veggie rounds
  • New life spectrum cichlid formula

Angelfish are cichlids only so food preferences are almost similar.It should be noted that for all cichlids pellets and flakes food are their staple food.They can be fed live,frozen and greens occasionally.

Are water parameters same for angelfish and cichlids in aquarium conditions?

Water parametersAngelfishCichlids 
Water typeTemperature Breeding temperaturepHWater hardnessWater movementFreshwater 80F (warm water)80F-82F6.8-7.8 (acidic)3-8 dKHSlow movingFreshwater 72-82F (warm water)82F7.8 to 8.5 (high pH)10-15 dHSlow water current

Water preferences are more or less similar for them.They can be kept together but depending on the type of cichlids you are choosing with angels.

Do angelfish and cichlids need the same aquarium plants in their tanks?

Tank plants for angelsAngelfish thrive well in densely planted aquariums.Anubias,Hornworts, Jungle vallisneria, Java fern,Amazon sword,Wisteria, Water sprite, dwarf tiger lotus,Ambulia.Amazon swords are very important during breeding time.
Tank plants for cichlidsCichlid-proof aquarium plantsAnubiasJava FernHornwortGreen cabombaJava mossAnacharisCrinumEchinodorusCryptocoryne

Do angelfish and cichlids need the same light intensity in their tanks?

Angelfish do need light in their tanks to differentiate between day and night.Abrupt light changes stress them.

Angelfish need light for at least 9 hours a day in their tank.Standard aquarium light will imitate the natural sunlight and will do the needful.

Cichlids don’t have any special requirements for light in their tanks. Like angels, standard aquarium light for some 8 hours will be more than enough for them to maintain their beautiful colors.Indirect sunlight from your window will also do the needful.

Do angelfish and cichlids need similar substrates in their tank?

Angelfish are bottom feeders and need a substrate which are fine to medium grade.They do well in smooth surface gravels.Some of them have the habit of digging their substrate too so a smooth substrate is fine for angels.Smooth substrate will not damage them while digging or during feeding at the bottom.

Cichlids are substrate diggers,they dig their substrate for food scavenging,nest building for laying their eggs,so an argonite sandy substrate is perfect for them.

For larger cichlids like oscars gravel substrate will be better.Aragonite sand will also maintain pH and contains beneficial bacteria too which is required for them to sustain in aquarium conditions.

Is it easy to care for angelfish and cichlids togethers in the same aquariums?

Angelfish do well in well maintained tanks,where pH ,temperatures ,water movement ,food and other things are taken care of properly.

Angelfish are easy to care for but may get aggressive towards other tank mates in overcrowded tanks.

Among cichlids, convict cichlids are easy to care for,because they are very hardy and will accept anything you feed them.

Some cichlids are difficult to handle and are considered as high maintenance cichlids too.

Are they both perfect community fish?

Angelfish do well in community tanks but they might like overcrowded tanks.If you are planning to keep angelfish in a community tank then make sure that tank is spacious and bigger.

Angelfish get aggressive in small and overcrowded tanks.So it’s very important to add angelfish in a bigger and spacious community tank.

It totally depends on the type of cichlid you are adding in community tanks.Some cichlids are peaceful,some are semi-aggressive and some are aggressive and are known to bully other tank mates.

It would be important to choose their tank mates wisely or add them to an established community tank.

Are they beginner friendly or for experienced aquarists?

Angelfish are good for both newcomers/experienced aquarist.They are hardy species and do well in a wide range of water parameters.

You need to keep ammonia levels in check to avoid ammonia spikes in their tanks.

Not all cichlids are beginner friendly,few cichlids like convict cichlids are hardy and easy to care for.Convict can be kept easily in community tanks too.

Some beginner friendly cichlids are:

  • Convict cichlid
  • Firemouth cichlid
  • Kribensis cichlid
  • Bolivian ram

Summary

  • Angels and cichlids are very famous aquarium fish because of their beautiful colors.
  • Both angelfish/cichlids have similar temperament but angelfish are relatively more peaceful than cichlids.
  • They share similar water preferences and food habits.
  • Only put those cichlids with angelfish,who share similar water chemistry.
  • If you are adding them in community tanks together then kindly do a thorough search about the peaceful and community cichlid. Not all cichlids are meant for community tanks.
  • Their care level is intermediate and they need a bigger and spacious aquarium for swimming and other activities.
  • Overcrowded tanks might not be good for them,because it can trigger aggression in them.
  • Both are colorful,hardy and active aquarium fish.

Frequently asked questions

What cichlids can cohabit with angelfish peacefully?

Smaller cichlids like Krib’s cichlids,keyholes & ram cichlids can easily live with angelfish.

Which cichlids should not be kept with angelfish?

Oscar cichlids/some african cichlids should not be kept with angelfish at any cost,because they are known for their aggression and bullying their tank mates.

Which cichlid is considered as the most peaceful cichlid?

Among cichlids, Keyhole cichlids are very shy and peaceful cichlids.

Can we keep blood-red parrot cichlid with angelfish?

Blood-red parrots are peaceful hybrid cichlid.They are not at all aggressive and can’t even compete for food resources if kept with aggressive tank mates.They can be kept with angelfish.

Reference

https://www.buildyouraquarium.com/complete-freshwater-angelfish-set-care-guide/

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