Can cichlids live with angelfish?

In this post, we will answer the question “Can cichlids live with angelfish?”. We will also discuss some of their specificities and best tankmates and tank conditions.

Can cichlids live with angelfish?

Yes, cichlids can live with angelfish. However, it is important to consider more peaceful cichlids species, as some of them might get quite aggressive towards some tankmates.

Although the majority of cichlids are very aggressive fish in an aquarium community, there are a few kinds of cichlids that are calmer and less aggressive. Angelfish, for example, are among the most gentle of all cichlid species, and they are found in many aquariums. There are a few more cichlid species that can coexist happily with their angelfish cousins.

Cichlids and aggression

A lot of cichlids are aggressive because of their natural habitat — the waters in which they reside are filled with predators and rivals, which makes them feel threatened. As a result, they are quite territorial in their native environment, and this behaviour spills over into their aquarium setting. 

In a cichlid community, territoriality and the defence of their young or their partners are two of the most important motivations for violence. However, keeping multiple different types of more docile cichlids with angelfishes is entirely doable, as long as you maintain them in separate aquariums.

South American cichlids

Unlike their African counterparts, South American cichlids, such as the angelfish, are often far more docile than their African counterparts, however, this is not always the case. It might be beneficial to choose South American cichlids from the same natural habitat as your angelfish to create a pleasant and carefree atmosphere for all of your tank’s inhabitants. 

The fact that they are from the same location and waters as angelfish means that they will enjoy the same water temperature, pH, and other parameters in your tank as well. Symphysodon and Heros species are examples of species that might thrive in a calm tank with your angelfish. In higher-end pet stores and aquarium stores, rainbow cichlids, dwarf cichlids, and acaras are among the species that are frequently seen in the stock.

Other possible tank mates

In part, because many of these calm cichlids are cautious and skittish by nature, introducing other species to the tank may frequently help “bring them out of their shells.” Schooling fish such as larger tetras and hatchet fish are two examples of species that will maintain your tank in a lively and busy environment. Smaller schooling fish, such as neon tetras, will be mistaken for food by the others, thus they should not be kept in the same tank as them.

Although there are many more sorts of cichlids you may maintain alongside your gorgeous and calm angelfish, it’s vital to note that the species’ proclivity for violence isn’t necessarily the most significant factor to consider. Many cichlids love to live in huge, complicated aquariums, so you’ll need to do some careful planning if you want to keep these notoriously shy fish in your aquarium. 

Numerous cichlids prefer caves, as well as hiding under or in other tank structures, among other things. This gives them all the space they need to build their own in the tank. Plants that are natural to their environment, caverns, and other structures are required.

Small cichlids

The cichlid family of fishes is a huge and diverse group of fishes. Some of them are well-known for their aggressive behaviour. Smaller members of the family, on the other hand, are more laid-back and make excellent tankmates for guppies and tetras. Rams are a species of cichlid that pairs well with tetras and other similar fish. 

They are little, brightly coloured, and prefer tankmates that are calm. Rams are available in a variety of hues, including blue and gold. The crib is similar and also comes in several colours and has a peaceful demeanour.

Plecos and ottos

Plecos and ottos (short for Plecocostumus and Otocinclus, respectively) are two further types of fish that make excellent tankmates for guppies and tetras. It is known that these fish are good at eating algae and cleaning their tanks, yet they do not eliminate the need for regular tank care. 

There are many different kinds to choose from, each with its unique hue. Probably the most suitable species of pleco for an aquarium containing tetras and guppies are a smaller kind. While most smaller plecos and ottos are calm and non-aggressive, larger plecos can be violent and territorial.

Cory catfish

Tetras and guppies are also excellent matches for Corydoras catfish, also known as cories in the aquarium trade. Cory catfish are native to the Amazon drainage, which is also where the majority of tetras are found. They are bottom-dwellers, which helps to keep a tank with tetras balanced, but they also school and are more friendly than the majority of tetra species. 

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different kinds of Corydoras catfish available in a range of colours and patterns, and each one has its distinct personality. All of these fish are calm and will not damage tetras or guppies in any way.

What should be avoided?

Guppies and tetras are often oblivious to their tankmates‘ presence and are rarely a nuisance. Other fish, on the other hand, maybe harmful to them. Some bigger fish, such as the freshwater angelfish, will prey on guppies and tetras, while others will not. 

Some other fish, such as tiger barbs, may take advantage of guppies’ flowing fins and nip them. Surprisingly, keeping tiger barbs in a big group might help to reduce their level of aggressiveness. Shortly put, tankmates should be placid and not be huge enough to prey on the guppies and tetras in the tank.

Dwarf gouramis

Dwarf gouramis are related to the betta in that they are both members of the same family of fish. While gouramis, in general, have a reputation for being aggressive, dwarf gouramis, on the other hand, are known for being far more docile. These fish remain tiny, have vibrant colours, and get along well with other fish in their environment. 

They share many characteristics with bettas, such as wanting quiet tank mates and being tolerant of beginners’ errors. There are multiple different species, each with various colour variations. One or two bettas may comfortably share a tank with one or two bettas.


In this post, we answered the question “Can cichlids live with angelfish?”. We also discussed some of their specificities and best tankmates and tank conditions.

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can cichlids live with angelfish?

When it comes to fish, can you put African cichlids and angelfish together? 

African cichlids and angelfish are capable of coexisting, but only after much research and deliberation on both sides. Remember to pick African cichlid species that are not very aggressive, since they may and will harass your angelfish, which is a semi-aggressive species if they are not careful. 

Is it possible for electric yellow cichlids to coexist alongside angelfish? 

No, Yellow Lab Cichlids should not be housed in the same tank as an Angelfish. For starters, the water conditions required by the two species differ, with the Yellow Lab Cichlids preferring ‘hard’ water and the Angelfish preferring soft water, respectively. Second, Yellow Lab Cichlids are far too aggressive to be housed in the same aquarium as Angelfish. 

Is it possible for blood-red parrot cichlids to coexist alongside angelfish? 

Blood red parrots should not be maintained in the same aquarium as aggressive fish since they are not well suited to compete for food or territory in the tank. Many of their owners have successfully kept them in communal aquariums with a variety of calm species. Mid-sized tetras, danios, angelfish, and catfish are all excellent tankmates that might be considered. 

What fish are good tankmates to angelfish?

Larger tetras and rasboras, gouramis, peaceful barbs, rainbowfish, corydoras, and other medium-sized catfish are also suitable tank mates for this kind of fish. Even in bigger aquariums, angelfish may be housed alongside discus provided that the water temperature is maintained at or above 82° F. 

Are angelfish a suitable choice for a communal aquarium? 

Although angelfish can be aggressive, they do very well in community aquariums that are not overrun with other fish. Angelfish will also breed in community tanks if the conditions are favourable, and they will deposit eggs in these tanks. When they lay eggs, they may become aggressive since they are often trying to defend their eggs from being eaten by other fish. 

Is it possible to keep angelfish and parrotfish together? 

Due to the violent nature of blood parrots and their tendency to be territorial, it is strongly discouraged to keep angelfish with blood parrots. As a result, the blood parrot would continually torment the angelfish, causing it to get stressed and eventually die. 

Is it possible for blood parrots to coexist alongside African cichlids? 

African river cichlids, in particular, get along nicely with blood parrots. As long as the African cichlids are around the same size and aggressiveness level as the blood parrots, the two species of fish should be able to live together in harmony.


R.M. 1990. The evolution of sex-change mechanisms in fish. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 29(2), 81-93.

Lutnesky, M.M.F. (1992). Behavioral ecology of reproduction in the pomacanthid angelfish, Centropyge potteri. The University of Hawaii at Manoa.