5 Most Non-Aggressive Cichlids
On one hand, cichlids are famous for having some of the most exotic colors among freshwater fish. But on the other hand, they are known for being rather aggressive. So what if you want the benefits of their vibrant colors, but don’t want to deal with, or witness, the aggression?
Well, to make things easy for you, we’ve created a carousel below which reveals what we consider to be the five most non-aggressive cichlids. Just simply scroll sideways to see them all and select a species to reveal some information about it. To take things one step further, below that carousel, we’ll go on to explain some techniques you can use to minimize the aggression among your aggressive & non-aggressive cichlids.
The Five Most Non-Aggressive Cichlids Are:
Photo: Loïc Tremblay
Photo: Leonardo Dasilva
German Blue Rams
Bolivian Ram Cichlids
Bolivian Ram Cichlids have an attractive golden-brown color, with red and turquoise highlights. To tell you the truth, they are perhaps one of the most non-aggressive cichlids on this list. That means they’re very compatible with most peaceful, community fish.
The nice thing about these suckers is that they are considered a dwarf cichlid. They only reach a max size of 3-3.5 inches, so you don’t need as large of an aquarium as you would when keeping other cichlids. Generally speaking, an aquarium the size of 30-55 gallons is acceptable for them.
Keyhole Cichlids are another peaceful cichlid. As a matter of fact, they spend most of their day hiding. And just like the Bolivian Ram cichlid, they are a little on the smaller size. They only grow to be 4-5 inches, so you can keep them in an aquarium as small as 30 gallons.
Keyhole Cichlids are shy though. Generally, they will back down from a fight if they are ever challenged – which is great news if you going for that non-aggressive cichlid community aquarium style. The only downfall I can think of about these guys is that they are becoming increasingly rare. So if you ever come across one, adopt it!
Blue Acara Cichlids
Blue Acara Cichlids are peaceful. So, again, they do very well in community aquariums. The perks of these little darlings start with their physical appearance. Just look at them. They’re very attractive. A brownish body color with tones of bright-blue.
They grow to be about 7 inches long, so they require a little more aquarium space than the first two fish on this page. As a matter of fact, a minimum tank size of 50 gallons is recommended for them. Oh, and also, these fish become somewhat aggressive during mating, so it’s best to keep them with fish that are equal in size, or larger.
Yellow Lab Cichlids
Yellow Lab Cichlids are perhaps a little more aggressive than the other cichlids on this list, but they are a popular choice for anyone who’s looking to add vibrant colors to their tank without adding too much aggression.
In our experience, these fish are least aggressive when kept with fish that do not look similar to them. And if you’ve ever kept multiple Yellow Lab Cichlids before, you’ll know that they breed like bunnies. Because of this, expect to see them in just about any fish store you come across.
German Blue Ram Cichlids
German Blue Ram Cichlids have an oval-shaped body that is decorated with many different colors. The first color everybody notices is the iridescent blue dots that appear all over them – they are what make them such a popular fish.
These fish are also a dwarf cichlid, so they only grow to a few inches in length. As a good rule of thumb, you can keep 1-2 of them in an aquarium as small as 20 gallons. But if you are keeping a group of 2-6 of them, then you should use at least a 40 gallon aquarium.
How to Minimize Aggression in your Aquarium
Although there are non-aggressive cichlids and there are aggressive cichlids, it is likely that all cichlids will show some form of aggression at one point or another. Therefore, you should know how to minimize the aggression inside your aquarium.
In most cases, you can greatly reduce the aggression among cichlid by decorating their aquarium with plenty of hiding spots. Having these in your aquarium allows your fish to seek shelter and relax, instead of feeling exposed and harassed all the time. Usually, you should decorate your aquarium with lots of caves, driftwood, and plants. But for the best results, research the exact species of fish you’re dealing with so you can find out what their natural habitat is like, then decorate their aquarium to mimic that habitat.
Another effective way you can minimize the aggression in your aquarium is to limit your aquarium to 1 fish per species. Typically, cichlids are most aggressive towards members of the same species because they see them as competition, so diversifying your aquarium eliminates this issue. However, if you want to keep more than 1 fish per species, usually it is the males that display aggression towards the females, so try keeping a male to female ratio of at least 1:3.
In closing, I would just like to point out that although some cichlids are known for being more peaceful than others, it is different for every individual fish. The techniques listed above are just suggestions based on personal experiences and research – designed to help you find the best non-aggressive cichlids for your aquarium. I hope this helped you.