Because they can be semi-aggressive, it’s best to keep three or more females per male in your aquarium. You should also make sure they have adequate space. If they stand too close together, fights can break out and become dangerous. If you plan on giving them additional roommates, it’s best to house them with larger fish.
Cichlid species that can live together are cichlids from the same region. For example, African cichlids go well with other African cichlids, South American cichlids go well with other South American cichlids, and so on. In addition, some species such as dwarf cichlids can live together with other cichlids.
If provided with clean water and food, most cichlids can theoretically survive on their own. However, it is best to keep at least one breeding pair or more to allow them to thrive. The only cichlid that is often kept alone is the Oscar. Solitary keeping is possible, but I would recommend not keeping cichlids singly.
African cichlids thrive better when crowded with other African cichlids, but they should be monitored for aggressive behavior and removed if necessary. A 55 gallon tank can house up to 15 African cichlids, depending on species, maximum size and temperament.
Keyhole Cichlid (Cleithracara maronii) – A very peaceful species, the keyhole cichlid grows to only 4 to 5 inches long. These fish are very shy and need plenty of hiding places in the tank. They are very non-aggressive towards other tankmates and will always retreat from a fight.
Cichlids prefer warm water with a high pH. While cichlids are typically able to tolerate a wide range of temperatures and water types, their colors appear brighter and more vibrant in water with a pH of around eight. Many pet and aquarium stores sell aquarium supplements designed for cichlids.
Cichlids hail from some of the world’s deepest lakes and thrive in dark, murky conditions teeming with plants, rocks and algae. If the lighting in your aquarium mimics these conditions, your cichlids will grow to their full potential, both physically and mentally.
Mouthbrooding African cichlid matings go something like this: the male digs a burrow (nest) for the female and lures her in with this silly fin-swinging dance (there’s also a disturbing “kissing” version). She lays her eggs in the nest and he fertilizes them.