How Many African Cichlids in 1 Tank?! (Overstocked? Easy Solution!)
Every new African cichlid keeper asks this question (and it’s understandable why). One of the first things that you learn when keeping African cichlids is that overstocked tanks are essential in reducing their aggression.
And so, how many African cichlids can you keep in a tank? Let’s just cut to the chase; there is no perfect number and there are numerous calculations!
However, here’s our take on the matter of overstocked African cichlid tanks (take these numbers with a pinch of Cichlid Lake Salt):
- 55 gallon African cichlid tank: Anything between 15 – 32 African cichlids.
- 75 gallon African cichlid tank: Anything between 15 – 42 African cichlids.
- 125 gallon African cichlid tank: Anything between 40 – 72 African cichlids.
The numbers listed above vary based on your tank, the type of African cichlids you choose to keep, as well as your fishkeeping husbandry. For a detailed split, please scroll down.
It’s crucial to ensure a suitable, stress-free life for your African cichlids – and one of the important keys to keeping them happy and healthy is to provide them with enough living space.
In this article, we will take a look at just how many African cichlids you can keep in one overstocked tank. We’ll also throw in a few key things about the type of African cichlids you plan to keep as well as basic, but important, maintenance tips.
How Many African Cichlids Can You Keep In One Tank?
It’s no secret that almost all African cichlid species require large tanks, at least 55 gallons. However, we recommend you provide them with a larger tank. More space, happy fish, happy owner.
Beginner aquarists take note. Having more water allows you wiggle room for any small mistakes and to correct them – keeping your fish alive!
Advanced aquarists! It’s okay to have an overstocked African cichlid tank (we know you can’t resist their jewel-like colors) – just don’t skip on your tank maintenance!
They are social creatures like us, so it is important to keep them in groups or harems. They should have a social lifestyle, possibly with other species.
It is very difficult to determine the exact number of African cichlids for a particular aquarium, as this varies greatly from species to species and other variables.
However, here’s our take on the matter of overstocked African cichlid tanks based on the tank size and species (take these numbers with a pinch of Cichlid Lake Salt):
How Many African Cichlids In a 55 Gallon Tank?
We recommend the following if you have a 55 gallon African cichlid tank:
- 15 – 20 Peacocks and Haps
- 26 – 32 Mbunas
- 5 – 15 Haps
How Many African Cichlids In a 75 Gallon Tank?
We recommend the following if you have a 75 gallon African cichlid tank:
- 25 – 30 Peacocks and Haps
- 35 – 42 Mbunas
- 15 – 25 Haps
How Many African Cichlids In a 125 Gallon Tank?
We recommend the following if you have a 125 gallon African cichlid tank:
- 50 – 60 Peacocks and Haps
- 60 – 72 Mbunas
- 40 – 55 Haps
That’s a lot of fish, right?! Start small and work your way up to these numbers and see how you and your fish adapt. We have an article on some of our favorite small African cichlids that you may want to take a look at.
We cannot stress this enough, but research is always key when selecting your African cichlid species.
Another, very critical component of keeping an overstocked African cichlid tank is… MAINTENANCE!
More Fish, More Maintenance
It’s better to ask yourself this now rather than later: Are you willing to do twice as much maintenance and cleaning as you are right now? If not, then rather start small for now and work your way up if you wish to do so. If yes, well, join the club!
We here at KaveMan Aquatics do weekly water changes for our overstocked African cichlid tank. And it’s not just a 50% water change, it’s an 80% water change to keep that nitrogen cycle in check!
Trust us, you’ll become an expert at knowing when to do water changes, how to vacuum your substrate, how to clean your filters (big and small), and more! You’ll become a certified clean freak!
An overstocked tank also requires you to over-filtrate. For our 75 gallon overstocked tank, we use both a Fluval FX6 and a Fluval 407 canister filter. For our 210 gallon overstocked tank, we use two Fluval FX6 canisters.
Get your calendar ready and start scheduling your tank maintenance and cleaning days – your African cichlids will tank you.
If you’ve read the full article, by now, you know that there isn’t one golden number. It depends from fish to fish, the tank, and the fishkeeper’s husbandry.
It’s important to not be stingy with your time and money when it comes to a happy and healthy overstocked African cichlid tank. But they will reward you as the jewels of your home with their fabulous colors.
We have numerous resources such as African cichlid articles and a dedicated African cichlid YouTube playlist (for that binge-worthy content).
KaveMan Aquatics also offers an online video course, Keeping African Cichlids. If you feel that that’s not enough, we also offer 1-on-1 consulting services for that personal touch.
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