Red Devil Cichlid: Size, Care, Tank Mates

This vibrant and feisty fish is sure to catch anyone’s eye, but it also requires special care and attention to thrive.

This article will cover everything you need to know about caring for Red Devil Cichlids.

From selecting tank mates that won’t become their next meal to understanding their behavior and growth patterns, we’ve got you covered with all the information you need to provide these stunning creatures with a happy home.

Whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or just starting, read on for our comprehensive guide on Red Devil Cichlid care.

Overview Of The Species

Red Devil Cichlids, scientifically known as Amphilophus labiatus, are fascinating freshwater fish that have captured the hearts of many aquarists.

These unique-looking fish sport vibrant colors and possess a charismatic personalities that can develop bonds with their owners.

However, they’re not for everyone, as they can be quite aggressive toward other fish and have an insatiable appetite for destruction.

In terms of history, Red Devil Cichlids were originally classified under the genus Cichlasoma but were later moved to their genus due to no longer fitting the description of Cichlasoma labiatum.

They’re native to Nicaraguan lakes such as Lake Nicaragua, Lake Managua, and Lake Xiloa, where they heavily populate these areas.

Over time, these cichlids have become one of the most popular species in the hobby due to their striking appearance and playful attitudes.

Lifespan Of Red Devil Cichlids


The average lifespan of Red Devil Cichlids is around 10 to 12 years in captivity. However, with proper care and maintenance, some fish have been reported to live longer than the average.

Factors affecting their lifespan include water quality, living conditions, and genetics.

Poor water quality can lead to stress and disease, which can shorten their lifespan significantly.

Similarly, cramped or unsuitable living conditions can cause stress and aggression among Red Devil Cichlids, reducing lifespan.

Genetics also play a role as certain genetic traits may make them more susceptible to diseases or health issues that could shorten their life span.

Proper care can extend their lifespan.

Maintaining the right water temperature, pH level, and other water parameters is essential to keep them healthy.

Regular tank cleaning, a balanced diet, and avoiding overcrowding can also help prolong their lifespan.

Red Devil Cichlids’ lifespan in the wild differs from those in captivity.

The lifespan of Red Devil Cichlids in the wild is typically shorter than those in captivity due to predation, disease, and environmental changes.

Appearance And Coloration

These fish have a unique look, with pointed dorsal and anal fins that provide speed and agility in the water.

Males tend to develop a prominent forehead hump during the breeding season or captivity, while females lack this feature.

The lips of these cichlids are thick with rubber-like consistency, which is usually orange but can also be black.

When it comes to color, there is quite some variety among Red Devil Cichlids.

In the wild, they are commonly brown or grey for blending into murky waters, but captive-bred ones come in vibrant colors like white, yellow, bright red, and spotted variations.

Black-tipped fins and tails are also prevalent features.

It is believed that genetics play a role in determining morph variations in color patterns, lip size depending on diet, etc.

Size And Growth Rate

The Red Devil Cichlid can grow up to an impressive 15 inches long when mature, a little bigger than many other fish in aquariums.

Males are usually larger than females. On average, these fish reach their full length at three years old.

However, their size and growth rate depend on feeding habits and environmental conditions.

During the early growth stages of a Red Devil Cichlid, it is crucial to feed them protein-rich foods like pellets and live food.

This helps stimulate healthy growth while ensuring they have enough energy to stay active.

Environmental factors also play a significant role in their growth rate.

For instance, keeping your fish tank clean with regular water changes ensures stable water parameters, promoting healthy development.

By taking care of all these essential factors, you can watch your Red Devil Cichlid grow into a magnificent specimen!

Setting Up Your Red Devil Cichlid Tank

As you begin to set up your Red Devil Cichlid tank, it’s important to consider all aspects of their care.

A properly designed and maintained aquarium is crucial for the health and well-being of these fish.

You’ll want to start by investing in a high-quality filtration system that can handle the size of your tank. You should choose a filter with at least three times the capacity of your aquarium.

When decorating your tank, there are plenty of options to choose from.

However, remember that Red Devil Cichlids need lots of rocks and hiding places for both territorial purposes and stress reduction.

Add some driftwood or plants for added natural elements, but avoid decorations with sharp edges or pointy ends that could harm your fish.

Lastly, establish a regular maintenance routine, including weekly water changes, gravel vacuuming, and regularly testing the water parameters.

They will thrive under your care by setting up an ideal environment for your Red Devil Cichlid’s needs!

 Care Tips

Generally, Red Devil Cichlids are highly resilient and easy to look after for those with fishkeeping experience.

They are not recommended for beginning aquarists.

These fish can cope with various water conditions, but it’s important to provide proper care to get the most out of them.

Ideal Tank Size For Red Devil Cichlids

These stunning fish require ample space and careful consideration in their tank setup.

A cramped environment can lead to stress, aggression, and health issues for these active swimmers.

To provide the ideal living conditions for your Red Devil Cichlid, we recommend investing in a spacious tank of at least 55 gallons for a single fish or larger tanks for breeding pairs or multi-fish setups.

Here are some tips on how to create an optimal habitat:

  1. Tank mates: Choose compatible tank mates that can handle the aggressive nature of Red Devil Cichlids. Avoid small, slow-moving fish and opt for larger species like Oscars or Jack Dempseys.
  2. Filtration options: Invest in high-quality filtration systems to maintain water quality and prevent disease outbreaks. Canister filters with biological and mechanical filtration media are recommended.
  3. Tank decor: Provide plenty of hiding spots using rocks, caves, and driftwood while leaving enough open swimming space. Adding live plants is also beneficial as they help oxygenate the water and reduce nitrates.

By following these guidelines, you can create a thriving aquatic ecosystem that benefits your Red Devil Cichlid and its tank mates.

Remember that proper care leads to healthy and happy fish!

Water Parameters For A Healthy Aquarium

Maintaining proper water parameters is crucial to ensuring the health and well-being of your Red Devil Cichlid.

The ideal water temperature for your aquarium should be between 75 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

You should also aim for a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5 and for your water hardness to range from 6 to 25 dGH.

These levels will provide the perfect environment for your fish to grow and thrive.

Regularly testing the water in your aquarium is essential for monitoring pH levels, water hardness, and temperature.

You can use test kits to measure these parameters at home or take your water sample to a pet store or aquatic center for analysis.

In addition to regular water testing, it’s important to have an effective filtration system that removes harmful toxins from the tank.

A good filtration system will also help maintain stable water conditions and reduce the need for frequent water changes.

However, even with excellent filtration and regular testing, it’s still necessary to perform routine water changes to remove excess debris and replenish essential minerals.

Aim for changing 20 to 25% of the water volume every week or two weeks, depending on how heavily stocked your tank is.

By caring for your Red Devil Cichlid’s environment through consistent maintenance practices such as these, you’ll ensure they live long and healthy lives!

What To Put In Your Red Devil Cichlid Tank

Aquarium decor plays a significant role in these fish’s lives as they love hiding and exploring around rocks and wood.

When selecting aquarium decorations, make sure they are made of materials safe for aquatic life.

Red Devil Cichlids prefer fine sand substrate over gravel or tough substrates.

Adding any plants to your aquarium is probably not a good idea.

Red Devil Cichlids are notorious for tearing up any foliage they can get their fins on, and they also dig plants while they’re at it. So adding plants isn’t a good idea.

Lastly, ensure your filtration system is robust enough to handle the bioload these fish create while keeping the water clean and clear.

When setting up an ideal home for Red Devil Cichlids, remember that these fish require ample swimming space and plenty of hiding places.

Remember their natural habitat while choosing aquarium decor so that they feel comfortable and secure in their new environment.

With careful planning and attention to detail, you can create a beautiful living space for your cichlids that also meets all their physical needs!

Common Diseases And How To Prevent Them

Red Devil Cichlids aren’t prone to any special illnesses, but they can get the same diseases other freshwater fish are vulnerable to.

Ich is a common problem aquarists have to face.

The good news is that these diseases can be prevented by adequately caring for your aquarium water quality.

Red Devil Cichlids are also particularly vulnerable to a “hole-in-the-head” disease.

It’s commonly referred to as Head and Lateral Line Disease and is characterized by visible pits on the head and face.

Generally, this is attributed to inadequate nutrition and poor water quality.

A few disease prevention strategies include regularly checking water parameters such as pH, temperature, ammonia levels, and nitrates.

Introducing new fish slowly into the tank after they have been quarantined is also essential.

Additionally, it’s crucial to provide proper nutrition with nutrient-rich food and vitamin supplements.

You must change roughly 25-30% of your tank’s water weekly.

Additionally, ensure you have some form of high-quality filter that removes organic matter; doing this will keep your tank in top condition.

Following these preventive measures can reduce the risk of diseases in your Red Devil Cichlid.

Disease should be utilized immediately to ensure a healthy life for your beloved pet.

Remember that disease prevention requires consistent effort, but seeing your fish swimming happily in their thriving environment is worth it.

So keep up with maintenance tasks regularly and seek veterinary assistance whenever necessary!

Food And Diet Recommendations

As omnivores, these fish have a wide variety of preferred food choices.

Providing them with a balanced diet that includes dry food, live food, and treats is essential.

To meet their nutritional requirements, consider using high-quality Cichlid pellets as a foundation for their meals.

You can also supplement their diet with krill, earthworms, bloodworms, crickets, and spirulina-based food.

However, exercise caution regarding mammal meats like chicken or beef.

While they can be used as occasional treats, having too much can cause intestinal issues.

Since these fish eat a lot, it’s recommended to feed them multiple times a day on a consistent feeding schedule.

This will ensure they receive all the nutrients and vitamins they need to thrive.

Providing some variety in their meals and monitoring their intake of certain foods will help maintain your Red Devil Cichlid’s health and happiness.

Behavior And Temperament Of Red Devil Cichlids


Aggression management is an essential aspect of caring for Red Devil Cichlids. As mentioned earlier, these fish are highly territorial and aggressive towards other fish in the tank.

It’s important to provide them enough space to swim freely without feeling threatened by other species.

Regarding social behavior, Red Devil Cichlids can be quite interesting to observe.

They have complex mating rituals that involve digging caves in the substrate and displaying their bright red coloration to attract a mate.

During this time, they become very protective of their territory and will aggressively defend it from intruders.

Keeping your Red Devil Cichlid calm and healthy, environmental enrichment is key.

Provide plenty of hiding places, such as rocks or plants, so they can establish their own territories within the tank.

Additionally, feeding them a varied diet of high-quality foods will help prevent boredom and reduce aggression.

These charismatic fish can make fascinating additions to any aquarium setup with proper care and attention.

Best Tank Mates For Red Devil Cichlids

If you want to look after a Red Devil Cichlid, then prepare to have a tank that’s only home to one fish.

Because of their aggressive nature, these fish are generally kept alone.

You can keep other fish, but this should be done while they are young.

At an early stage, Red Devil Cichlids raised together in the same tank tend not to display aggressive behavior.

Unfortunately, this can change once they’ve matured.

After reaching their full size, they will unlikely want to share the space in their tank.

If you still want to keep multiple fish, the tank must be huge.

A lot of hiding spots and natural divisions in the tank can reduce the chances of aggression.

The good news is that Red Devil Cichlids can be kept in pairs.

These fish are monogamous, so males and females can usually be kept together.

Breeding Red Devil Cichlids: Tips And Tricks

Breeding these fish is relatively easy and can be done by beginners with patience.

Understanding their spawning behavior and parental care will help you manage your fry successfully.

To start the breeding process, raise the temperature of your tank to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, which mimics the warm waters during their natural breeding season in the wild.

Provide plenty of nutrient-rich foods like bloodworms to prepare them for breeding.

Once ready, females lay 600-700 eggs on a flat rock or inclined substrate.

You can offer a breeding area by creating a subtle hill or introducing driftwood into the tank.

The translucent eggs take about three to four days to hatch, after which both parents move them to another area of the tank or dig a pit for better protection against predators.

The next five to seven days require extra attention as this is when the fry is free-swimming but still needs proper management from you as an owner.

Monitor feeding habits closely and consider separating unhealthy fry from healthy ones if necessary.

Remembering these tips while managing your Red Devil Cichlid fry should result in successful growth and development without problems arising!


In conclusion, owning a Red Devil Cichlid can be a rewarding experience for any aquarium enthusiast.

These fish have unique personalities, and vibrant colors make them stand out in any tank.

However, they do require specific care and attention to thrive.

When setting up your Red Devil Cichlid’s tank, it is important to consider its size and behavior tendencies.

Providing ample space and hiding spots will help create a comfortable environment for these fish.

Additionally, choosing appropriate tank mates and providing a balanced diet are key factors in maintaining the health of your Red Devil Cichlid.

With proper care, these stunning fish can live long, healthy lives and bring joy to any aquarium hobbyist.