The jaguar cichlid is striking due to its silver and black color pattern and large size. Its energetic personality also makes it a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts.
However, this fish tends to be very territorial and will often attack smaller aquarium tank mates. For this reason, many people wonder, what fish can live with a jaguar cichlid? Carefully choosing the right jaguar cichlid tank mates can help to reduce the risk of aggression and injury, and will make your aquarium a more stable, peaceful space.
Ensure the Tank is Ready for Tank Mates
The jaguar cichlid is a large, aggressive fish that is usually only kept by experienced aquarium enthusiasts. Their care is relatively simple, however, and when caution is taken and they are provided with the correct setup, they are often beautiful additions to the tank.
When housing a jaguar cichlid with other tankmates, a large aquarium is crucial. Adult jaguar cichlids can grow to about a foot long and require an aquarium of at least 75 gallons, although 100 gallons is optimal. When choosing jaguar cichlid tank mates, it’s best to choose fish that are as large or larger than the jaguars’ adult size, so you’ll want a tank that’s 200 gallons or more. This ensures that all the fish are comfortable but also decreases the male jaguar cichlid’s territorial tendencies.
Adequate hiding places should also be created for the jaguar cichlid tank mates. You can use rocks or premade aquarium caves and décor to create these hiding places. Always ensure that rocks are extremely secure, as the energetic jaguar cichlid will often attempt to move or knock them over.
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Jaguar cichlids prefer a temperature range between 73 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH between 7.0 and 8.7. Tank mates for a jaguar cichlid should also have water requirements that fall into those same ranges.
The Best Tank Mates:
Other Jaguar Cichlids
Jaguar cichlids are aggressive even within their own species, but under the right conditions, a pair can often be kept together. One of the most suitable male jaguar cichlid tank mates is a female jaguar cichlid. However, it’s essential that you first provide adequate space for the pair of cichlids, which means a tank of at least 100 gallons. Female jaguar cichlids will also need plenty of hiding places in case of aggression from the male.
When housing a pair of jaguar cichlids together, it’s very important to introduce the tank mates to the aquarium at the same time. Otherwise, the male can become very territorial and may attack the female. Keeping a pair of jaguar cichlids together often works best when the fish have been raised together from a young age.
Other Cichlid Species:
It’s often best to choose other large cichlids, particularly species that can match the jaguar in temperament, as jaguar cichlid tank mates. Green terror cichlids and red terror cichlids are good options for male jaguar cichlid tank mates as they grow to about the same size as the male jaguar and are also known to be aggressive.
Convict cichlids are also aggressive and can stand up for themselves against other territorial fish. However, they tend to be somewhat smaller than jaguar cichlids, which can be dangerous for the convict cichlids.
The Jack Dempsey fish is also a compatible jaguar cichlid tank mates. These brightly colored cichlids become more aggressive as they grow. In addition, they average about eight inches in length, which is usually too large for the jaguar cichlid to bully.
Another excellent jaguar cichlid tank mate is the oscar. Oscars grow to between 12 and 18 inches long and become territorial as they age. This fish can also become aggressive during feeding, so you’ll never have to worry about the jaguar cichlid scaring it out of a meal.
Other Compatible Fish Species
Keeping a jaguar cichlid with tank mates that are not other cichlid species is also possible. Giant gouramis, for example, are peaceful fish, but, because they reach lengths of 18 to 28 inches, they are too large for the jaguar cichlid to attack. Similarly, pacus are massive fish that reach 40 inches in length and, when provided with adequate aquarium space, make good tank mates for the jaguar cichlid.
Bala sharks are not true sharks but fish that resemble sharks. They are not aggressive but will reach lengths of 12 inches. Many keepers consider their size enough of a deterrent to the jaguar cichlid’s aggression, while others suggest that this species is too peaceful to be housed with cichlids.
Tinfoil barbs are also considered by some to be good jaguar cichlid tank mates due to their size of about 12 inches. However, their peaceful personality may cause issues when housed with jaguar cichlids, so caution should be taken.
Catfish Tank Mates
Catfish also make excellent tank mates for a jaguar cichlid. A good example is the redtail catfish, which is aggressive and will stand up to other territorial fish. This fish can become very large, however, reaching lengths of 20 to 40 inches.
The common pleco, which can grow to between 15 and 24 inches long, is another good jaguar cichlid tankmate. Plecos are peaceful but tend to be large enough that jaguar cichlids will leave them alone. Sailfin plecos, on the other hand, grow to about 20 inches in length and tend to be aggressive, making them a good option as jaguar cichlid tank mates.
Invertebrate Tank Mates
Invertebrates are generally considered to be poor tank mates for a jaguar cichlid. Invertebrates such as shrimp, snails, or crabs, may be slow-moving and are often smaller than the jaguar cichlid. Although some jaguar cichlids may simply ignore their crustacean tank mates, others will attempt to eat them.
Aquarium plants are often a good choice for a tank setup as they provide hiding places for smaller, less aggressive fish. However, with a jaguar cichlid, they are generally not a good option. Jaguar cichlids are energetic and will dig up plants, so it’s usually best to house them in an aquarium with only rocks and a gravel substrate.
The exception to the aquarium plant rule is well-established, tough plants that have root systems embedded deep into the substrate. Plants can also be placed in containers such as pots or attached to rocks or driftwood. Jaguar cichlids may still tear at or knock over these plants, but the plants will have a better chance of survival.
The Bottom Line on Jaguars
Jaguar cichlids are aggressive fish that grow to a very large size, so safely keeping them with other tank mates can be a challenge. However, if you provide an aquarium that is large enough and features plenty of hiding places and you introduce only other large, aggressive fish that can defend themselves, your jaguar cichlid can often live well as part of a community.
- Provide an aquarium between 100 and 200 gallons in size
- Create hiding places with rocks or aquarium décor
- Choose large fish as jaguar cichlid tank mates
- Choose territorial or aggressive fish as jaguar cichlid tank mates
- Avoid invertebrate tank mates
- Avoid plants unless they are hardy or planted in containers
Do you have tips or a question about jaguar cichlid tank mates? Comment below and let us know.