Peacock Cichlid Tank Mates

African peacock cichlids are not only one of the most brightly colored and beautiful members of the cichlid family, but they are also regarded as one of the more friendly and peaceful. Have you become fascinated with the African peacock cichlid? Are you looking for the most compatible peacock cichlid tank mates?

Despite the docile nature of the African peacock, not every fish is going to be a compatible tank mate. It is still important to determine what tankmates are compatible with African peacock cichlids to create a peaceful and amiable tank. Otherwise, problems amongst your tank mates can be disastrous!

Choosing Tank Mates for Your African Peacock Cichlid: Initial Considerations

When choosing tank mates for your peacock cichlid, compatibility should not be your only consideration. This is due to peacock cichlids having rather unique water parameter requirements, so you will also need to make sure that any tank mates you add have similar water requirements as well.

The African peacock is a Lake Malawi cichlid, and they tend to prefer alkaline water with a stable pH level. Many cichlid-keepers tend to choose tank mates that are from Lake Malawi because they naturally prefer the same water parameters. However, not every Lake Malawi cichlid will be compatible with the peacock cichlid in terms of temperament.

Tank Mate Ideas

Housing African Peacock Cichlids with Other Peacock Cichlids

One manner in which you can ensure compatibility in your African peacock cichlid tank is to house peacock cichlids with other peacock cichlid tank mates. Peacock cichlids can be kept together as tank mates; however, the best way to keep them together is to maintain a ratio that is four (4) female peacock cichlids to each one (1) male peacock cichlid to create schools within the aquarium.

Male African peacock cichlids are particularly territorial tank mates, and so it is crucial to provide them with sufficient space to prevent any issues in your tank. Generally speaking, 100 gallons of tank space is adequate for a community of six peacock cichlids.

If you are particularly interested in keeping multiple African peacock cichlid tank mates, it would be wise to select females entirely unless you are particularly interested in breeding. Breeding African peacock cichlids can be difficult due to the territorial nature of the males, which causes them to be solitary and less compatible.

Another consideration that you can make is that there are many different species of African peacock cichlids, so you can experiment with different species to mix varieties and colorations. Some of the most popular varieties of the African peacock cichlid that aquarists favor include:

African Butterfly Peacock Cichlid

Aulonocara Blue Gold Cichlid

Aulonocara Fort Maguire Cichlid

Flavescent Peacock Cichlid

Maulana Bicolor Peacock Cichlid

Nkhomo Benga Peacock Cichlid

Sunshine Peacock Cichlid

Haplochromis Cichlid Tank Mates

The Haplochromis genus includes more than 200 recognizes species, several of which are particularly well suited to be housed with the African peacock cichlid. Not only are “Haps” endemic to Lake Malawi, meaning that they are compatible tank mates with the peacock cichlid in terms of water requirements, but several species are particularly docile and peaceful.

Four examples of the gentler species of Haplochromis that would make compatible tank mates with the African peacock cichlid include:

Copadichromis – Copadichromis is a genus consisting of 25 recognized species.

Nyassachromis – Nyassachromis is a genus consisting of 8 recognized species.

Placidochromis – Placidochromis is a genus consisting of 43 recognized species.

Sciaenochromis – Sciaenochromis is a genus consisting of only four recognized species. It is important to note that Sciaenochromis are piscivorous and eat the fry of other fish species, including the peacock cichlid.

Each of these genera are especially popular among aquarists for being relatively peaceful in captivity. When considering adding additional Peacock cichlid tank mates from one of these species, make sure to consider their individual feeding requirements.

Lake Malawi Cichlids with Poor Compatibility

Just as there are some genus and species which are particularly well suited as compatible tank mates for African peacock cichlids, there are also some tank mates which should be avoided. Particular Lake Malawi residents, which are more active or a little more on the aggressive side, should be avoided, including Labeotropheus, Mbuna, Petrotilapia, and Pseudotropheus.

There are exceptions to every rule, however, as every genus has a few species that are more docile than the rest. For example, although Mbuna are generally more aggressive than Haps, the Rusty Cichlid, Lodotropheus Sprengerae, which is a Mbuna, is regarded as a docile species that is likely to be bullied by more aggressive tank mates including the peacock cichlid.

Non-Cichlid Tank Mates

When it comes to adding non-cichlid tank mates to your peacock cichlid tank, your consideration will need to be about water compatibility as well as territoriality. The fish you choose as peacock cichlid tank mates need to be able to survive in the same water conditions as your African peacock cichlids in addition to standing up to any territorial behavior from any more aggressive cichlids in your tank.

It would help if you were looking for fish species that are either capable of standing up to any aggressive behavior from the cichlids in your tank or that can hide when they need to.

• Botia Loaches: The Botia Loach is a typical recommendation as a tank mate for the African peacock cichlid. These loaches are semi-aggressive, but they like to hide when sufficient hiding places are provided.

• Red Tail Shark: As above, if sufficient hiding places are provided, this semi-aggressive fish can get along well in a peacock cichlid tank.

• Plecostomus: The Plecostomus is a common companion in a Peacock cichlid tank because it will help keep the tank clean, but because it is a bottom feeder, it will stay out of everyone’s way. Your peacock cichlid probably will not bother the plecostomus at all.

Don’t be afraid to ask at your local fish specialist regarding compatible Peacock cichlid tank mates, as sometimes you will not know about a potential compatible tank mate until it is suggested to you by a more seasoned expert.

Final Considerations

The African peacock cichlid is an easy tank mate to keep because it is peaceful and easygoing. Its stunning coloration makes it a fan favorite, and its entertaining personality also does not hurt!

You can help to prevent or alleviate aggressive behavior by the many tank mates in your aquarium by creating many different territories in your tank using decorations. Try to add many different plants and hiding places for your fish.

Also, remember that more space for your tank mates is better, especially when mixing male and female Malawi cichlids. The males of certain species can be territorial if there is not a sufficient enough ratio between male and female fish.

Keep stress to a minimum by keeping your water parameters as perfect as you can. Lake Malawi cichlids require alkaline water with a balanced pH. If the water parameters waver, you may experience an increase in tension among tank mates, including your African peacock cichlid.


The African peacock cichlid is a stunning and beautiful addition to any aquarium, provided you choose compatible tank mates. Peacock cichlid tank mates come in many forms, including other species from Lake Malawi, and other non-cichlid varieties of fish.

It is important that you consider water conditions and temperament when considering compatibility in your Peacock cichlid tank mates to achieve the best results. When you put time and thought into selecting your African Peacock cichlid tank mates, that is when you can ensure the success of your aquarium for a long time.

Tank Mates for Peacock Cichlids - CichlidGuide.com - Did you know that peacock cichlids can have tank mates? This post tells you which aquarium creatures can live with a peacock cichlid.