Cichlid Tank Size Chart – How Many Cichlids Can I Put?

Cichlids are found in many areas of the world. They are popular pets for aquariums and they can be found in a large range of sizes.

If you’re just like me and love to keep cichlids in your aquarium, you’ll need to know how to manage them. Although they are a small type of fish, it’s best not to overcrowd the population. You should have as many cichlids as you can humanely fit in the fish tank you already own.

Types of Cichlids

It is worth mentioning that how many cichlids you decide to keep in your tank also depends on the type of cichlid fish. Not all cichlids are created equal, and may differ in sizes. These are the commonly found cichlids:

  1. African cichlids can be at least 3 inches long, and may grow up to 8 inches.
  2. African peacocks can grow as long as 5 inches, but female African peacocks may only be 5 inches
  3. Buffalo-Head cichlids are typically about 3 to 4 inches.
  4. The size of Zebra Mbuna Cichlids is upto 4 inches in total length.
  5. Maingano cichlids are about 3 inches long and are one of the most aggressive cichlids.

There are many different species of cichlids, so you should be aware of their size and attitudes. Most local aquarists I know are happy to help!

How Many Cichlids In A Tank?

In order to figure out the appropriate size of tank for your cichlids, you first need to find what species they are. Next, find out how large that species can reach when they are fully grown. Quite a lot of people size their tanks based on the length of a young cichlid. Often, owning a small cichlid will work fine at the start, but they’ll soon outgrow it.

A standard dimension for a 55 gallon tank is about 48 ¼ x 12 ¾ x 21 inches. These fish tanks are usually an extra 4 inches long that are not shown in the dimensions.

A 55-gallon tank could house either 2 male African cichlids or 1 male and 1 female fish. The size of a cichlid’s body varies depending on the gender. Males of most types of cichlid fish can grow up to 6 inches longer than females.

how many cichlids in a gallon tank can i put?

Here’s a handy tank size chart to determine how many cichlids to put in a tank:

Tank sizeNumber of cichlids
20 gallons (75.70 liters)1 Dwarf Cichlid
30 gallons (113.53 liters)A pair of cichlids (male and female)
40 gallons (151.41 liters)Upto 4 Cichlids
55 gallons (208.19 liters)2 males and 2 females
60 gallons (227.12 liters)2 males and 2 females + 1 female Cichlid
75 gallons (283.90 liters)3 males and 3 females

If you stock peacock cichlids, the 55 gallon tank would only be suitable for one male peacock cichlid and a female companion. These fish are not particularly social – it’s best to keep them in tanks with lots of plants for cover.

What Happens When Too Many Cichlids Are Put Into A Small Gallon Tank?

If you don’t correctly calculate the amount of cichlids that a tank can hold, your tank will have problems. African cichlids are well known for their territorial behaviour, so stocking too many cichlids is a recipe for disaster.

If you put too many cichlids in a small tank, such as 40 gallons, the fish may hit each other to death. Unlike Platies, Cichlids usually exhibit aggressive behaviors to other males and they are more tolerant towards females.

What Happens When There Are Too Few Cichlids In A Large Gallon Tank?

If you have few cichlids in a large gallon tank, nothing may happen. These fish will have no problem living with a companion or completely alone. You can have a couple of cichlids in 77 gallons of water and see how happy they swim or hide among the rocks.


  1. How many peacock cichlids are in a 75-gallon tank?

    In a 75 gallon tank, you can have one pair of male and female cichlids and one extra female fish.

  2. How many mbuna in a 60-gallon tank?

    With a 60 gallon tank, you can have a small harem of cichlids as long as you create an environment with rocks, twigs, etc. You can place 2 males and 2 or 3 female cichlids.

  3. What is the minimum size of a cichlid tank?

    If you want to have at least a couple of African cichlids, you must have atleast 30-gallon tank. In case you want to have only one peacock cichlid, you must have atleast 55-gallon tank.

  4. Can you keep only female cichlids in a tank?

    Yes, you may keep only female gendered cichlids in a tank.

  5. Can you keep only male cichlids in a tank?

    Yes, as long as you surround the tank with rocks, trees, and other vegetation so that the fish do not collide. Male cichlids are territorial and aggresive. You do not want to put them in a tank with little to no environment because they could attack each other.

  6. Do cichlids need to be in groups?

    Not necessarily; Cichlids are often solitary, so you don’t have to worry if they need company.