The Top 5 Least Aggressive Cichlids

The Top 5 Least Aggressive Cichlids

African cichlids have gained fame among freshwater aquarium enthusiasts for their vibrant, exotic colors and easy-care hardiness. Unfortunately, like most cichlids they also have gained fame as being extremely aggressive towards other fish. We have selected the top five least aggressive cichlids that can, with proper care, be kept with other fish of similar disposition. Note that only one of these is an African cichlid:
  • Bolivian rams
  • German blue rams
  • Keyholes
  • Yellow labs
  • Blue acaras

Bolivian rams

Bolivian rams are one of the least aggressive cichlids. Though they are not native to the African rift lakes. These small cichlids are native to waters of the Amazon River basin in Brazil and Bolivia They are a dwarf species and only reach around three and half inches when mature, and thus can be kept in a moderately sized tank with either their own species or others of the most compatible dwarf cichlids. They have an attractive shape and are yellow and white in color.

German blue rams

These fish are brilliantly colored with a blue and yellow body, a red head, and yellow fins, all decorated with vibrant blue dots. This species is native to the Orinoco River basin in Venezuela and Colombia in South America. As a peaceful dwarf species, they are one of the most compatible cichlids. Up to six German blue rams can be kept together in a 40 gallon aquarium.


Keyholes are possibly the least aggressive of all cichlids. In fact, they can often be down right shy and prefer to run away and hide rather than fight and bully. They have an interesting “grumpy old man” appearance and are brownish on top and purple on the bottom. Keyhole cichlids also are native to the Orinoco River basin in Venezuela and Colombia. They can reach up to five inches long at maturity and can be kept in a community tank with other Keyholes and/or other freshwater species.

Yellow labs

Yellow labs are a brilliant yellow with black shading on their fins. They are quite eye-catching, which is what makes them so popular. Electric Yellow cichlids are native to the waters of Lake Malawi in Africa. Although these African cichlids can be aggressive towards their own species and tend to also go after any yellow fish, they usually leave non-yellow fish alone. They can get up to four inches long and quite readily and prolifically breed in the aquarium, so it is perhaps best to keep only one Yellow lab per tank.

Blue acaras

Blue acaras are stunning to behold with their blue and black pattern. This popular species can be found in the fresh water lakes and streams in Venezuela and Trinidad. They are quite peaceful with fish as large as they are, but can go after smaller fish. Since Blue acara mature at seven inches, they will need at least a 50 gallon aquarium and some large tank mates.

In summary, there are some cichlids that can be kept in a community tank. Just remember to provide plenty of hiding places and sufficient space for each fish.

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