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Can Guppies Live With Cichlids?

Introduction to Guppies and Cichlids

In the enchanting world of aquariums, guppies and cichlids stand out as popular choices among fish enthusiasts. Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) are known for their vibrant colors and easy-going nature, while cichlids encompass a diverse group of freshwater fish with fascinating behaviors and striking appearances.

Each species brings its unique charm, leading many aquarium enthusiasts to wonder if these two can coexist harmoniously.

Key Takeaways
Guppies and cichlids can coexist harmoniously in aquariums, but compatibility depends on cichlid species’ temperament.
Dwarf cichlids are suitable tank mates for guppies due to their peaceful nature.
Proper tank size, water parameters, and hiding spots are crucial for successful cohabitation.
Maintain optimal water conditions for both guppies and cichlids by monitoring temperature, pH, and hardness.
Offer a varied diet to both species, with specific foods for guppies’ and cichlids’ individual needs.
Prevent aggression and disease by choosing peaceful cichlid species, providing hiding spots, and quarantining new fish.

Whether Guppies and Cichlids Can Live Together

The compatibility between guppies and cichlids depends on several crucial factors. While some cichlids are aggressive and may pose a threat to guppies, others exhibit more peaceful tendencies, making them potential tank mates.

Understanding the specific cichlid species and their temperament is essential for successful cohabitation.

Factors to Consider When Keeping Guppies and Cichlids Together

Several factors must be considered when attempting to keep guppies and cichlids together in an aquarium.

These include the cichlid’s temperament, the size and layout of the tank, water parameters, and the overall compatibility of the two species. Proper planning and research will ensure a thriving and harmonious aquatic community.

Which Cichlids Can Live With Guppies?

Dwarf Cichlids Compatible with Guppy Fish

When considering cichlids as tank mates for guppies, dwarf cichlids emerge as the most suitable candidates. Unlike their larger and more aggressive counterparts, dwarf cichlids possess a generally peaceful temperament, making them more likely to coexist harmoniously with guppies in the same aquarium.

Apistogramma Dwarf Cichlid

Apistogramma Dwarf Cichlid

These charming and colorful dwarf cichlids are native to South America and come in various species, each with its distinctive patterns and hues. Apistogramma cichlids are generally compatible with guppies due to their relatively peaceful nature. However, it’s essential to keep an eye on individual personalities and provide plenty of hiding spots in the tank to minimize any potential conflicts.

German Blue Ram Cichlid

Known for their captivating appearance, German Blue Rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) are another popular choice among aquarists. They are relatively peaceful and can thrive in a community tank with guppies. Rams appreciate well-maintained water conditions and a balanced diet to ensure their well-being alongside their guppy companions.

German Blue Ram Cichlid

How to Choose the Right Dwarf Cichlids for Your Tank

  1. Tank Size:
    When selecting dwarf cichlids for your guppy aquarium, consider the tank size. Aim for at least a 20-gallon (75-liter) tank, which provides enough space for both species to establish their territories and reduces the chances of aggression.
  2. Water Parameters:
    Research the specific water parameters preferred by the chosen dwarf cichlid species. While guppies are generally adaptable, some dwarf cichlids may have specific requirements regarding pH, temperature, and water hardness.
  3. Compatibility:
    Assess the temperament and behavior of the dwarf cichlid species you’re interested in. Look for peaceful and community-friendly cichlids to ensure they will coexist peacefully with guppies.
  4. Hiding Places:
    Create ample hiding spots with plants, rocks, and driftwood in the aquarium. Providing shelter helps both guppies and dwarf cichlids feel secure and reduces stress.

By carefully selecting and introducing compatible dwarf cichlids to your guppy tank, you can create a captivating and harmonious aquatic community that showcases the beauty of these stunning fish. Remember to monitor their interactions and make adjustments as needed to maintain a thriving and balanced ecosystem.

How to Set Up a Tank for Guppies and Cichlids

Setting up an ideal tank for both guppies and cichlids requires careful consideration of several crucial elements to ensure a thriving and harmonious aquatic environment.

Tank Size and Shape

Selecting the right tank size is vital when keeping guppies and cichlids together. For a community tank, aim for a minimum of 30 gallons (113 liters) to provide ample space for both species to swim comfortably. A larger tank also helps reduce territorial disputes and minimizes stress.

Tank shape is equally important. Opt for a rectangular or square-shaped tank over bow-front or round ones. The flat sides of rectangular tanks allow better space utilization and provide more linear swimming paths, benefiting both guppies and cichlids.


Choose a fine-grained substrate to accommodate the needs of both species. Guppies appreciate a soft substrate that won’t harm their delicate fins during exploration.

For cichlids, a fine substrate allows them to forage and sift through the sand, mimicking their natural behavior.


Live plants play a crucial role in a guppy-cichlid tank. They offer shelter, and breeding spots, and aid in maintaining water quality.

Opt for hardy plants such as Java fern, Amazon sword, and Anubias, which are less likely to be uprooted by the cichlids’ digging tendencies.

Java fern, Amazon sword, and Anubias, which are less likely to be uprooted by the cichlids' digging tendencies.


Decorative elements are essential to create an engaging and enriching environment. Provide plenty of hiding spots using rocks, driftwood, and caves for the cichlids to establish territories and retreat if needed. Ensure that the decorations are smooth and do not have sharp edges to prevent injuries.

By carefully setting up the tank with the right size, substrate, live plants, and decor, you can create a visually stunning and comfortable habitat for both guppies and cichlids. A well-designed aquarium not only enhances their natural behaviors but also fosters a sense of security, leading to a healthier and more vibrant aquatic community.

Water Conditions for Guppies and Cichlids

Maintaining optimal water conditions is crucial for the health and well-being of both guppies and cichlids. These species have different preferences, so finding a balance that suits both is essential.


Guppies thrive in water temperatures between 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C). They are tropical fish and prefer slightly warmer waters to exhibit their vibrant colors and active behavior.

Cichlids, on the other hand, have a broader range of preferred temperatures, depending on the species. In general, most dwarf cichlids prefer temperatures between 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C), while larger cichlids may tolerate temperatures ranging from 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 27°C).


Guppies are adaptable and can thrive in a wide pH range between 6.8 to 7.8. Keeping the pH stable within this range is essential to prevent stress and health issues.

Cichlids have varying pH preferences based on their natural habitats. For most species, maintaining a pH between 6.5 to 7.5 is recommended. It’s crucial to research the specific pH requirements of the chosen cichlid species.


Both guppies and cichlids prefer moderate hardness levels. Aim for a dGH (general hardness) of 8 to 12 and a dKH (carbonate hardness) of 4 to 8 to support their overall well-being and reproductive health.

Regularly monitoring and adjusting water conditions to meet the specific requirements of guppies and cichlids will promote a thriving and vibrant aquarium community. Consistency in water parameters helps reduce stress and enhances the overall health and longevity of these beautiful fish.

Feeding Guppies and Cichlids

Providing proper nutrition is essential for the health and vitality of both guppies and cichlids. While they have some dietary similarities, it’s crucial to consider their individual needs.

What to Feed Them

Guppies are omnivores and enjoy a varied diet. Offer them high-quality flakes, pellets, and frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. Supplementing their diet with vegetable matter like blanched spinach or zucchini is beneficial for their overall health.

Cichlids have diverse dietary preferences based on their species. Provide them with high-quality pellets or flakes specifically formulated for cichlids. Supplement their diet with protein-rich foods like frozen or live brine shrimp, bloodworms, and small insects. Some cichlids also appreciate vegetable matter like spirulina flakes.

How Often to Feed Them

Feed cichlids and guppies in small portions multiple times a day. Offering 2 to 3 small meals daily is ideal, as it mimics their natural feeding patterns and prevents overeating. Monitor their feeding habits and adjust the frequency as needed to maintain optimal health.

Balancing their diets with a mix of high-quality commercial foods and occasional treats ensures that both guppies and cichlids receive the necessary nutrients to thrive in your aquarium.

Avoiding Problems


Aggression can arise when keeping guppies and cichlids together, particularly if the cichlid species chosen are more territorial or aggressive. To minimize conflicts:

  • Choose Peaceful Cichlid Species:
    Opt for dwarf cichlids known for their peaceful nature and compatibility with guppies.
  • Provide Sufficient Hiding Spots:
    Ample hiding spots, such as rocks, caves, and plants, help guppies and cichlids establish territories and retreat if needed.
  • Monitor Interactions:
    Regularly observe the behavior of both species. If signs of aggression or stress are evident, consider rearranging the aquarium or providing additional hiding places.
  • Separate Aggressive Individuals:
    If a particular cichlid displays excessive aggression towards guppies, consider relocating it to another tank to prevent harm.


Maintaining good water quality is crucial in preventing diseases in both guppies and cichlids. Additionally:

  • Quarantine New Fish:
    Before introducing new fish to the main aquarium, quarantine them for a few weeks in a separate tank. This helps identify and treat any potential diseases before they spread.
  • Avoid Overcrowding:
    Overcrowding can lead to stress and weaken the fish’s immune systems, making them more susceptible to diseases. Ensure a suitable number of fish based on the tank size.
  • Provide Balanced Nutrition:
    Proper nutrition boosts fish immunity. Offer a varied diet to ensure all nutritional needs are met.
  • Regular Water Changes:
    Performing regular water changes helps remove accumulated toxins and maintain a clean environment, reducing the risk of diseases.

Aquarists can create a harmonious and healthy ecosystem for guppies and cichlids by implementing these preventive measures, fostering a thriving community of diverse and colorful aquatic companions.


Can I keep aggressive cichlids with guppies?

It is generally not recommended to keep aggressive cichlids with other fish as they may pose a threat to the guppies’ well-being. Choosing peaceful cichlid species is crucial for successful cohabitation with guppies.

What should I do if my cichlids show signs of aggression towards guppies?

If you notice signs of aggression from your cichlids towards guppies, consider providing more hiding spots in the aquarium. If the aggression persists, consider relocating the aggressive cichlid to another tank to prevent harm to the guppies.

What are the ideal water parameters for guppies and cichlids?

Guppies prefer water temperatures between 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C) with a pH range of 6.8 to 7.8. Cichlids have varying preferences depending on the species, but most prefer a pH between 6.5 to 7.5 and temperatures between 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C).

What types of live plants are suitable for a guppy-cichlid tank?

Hardy plants such as Java fern, Amazon sword, and Anubias are suitable for a guppy-cichlid tank. These plants provide shelter and breeding spots while withstanding the cichlids’ digging tendencies.

How often should I feed guppies and cichlids?

Feed guppies and cichlids in small portions multiple times a day. Aim for 2 to 3 small meals daily to mimic their natural feeding patterns and prevent overeating. Monitor their feeding habits and adjust the frequency as needed to maintain optimal health.


In conclusion, creating a successful aquarium community with guppy fish and cichlids requires thoughtful planning and consideration. Dwarf cichlids are the ideal choice due to their peaceful nature. Ensuring a 30-gallon tank with a variety of hiding spots and live plants is essential for their well-being. Maintaining optimal water conditions, including temperature (75°F to 82°F), pH (6.8 to 7.8), and hardness, is crucial for both species. Providing a diverse diet with regular feeding and monitoring their behavior is vital. Be cautious of aggression issues and take steps to prevent diseases.

By following these guidelines, aquarists can cultivate a vibrant and harmonious aquatic world, where guppies and cichlids coexist in a mesmerizing display of color and behavior. For further information and insights, explore reputable aquarium forums and literature dedicated to these captivating fish species. Happy fishkeeping!

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