How Big Do African Cichlids Get?

The most common African Cichlid species available from pet stores grow to 4 to 6 inches, and some get as big as 10 inches. This family of fish includes more than 100 species with varying degrees of aggressiveness.

The electric yellow lab (Labidochromis caeruleus) and demasoni (Pseudotropheus demasoni) grow to a maximum of 4 inches, while the peacock cichlid (Melanochromis johannii) grows to 4 to 6 inches. The Kenyi (Pseudotropheus lombardoi), electric blue (Melanochromis johannii), auratus (Melanochromis auratus), jewel cichlid (Hemichromis bimaculatus), zebra Obliquidens (Astatotilapia latifasciata) and compressiceps (Altolamprologus compressiceps) grow to 5 inches. The red zebra cichlid (Maylandia estherae), bumblebee cichlid (Pseudotropheus crabro) and red empress (Protomelas taeniolatus) grow to lengths of up to 6 inches. The Livingston cichlid (Nimbochromis livingstonii) reaches a length of 8 inches, and the Venustus (Nimbochromis venustus) has a maximum length of 10 inches.

African cichlids are active and need plenty of space to swim and grow. The minimum recommended tank size for these species is 55 gallons, and they prefer environments that contain rocks and rocky ornaments that provide shelter. Cichlids are aggressive and do not make suitable tank mates for other species. In addition, African and South American cichlids cannot be kept in the same tank.