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Red Devil Cichlid: All in one Guide form origin to care

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Red devil cichlid

Even though red devil fish, also called red devil cichlid fish, can be quite mean to other fish, many fish lovers still enjoy having them in their tanks. Red devil cichlids are big and bold freshwater fish that come from Central America. They stand out with their striking looks, large size, and tough attitude, making them a thrilling choice for aquariums.

 In this guide, we’ll explore the world of red devil cichlids, covering where they come from, their background, where they live naturally, and how to take care of them. We’ll also talk about ways to handle their aggressive behavior so everyone in the tank can get along.

 Why is the red devil cichlid species called the red devil?

The Red Devil Cichlid species got its name due to its vibrant red coloration and aggressive behavior. The bright red hue of the fish-red devil resembles the fiery appearance often associated with the concept of a “devil.” Additionally, their territorial and sometimes aggressive nature contributes to the association with the “devil” persona. Therefore, the combination of their striking color and assertive behavior led to the name “Red Devil Cichlid.

 Origin and Habitat:

Red Devil Cichlids hail from the warm waters of Central America, particularly countries like Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras. They are found in slow-moving rivers, streams, and lakes and seek shelter among rocks, driftwood, and dense vegetation. These cichlids thrive in water temperatures of 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C) and prefer slightly alkaline to neutral pH levels.


Red Devil Cichlids are known for their striking red coloration, which covers their entire body. Their sleek body shape is complemented by fins that may have hints of orange or yellow. Their eyes, often vibrant red or orange, add to their captivating appearance. During times of stress, they may develop faint cross bands on their body, while females may show more markings, especially when breeding.

 Red Devil Cichlid Size:

Red Devil Cichlid can grow up to 15 inches long, which is bigger than many other freshwater fish. Males are usually larger than females. They reach their full size by around 3 years old.

 Distinctive Color:

The Red Devil Cichlid is famous for its bright and fiery red color. Their whole body shines in this striking red hue, making them really stand out in any aquarium. Sometimes, you might notice hints of orange or yellow on their fins, adding to their eye-catching look. When they’re feeling stressed or excited, their colors can become even more intense. Overall, the Red Devil Cichlid’s vibrant red color is what makes them so special and loved by fish enthusiasts.

Red Devil Cichlid Behavior:

These cichlids have a reputation for being aggressive, especially during breeding or when establishing dominance. They’re territorial, which can lead to conflicts in community tanks with smaller or less assertive tank mates. Providing plenty of hiding spots and territories can help reduce aggression and prevent fights.

Tank Requirements:

To house Red Devil Cichlids, you’ll need a spacious tank with lots of hiding spots and territories. A minimum tank size of 75 gallons is recommended for one Red Devil, but larger tanks are better for multiple individuals. Adding rocks, driftwood, and live plants not only makes the tank look nice but also provides hiding spots. Proper filtration and regular water changes are crucial for maintaining water quality.

Red Devil Cichlid Tank Mates:

Tank mates for red devil cichlids need careful consideration due to their aggressive behavior. These fish have strong jaws and sharp teeth, posing a threat to other tank inhabitants. While they may coexist with aggressive fish when young, they become intolerant as adults. Even in large tanks, red devil cichlids may harm or kill other fish. It’s safest to keep them solitary to avoid potential conflicts and ensure the well-being of all aquarium inhabitants.

Eating habits of Red Devil Cichlid:

Red Devil Cichlids have hearty appetites and will eat a variety of foods. They dine on small fish, insects, crustaceans, and plants in their natural habitat. In captivity, they’ll happily eat pellets, flakes, frozen foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp, and even live treats. Just be careful not to overfeed them to avoid health issues.


Breeding these Cichlids can be challenging but rewarding. During breeding, males may become more aggressive, especially when guarding eggs or fry. Providing suitable breeding conditions, such as flat surfaces or caves for egg laying, is important for successful spawning. After breeding, the parents may become very protective, so keep an eye on them to ensure the safety of the fry.

 Care Tips:

Red Devil Cichlids require specific care to thrive in captivity—people who know a lot about fish like Red Devil Cichlids because they are colorful and aggressive. However, due to their territorial nature, they may not be suitable for novice aquarists. Proper tank setup, water parameters, diet, and handling aggression are essential aspects of caring for Red Devil Cichlids.

Did you know? The term “red devil cichlid” actually refers to two different types of fish!The real red devil cichlid is scientifically named Amphilophus labiatus. However, another fish, the Amphilophus citrinellus, which is commonly sold as the Midas cichlid, is also called the red devil cichlid by some people in the hobbyist community.

Red Devil Cichlid Diseases:

Like all aquarium fish, Red Devil Cichlids are susceptible to diseases if not cared for properly. Common issues include ich, fin rot, and fungal infections. There is another disease for Red Devil Cichlids, which is Hole-in-the-Head disease, also known as Hexamitiasis. These can arise from poor water quality, stress, or inadequate nutrition. To prevent diseases, maintain stable water conditions, perform regular tank maintenance, and quarantine new fish before adding them to the tank. Regular observation can help catch signs of illness early for prompt treatment.

Note: Use anti-parasitic medications specifically designed to treat Hole-in-the-Head disease. Follow the dosage instructions carefully and continue treatment as directed.

Water Parameters:

Maintaining the right water conditions is crucial for keeping your Red Devil Cichlid healthy. Here are the recommended ranges:

  • Water Temperature: Keep it between 75 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • pH Level: Aim for a pH between 6.5 to 7.5.
  • Water Hardness: Ideally, it should be between 6 to 25 dGH.

 Red Devil Cichlid Male VS female:

Differences between Red Devil Cichlid females and males is typically in their size, coloration, and fin shape, although these distinctions may not always be definitive. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Size: In general, Red Devil Cichlid males tend to grow larger than females, with mature males often exhibiting a more robust and elongated body shape.
  2. Coloration: While both males and females possess the iconic vibrant red coloration, males may display more intense and vivid hues, especially during breeding or when establishing dominance. Red Devil Cichlid females may have slightly subdued colors, particularly when not breeding.
  3. Fin Shape: Red Devil Cichlid males often have more pronounced and elongated fins compared to females. Additionally, males may develop longer fin extensions, especially the dorsal and anal fins, as they mature.


In conclusion, Red Devil Cichlids are captivating yet challenging additions to freshwater aquariums. Their fiery appearance and assertive behavior make them a popular choice among experienced fish keepers. However, their aggressive nature requires careful consideration when selecting tank mates and managing their environment. With proper care, attention to water parameters, and diligence in handling aggression, these vibrant fish can thrive and bring excitement to any aquarium setup.


Q: Are Red Devil Cichlids suitable for beginners?

A: Red Devil Cichlids are not recommended for novice aquarists due to their aggressive behavior and specific care requirements. Experienced fish keepers are better equipped to handle their needs.

Q: Can Red Devil Cichlid live with other fish?

A: It’s challenging to find suitable tank mates for Red Devil Cichlids due to their aggressive nature. They may harm or even kill other fish, so keeping them solitary or with similarly sized and assertive species is safest.

Q: How big do a Red Devil Cichlid get?

A: Red Devil Cichlids can grow up to 15 inches long, making them one of the larger freshwater fish species. They reach their full size by around 3 years old.

Q: What should I feed Red Devil Cichlids?

A: Red Devil Cichlids have hearty appetites and will eat various foods, including pellets, flakes, frozen foods, and live treats. A balanced diet is essential to ensure their health and vitality.

Q: How do I handle aggression in Red Devil Cichlids?

A: To manage aggression in Red Devil Cichlids, provide plenty of hiding spots and territories in the tank, maintain proper water parameters, and avoid overcrowding. Monitoring their behavior and separating aggressive individuals may be necessary to maintain harmony in the aquarium.

Q: Should You Add Red Devil Cichlids to Your Aquarium?

A: If you want an engaging and exciting fish, they won’t disappoint. However, if you care about the safety of other fish in your tank and don’t want to risk their lives, you may decide that red devil cichlids are not the best choice for you.

Q: Do Red Devil Cichlids Need Vegetables in Their Diet?

A: Yes, they do! Red devil cichlids are omnivores, which means they eat both meat and plants. While they may seem like fierce predators, they need a variety of foods to stay healthy. Including vegetables and algae in their diet can help prevent diseases like Hole-in-the-Head. Just like us, they need a balanced diet to stay vibrant and disease-free. If they only eat meat or greens, they might become sick and lose their bright colors.

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