How many African Cichlids can you keep in one tank?

Every new African Cichlid keeper asks this question, and it's understandable why. One of the first things we learn when keeping African Cichlids is that overstocking is essential to reducing overload. 

So the most natural question after that is: How many African Cichlids can I keep in my tank? While no one can give you a set number that will work well for everyone, we will try here. 

Kaveman Aqautaics has 25-30 African cichlids in his 75-gallon tank successfully. But all these numbers in the article are overstocked numbers. Remember that while keeping an overstocked tank, you'll also have to over-filter and perform some extra maintenance.

This is one of the difficulties of keeping African Cichlids and the main reason these aren't beginners level fish.

Most beginners don't understand how much maintenance is required in this hobby. Let alone the care needed when keeping overstocked African Cichlid tanks.

For filtration on the 75-gallon tank, he had:

  • Fluval FX6
  • Fluval 407 Canister

This is over-filtration for a 75-gallon tank, but he never had any water quality or clarity issues. 

Kaveman Aqautaics 220 gallon tank has about 60 African cichlids, and he is currently filtering this tank with two FX6s. He does 80% water changes weekly and keeps all the fish happy.

How many African Cichlids can you keep in one tank?

A 55-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for the fish mainly because 55-gallon is the first tank that gives you 48-inches swimming lengths vital for African cichlids.

For a 55-gallon tank, you should have 15 to 20 Peacocks and Haps

For a 75-gallon tank, you should have 25 to 30 Peacocks and Haps

For a 125-gallon tank, you should have 50 to 60 Peacocks and Haps

If you go any tank sizes above this, you can have a ton of fish in there. But you have to overfilterate. However, do know that these numbers are very loose. 

Every tank and fishkeeper's farming is different. Also, the above numbers are for Peacocks and Haps mix tanks. If you want to keep a Mbuna-only tank, these numbers can increase a bit, mainly because Mbunas are smaller and don't grow to the same size as Peacocks and Haps.

On the flip side, these numbers should be reduced if you want to keep a Haplochromis-only tank. The Haps can grow over a foot long, and if you keep only these big African Cichlids in your tank, you have to reduce those numbers.

In Conclusion

Keeping these over-stocked numbers means you'll have to overfilterate, possibly double the amount of filtration you think you need for your tank, and be prepared for proper maintenance - significant water changes, glass cleaning, vacuuming, filter cleaning, and more.

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