Skip to Content

How Long Do African Cichlids Live? 

How Long Do African Cichlids Live? 

African lakes like Tanganyika and Malawi are home to a large population of fish known as African cichlids. Cichlid species come in a variety of vivid colors and are popular pets in aquariums.

These cichlids with vibrant colors and beautiful appearance can live for six to ten years. This can be a cichlid’s typical lifespan, though it may differ from species to species. The likelihood that a cichlid will live for many years will depend on how well you take care of it and the environment in which it resides. 

Let’s get you deeper into the lives of African cichlids and how you can take care of them. Read on to know more!

Different Kind Of African Cichlids 

African cichlids are a broad category for the numerous species under this name. They come in over a thousand different species, many of which have beautiful patterns and colors. Their brilliant colors offer your aquarium a beautiful appearance, making them a wonderful addition to your tank.

The cichlids differ from one another not just in appearance but also in traits like aggression, size, behavior, lifespan, and so forth.

The different and popular kinds of African cichlids are as below.

Name  Size Lifespan  Characteristics
Rainbow Cichlid 3 inches 9 years  Happy with other tankmates and best for new fish keepers
Blue Neon Cichlid 4 inches  5 to 8 years Striking blue outlines on the fins and difficult to handle for those without experience
Lemon Cichlid  4 inches  8 years Slender and tiny, bright neon yellow colored fish that are challenging to keep
Blue Daktari 4 inches 8 years Not at all blue, love to live in rocky places and requires experienced fish parents 
Daffodil Cichlid 4 inches  8 to 10 years  Thin body with graceful fins, easy to maintain and love to stay in groups
Red Zebra  5 inches  10 to 12 years Vibrant and slightly aggressive 
Lionhead Cichlid  5 inches 5 years Fish that swims strangely and gets along nicely with all its tankmates
Buffalo Head Cichlid 5 inches 10 years  Quirky swimmer with fewer colors but with a unique buffalo-shaped head that is suitable for a community tank
Red Empress Cichlid 6 inches 5 years Semi-aggressive, with a tall and slender body
Kenyi Cichlid  6 inches  10 years Silver fish streaked in black, herbivorous yet very aggressive 
African Peacock Cichlid 6 inches 6 to 8 years Bright-colored, less aggressive fish
White Pearly Calvus 6 inches  10 years Elongated face with white polka dots which is  environment-specific 
Angelfish  6 inches 10 years Most common cichlids, very easy to maintain and gets along well with other fish
Electric Blue Hap 6.5 inches  7 years Vibrant blue colored and an aggressive fish that likes to stay alone
African Butterfly Peacock Cichlid 8 inches 8 to 10 years  Enticing looks that is simple to maintain 
Blood Parrot 10 inches 10 to 15 years Red-tinged fish that are peaceful and requires the company of other fish
Blue Dolphin Cichlid  10 inches 10 years Stunning blue-colored, dolphin-lookalike cichlid that can stay peacefully in your common fish tank
Star Sapphire Cichlid 10 inches  8 years Attention grabber with the vibrant turquoise color that are easy to maintain and has a calm behavior 
Convict Julie 11 inches 10 years Horizontally striped which is perfect for novices, but also a bit aggressive 
Emperor Cichlid 30-36 inches  4 to 5 years Biggest cichlid requiring an expert to look after them and are moderately aggressive with not many bright colors

Are African Cichlids Hard To Keep Alive? 

For every being to survive, they must be taken care of. But these African cichlids need extra care and special attention as they are difficult to look after. 

To ensure that your cichlid survives, you must make sure the tank is correctly set up with all necessary equipment. They should reside in a setting that resembles freshwater lakes, which is their natural home. Additionally, the water ought to be hard.

African cichlids require carnivorous food as part of their diet, which is another challenging chore. The food which they consume should be heavy as it needs to sink in the water. The reason is that cichlids enjoy wriggling through the seabed in search of food. 

They are hard to keep alive since they need to be fed three to four times per day to avoid getting sick. Their rage and fighting with other tankmates is a much bigger problem.

African cichlids are a fantastic aquarium attraction, but they are not a fish for novices. They may find it difficult to manage. But if you are an expert on aquariums, it could be a great addition to your fish tank.


What Is The Lifespan of African Cichlids?

Cichlids, being the most popular and tough fish, can survive for a period of six to ten years. Provided they are being taken utmost care of and are housed in an appropriate environment with proper tank mates.

Their average lifespan can be anywhere around eight years depending on the kind of African cichlid. Some African cichlids, like the Blue Peacock Cichlid, have a lifespan of around ten to twelve years. The longest lifespan recorded for some African cichlids is fifteen years. 

The nutrition and diet they get can also impact the lifespan of your African cichlid. The better the food, the better the life quality. 

These lovely creatures’ genes may also affect how long they live. When all the conditions are right, including its nutrition, genetics can tell you how long a fish can survive.


How Big Do African Cichlids Get?

If given proper care, your African cichlid can reach a size of up to 10 inches. At maturity, they typically range in size from 4 to 10 inches and this can be obtained in four to five months. 

Similar to how people either cease growing or grow more slowly beyond a particular age, say their twenties, these African cichlids likewise begin growing more slowly following their rapid growth in the first four to five months.

The smallest African cichlids grow to a size of 2 inches, in just a few months. The largest African cichlid, known as ‘Emperor cichlid’, on the other hand, grows up to 30 inches long and takes at least two years to grow. 

How Long Do African Cichlids Live In Captivity?

Despite being kept in captivity, African cichlids can live for an average of eight years, but only if their environment is clean and close to their natural habitat like freshwater lakes. 

Along with a healthy environment, they should receive proper nutrition and the best care possible to ensure that they live as long as possible. You can provide them with the right nourishment by giving them the meat-based foods they enjoy. Knowing your fish and feeding them accordingly is preferable because some may be herbivores. 

However, the type of species they are and their genes may also have an impact on how long they live. They can be challenging to handle because they are known to be aggressive fish. Therefore, they won’t live very long if they aren’t properly cared for.

How Long Do African Cichlids Take To Grow?

African cichlids typically take a few months to reach maturity, after which their growth gradually slows down over time. Within this time, they grow to an average size of 5 to 8 inches. They can take up to two years to reach their full size.

While some African cichlids take a few months to reach their full size, others, who are larger by a genetic component, may take years. Numerous factors, with their health and nutrition coming in front along with the environment in which they live, might affect how long these African cichlids take to grow.

Some Tips For Longer Life

1. Diet 

For any living being to live longer, their state of health is the most important factor. A balanced diet is a key component of the many actions that can lead to this health.

The same is true for African cichlids; proper feeding can lengthen their lives. They need to be provided a healthy, balanced diet that is primarily composed of carnivorous foods. For them to get the necessary number of nutrients, they should be fed three to four times every day. 

2. Tank’s Environment 

Another tip for boosting the life of your African cichlid is to keep the tank’s environment healthy by cleaning it frequently and ensuring that the temperature is appropriate. 

Ensure that the tank is configured similarly to their freshwater lake habitat. You also need to have a good filtration system to make the water-dirt free. Make sure to keep your fish tank on a sturdy surface as these fish are highly active.

3. The Number of Fish 

Also, keep in mind that the size and number of fish in your aquarium can have an impact on the growth of your African cichlid. The aquarium should be a peaceful place for your cichlid to live in. 

4. Rocks and Plants 

A tip to keep in mind would be to add more rocks that can be used as hiding spots to protect themselves. Along with the rocks, you can also add more plants to your aquarium which serves the same purpose in addition to making it look more colorful.

5. Symptoms of Illness 

Much like individuals who are sick or who have a disease eventually pass away, your African cichlid might survive for a shorter period if it has a disease. 

If they exhibit any symptoms of illness, they must be examined, and treatment must be administered as soon as possible. This will reduce the chances of any fatal occurrences, giving your cichlid a longer, healthy life! 

Though it is difficult to keep African cichlids, you can be sure that your African cichlid will be happy and comfortable by following these tips.