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Fish/Jewel cichid tank mates?


Hi Richard,

I currently have an all jewel tank (40 gallon) with one pleco. It's well established, nearing 6 years. Contrary to what I've read on other forums, my jewels are quite docile and there is not much aggression in the tank (maybe this is due to it being a mono-species tank).

Id love to add some other color to the tank, however I am afraid that would disturb the social structure of the tank. I have three (well maybe 3.5) questions:

1. Would you recommend adding other fish to the tank?
2. If so, what types of cichlids would you recommend? Anything other than cichlids?
3. Ive read over crowding can diminish aggression. True?

Thanks in advance for your time and effort in answering my questions.


Hi Jay

Have you ever heard the expression "if it ain't broke don't fix it"? That's what I would do in this case. Jewels are extremely aggressive and nasty. Their innate aggression makes them good for keeping in a mono-species tank.

If you insist on trying tankmates with them, good choices would be other African Cichlids. Some people keep them with South American Cichlids like Firemouths and Convicts. I've seen where other people keep dither fish in the tank which include large Tetras such as Congo Tetras as well as Giant Danios. What ever you decide to put with them, make sure the new fish are the same size or slightly larger than the Jewels.

NO overcrowding will not diminish aggression in a Cichlid tank. In fact, it will do just the opposite. The best way to diminish aggression in a Cichlid tank is to rearrange the tank decorations (especially when adding new fish) Also provide lots of room for all fish and plenty of hiding spots. Another trick is to add new fish to the tank at night when the lights are out.

Hope this helps you, good luck!



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Richard Hight


I own and maintain several freshwater aquariums from 2 to 180 gallon. I can answer most questions about freshwater aquariums, including setup, cycling, maintenance, compatible tank mates, feeding. Moving? I've moved fish both across town and across the country and can help you get your little aquatic friends to their new home safely. I know and have experience with most freshwater community fish, South American Cichlids and African Cichlids. I don't answer questions about Goldfish or keeping Goldfish with Tropical Fish. I also don't answer questions about keeping crustaceans (shrimp, snails, crabs etc) with Tropical Fish, nor questions about saltwater fish or aquariums. I'm not available to answer questions on weekends, this is when I do maintenance on my own tanks.


Many years of personal experience with fish and aquariums

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