How To Set Up a Peacock Cichlid Tank

Terri Mitchell | November 22, 2021
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Dragonblood Peacock Cichlid
Photo by: Modman on Pixabay

Aquarists looking for a colorful and fairly peaceful tank choose peacock cichlids. This freshwater species is vibrantly colored, relatively mellow and easy to maintain—but what is needed for the right habitat inside a peacock cichlid tank?

Here are common questions and answers for setting up the ideal peacock cichlid tank:

How Large of a Tank for Peacock Cichlids?


This species likes to swim so make sure there is ample horizontal space for your cichlids. It is recommended that peacock cichlids have a tank that is at least 55 gallons, such as the Tetra Aquarium Kit on Amazon (sponsored). However for a community tank of all male cichlids, double that capacity. Remember that these fish do best with only one male—and multiple females—in a cichlid species tank, as they can become territorial and aggressive.

How Do You Set Up a Peacock Cichlid Tank?

Try to replicate the warm, clear water of Lake Malawi in a home aquarium. This species does best in water that is quite alkaline with lots of nooks and crannies to swim through. Add sand (sponsored) to the floor of the tank and use a thermometer (sponsored) to ensure the water is warm enough for the cichlids to thrive.

Provide ample space with a tank that is no smaller than 55 gallons; double this size when setting up a community tank.

What Do Peacock Cichlids Like in Their Tank?

For peacock cichlids to thrive, they prefer warm water that is well-filtered. Use dim lighting which replicates the bottom of their native, freshwater lakes. Provide a soft, sandy bottom, nothing too rough or jagged. Also, peacock cichlids love to swim around rocks and objects, like driftwood (sponsored), so create a unique habitat that they can explore!

How Many Peacock Cichlids Should Be Kept Together?

Sunshine peacock cichlid in aquarium

Michael Stirling on PublicDomainPictures.net

Peacock cichlids are relatively docile and peaceful, and typically females tend to get along quite well with one another. However, be wary of placing more than one male in a community tank as they can become territorial over the rest of the tank. Make sure to provide plenty of room for them to swim and hide around rocks and vegetation—they like this! Pair peacock cichlids with other less-aggressive cichlid species, including Haplochromis, Placidochromis and Copadichromis, which are also from the same region in Africa.

What Temperature Do Peacock Cichlids Like?

As far as temperature goes, make sure to use a submersible heater (sponsored) to keep it between 76 degrees Fahrenheit and 82 degrees, ideally. These cichlids do not respond well to sudden changes in their habitat temperature, so the water needs to be monitored carefully—use a thermometer to ensure the water is at the right temperature. Also, maintain a pH level between 7.8 and 8.6, which is perfect for these fish.

Use these tips to set up a tank and habitat so that peacock cichlids can thrive. Replicate their natural environment in an at-home, freshwater aquarium that has warm water, a sandy floor and lots of rocks.

About the Author
Dragonblood Peacock Cichlid

Terri Mitchell

Terri Mitchell is a freelance content writer from North Carolina who brings years of research, experience, and passion in animal-assisted therapy to her work. A former Licensed Clinical Social Worker,... Learn More

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