Fish Care

How Long Do Cichlid Fish Live? (In Captivity and in the Wild)

If you are wondering how long do cichlid fish live then you are at the right place. In the wild, cichlid fish typically live up to 18 years. In captivity, cichlid fish typically live 8 to 12 years. The life expectancy of a cichlid fish in depends on its care and the environment of the tank.

How Big Are Cichlid Fish?

In captivity, typically, cichlid fish are 11 to 12 inches long and weigh less than 3 pounds. Whereas, in the wild, it can grow up to 14 to 15 inches tall and weighs over 3 pounds.

If you take good care of your cichlid fish it can grow to over 12 inches, up to 15 inches in your tank. In addition, there are some examples of cichlid fish that have grown to 18 inches in the wild.

How Fast Do Cichlid Fish Grow?

Cichlid fish grow at a very fast rate of 1 inch per month.

When you get a cichlid fish, it looks very cute and small fish. But they can grow very fast, so cichlid fish are generally not recommended for beginners.

How long do African cichlids live?

how long do cichlids live

An African cichlid can grow live up to 8 – 10 years from 4 to 10 inches at maturity, depending on the species. Adequate nutrition is clearly important for fish development, but environmental quality also determines a cichlid’s growth rate and its health throughout its life.

How Long Do Blood Red Parrot Cichlids Live?

how long do cichlids live


The coloured fish is a hybrid that does not exist in the wild and the males are usually infertile. They can live for up to 15 years and more than in the wild depending on the water conditions.

How long do dogtooth cichlids live?

how long do cichlids live


Otherwise known as Afra Cynottilapia a dogtooth species of cichlid mostly found in the Malawi Lake. They also grow to about four inches in nature and have a lifespan of about 7 to 10 years with proper care. Although they have been known to live longer in captivity.

How long do Electric Blue Hap Cichlid live?

how long do cichlids live


With proper care, the Electric Blue Hap Cichlid can live up to 12 years in a home aquarium. In captivity this species can grow to eight inches, and are aggressive to other tank mates.

How Long Do Electric Yellow Cichlid Live?


Under the right conditions they can live up to 10 years. They reach just three inches generally, and stay tiny till death. They are small and their aggression may not be a problem for others, but it could be for some so endeavour to monitor their behaviour.

How long do Mubuna cichlids live?

With proper tank maintenance and a relatively healthy life, the mbuna cichlid can live up to 8-10 years in an aquarium and in some cases, you will find them live into their teens.

How long do auratus cichlids live?

how long do cichlid live


Their lifespan with proper care is about 5 years. This species are very aggressive, so mind what mates you pair them with. They are also beneath five inches in size as adults, they are hard and can be best cared for by breeders with experience.

How long do Texas cichlids live?

how long do cichlid live


The Texas cichlid (Herichthys cyanoguttatus), a member of the famous cichlidae family, can live up to 13 years in good aquarium conditions. In addition to their impressive lifespan, they are also very large, reaching up to 12 inches in length.

How long do Livingstoni cichlids live?


Species of livingstoni cichlids grow to ten inches when they are adults, and require a one hundred and twenty-five setup gallon. They can live as long as 10 years or more with proper care.

How long do Red Empress cichlids live?

In captivity, the average lifespan of a red queen cichlid is 5 years. However, it is possible for these fish to live 7 to 10 years with proper care. Many factors will affect the life span of a fish, these include water quality, diet and the environment.

How long do venustus cichlid live?


They reach about 25 cm in length and sometimes become a little bigger in the aquarium. The life span of this fish is up to 10 years.

How long do African butterfly peacock cichlids live?

These include some of the largest peacocks. They can grow from a length of 4 – 6 inches to about 8 – 9 inches. With proper care this fish can live for 8 to 10 years.

How long do panda dwarf cichlid live?

how long do cichlid live


The panda dwarf cichlid is a small colorful fish whose body is slightly thicker and heavier than other members of the Apistogramma genus. Males are larger in size, growing to 7.5 cm in length, while females reach only 4.5 cm. They can live for about 2 – 5 years.

How long do cockatoo cichlid live?

how long do cichlid live


Cockatoo cichlid is a small colorful fish. Males are larger, reaching 4 inches in length while females reach only 2 inches. They can live for about 5 years.

How long do Red Devil Cichlids live?

how long do cichlid live

In general, the red devil cichlid has a lifespan of between ten to twelve years under captivity, although there are reports that it could live longer if properly cared for.

How long do pearl cichlids live?

They can live up to 10-15 years with good care. They have an overall coloration of gray-green, and develop a covering of bluish-white pearly feathers when they reach about 3 – 4″ in length. The feathers may be red or reddish at the edges.

How long do Jack Dempsey cichlids live?


They grow to about fifteen inches and require a swimming space of at least eight gallon. They can live up to 10-15 years, so keep in mind that you are making a long-term commitment if you decide to bring one home.

How long do severum cichlid live?

how long do cichlid live


They can live for about 10 years. The native severum cichlid presents a green body with a goldish yellow belly.

How long do green terror cichlids live?

Green Terror did not get its name by chance. In captivity, they live between 7 – 10 years. This species of fiery fishes are quite aggressive, so one has to be careful in making a choice. They can grow up to twelve inches in full.

How long do firemouth cichlid live?

how long do cichlid live

The average Firemouth Cichlid lifespan is about 10 years when given proper care. There have been cases where this species has managed to live up to 15 years in captivity.

How long does a flavescent peacock live

how long do cichlid live


The age and lifespan of peacock cichlids depends entirely on the species. Some species can live up to eight years of age, while some can exceed that, living up to 10 years of age. However, some peacock cichlids may die at the age of six.

How long do Blue daktarin cichlids live?

Although the name is blue daktarin, this species grow past the colour of lemon with shades of yellow, then the tail fins are pale blue around the mouth and the eyes.  Daktarin reaches about four inches when it becomes an adult and need a tank that is up to fifty gallon. Experience is paramount in having this fish. They live for up to 8-10 years with adequate care.

How long do bumblebee cichlid live?

how long do cichlid live


The bumblebee cichlid (Pseudotropheus crabro) is from mbuna of Lake Malawi. It will reach a length of six inches, and can live for over ten years in captivity.

How long does convict julie cichlid live?

The females are the largest, usually reaching about 6 inches in length, with males being about 4 inches smaller. They can live up to 10 years with proper care, and some have reportedly lived as long as 19 years.

How long Do White Pearly Calvus Cichlids Live?

They usually grow to between 4 – 6 inches in length, with males being the larger of the two and females smaller. With good care it lives about 8 – 10 years.

How long do Spotfin Goby Cichlids live?

This species grows to about three inches or even below as mature fish, they are aggressive and should be watched quite closely. They live for about three to five years and under good care could live a little longer. Experience is key for this species too.

How long do lionhead cichlids live?

how long cichlids live


They can live for up to 5-8 years and can grow up to 6 inches for male and 4 inches for females. This species are calm and friendly that beginners can start with them. They grow up to five inches and are best kept in a tank of about thirty gallon.

How long do angelfish cichlids live?

This species prefers tall aquariums with a capacity of at least 20 gallons because of its size. They can live up to 10 – 12 years if provided with favorable aquarium conditions.

How long do flowerhorn cichlids live?


This species of Flowerhorn Cichlid are aggressive, the colours are bold and they have a protruding forehead. It is wise to be careful with their tank mates too. They can grow to sixteen inches, and need to be in a seventy-five gallon tank for swimming. They can live for about 4 -5 years.

How to increase the life expectancy of cichlid fish in your tank?

To increase the life expectancy of cichlid fish in your tank, you will need to provide it with high quality food and maintain the ideal environment in the tank.

Tank size

Tank size plays a very important role when it comes to the life expectancy and overall growth and development of your fish. Cichlid fish can grow very large and produce a lot of waste. And this is why they require a large tank.

If you keep cichlid fish in a small tank, you will need to do partial water changes several times per week. If you don’t do this the bioload will build up quickly in the tank which can affect the organs of your cichlid fish and shorten its life expectancy. In fact, biolade can be so harmful to your cichlid fish that it can even cause the death of the fish.

So, what is the ideal tank size for a cichlid fish?

Ideally, you should keep Cichlid fish in at least a 55-gallon tank. Then, they will have enough room to swim but if you keep it in a 55 gallon tank, the bioload will not build up quickly in the tank. And doing a partial water change once a week is enough to keep the bioload under control.


Optimum nutrition is essential for increasing the life expectancy of your cichlid fish. If you feed your cichlid fish poor quality food it can shorten its life expectancy. Cichlid fish are omnivores so their diet consists mostly of meaty foods.

  • Flakes and pellets

On a daily basis, primarily you should be feeding your cichlid fish high quality cichlids flakes and pellets.

  • Live food

Live food is the most nutritious food you can feed to your cichlid fish. In the wild, cichlid fish feed on small live insects and fish. So, you should emulate it in your tank. You can feed your cichlid fish with live food such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers, etc.

You can also feed your cichlid fish with feeder fish such as goldfish but only from a reputable source. Also, you should not feed live food on a daily basis and feed it as a treat. Live food has a very short shelf life so you should feed it within 3 to 4 days of receiving it.

  • Frozen food

Frozen foods are also very nutritious for your cichlid fish. You can feed your cichlid frozen food such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, etc. In addition, frozen foods have a longer shelf life than live food. And they are also very convenient to store and feed your cichlid fish.

  • Fruits and vegetables

As mentioned earlier, cichlid fish are omnivores. That’s why you also feed them fruits and vegetables from time to time. You can feed them fruits and vegetables like apple, spinach, lettuce, cucumber etc.

Water condition

Water conditions play a huge role in the proper growth and development of your cichlid fish. In ideal water conditions, your cichlid fish will thrive. And in bad water conditions, your cichlid fish will be vulnerable to deadly diseases.


In the wild, Cichlid fish are mostly found in the Amazon Basin where temperatures are slightly warmer. You should imitate the same and maintain the temperature between 74 and 81° Fahrenheit.

Cichlid fish cannot survive for long in low temperatures. In fact, this is why its distribution in the wild is limited. The easiest way to increase the temperature of the tank is to install a heater in your tank.

All you have to do is set the temperature on the heater and it will keep the temperature within the set temperature range. In addition, temperatures above the ideal range are also bad for cichlid fish. If you’re struggling to keep the temperature in your tank down, these methods can help.


The ideal pH for cichlid fish is 6 to 8 .


The hardness tolerance range of cichlid fish is between 5 and 20 dH.


High ammonia levels are fatal not only to cichlid fish but to any fish in the tank, that’s why keeping ammonia levels under control is very important to keep your cichlid fish healthy and prolong its life expectancy.

Ideally, there should be no ammonia in your tank. In the fish tank, beneficial bacteria called bacteria help keep ammonia levels under control. Beneficial bacteria form their colonies in your tank’s substrate and in your tank’s biological filter. Therefore, installing a high-quality filter is very important to maintain a healthy aquarium.

In addition, you must be careful and follow best practices when cleaning the filter. Otherwise, you will accidentally remove beneficial bacteria from your filter.


Cichlid fish need oxygen just like us. But they require dissolved oxygen.

Tank mate

Ideally, you should only keep other cichlid fish as tankmates in your cichlid fish tank. But you can keep other species of fish with your cichlid fish, you just have to be careful when choosing the species.

Cichlid fish are aggressive and are a predatory fish. So, if you keep other fish that are smaller than the size of your cichlid fish’s mouth then they are most likely to be eaten by your cichlid. That’s why you should avoid keeping smaller fish like neon tetras with your cichlids.

On the other hand, if you have too aggressive fish with your cichlid fish, it can threaten your cichlid fish which can reduce the life expectancy of cichlid fish.

So when it comes to keeping other species of fish in your cichlid fish tank, you should choose species of fish that are large enough not to fit in the mouth of your cichlid fish and should be semi-aggressive.

  • Tank maintenance

As mentioned earlier, you need to maintain the ideal environment in your tank to increase the life expectancy of cichlid fish. And to maintain the ideal environment in your tank you have to take care of daily, weekly and monthly maintenance of the tank.

  • Daily maintenance

You should observe the behaviour of your fish on a daily basis. This will help you detect any health issues in your fish or any issues in your fish tank like low oxygen level etc.

If you notice any unnatural behaviour you should note it in the journal. And if you have seen similar behaviour for two to three days then you should look into the issue and find out the reason.

Basically, you need to find out whether your fish is suffering from any disease or not. And check if the water parameters of your tank are within the ideal range that cichlid fish require.

You should also check whether all the equipment in your tank like lighting, heater, filter etc. is working properly or not. If you see any food not eaten, it should be removed. Along with this, food intake should also be cut down.

  • Weekly maintenance

For weekly maintenance, You should also siphon the substrate to remove any uneaten food or debris from your substrate and partial water changes should be done.

  • Monthly maintenance

On a monthly basis, you should do a water test to test the pH, ammonia, hardness level in your tank, and keep filter clean or change it if necessary. And you should also check your light and see if it requires replacing any light bulbs.

Overall to extend the lifespan of your cichlid fish, you need to provide it with the ideal environment. And to do that you have to stick with the maintenance of your tank.


So How Long Do Cichlid Oscar Fish Live?

Cichlid fish usually live for about 8 to 12 years in a fish tank but can live up to 15 years if you take good care of it. In their natural habitat, Cichlid fish live for about 18 years.

I hope you found this article helpful.