The Fish Keeping & Aquarium Guide.

Can Arowana Live with African Cichlids: A Compatibility Guide

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Keeping Arowanas and African Cichlids together in the same aquarium is generally not recommended.

Arowanas are known to be aggressive and may view smaller fish, such as African Cichlids, as prey.

Additionally, African Cichlids require specific water conditions and a specific diet, which may not be compatible with the needs of Arowanas.

It is best to research the specific requirements of each species and create separate habitats for them to ensure their health and well-being.


A guide  to keeping Arowanas and African Cichliods together


Before introducing these fish together, it is crucial to consider their compatibility regarding water parameters, behavioral patterns, and dietary requirements.

Arowana hail from South America and Asia, living in slow-moving rivers and swamps.

They tend to inhabit the top layer of the water column and require a diet rich in protein, such as insects and small fish.

Conversely, African cichlids call the various lakes of Africa home, preferring to dwell in water with higher levels of alkalinity and hardness.

Unlike Arowana, African cichlids are primarily herbivorous or omnivorous, with some carnivorous species.

Such differences in their origins and instincts impact their ability to share an aquarium harmoniously.

Describing the potential challenges arowana and African cichlids may face when sharing an aquatic environment can offer insight into whether these fish can live together.

Observing factors such as territorial behavior, compatibility of water conditions, and tank setup elements are essential for preserving their well-being and ensuring the success of their cohabitation.


Compatibility of Arowana and African Cichlids


Arowanas and African cichlids are appealing as aquarium fish due to their colorful and striking appearance. However, when it comes to cohabitation, several factors must be considered to determine if these species can live together peacefully.

Size and Space Requirements: Arowanas grow significantly larger than African cichlids, reaching lengths up to 3 feet. Consequently, arowanas require a spacious tank environment, while African cichlids can thrive in smaller spaces. Arowanas may also view smaller tank mates as prey, posing a risk to the African cichlids.

Temperament and Behavior: Arowanas can be aggressive and territorial, especially when threatened or encroached upon. African cichlids are also known for their territorial tendencies and may become aggressive towards other fish occupying their space. This combination of traits could lead to conflict between the two species.

Water Conditions: Arowanas demand stable water conditions, with a pH range of 6.0-7.0 and a temperature of 76-86 degrees Fahrenheit (24-30 degrees Celsius). African cichlids, on the other hand, prefer alkaline water with a pH range of 7.8-8.5 and temperatures of 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit (24-28 degrees Celsius). Balancing these differing water preferences may challenge maintaining a healthy environment for both species.

While arowanas and African cichlids are attractive options for aquarium enthusiasts, their cohabitation presents several challenges. Their size difference, territorial behaviors, and differing water preferences make creating a peaceful and healthy environment for both species difficult.


Keeping Arowana and African Cichlids Together

Health Considerations


Arowana and African cichlids can coexist, but monitoring their health carefully is critical. Arowanas are more sensitive to water quality than African cichlids, requiring pristine water conditions. Test the water quality regularly and maintain proper water parameters to avoid fin rot, mouth rot, and infections.


Feeding Considerations


Arowana and African cichlids have different dietary needs. Arowanas are primarily carnivorous, preying on insects, crustaceans, and smaller fish.

On the other hand, African cichlids are omnivorous and consume a mix of plant and animal matter. Feeding both species separately is essential to ensure their specific nutritional requirements are met.

Consider using separate feeding times or areas within the tank to prevent aggression during mealtime.


Tank Size and Setup Considerations


You’ll need ample space and a suitable setup to accommodate both species in a single tank. Arowanas grow much larger than most African cichlids, requiring large tanks – at least 150 gallons for a single adult.

Providing hiding spots for African cichlids, such as rocks or caves, is also essential as it allows them to escape aggression from Arowanas.


Species Recommended Tank Size Essential Tank Elements
Arowana 150 gallons (minimum) Floating plants, open space
African Cichlids 55 gallons (minimum, varies) Rocks, caves, decorations


Keeping Arowana and African cichlids together is possible, but it requires special attention to their health, feeding, and tank requirements. Proper planning and maintenance are essential to create a harmonious living environment for these unique and beautiful species.


Alternatives to Housing Arowana and African Cichlids Together


While it may be tempting to house Arowana and African Cichlids together due to their visually stunning colors and patterns, it is essential to consider their compatibility. Instead of risking potential conflicts between the species, consider alternative options for maintaining a harmonious and diverse aquatic environment.

  • Separate tanks: The simplest and most effective solution is to set up separate aquariums for Arowana and African Cichlids. This ensures their specific water parameters, dietary needs, and territories are adequately met without risking harm or stress to either species.
  • Species-specific Community Tank: Creating a tank with fish compatible with Arowana or African Cichlids is another option. Large, peaceful fish such as bichirs, knifefish, or larger catfish species that can coexist without aggression is advisable for Arowana. Similarly, African Cichlid tanks can include fish species from Lake Tanganyika, such as Julidochromis and Neolamprologus, which share the same water parameters and are less aggressive.
  • Divided Tank: A less common but viable option is using a tank divider to separate Arowana and African Cichlid habitats within the same aquarium. This allows them to be housed close together but maintains the necessary boundaries to avoid conflicts. Ensure each partition enables proper filtration and maintains the required water parameters for both species.

Remember that in any aquarium setup, constantly research the specific fish species, monitor their overall health, and consider their compatibility with other tankmates. Properly managing an aquarium with diverse species can lead to a thriving, beautiful, and enjoyable living space for the fish and the aquarist alike.


Understanding Arowana


Arowana, also known as the dragonfish, is a popular freshwater fish species valued for its unique appearance and rarity. Arowana originates from Southeast Asia, South America, and Australia and thrives in slow-moving waters.

They are large carnivorous fish, reaching up to 3 feet long, with a stunning appearance and long lifespan (20-25 years). Their diet primarily consists of insects, smaller fish, and crustaceans.

On the other hand, African Cichlids originate from Africa’s great lakes, mainly Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Victoria.

They come in various sizes and colors and are known for their adaptability and aggression. African Cichlids are omnivorous and thrive in hard, alkaline water conditions.

Differences in water conditions:

  • Arowanas need soft water with a pH of 6.0-7.0, while African Cichlids require hard water with a pH of 7.5-8.5.
  • Arowanas prefer slow-moving waters, whereas African Cichlids inhabit rocky substrates near the shoreline.

Differences in feeding habits:

  • Arowanas are carnivorous and may consider smaller fish as prey, including smaller African Cichlids.
  • African Cichlids are omnivorous and require a diet that includes algae, vegetable matter, and invertebrates.

Aggression and territorial behaviors:

  • Arowanas are less territorial compared to African Cichlids and only exhibit aggressive behavior during feeding or mating.
  • African Cichlids are highly territorial and aggressive toward other fish, including their species.

Considering these differences and behavioral traits, housing Arowana with African Cichlids can be challenging. It is essential to provide appropriate water conditions, dietary requirements, and sufficient space for both species to coexist.

However, due to the high probability of aggressive behavior and incompatible preferences, mixing Arowanas with African Cichlids in a home aquarium is generally not recommended.

It is advisable to research and consult with experienced aquarium enthusiasts before attempting to bring these species together.


Understanding African Cichlids


African Cichlids are a diverse group of freshwater fish from the Cichlidae family, originating from various African lakes. Some famous habitats for these species are Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Victoria.

They are popular among aquarium enthusiasts for their vibrant colors, unique behavior, and ability to adapt to various water conditions.

With over 1,200 species, African Cichlids come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from 3 to 12 inches, depending on the species.

They are generally known to be aggressive, varying from mild to extreme, resulting from a territorial instinct to protect their spawning sites.

Regarding their diet, African Cichlids are known to be omnivorous, consuming both plant-based matter and small invertebrates.

Caretakers must provide a balanced diet of quality pellets, flake foods, and occasional treats like frozen brine shrimp or bloodworms.

Water parameters are crucial for African Cichlids to thrive, preferring an alkaline pH of 7.8 to 8.5 and temperatures between 75°F and 86°F.

Owners must ensure a stable environment to prevent stress and common illnesses.

Regarding aquarium setup, these fish require ample space to swim and establish territories. Aquarists often use rocks, caves, and plants to create hiding spots and mimic their natural habitat.

Correctly choosing tank mates is essential, as aggressive African Cichlids may bully or attack less combative species.

Compatible tank mates include other African Cichlids with similar levels of aggression and non-cichlid species that can endure the specific water parameters.

Given their nature and unique requirements, it is essential to consider factors such as compatibility, feeding habits, and water conditions when introducing African Cichlids into an aquarium with other species like Arowanas.


Habitats of Arowana and African Cichlids

Arowana Habitat


Arowanas, also known as dragon fish, primarily reside in Southeast Asia. Their preferred natural habitats include slow-moving waters such as lakes, swamps, and rivers within tropical rainforests.

The water in these environments is typically soft, slightly acidic to neutral, and well-oxygenated due to surrounding vegetation.

Arowanas thrive in temperatures ranging from 75°F to 86°F and pH levels between 6.0 and 7.0. In the wild, Arowanas are known to be solitary and territorial predators, which necessitate ample swimming space and cover for hiding.


African Cichlids Habitat


African cichlids originate from the lakes of East Africa, primarily Lake Malawi, Lake Victoria, and Lake Tanganyika.

These lakes are known for their diverse and unique cichlid populations. African cichlids generally prefer alkaline water with pH levels between 7.8 and 9.0 and temperatures ranging from 75°F to 82°F, depending on the species.

African cichlid habitats typically consist of sandy or rocky substrates that provide hiding spaces and protection from predators.

Many African cichlids exhibit a social structure involving territories and complex mating rituals. They are known to be more aggressive compared to other freshwater fish species.



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