Firemouth Cichlid Tank Mates (#5 YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW!)

image of can firemouth cichlids live with

One of the most beautiful species you could get for your home aquarium is the firemouth cichlid. They are beautiful fish with a bright orange belly to add a flash of color to your tank.

If you don’t want a tank full of just firemouth cichlids, you may be wondering which species make the best tank mates for them.

Luckily, you’re in the right place!

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the best tank mates for firemouth cichlids. The species we will discuss including:

While firemouth cichlids are usually semi-aggressive, their ideal tankmates rank anywhere from peaceful to aggressive, so keep that in mind before making a final decision. To learn more about these amazing species, read on!

Firemouth Cichlid Overview

Temperature: 75 to 86°F
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
General hardness: 8-15 dGH
Size: 7 inches
School size: Not a schooling fish
Lifespan: 15 years
Diet: Omnivorous
Tank Size: 30 Gallons
Care Level: Beginner

The Best Firemouth Cichlid TankMates

1. Platies

  • Scientific Name: Xiphophorus maculatus
  • Origin: Central and South America
  • Size: 2.5 – 3 inches
  • Temperament: peaceful
image of staying with Platies

Though platies might not be the first species you consider as a tank mate for firemouth cichlids, they can actually do quite well. Firemouth cichlids in general are more peaceful than other species of cichlids, which means they can do well with other peaceful species.

That doesn’t mean they’ll always get along, though. You need to make sure your tank is big enough to give each species its own space. 

Tips: Though they are peaceful, they can get a bit territorial, especially during mating season. You should make sure each species has its own space in the tank to reduce the chance of fighting, especially since platies tend to be smaller than firemouth cichlids.

2. Swordtails

  • Scientific Name: Xiphophorus hellerii
  • Origin: Central America
  • Size: 5.5 – 6 inches
  • Temperament: peaceful, social
image of staying with Swordtails

Swordtails are another beautiful fish that can make a great tank mate for your firemouth cichlid. Covered in vivid colors, they can really make your tank pop next to a firemouth cichlid!

Swordtails have similar care requirements to firemouth cichlids and are also around the same length, which makes them a good match. They’re also from the same place in the wild, which further makes them a match made in heaven!

However, you should be sure to only introduce adults to one another. If you introduce a baby swordtail to the tank, your firemouth cichlids could see it as a snack or a plaything, which won’t be a fun time for your swordtail.

3. Convict Cichlids

  • Scientific Name: Amatitlania nigrofasciata
  • Origin: Central America 
  • Size: 4 – 5 inches
  • Temperament: aggressive, territorial
image of staying with Convict Cichlids

Though convict cichlids aren’t peaceful like many of the other fish on this list, they can still be good tank mates for your firemouth cichlids. Though firemouths tend to be more peaceful cichilds, they’re still cichlids nonetheless and can be paired with others in their species since they have similar tank requirements. 

Because they can both take an aggressive stance, you should still make sure your tank is big enough to handle both of them. However, they’re both good at staying in their own lane, which can reduce any potential fights between the two. 

4. Rosy Barb

  • Scientific Name: Pethia conchonius
  • Origin: Southern Asia
  • Size: 5 – 6 inches
  • Temperament: peaceful, aggressive as needed

Rosy barbs can be a great addition to your firemouth cichlid tank. These fish get to about the size of firemouth cichlids, which can protect them from potential attacks.

These fish have a beautiful orange and red coloration, which can make them a perfect visual in a tank of firemouth cichlids. They also have similar tank requirements even though they are from different regions. 

Rosy barbs won’t fight with other fish of their own accord as long as they don’t feel threatened. You should get a few of them so they feel safe amongst their own kind. 

5. Salvini Cichlid

  • Scientific Name: Cichlasoma salvini
  • Origin: Central America
  • Size: 7 – 9 inches
  • Temperament: aggressive, territorial

Salvini cichlids are another species of cichlid that can work well in a tank with your firemouth cichlids! Topping out around 9 inches in length, these cichlids will need an extremely large tank to live with others.

They can also be aggressive, so the more space the better. Luckily, firemouth cichlids are able to handle their own when faced with other aggressive fish, so any fights tend to end quickly. 

Salvini cichlids have a long lifespan compared to some other species with an average lifespan of around 13 years, so keep in mind that this tank mate is a long-term commitment!

6. Congo Tetra

  • Scientific Name: Phenacogrammus interruptus
  • Origin: Africa
  • Size: 2.5 – 3.5 inches
  • Temperament: peaceful, skittish

Though congo tetras are smaller than firemouth cichlids, they can still be a great tank mate. These smaller fish are peaceful and avoid conflict at all costs, even to the point of spending most of the day hiding or fleeing from aggressive fish.

Since they won’t start a fight with your firemouth cichlids, they’ll be a great addition to your tank. They also won’t engage in a fight started by your cichlids, so the chances of a fight are slim. 

Since congo tetras are from a different area of the world than firemouth cichlids, their requirements are a little different. For one, congo tetras prefer soft water while firemouth cichlids prefer hard, so you’ll want to keep neutral chemistry in your tank to accommodate both. 

7. Emerald Catfish

  • Scientific Name: Corydoras splendens
  • Origin: South America
  • Size: 3 inches
  • Temperament: peaceful

Emerald catfish make a great addition to any firemouth cichlid tank. They are a peaceful species that spend most of their time along the bottom of the tank, so they often avoid conflict with fish swimming above it.

This species is also great because these fish are bottom feeders, which means they’ll clean the bottom of your tank throughout the day. This translates to less substrate changing over time. What’s not to love?

Their shiny, blue-green bodies are a nice contrast to the bright orange bellies of your firemouth cichlids, so they’ll also be quite the beauty in your tank. Plus, they have a sharp dorsal fin that can protect them in case your firemouths get nippy at all. 

8. Rainbow Fish

  • Scientific Name: Melanotaeniidae
  • Origin: Northern and Eastern Australia, Madagascar
  • Size: 2.4 – 7.9 inches
  • Temperament: peaceful, active

Rainbow fish are a bright, beautiful fish to add to your tank! A combination of blues, greens, and yellows, they’re sure to stand out amongst your firemouth cichlids.

These fish have a few different species that range in size between two and a half and eight inches. The larger the better as they’re less susceptible to injury by your firemouth cichlids. 

A shy fish, rainbow fish tend to avoid any conflicts so you don’t have to worry about fighting in your tank. Overall, their peaceful temperament makes them a good match for your firemouth cichlids.

9. Clown Loach

  • Scientific Name: Chromobotia macracanthus
  • Origin: Indonesia
  • Size: 6 – 12 inches
  • Temperament: peaceful, active

Clown loaches are giants compared to some of the other species on this list, but that also makes them a good pair for your firemouth cichlids! On average, this striped fish can get up to 12 inches in length!

Easy-going as they come, clown loaches are unlikely to start any issues with your firemouth cichlids. They’re also large enough that any issues started by your cichlids will not cause major harm to them. 

Plus, with their bright orange stripes, they’ll match your firemouth cichlids in color too! Talk about a dynamic duo!

10. Oscars

  • Scientific Name: Astronotus ocellatus
  • Origin: South America
  • Size: 10 – 12 inches
  • Temperament: moody, aggressive

Like their friend the clown loach, Oscars are also quite large in size, which makes them a great tank mate for your firemouth cichlids. In captivity, this fish quickly grows to approximately 10 – 12 inches in length!

Oscars are actually closely related to cichlids and are also aggressive like other cichlid species, so they won’t tolerate any misbehavior from your firemouths. In general, they do try to avoid conflict unless provoked, though their large size normally prevents any of that provoking.

Like many of the others on this list, Oscars tend to have some nice orange coloration, which makes them a beautiful pair with firemouth cichlids!


Now that you know which fish species are the best tank mates for your firemouth cichlids, you can put together the tank of your dreams!

They are including: Platies, Swordtails, Convict cichlids, Rosy barbs, Salvini cichlids, Congo tetras, Green corydoras, Rainbow fish, Clown loaches, Oscars

Remember that the key is to get a species that has similar tank requirements to firemouth cichlids and a species that is big enough not to be attacked or killed by your firemouth cichlids. That’s why larger fish like Oscars and Salvini cichlids tend to be the best types of tank mates.

If you have firemouth cichlids in your tank, let us know which tank mates are your favorite. If you have any other questions about your home aquarium, ask us below and we may write about your question next!

image of firemouth cichlid with other fishes

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