Out of all the cichlids species that people keep within the fish keeping hobby, the “African cichlid” is usually the most common with the majority of people refering to the Mbuna cichlids when they use the term African cichlids.
Due to the aggression levels in the majority of cichlid species, we have noticed more and more people reaching out to ask how many African cichlids you should keep in a 60 gallon tank so we wanted to publish this article going over the topic.
You can usually keep between seven and twenty African cichlids in a 60 gallon tank with a long design while having minimal issues with aggression.
The exact number of African cichlids that you can keep as well as their aggression levels with depend on the specific species of African cichlid that you are keeping as well as the maximum size of the species when fully grown.
This is why offering generic advice for African cichlids is so problematic as there are over 200 species of Mbuna cichlids with their own maximum lengths and personalities.
The maximum lengths of these African cichlids can range from as small as only two inches all the way upto a maximum of around six inches so as you can probably guess, this will have a large effect on the number of African cichlids you are able to keep in your tank, even a medium sized tank like a 60 gallon long tank.
How Many African Cichlids Should You Keep In A 60 Gallon Tank?
A 60 gallon long tank can hold between seven and twenty African cichlids depending on the exact species of cichlid you are keeping with Mbuna usually being the most common type of “African cichlids” even though it has over 200 species within it.
Due to the aggression levels of African cichlids, you should provide plenty of fish hides and live plants for cover in the tank to keep aggression levels to a minimum too.
It is vital that you have a long 60 gallon tank for your African cichlids rather than a tall 60 gallon tank too as African cichlids do need a roaming range to swim with the range in tall tanks often being too small even in a 60 gallon tank.
A long tank designed also offers more usable real estate for the fish to go off and do their own thing if they choose too usually making it much easier to avoid aggression in the tank even if the tank is slightly overstocked.
That said though, many of the people who we see reaching out about keeping African cichlids in a 60 gallon aquarium are new to the fish keeping hobby.
If you are new to the hobby then we would never recommend that you overstock your tank, especially with any type of cichlid due to how aggressive the species can be, we would recommend that you use our formula in the section below to work out the maximum number of fish you can keep in your tank and then keep around three quaters of that number until you are more experienced with keeping the species.
How To Workout How Many African Cichlids You Can Keep In A 60 Gallon Tank!
You can workout how many African cichlids you can keep in your 60 gallon tank by using the one inch of fish per gallon of tank rule.
A smaller type of African cichlid that only grows to a maximum length of two inches can have as many as 30 fish in a 60 gallon tank where as a larger African cichlid that grows to six inches can only have a maximum of 10 fish in the tank.
As we mentioned above, African cichlids that usually refer to Mbunta cichlids have over 200 types of Mbunta cichlid in the family each with their own maximum length.
We would recommend that you Google search the specific species of African cichlid that you have to find out its maximum length and then apply the formula above to work out the maximum stocking capability for your 60 gallon tank.
So say you have a species that grows to 4 inches, you can keep 15 of the fish in the tank (60 gallons / 4 inch maximum lenth = 15) to keep the tank within safe stocking levels.
One problem with African cichlids, especially when purchased from a pet store is that they will simply be listed as “African cichlids” or “Mbunta cichlids” without any other infomation.
Although you can sometimes confirm the specific type of African cichlids the fish is, it can be difficult.
If you do find yourself in this situation then we would always recommend that you presume that it is one of the larger species of African cichlids with a six inch maximum length to help prevent you overstocking your tank and encouraging aggression between your fish.
What Should You Add To A African Cichlid Tank To Minimise Aggression?
All African cichlid tanks should have plenty of fish hides and cover such as live plants or rocks in the tank to help break the line of sight between fish and prevent aggression.
Even in a medium tank like a 60 gallon max capacity tank or larger you should still be providing plenty of cover for your African cichlids.
Fake plants reduce the amount of care and attention that your tank needs when compared to real plants and many fish hides on the market are simply not suitable for cichlids.
Adding plenty of suitable hiding places for your African cichlids in your 60 gallon tank should allow you to keep the tank close to its maximum stocking supply without having any problems with aggression between your fish.
In addition to this, it can also help to encourage breeding between your African cichlids but we usually recommend against breeding any type of fish unless you have spare tanks available for the young or have a distributor to sell them too as soon as they are ready to move.
That brings our article going over how many African cichlids you can keep in a 60 gallon tank to an end and we hope that you have found our article helpful. We have covered the various ways that you are able to workout exactly how many African cichlids you can keep in a 60 gallon tank no matter the specific species or maximum length of the fish as well as how you are able to minimise the chances of aggression between your fish too.