Electric Yellow Cichlid Tankmates | Your Eight Best Bets!

Jul 12, 2021

Electric Yellow Cichlid Tankmates

Electric yellow cichlid (yellow lab) – even the name packs so much personality. So, it would be so foolish to assume these fish would be dull. Natives of Africa’s beautiful Lake Malawi, they are one of my favorite aquarium fish. 

An electric yellow cichlid’s personality is just as flamboyant as its name. They’re docile and peaceful compared to other cichlid varieties but have a dark side as well. They can be aggressive to fish of similar body shapes or colors and compete for resources and mates. 

So, it’s not rocket science, but you have to put in some thought before selecting a suitable tank mate for them.

But before that, here’s a quick guide on water parameters for electric yellow cichlids for easy comparison.

Temperature74-84°F (23-29°C)
pH Level7-8
General HardnessSemi-hard
dGH Value15-20

Best Electric Yellow Cichlid Tankmates

The most suitable tankmates for the electric yellow cichlid are:

  • Keyhole cichlids 
  • Zebra cichlids 
  • Dragonblood peacock cichlids 
  • Blue Acara cichlids
  • Clown Loach
  • Giant Danios
  • Pleco
  • Upside down catfish

Keyhole Cichlids 

keyhole cichlid
Credits: James Green on Flickr under Creative Commons license

Keyhole cichlids are one of the most peaceful cichlid varieties we know. Unassuming and shy, these fish love to hide around most of the time. So, if you are in search of cool, even-tempered cichlids to pair with your electric yellow labs, keyhole cichlids could be the perfect addition. 

They’re quite humble sizewise, too – growing only around 4-5 inches long. These fish seldom pick fights with anyone and almost always backs out if there’s any kind of hostility. 

They love to swim around plants and decorations around the central areas of the tank. Also, they don’t burrow or tear up plants. 

The only time they show their aggressive side is during breeding, but that is very mild compared to other cichlids. 

The water parameter requirements are:

Temperature75-81°F (23-27°C)
pH Level4.5-7.5 
dGH Value13-30

As you can see, the water parameters are either similar to or overlap an electric yellow cichlid’s needs. So, they can safely and happily cohabitate together.

Zebra Cichlids 

Zebra cichlid
Credits: Calwhiz on Flickr under Creative Commons license

Zebra cichlids rival yellow labs in terms of popularity. However, in the aquarium, they can often be seen happily cohabitating together. That’s because cichlids do well when kept with their own kind. 

I personally have never kept these two together. Still, while researching on the topic, I found several users on fish forums recommend zebra cichlids as suitable tankmates for yellow labs. Thus, they made this list. 

Note that Zebra cichlids have a sassier personality in comparison. So, if a case of hostility ever breaks out, your yellow labs will most probably be the first ones to raise the white flag.

Aesthetics-wise, their black and white stripes offer an excellent contrast to the bright yellow shades. They can grow around 4-5 inches long.

The water parameter requirements are: 

Temperature74-84°F (23-29°C)
pH Level7-8
dGH Value18-20

No-brainer here. The water parameters are the same, given they come from the same habitat in the wild. 

If you’re going to house these two together, make sure your tank has plenty of room and hiding places. 

Dragonblood Peacock Cichlids 

Dragonblood Peacock Cichlid
Credits: Dennis Amith on Flickr under Creative Commons license

One more popular recommendation I found on forums – Dragonblood peacock cichlid (only males)! These cichlids are as interesting as their names. This variation doesn’t occur naturally. 

Actually, Dragonblood peacock cichlids result from generations of selective breeding of various Lake Malawi peacock cichlids. So, as the name suggests, they have intense red/orange coloration. But here’s the catch. This stunning feature is only exclusive to males. 

In my opinion, these fish were a popular nominee because their red color goes very well with electric yellow. 

However, you’ll have to take this suggestion with a grain of salt. 

The males in this variation are known to be somewhat on the aggressive side. So, the tank must be spacious, there shouldn’t be food scarcity, and there have to be several hideouts within the tank. 

These fish can grow up to 7 inches. Thus, it’s imperative to have a big tank. 

The water parameter requirements are: 

Temperature72–86 °F (22–30 °C)
pH Level7-8 
Water HardnessModerate to hard

As the table above shows, the water parameters overlap with an electric yellow cichlid’s need. Thus, striking the environmental balance shouldn’t be hard! 

Besides yellow labs, these cichlids are also known to cohabitate peacefully with other Haplochromis and Aulonocara cichlids of the same size. 

You May Also Like:

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Blue Acara Cichlids 

blue acara cichlid
Credits: LHG Creative Photography on Flickr under Creative Commons license

Blue Acara Cichlids are yet another peaceful cichlid varieties that do exceptionally well in the community tank. Unlike most cichlids, these fish love keeping to themselves and have a calm demeanor. 

Thus, there will seldom be fights on resources or territory. Instead, they usually stay near the bottom, where they love to dig around. 

They’re sometimes known to be aggressive towards other smaller fish, but this shouldn’t be the case with electric yellow cichlids. 

That being said, they can also be hostile around mating season – but that’s the case with almost all fish species we know. 

As long as you have a big tank with many hiding places for refuge, housing electric yellow cichlids with blue acara cichlids shouldn’t pose any problem. 

These fish can grow up to 6 inches long and boast shimmery blue bodies in terms of appearance. The blue hues will flawlessly complement the bright yellow shades of yellow labs. 

The water parameter requirements are: 

Temperature72–86 °F (22–30 °C)
pH Level6.5-8
dGH Value20-25

As evident from the table above, the water parameters are almost identical to that of an electric yellow cichlid. So, the external environment shouldn’t be a problem! However, given their size, they need a big tank. You should at least have a 50-gallon tank. 

If you’re not too keen on a cichlid-exclusive tank and are looking to build a community tank, there’s good news. Several other fish species can hold their ground against electric yellow cichlids and successfully cohabitate in the tank. 

Clown Loaches 

Credits: Fleetingphotons on Flickr under Creative Commons license

Clown loach is generally described to be peaceful and easygoing. However, it too has a semi-aggressive bone in the body. Thus, it should be able to hold its ground quite easily when face-to-face with electric yellow cichlids. 

These fish are bottom feeders and will usually spend most of their time there. So, they will seldom have confrontations with yellow labs. 

And just like yellow labs, clown loaches love to hide around and rest. So it’s imperative to make sure the tank has plenty of spaces to hide. It will significantly reduce the chances of fights breaking out. 

Growing to a maximum size of 4 ½ inches, these fishes have tan and black stripes in the body, with four barbels protruding from the mouth. 

The water parameter requirements are: 

Temperature72–86 °F (22–30 °C)
pH Level7-7.5
dGH Value5-15

As you can see, the water parameter needs to fall under the ideal range for electric yellow cichlids. 

Giant Danios 

Credits: Boaz Ng on Flicker under Creative Commons license

Giant Danios can be another great addition to your electric yellow cichlid tank as these fish love to hang around the middle and bottom portions of the habitat. However, make sure you get larger danios, so they don’t become a snack for your cichlid. 

These fish are pretty fast and have sharp reflexes as well. So, if a fight ever breaks out, they can swim away and hide quickly.

These fish are generally described to be peaceful and friendly. They’re also known to playfully chase around fish without any consequences. 

Giant danios also love to swim and hide around highly vegetated areas. Hence, make sure the tank is well-planted. They can grow up to 4 inches long. 

The water parameter requirements are:

Temperature72–81 °F (22–27°C)
pH Level6-8
dGH Value5-19

As the table above shows, their environmental needs closely match that of an electric yellow cichlid – making them suitable tankmates. 

Plecos 

Credits: Takahiro Asai on Flickr under Creative Commons license

If you’re searching for peaceful tank mates that keep the tank clean, look no further than plecos. These bottom-dwellers love to devour algae and gunk produced in tanks – keeping the water pristine for a longer time. 

But most importantly, they only stay at the bottom, which means they’ll never get in the way of your electric yellow cichlids. 

Since the path and foraging regions are entirely different between the two, the chances of territorial aggression are very slim. 

On top of that, plecos naturally have an amicable temperament. Although they can sometimes show aggression towards their own kind for food and mate, they’re seldom hostile towards fishes. 

The water parameter requirements are: 

Temperature72–78 °F (22–25°C)
pH Level6.5-7.5
dGH Value20-25

As evident by this table, plecos can live in the same water conditions as for electric yellow cichlids – making them great tank cleaners for your cichlid tank. 

Upside Down Catfish

Credits: Jason Wilson on Flickr under Creative Commons license

Upside down catfish, as the moniker suggests, will swim upside down. In addition, they’re considered to be one of the most peaceful members of their genus. Thus, they are suited for most community tanks, given that the fish in question isn’t too aggressive. 

Like most catfish, these creatures love to hide around during the daytime and become active at night. Therefore, the chances of territorial aggression between them and electric yellow cichlids are pretty slim. 

However, since both species love to hide (although at different times), your tank must house several hiding spots. 

At maximum, these fish can grow up to 10 inches. So, it’s only wise to house them if you have a large tank!

The water parameter requirements are: 

Temperature72–82 °F (22–28°C)
pH Level6.0-7.5
dGH Value4-15

Tankmates To Avoid For Electric Yellow Cichlids 

Since electric yellow cichlids have a dash of aggression in their personality, it’s best not to pair them with other aggressive fishes. 

Here’s a list of tankmates you should avoid:

Conclusion: Electric Yellow Cichlid Tankmates

So, that was our well-rounded list of best tankmates for your electric yellow cichlid, which featured species from both cichlid and non-cichlid families. Although yellow labs are described as semi-aggressive, there’s one thing you must remember. 

When adding new fish to an established lake Malawi cichlid tank, you will need to divide the entire tank into territories. You can rearrange the tank differently to give the new fish its own playing field and domain. 

Happy Reading!

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rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.