How Many Cichlids In A 40-Gallon Tank? Cichlid List For A 40-Gallon Tank

Aug 21, 2021

How Many Cichlids In A 40-Gallon Tank

Credits: B W on Flickr under Creative Commons license

A 40-gallon tank is an excellent entry point if you have recently started dabbling in the fishkeeping hobby. It’s not too small – so it won’t be too temperamental. But, on the other hand, neither is it too big for you to spend thousands of bucks on equipment alone. 

You could easily raise schools of small fish and a couple of crustaceans in a 40-gallon community tank. But with cichlids, it’s tricky. 

These fish are territorial, demanding, and oh so aggressive. You can’t randomly pair them with any fish under the sun, no matter how big your tank is.

So, How Many Cichlids In A 40-Gallon Tank?

You can raise 5-6 mid-sized cichlids or 10-12 dwarf cichlids quite easily in a 40-gallon tank, given that there’s a reliable filtration mechanism in place. The rule of thumb is 2 gallons of water for every inch of fully grown fish. 

Assuming you have a 40-gallon tank that’s 36 inches long and 18 inches front and back, here’s a list of how many fish of each species you can keep in a 40-gallon cichlid tank:

How Many Demasoni Cichlids In A 40-Gallon Tank?

Credits: Lee Nachtigal on Flickr under Creative Commons license

Size: 4 inches 

Number: 8-12

Natives of the rift lakes of Eastern Africa, demasoni cichlids grow only around 4 inches long. You can add 8-12 of these dwarf cichlids in a 40-gallon tank depending on how frequently you do water changes and how efficient the filtration system is. 

Make sure you don’t add only 4-5 of these in a 40-gallon tank. That way, the subdominant male will get relentlessly bullied to death. 

How Many Jewel Cichlids In A 40-Gallon Tank?

Size: 6 inches 

Number: 2

A single jewel cichlid needs at least 30 gallons. Each additional cichlid would require 10 gallons extra. So, a 40-gallon tank should comfortably house 2 jewel cichlids. 

As the moniker suggests, these cichlids are super attractive to look at. So, don’t be disheartened by the limited number! 

How Many Electric Yellow Cichlids And Yellow Tail Acei Cichlids In A 40-Gallon Tank?

Credits: Dennis Amith on Flickr under Creative Commons license

Size: 4 to 6 inches 

Number: 6-7 or 8-10

Yellow labs and yellowtail acei have peaceful and mellow personalities. So, you don’t have to worry much about territorial aggression with these African cichlids. 

Depending on how frequently you conduct water changes, you can house anywhere between 6-7 or 10-11 of these fish. 

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How Many Chindongo Saulosi In A 40-Gallon Tank?

Size: 3.5 inches 

Number: 6-7

Ideally, you could keep a group of 5-7 chindongo saulosi cichlids composed of 1-2 males and 4-5 females. Males are quite territorial. So, make sure there are only 1-2 males. 

Sexual dimorphism is quite strong in these fish. Males are brilliant blue with vertical black stripes, whereas females spot bright shades of yellow. So a small school of these fish would definitely give a pop of color to your tank. 

How Many Convict Cichlids In A 40-Gallon Tank?

Credits: ichtheostega on Flickr under Creative Commons license

Size: 4-5 inches

Number: 3-4

The absolute minimum size for a pair of convict cichlids is 20 gallons, although the ideal size is 30 gallons. So, going by the rule of extra 10 gallons for every additional fish, you can theoretically house 4 convict cichlids in a 40-gallon tank. 

However, it would be best to practice controlled overstocking with these fish to curb their excessive aggression. So, a 40-gallon tank is not always ideal for these species.

How Many Dwarf Cichlids In A 40-Gallon Tank?

You can add 10-12 dwarf cichlids in a 40-gallon tank. However, you should be very careful about maintaining the right water parameters. 

Multies, golden dwarf cichlids, and demasoni are some examples of dwarf cichlids you can easily keep in a 40-gallon. However, don’t get carried away and overstock given their miniature size – they pack a lot of personalities. 

How Many Ram Cichlids In A 40-Gallon Tank?

Size: 2-3 inches

Number: 4

Ram cichlids need to be kept in a pair in at least a 20-gallon tank. So, you can keep 2 pairs – 4 ram cichlids – in a 40-gallon tank. 

Ram cichlids have a reputation for being super peaceful. Thus, you don’t have to worry about males tussling with each other. 

How Many Peacock Cichlids In A 40-Gallon Tank?

Credits: Mike Vallee on Flickr under Creative Commons license

Size: 6 inches

Number: 1-3

Peacock cichlids are on the aggressive side – and a small tank would make their mood worse. They usually grow around 4-7 inches long. For smaller peacocks, you can house a harem of 1 male and 2-3 females in a 40-gallon tank. 

For bigger peacocks, you would at least need a 55-gallon tank for a pair. 

How Many Cichlids In A 30-Gallon Tank?

You can add 3-4 mid-sized cichlids or six dwarf cichlids like kribensis in a 30-gallon tank. Irrespective of their stature, most cichlids are aggressive, although the magnitude would differ. 

So, make sure you don’t overstock your 30-gallon tank. 

Recommended Readings!

How Many Cichlids In A 75-Gallon Tank? Mbunas, Peacocks And South American

How Many Cichlids in a 55-Gallon Tank? Use This Simple Formula!

How Many Mbuna Cichlids In A 55-Gallon Tank?

You can add 2-3 groups of 6-8 mbuna species in a 55-gallon tank given their temperament and size. To reduce aggression, it’s recommended to keep mbunas in groups of at least 5 while limiting the number of species. 

Conclusion: How Many Cichlids In A 40-Gallon Tank?

Here’s a quick recap: 5-6 mid-sized cichlids or 10-12 dwarf cichlids are good to go for a 40-gallon tank. 

A 40-gallon tank is an excellent option if you’re new to the hobby. However, make sure the tank is longer because cichlids are all about territory. 

Happy Reading!

Red Top Lwanda Peacock Cichlid Care Guide | Diet, Habitat, Breeding, Accessories

Mbuna Cichlids Guide And Compatibility Chart | Best Mbuna Cichlids For You

How To Tell If A Cichlid Is Pregnant? 6 Guaranteed Ways To Know

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.