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

Oct 23, 2021

How Many Cichlids in a 55-Gallon Tank

Credits: Daryl Sawatzky (Creative Commons license)

A 55-gallon fish tank is a beauty. It’s the focal point of any room and a conversation starter. So it’s pretty big, right? Hmm… unfortunately, our fish don’t think so. A 55-gallon tank might look enormous to us, but it’s still relatively small compared to a lake or a stream. So, you still only have a slim margin of error when it comes to making stocking decisions. 

So, How Many Cichlids In A 55-Gallon Tank?

You can keep around 10-15 cichlids in a 55-gallon fish tank. But there’s no one rule set in stone. It all boils down to the kind of cichlids you have. For instance, African cichlids grow around six inches long. So, you can probably house ten African cichlids in a 55-gallon tank. 

On the other hand, most dwarf cichlids clock in around just 4 inches. Therefore, you can fit about 15 of them in a 55-gallon tank. 

As much as I want to give you one definitive answer, there isn’t one. Instead, the answer depends on several underpinning factors, such as the cichlid’s size and temperament. 

The standard rule of thumb is two gallons for every 1 inch of fish. So, the bigger the fish, the more limited your options are.

How Many Peacock Cichlids In A 55-Gallon Tank?

Credits: Dick Culbrty

Peacocks grow anywhere between 4-7 inches long. But they are pretty notorious for their aggression. So, you can only add about 8-9 peacocks in a 55-gallon tank. 

Peacocks don’t school. So, you can add males and females in a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio. 

How Many Mbunas In a 55-Gallon Tank?

Credits: Haplochromis (Creative Commons license)

Mbuna are one of the most aggressive aquarium fish groups we know. So, overstocking is the key to channeling their aggression. Since they grow around 4-6 inches long, you can house 10 of them in a 55-gallon tank. 

One user shared that he houses 15 mbunas ranging from 1.5 to 6.5 inches on a fish forum. 

Another user also reported that he houses 20-25 mbunas in a 55-gallon tank with plenty of filtration and water changes. However, we don’t recommend overstocking like this. 

How Many Dwarf Cichlids In A 55-Gallon Tank?

Dwarf cichlids barely grow over 4 inches long. So, you can house around 15 of them in a 55-gallon cichlid. A 10-20 gallon aquarium would be enough for a mated pair. 

Keep in mind that while most dwarf cichlid species are peaceful for most parts, males tend to quarrel over a territorial dispute, especially if they have a partner. 

How Many Oscars In A 55-Gallon Tank?

Oscar fish grow at a rate of 1 inch per month. In a tank, they can reach up to 13 inches. So, ideally, you can only keep a single Oscar fish in a 55-gallon tank. 

You can add 4-5 juvenile oscars in a 30-gallon tank. But as they grow, they’ll quickly outgrow the tank. 

How Many Severum Cichlids In A 55-Gallon Tank?

Severum cichlids grow around 8 inches long and pack a lot of personalities. As a result, a pair of severum cichlids will need roughly 55 gallons of water. 

Keep in mind that severums are semi-aggressive cichlids that don’t really like sharing their territory with anyone. So don’t forget to consider this factor. 

How Many Blue Acaras In A 55-Gallon Tank?

Blue acaras reach about 7 inches long in general. Thus, they need at least 55 gallons for a pair. 

Blue acaras have a somewhat subdued personality by a cichlid’s standards. They are quite peaceful. Therefore, they fare pretty well in a community tank. 

How Many German Blue Ram In A 55-Gallon Tank?

German blue rams are beginner fish that reach about 2-3 inches long. Thus, you can add 3-4 pairs in a 55-gallon tank. 

These cichlids are peaceful for most parts, but they tend to get quite agitated if there’s not enough space to swim and explore around. So, overstocking German blue rams isn’t a good idea.

How Many Firemouth Cichlids In A 55-Gallon Tank?

Firemouth cichlids are hardy species that grow about 6 to 7 inches long. You can house a pair of firemouths in a 55-gallon tank. 

Firemouths are best known for their feisty disposition. They can be highly territory-oriented – even more so during the breeding season. 

How Many Convict Cichlids In A 55-Gallon Tank?

Convict cichlids stay true to their name. These aggressive cichlids grow around 6 inches long. You can house a pair of convicts in a 55-gallon tank. 

Raising cichlids is tricky. You need overstock as well as give them ample space to keep their aggression in check. Some aquarists swear by the controlled overstocking method, while others are all about open waters and free space. 

So, although the rule of thumb is 2 gallons per inch of the fish, with cichlids, it’s ideal to allocate 3 to 3.5 gallons for every inch of the fish’s length. 

How Much Does It Cost To Run A 55-Gallon Tank?

A freshwater tank that runs at about 72°F consumes about 200-400 kWh per year. The biggest expense is incurred for the lighting system, which accounts for almost 45% of the total bill. The heater comes second at about 35% of the total cost. Filters are third with 12%, whereas air pumps etc., account for the remaining 8%. 

To calculate the aquarium’s energy consumption, you will first need to know the watts per equipment and the overall running time. 

Hours multiplied by watts will yield you the daily wattage per equipment. 1 kWh equals 1000 watts. The cost of 1 kWh can be easily found on most electric bills. 

Here’s the formula:

(Hours x Watts): 1000 x kWh cost x 30 = The aquarium’s monthly electrical cost

What Size Hood Do You Need For A 55-Gallon Tank?

The standard hood sizes are about 20 inches, 24 inches, and 30 inches. The larger hoods for a 55-gallon tank are usually 48 inches or more

A 55-Gallon Fish Tank’s Dimensions 

A 55-gallon aquarium’s dimensions are as follows: 36” x 18” x 19” (L x W x H). The empathy weight is around 78 lbs. and the filled weight is 625 lbs. tentatively. 

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How Many Gallons Do Mbuna Cichlids Need?

Mbuna cichlids will clock in at a maximum length of 5 inches. Thus, they need around 55 gallons of space to feel safe and comfortable. 

How Many Gallons Do Blue Peacock Cichlids Need?

Blue peacock cichlids reach around 7 inches in length and require 55 gallons of space per fish. 

How Many Gallons Do Electric Blue Cichlids Need?

Electric blue cichlids grow pretty big, reaching around 8 inches in length. So, they should ideally be housed in a 70-gallon tank. 

How Many Gallons Do Red/Yellow/Albino Peacock Cichlids Need?

These cichlids will grow about 5 inches long. Therefore, they need 55 gallons of tank space. Note that red, yellow, and albino are 3 different species. 

How Many Gallons Do Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlids Need?

Cobalt blue cichlids reach around 6 inches in length and require about 50 gallons of water per fish. 

How Many Gallons Do Venustus Cichlids Need?

Venustus cichlids grow quite big, reaching around 10 inches in length. Thus, they require about 70 gallons of water to feel truly comfortable and happy. 

How Many Gallons Do Maingano Cichlids Need?

Since Maingano cichlids grow only around 5 inches long, 50 gallons per fish would easily suffice. 

How Many Gallons Do Demasoni Cichlids Need?

Demasoni cichlids are pretty small, clocking in at just 3 inches. The minimum recommended tank size is 25 gallons, but they would really thrive in a 50-gallon tank. 

How Many Gallons Do Red Zebra Cichlids Need? 

Red zebra cichlids grow around 5 inches long and need 50 gallons of water to be comfortable. 

How Many Gallons Do Electric Yellow Cichlids Need?

Electric yellow cichlids grow around 5 inches long and need about 50 gallons of water per fish. 

How Many Gallons Do Kribensis Cichlids Need? 

Kribs are dwarf cichlids that grow only around 4 inches in length. Thus, you can allocate just 50 gallons per fish. 

How Many Gallons Do Compressiceps Cichlids Need?

Compressiceps are big guys, growing up to 10 inches long. Therefore, they need 70 gallons per fish. 

How Many Gallons Do Bumblebee Cichlids Need?

Although bumblebee cichlid grows only around 6 inches long, it’s pretty aggressive and territorial. Thus, you should house it in a 70-gallon tank to keep aggression in check. 

How Many Gallons Do Frontosa Cichlids Need?

Frontosa cichlids grow really big, reaching about 15 inches in length. So they at least need 70 gallons of tank space to be at ease. 

How Many Gallons Do Acei Cichlids Need?

Acei cichlids reach about 6 inches long and need 55 gallons of water to be comfortable. 

6 Things To Consider When Stocking Cichlids 

Credits: Ali Eminov (Creative Commons license)
  • The average cichlid will live for around 8-10 years. That’s a lot of time. So, it’s essential to consider the stocking number to provide the best life throughout so that their life isn’t cut short. 

  • Cichlids can grow quite big and demand a whole lot of space. They should be able to swim around freely in the tank to get enough exercise and enjoyment. 

  • Take this advice with a pinch of salt. As much as we like the explosion of color in the tank, community aquariums are often not the right choice when it comes to cichlids. 

  • Cichlids will try to eat anything they can fit in their mouth. So, you should only stock them with similarly sized fish and can hold their own against mean cichlids. 

  • Your tank should be placed in an area that doesn’t receive direct sunlight or too much footfall. These things might stress your fish.

  • Cichlids are greedy eaters. So, they make quite a mess when eating and after eating (poop time)! It’s essential not to pinch pennies when investing in a robust filtration system that can get rid of the gunk daily. 

Parting Words: How Many Cichlids in a 55-Gallon Tank?

You can keep around 10-15 average-sized cichlids in a 55-gallon aquarium. If they’re dwarf cichlids, you can stock about 15. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all rule here. Some aquarists have successfully stocked even 20+ cichlids in a 55-gallon tank, while others have difficulty housing even half a dozen cichlids. 

At the end of the day, it all boils down to the cichlid’s size, temperament, and your maintenance habits. 

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.