African Cichlids Temperature – Everything You Need to Know

African cichlids are fish that are naturally found in Africa. These fish are usually found in areas where there is relatively warm water, with temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit being ideal.

African cichlids can also survive at lower temperatures but we don’t want them only to survive, we want them to thrive.

So, in this article, I will guide you through the African cichlid’s temperature requirements.

If you would like to learn about African cichlid tank requirements, please read my other guide.

Do African Cichlids Need a Heater?

African cichlids are tropical fish and they like being in warmer water, therefore, you should use a heater to keep the tank temperature stable.

In the wild, African Cichlids live in a large range of water temperatures. They can be found in areas where the water is anywhere from 73 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 30 degrees Celsius).

If you keep species of African Cichlid that are not from Lake Tanganyika, you will probably need a tropical aquarium heater to maintain the proper temperature during the winter months.

Though Lake Tanganyika cichlids do not usually require a heater, it is still beneficial to provide them with one to create an artificial habitat that better mimics their natural environment.

If you need to use a heater with Lake Tanganyika cichlids, make sure to select one that does not produce any sudden changes in temperature and can withstand high levels of conductivity (the number of dissolved substances in the water).

African Cichlids Minimum Temperature

For a short period of time, African cichlids will survive in water with temperatures of 65-70 °F (18-21 °F).

In their natural habitat, the air temperature at night sometimes will drop as low as 55 °F (13 °C), according to Britannica. While water temperature will not drop as much, there will be slight fluctuations between day and night.

In low-temperature African cichlids will become inactive and they will stop swimming. Their metabolism will also slow down and will stop eating.

In the long run, low temperature will affect their health too. They will become more prone to diseases and eventually will die. This is why you want to keep the temperature stable and in

Ideal Temperature for African Cichlids

If you are keeping African cichlids, you will want to keep their water temperature stable between 74-82 °F (23-28 °C), because they thrive in this environment.

Best Temperature for Breeding African Cichlids

African cichlids can breed in lower temperatures too, but it does take them longer to reach maturity. It is recommended to keep the temperature between 70 and 76 °F (21-24 °C) for breeding purposes.

If you keep your African cichlid fish at a lower temperature, their breeding may start later than they would if they were kept at a higher temperature.

Some species of African cichlids prefer different water temperatures for breeding, so it is important to research before you purchase if you are looking for specific types of breeding fish.

When breeding this type of fish, it is important to make sure they have adequate space to raise their young. It is recommended that you have no less than 20 gallons per female or male before you attempt to breed them, as they will require more space when they are preparing to lay eggs and when the young are born.

The African cichlid breeding tank should be decorated with rocks, ornaments, caves and plants. You will want to make sure the tank is heavily planted to give the female a place for her eggs to hide. The plants will also help give her young a place to hide once they are born.

The African cichlid breeding tank should also include a few hiding spots for the male as well as hiding spots for the young once they are born.

Male African cichlids are territorial, so it is important that they have their own space, or else they may harass or harm the young. Your tank should have a couple of different hiding spots, since sometimes the male may not be able to find a spot that he can call his own and will take over another one as his territory.


The African cichlids are quite an interesting bunch of fish. They are very colorful and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They also make for great pets.

Besides the right temperature, you need to ensure that you have enough space or else your African cichlids will not be happy and will get aggressive, territorial, and will kill each other.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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