Cichlids Size & Growth Chart

Cichlids are a very common fish species loved by all fish keepers. This guide will tell you about the growth rate of popular American cichlids, how fast they grow, and the differences between various cichlid species. Depending on the type of cichlid fish you’re keeping, you’ll need a different tank size.

Do you know how to speed up the growth of Cichlids?  You’ll learn this and much more in this guide! When you’re done reading, you should know everything about cichlids, how to grow them, and what living conditions to provide them. Keep reading to find out more!

How Big do Cichlids Get?

Cichlids aren’t very big, and that’s why they’re loved by many fish keepers. They’re not high-maintenance, they don’t eat a lot, and they’re easy to care for. Even Jaguar Cichlids, the biggest of the cichlids, are easy to care for. It doesn’t require too much attention but it does need a 70-gallon tank size.

Cichlid Species Size
Angelfish 6 inches
Blood Parrot 8 inches
Convict Cichlid 6 inches
Oscar Fish 10 inches
Discus Fish 5 inches
Green Terror 12 inches
Peacock Cichlid 6 inches
Firemouth Cichlid 6 inches
Jaguar Cichlid 15 inches
Jack Dempsey 10 inches
Texas Cichlid 13 inches

As you can see, there’s a difference in size between various Cichlid species. Some of them are really small and grow at a fast rate, while others get pretty big and grow slower. An Angelfish, for instance, will grow up to 6 inches in 1-5 years at most if you provide minimum tank space. If you provide it with more space, it may even grow up to 10 inches.

How Big are Cichlid Fry?

Considering that your average Oscar fish grows 1 inch per month and reaches its full size in 10 months, Cichlid fry are pretty small. When they’re born, they’re less than an inch in size. They’ll need a separate growth tank until they grow big enough. You can’t keep them with the other fish because they’ll get eaten.

Only a few Cichlid fry usually survive to maturity in the wild. If you keep them in a community tank, the same condition will apply as in the wild. Cichlids will eat or kill their fry from time to time. But a community tank will have other fish species, which further shortens the lifespan of Cichlid fry.

The more space they have and the better they’re fed, the bigger will the Cichlid fry get. Faster growth means you’ll put them in the community tank sooner. It’s a pain to maintain a secondary nursery tank to grow the fry. But it’s necessary, especially if you have multiple fish species in the same tank.

How Fast do Cichlids Grow?

Cichlids have different growth rates depending on the species. Look below to see how each species compare to one another in terms of growth speed:

  • Angelfish – Fast growth rate
  • Blood Parrot – Fast growth rate
  • Convict Cichlid – Average growth rate
  • Oscar Fish – Very fast growth rate
  • Discus Fish – Fast growth rate
  • Green Terror – Average growth rate
  • Peacock Cichlid – Slow growth rate
  • Firemouth Cichlid – Slow growth rate
  • Jaguar Cichlid – Slow growth rate
  • Jack Dempsey – Slow growth rate
  • Texas Cichlid – Slow growth rate

Most Cichlids grow pretty fast, with the rest taking a bit more time to reach their maximum size.

How Long Do Cichlid Fry Take to Grow?

Cichlids usually take 1-1.5 years to reach their full size, but there are slight differences across Cichlid species.

Angelfish grow to their maximum size of 6 inches within 1-1.5 years, which is considered a fast growth rate.

Blood Parrot grows 0.5 inches per month and has a maximum size of 8 inches. So, it’ll reach its full size in 8 months.

Convict Cichlids grow 4 inches within 1-1.5 years, which is considered pretty standard as far as fish goes.

Oscar Fish, on the other hand, grow 1 inch per month, which is a very fast growth speed. It’ll take 10 months for it to grow to its full size

Discus Fish will grow 4 inches in 6 months, and it’ll reach its full size of 5 inches in 7-8 months.

Green Terror Cichlids grow 2-6 inches within 6 months, so it’ll take anywhere from 10-15 months to reach its full size of 12 inches.

Peacock Cichlids grow 1-1.5 inches within 6 months, so they’re expected to take 2 years to grow to their full size of 6 inches.

Firemouth Cichlids grow 2.5 inches in 7 months, which means they’ll grow to their full size of 6 inches in 14+ months.

Jaguar Cichlids grow 1 inch per month until they reach 6 inches long. Then, they slow down considerably. It may take 1.5+ years to reach their full size of 15 inches.

Jack Dempsey Cichlids grow 4 inches in 3 months, then slow considerably. It should take up to a year for them to grow to 10 inches.

Texas Cichlids grow 4 inches in 3 months and then slow down. It should take up to a year for Texas Cichlids to reach their full size of 13 inches.

When do Cichlids Reach Full Size?

Cichlids take upwards of 2 years to reach their full size, at least for some species like the Peacock Cichlid. However, most will reach their full size in 1-1.5 years. Some fast-growing ones like the Oscar or Discus Fish will grow to their full size in 8-10 months at most. If you’re in a hurry to see your fish all grown out, I recommend fast-growing Cichlids.

How to Speed Up the Growth of Cichlids?

There are several things you can do to speed up the growth of Cichlid fish:

  • Offer a balanced diet – Nothing is more important than food. According to a study by the University of Florida, cichlids less than 8 weeks old will grow their fastest with a diet of 40% protein and 10-12% fat. When they become adults, you should feed them with a diet that has 32-42% protein and 7-10% fat;
  • No overfeeding – During the fry period, Cichlids need more food more often. You should feed them twice a day. But when they grow up, you should only feed them once a day to keep them on a balanced diet and maintain their peak health. They will beg for more food even if they’re full, but don’t give in;
  • Maintain water quality – Cichlids are healthiest when put in alkaline water with a pH of 8-9. You should keep the aquarium’s pH at 7.5 because it’s not good to raise the alkalinity of the water too fast. Use carbonate buffers to maintain the alkalinity at a certain level. Heat up the water to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, as well;
  • Manage stress and illness – If your cichlids aren’t stressed or sick, they’ll grow faster and healthier. Don’t let your cichlids fight one another or bully the fry. You should add algae, rocks, and other decorations so your cichlids can hide from attackers. This will reduce their stress and promote healthy growth. As for illness, make sure you pay attention to their behavior, diet, temperament, and color.

If you take care of these four things, you’ll speed up the growth of your Cichlids to the maximum. Take care of them and they’ll grow up very fast!


There you go – the Cichlids’ growth and size. Now, you should have a general idea of what type of fish you want. Or, if you already got some Cichlids, you’ll know what to expect from them. Each species has certain needs in terms of tank size, with bigger species needing more space. An Angelfish only needs 20 gallons worth of space for one fish, though. Angelfish is the most common type of Cichlid!

If you have any questions, leave them below and I’ll be sure to reply as soon as possible!

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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