Red Devil Cichlid Care: Complete Guide for Beginners

The Red Devil Cichlid, or Amphilophus labiatus, is a vibrant freshwater fish from Central America. Known for its fiery red hue and aggressive nature, it’s a popular choice among aquarists. However, due to its territorial behavior, this cichlid requires a spacious tank and careful pairing.

red devil cichlid

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Red Devil Cichlid Species Profile and Identification

Amphilophus labiatus, commonly known as the Red Devil Cichlid, is an enigmatic fish species with a reputation among aquarists. Coming from the Cichlidae family, this species yields an aggressive temperament and can grow to an imposing size of 15 inches (38 cm).

Prepare yourself for a long-term commitment as the Red Devil Cichlid has an average life span of 12 years. Their coloration is greatly diverse, often notable for intense shades of red, but patterns extend to blue, yellow, black, or white.

  • Physical Features: Red Devil Cichlids flaunt a robust body, expansive lips and tail whose shape reminisces a fan. They are sexually dimorphic – males often boast humps on their heads.
  • Size: A healthy adult grows up to 15 inches (38 cm) long. Be extra vigilant in your identification process – many juveniles are mistaken for their close cousin, the Midas Cichlid.
  • Color: They show off a vibrant color palette, ranging from fiery red and warm yellow to eye-catching white and blue. It’s the fiery red that earns them their moniker. However, note that color patterns might vary due to age, mood, or environmental factors.
  • Behavior: The Red Devil Cichlid is known for its aggressive attitude. They guard their territory zealously and exhibit openly hostile behavior.

Identifying this species accurately is a crucial part of their care. Whether you’re a seasoned fish keeper or a fledgling enthusiast, understanding Red Devil Cichlids’ aggressive nature, size, and lifespan will help in setting realistic expectations for their care.

Red Devil Cichlid Supplies

Starting with the right supplies is crucial when setting up your Red Devil Cichlid’s home.

  • Aquarium: Red Devil Cichlids grow fairly large, reaching 15 inches or about 38 centimeters. Consequently, they need a spacious tank, with a minimum size of 55 gallons (about 208 liters).
  • Filtration System: These fish are messy eaters which means that the water can easily become polluted. To prevent this, a sturdy filtration system is a must. Canister filters are a good choice; they provide good water purity, which is vital for the health of your fish.
  • Heater: Red Devil Cichlids are tropical fish and should have warmer water. This means your tank will need a reliable heater, capable of maintaining a steady temperature.
  • Decorations: Red Devils are territorial, and they fancy hiding spots in their domains. Therefore, add sufficient caves, rocks, and hiding places to your setup.
  • Substrate: A softer substrate like sand is preferred as they like to burrow.
  • Plants: Though they tend to be aggressive towards plants, durable and hard-to-eat species can be used as they provide cover and additional visual interest.
  • Lighting: Standard aquarium lighting is fine. It won’t affect the color of the Red Devil, which can range from white to yellow, orange, and red.

Quick overview of Supplies:

Supply Details
Aquarium Minimum of 55 gallons
Filtration Canister filters are preferred
Heater Maintain a steady temperature
Decorations Caves, rocks, and hiding spots
Substrate Softer, like sand
Plants Durable and hard-to-eat species
Lighting Standard aquarium lighting

These are the essential requirements for setting up a comfortable environment for your Red Devil Cichlid. The goal is to mimic their natural habitat as closely as possible.

Red Devil Cichlid Tank Setup

Setting up the tank appropriately for your Red devil cichlid, or Amphilophus labiatus, is vital to its health. A minimum tank size of 55 gallons (208 liters) is essential for one fish. Remember, these fish can grow up to 15 inches (38 cm), they need space to swim and explore.

The ideal setting for this fish is a freshwater tank filled with plants and rocks. Such an environment resembles their natural habitat allowing them to hide and mark territories. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Use sand or fine gravel as the substrate, as it mimics their natural riverbed environment.
  • Install plenty of rock formations and caves for hiding. Please ensure these are well-secured, Red devil cichlids are known to move things round.
  • Incorporate live or artificial plants as per your choice. But be warned, they might get uprooted by your busy-bodied fish!
  • It’s important to provide lots of hideouts and open swimming spaces to make them feel comfortable.

Regardless of the size, your tank needs a strong filtration system. Red Devil Cichlids produce a lot of waste, hence a robust filter is critical for water cleanliness.

Keep in mind, this species is territorial and likes to have their own space. If you plan to introduce more than one, a spacious tank divided into territories with rocks will help prevent aggression. But remember, each fish needs their own 55-gallon space.

Finally, don’t forget to keep a secure lid on top of your tank. Your Red Devil has quite an animated personality and might surprise you with a jump!

Bear in mind, a well-thought-out tank setup is the first step towards a happy and healthy Red Devil Cichlid. So, take your time and plan it well.

Red Devil Cichlid Water Requirements

The Red Devil Cichlid, scientifically known as the Amphilophus labiatus, is a freshwater species, which means it requires an aquatic environment similar to its natural habitat. These fish are native to warm, tropical regions, meaning they appreciate higher water temperatures.

Your tank’s water temperature for the Red Devil Cichlid should range between 75°F (24°C) and 79°F (26°C). It is crucial to maintain this temperature range as deviations can cause health problems. To achieve this, using a reliable, high-quality aquarium heater is essential.

Prudent water quality management is key for the optimal health of your Red Devil Cichlid. Ensure the pH of the water is between 6.5 and 7.5. You can use pH kits from local fish stores or order online to monitor this aspect.

In terms of water hardness, aim for moderately hard levels. Your Red Devil Cichlid should be comfortable with a water hardness of 10-15 dGH. Too hard or too soft water might lead to health issues like stress or other diseases.

Regular water changes should be a part of your routine when caring for Red Devil Cichlids. A weekly change of 25-30% of the tank water balances the water parameters and keeps the nutrient levels in check.

Remember to be consistent in maintaining these water conditions for your Red Devil Cichlid. Consistency over time will aid in your pet’s growth, development, and overall well-being. As a result, you help prolong the lifespan of your favourite aqua buddy to possibly reach their maximum of 12 years.

Red Devil Cichlid Diet and Feeding

Red Devil Cichlids are classified as omnivores. In their natural habitat, their diet comprises of a wide array of food choices. It ranges from algae to tiny fishes, and an assortment of crustaceans.

Nutritional diversity plays a crucial role in the diet of these Cichlids. Keep your Red Devil happy and healthy by focusing on a balanced diet that includes both plant-based and protein-rich foods. Start with high-quality commercial food like flakes or pellets as the staple of their diet.

  • Flakes and Pellets: Available in different shapes and sizes, select a mix that floats and sinks in the water. This will suit the varied eating habits of your Red Devil Cichlid.
  • Live Foods: Supplement their diet once or twice a week with live foods. This can include bloodworms, brine shrimp or crayfish.
  • Plants Vegetables & Fruits: Red Devils also enjoy nibbling on peas, lettuce, spinach, and occasionally eating small amounts of fruits.

Do remember, however, overfeeding could lead to health issues. As a rule of thumb, feed them only the amount they can consume within a 2-3 minute timeframe. Time feeding sessions once or twice a day, accounting for both morning and night time feeding habits.

Catering to their dietary needs will not only ensure their vibrant colors but also boost their overall health and well-being. Enjoy the view of your robust and lively Red Devil Cichlid as it zips around its aquatic home in anticipation of the next meal!

Red Devil Cichlid Care Schedule

Caring for the Red Devil Cichlid, a beautiful yet aggressive fish breed, requires a consistent and dedicated care schedule. Your main tasks revolve around feeding, cleanliness, water monitoring, and health checks.


Feed your Red Devil Cichlid twice daily, morning and evening. It’s an Omnivore and loves a diet brimming with variety. Focus on a balanced mix of food items like pellets, flakes, and frozen or live food.

  • Morning: Feed the fish with pellets or flakes
  • Evening: Offer live or frozen food like bloodworms or brine shrimps

Tank Maintenance

Maintaining a clean tank with neutral pH levels is vital for the Red Devil Cichlid.

  • Weekly: Perform a 25% water change.
  • Monthly: Thoroughly clean your tank, making sure to siphon off any waste or leftover food.

Water Monitoring

Regular water checks help catch potential issues before they become serious.

  • Daily: Monitor water temperature, ensuring it stays within the range of 75-79 degrees Fahrenheit (24-26 degrees Celsius).
  • Weekly: Check and adjust your tank’s pH level as necessary. The optimal pH for Red Devil Cichlids is between 6.5 – 7.5.

Health Checks

Watch for any visible signs of illness and quarantine affected fish to prevent spreading.

  • Daily: Observe your fish for unusual behavior or visible symptoms of diseases.

By following the above care schedule, you can ensure the well-being and longevity of your Red Devil Cichlids. Remember, consistency is key while caring for these wonderful creatures.

Red Devil Cichlid Health Problems

Red Devil Cichlids are hardy species, yet they’re more prone to certain health conditions. Let’s delve into understanding the usual health problems.

Ich is a common concern that manifests as white spots on the fish’s body. It can be treated with aquarium salts or over-the-counter medication. An effective preventive measure is to maintain a clean tank environment.

Red Devils can also suffer from Skin Flukes and Worms. These parasites burrow into the skin, causing irritation and damage. Initial signs include redness, starting to scratch against objects, or decreased appetite. You will need to promptly separate the infected fish and seek anti-parasitic treatments.

This kind of fish may contract Bacterial Infections. Symptoms can vary from sores to abdominal swelling. Good aquarium hygiene, stable water parameters, and a healthy diet can prevent these infections. Medications are available upon the inception of these symptoms.

Hole-in-the-Head Disease is another health issue. This ailment causes small, hole-like wounds in the fish’s head. It’s usually linked to dietary deficiencies or poor water quality. Addressing these deficiencies can halt the progression of this disease.

Finally, Swim Bladder Disease affects their buoyancy. It can result from rapid changes in water temperature or poor diet. Stick to appropriate feeding habits and maintain a stable tank environment to prevent this disease.

Seeking professional advice at early stages of any health issues can ensure the well-being of your Red Devil Cichlid. Act timely, monitor closely and provide ample care to keep your pet fish in the best health possible.

Red Devil Cichlid Tank Mates

Finding suitable tank mates for your Red Devil Cichlid can be some sort of a challenge. Due to their aggressive temperament, Red Devil Cichlids are often best kept in solitary. In a tank, they are territorial and can act aggressively towards other fish.

If you still plan to have other fish in the tank, choose species that can defend themselves. This includes large cichlidsrobust catfish, or large plecos. Remember, however, that providing each fish with enough space is crucial:

  • A catfish or pleco will require at least 35 gallons (about 132 liters).
  • A cichlid must have a space of not less than 55 gallons (around 208 liters).

These conditions are essential to minimize the risk of territorial disputes, which can become serious very quickly. Finally, it’s important to observe your tank regularly for signs of aggression. It’s crucial to intervene early if issues arise to protect the fish populations.

Red Devil Cichlid Breeding

Breeding Red Devil Cichlids is a challenging but exciting process. Notably, these fish are known to be protective parents and display complex breeding behavior.

It’s essential to recognize the signs of a ready-to-breed female. The female will exhibit a noticeably swollen abdomen. Once you have a confirmed pair, dedicate a breeding tank to them.

  • Size: The tank should be a minimum of 55 gallons (208.2 liters). Spacious environments stimulate natural breeding behavior.
  • Environment: Arrange rocks and caves for them to lay their eggs on. Make sure the setup has hiding places, so your cichlids can establish territories.

Remarkably, Red Devil Cichlids are monogamous fish that pair for life. The males display intriguing courting behaviors – like digging pits in the substrate, and displaying their attractive bright colors.

Upon successful fertilization, the female lays about 600-800 small-sized eggs. Parental care in Red Devil Cichlids is both remarkable and engaging to watch.

  • Incubation: The eggs hatch within 3-4 days. Affectionately, both the parents guard the eggs and later the fry.
  • Fry Care: The parents tend to their fry for up to 6 weeks. The young ones eat the mucus on the parents’ bodies for the first few days.

Cautious note: Aggression increases dramatically during this period. Avoid any disturbances, as these fish are known to defend their offspring fiercely.

Breeding Red Devils is an engaging and rewarding experience, but it clearly requires careful attention to detail and unwavering commitment. Recognizing the signs and providing the right environment is key for successful breeding.


Caring for a Red Devil Cichlid is a challenging but rewarding task. With the right environment, diet, and care, your Cichlid can thrive for up to 12 years. Feel free to leave a comment if you found this guide helpful or have any more questions on Red Devil Cichlid care!

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