Red Devil Fish
Care & Breeding

Red Devil Fish: Full Overview of Red Devil Cichlid

Introduction to Red Devil Fish (Cichlids)

Red devil cichlids are fascinating freshwater species. They are from the family Cichlidae. Their scientific name is Amphilophus labiatus. They are popular among fish aquarists due to their unique appearance. Some fish aquarists claim that these fish develop a bond with their owners. No doubt they are interesting and appealing but they do require lots of experience and knowledge if you want to keep them as your pet. 

Red devil fish are extremely aggressive as is quite obvious from their name also. But still, fish aquarists love to keep them due to their large size. 

Let’s move further in the article and we will tell you all the important things you need to know about red devil fish. This is a complete guide to red devil fish

Fun facts about red devil fish

  • People often confuse Red devil fish with saltwater Garibaldi damselfish because they both have a similar appearance but they are totally different.
  • Red devil fish is a completely freshwater specie


In the wild, you can find red devil cichlids in Nicaraguan lakes. Red devil cichlids were classified under the genus Cichlasoma but now they are moved to their own genus because they no longer can be described under Cichlasoma labiatum.  


They come in different colors like grey, green, white, pink, and red. You will see red devils have black spots or bands on their tails or fins. When they are in the wild, they might have larger lips but when they are in captivity they don’t have large lips. They have orange-colored lips but also sometimes they have black-coloured lips. Red devil cichlids have big teeth that are so strong that they can cause lots of damage. They also have powerful jaws. They are 15 inches long when they are completely grown up. So by this you know they are quite large than other freshwater species. Most of the red devil cichlids will reach their full size when they are 3 years old. 

Male red devil fish and female red devil fish look quite similar but they do have some differences. When it comes to male red devil fish they have a very obvious nuchal hump. When males are in captivity, they will develop a very obvious hump on their forehead. When male red devil fish are in the wild, their hump will only be visible during the breeding season. Also, males are larger than females and they also have pointed genital papilla.

Red Devil Fish
Red Devil Fish

Care requirements

Red devil cichlids are hardy species and if you are an experienced fish keeper then you can easily take care of them. But if you are a new fish keeper then I don’t suggest u keep red devil cichlids as your pet. 

Let’s move further and check out their care requirements.

Tank size

For a large 15 inches red devil cichlid you need at least 55 gallons for a single fish because they are large in size so they need more space to swim. If you want to breed them then for a pair of red devil cichlids you need at least 125 gallons tank. 

Tank setup

I will warn you before, red devil cichlids have a habit of rearranging their environment and this can cause you problems if you haven’t prepared for it before. For the bottom of the tank, you should add fine sand. Red devil cichlids are diggers so you shouldn’t add gravel or any tough rocky substrate as it can cause harm to them.

I don’t recommend u add any plants in their tank because they shred any foliage that is accessible to them. Also, they like to uproot plants when they are digging.

Make sure to provide plenty of hiding spots for your red devil cichlids with the use of rocks and wood. 

For equipment, you can use dual filters. You can also pair up a canister filter with a sump setup. But ensure that the movement of the water in the tank is moderate. 

Ideal water parameters 

It’s very important to have accurate water parameters to keep your fish happy and healthy in your tank. 

The ideal water parameters are

Water Temperature75 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit
Water Hardness6 to 25 dGH
pH Level6.5 to 7.5

You have to follow these parameters carefully for keeping your red devil fish healthy.

Points to be noted

  • Make sure to have a large tank for them
  • Don’t overcrowd the tank
  • Perform regular water changes to keep the water clean. Poor water quality can be the reason behind sickness and disease occurring in your tank.
  • Add plenty of hiding spots
  • The base of their tank should be only sand.
  • Red devil cichlids are super aggressive so ensure that you protect all pieces of equipment and gear to prevent them from getting damaged and also to keep your fish safe. 

Disease and Parasites 

Red devil cichlids are not prone to any specific disease. They are only prone to diseases that normally affect freshwater species

Some of the diseases that can occur are

Disease Description 
IchIch is quite common and disease is also contagious. It can be a deadly disease if you don’t treat it in the right time
Hole in the head disease This is also a common disease among freshwater fishes. It is also called lateral line disease. If your fish is affected by this disease it can pits on their head and face. Low nutrition diet can cause this disease

Treatments of disease

Disease Treatment
Ich This can be treated by raising tank temperature to 86 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 days. Consult a veterinarian for better recovery
Hole in the head Add epsom salt in the tank to recover from this disease. Don’t add too much salt, only add 2-3 teaspoons of salt in 5 gallons of water and do the calculations as per your red devil fish tank.


Red devil cichlids are not picky eaters and they will eat anything that comes their way. Red devil fish are omnivorous so you should feed them with a balance of both dry and live food. You can feed them with flakes and pellets. You can also feed them krill, earthworms, bloodworms, crickets, and spirulina-based food.

These items will bring variation to their normal diet and they will get all the nutrients they require to stay healthy. Don’t feed them with chicken or beef as it’s not a part of their natural diet. Red devil cichlids are foodies so you must feed them multiple times a day to keep them healthy. 

Red Devil Fish
Red Devil Fish

Are red devil cichlids aggressive?

They are extremely aggressive this is why they are called red devil cichlids. Other than that they are energetic fish and they recognize their owners. 

Due to their aggressive behavior, they don’t get really friendly with other fish especially if it’s the same specie. They are also territorial and will fight for their territory. They are so aggressive that they will destroy anything that they can adjust in their mouth. 

Make sure to have a large tank for them so they can have lots of space to swim and can have their own territory. They are active swimmers so they need lots of space to swim. 

Points to be noted

  • They fight for territory
  • If the tank is small and doesn’t fulfill the requirements of red devil fish then they will become grumpy and more aggressive 
  • A good environment and a large tank will keep them calm

Best tankmates for Red Devil Fish

Since Red Devil cichlids are very aggressive so you have to be careful while choosing tank mates for them. Most fish aquarists keep these fish alone due to their aggression. If young red devil cichlids are raised in the same tank with other red devil cichlids they won’t get much aggressive. But they won’t stay the same forever because as they grow up they don’t like to share their territory.

You can keep these fish in pairs as they are monogamous so this means you can keep females and males together. 

Points to be noted

  • Red devil cichlids need their own territory 
  • They get very aggressive if they are in a small tank
  • To avoid their aggression, you can add lots of hiding spots and do separations for them so they can have their own territories. 

Breeding of Red Devil Cichlids 

They are easy to breed even beginners can do it easily. They are easy to breed because of their monogamous nature. They are very protective and male and female red devil cichlids will protect their fry until they are able to swim by themselves. 

Steps for breeding

  • First of all, raise the temperature of the tank to 77 degrees Fahrenheit as this imitates their natural environment for breeding.
  • Feed your red devil fish with lots of high-nutrient foods like bloodworms. 
  • Female red devil cichlid will choose a flat rock or inclined substrate when she wants to lay their eggs.
  • Female red devil cichlid will lay 600-700 eggs at one time.
  • The eggs will hatch in 3-4 days
  • You will observe male and female red devil cichlids moving their baby fry to another area in the tank to protect them from predators.
  • In 5-7 days the baby fry will be able to swim on its own

This is the complete breeding process. Nothing fancy and quite easy even for beginners.


Now you know everything you need to know about red devil cichlids. They are aggressive but they are a fun fish to keep. If you are a challenger taker then you can keep this fish without any problem. 

They are large fish with unique appearance and they are different from your regular freshwater species. They can be good pets if you fulfil their requirements so they can be a great addition to your tank. 

Red Devil Fish: Full Overview of Red Devil Cichlid
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