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Last update: November 26, 2023

15 Best Texas Cichlid Tank Mates – FishLab

Texas cichlids (Also referred to as The Green Texas) may be a gorgeous addition to your aquarium or tank, but what many do not know is that Texas cichlids are a very aggressive species of fish. This is especially important to keep in mind whenever selecting tank mates for your Texas cichlids.

According to a renowned pet store, other cichlids may prove to be better tank mates for Texas cichlids as their temperaments and nature do not differ from one another significantly.

This article covers details about the 15 best Texas cichlid tank mates with reference to their biological and behavioral needs. Read to find out everything you must know before finding tank mates for your Texas cichlids.

Texas Cichlid Tank Mates – What You Need to Know

Texas cichlids are considered a good addition to your tank because of their vibrant appearance and their incredibly long lifespans. However, if you’re new to setting up fish in a tank, you might face some confusion when choosing tank mates for your Texas cichlids.

Here are 4 factors about Texas cichlids that you should learn about thoroughly before diving into the choice of what tank mates to pair your Texas cichlids with.

Temperament

The territorial Texas cichlid is considered the only cichlid native to the United States, thus it has a very prideful nature. Along with that, the fish has an aggressive temperament and they’re also known to fight the more vulnerable fish in the tank, also eating those who are smaller.

The Texas cichlid isn’t a schooling species, and can also exhibit aggression towards their own kind, although it is also very observant and intelligent.

Size

This species of fish is also known to grow very big if kept under suitable conditions. On average, an adult Texas cichlid is known to be 11-13 inches long. Naturally, the females are smaller by a few inches than the males.

Competition

Since Texas cichlids are quite obviously an aggressive species of fish, they’re quite competitive when it comes to sharing the space and environment of the tank.

If they’re put with smaller fish, they’ll let out their aggression on them and eat them as their brash behavior tells them to. So they should only be accompanied by bigger fishes that can withstand their aggression.

Parameters ; Tank Setup

According to Aquarium Source, Texas cichlids prefer warm waters over cold environments. Although they’re a hardy fish, and can tolerate most temperature fluctuations, they survive the best in water temperatures of 68°F to 74°F, a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, and water hardness of 5 to 12 KH (or dGh).

They also have a preference for larger tank sizes, approximately 55 gallons if you’re keeping a single fish. For a community, you’ll need a tank that holds at least 110-150 gallons.

15 Best Texas Cichlid Tank Mates

Here are some fish that will prove to be amazing tank mates for your Texas cichlids ranked in order, putting the best and most recommended tank mate first.

  1. Green Terror Cichlid
  2. Silver Dollars
  3. Plecos
  4. Oscar Fish
  5. Jack Dempsey Fish
  6. Tinfoil Barbs
  7. Giant Gourami
  8. Clown Knife Fish
  9. Black Ghost Knife Fish
  10. Firemouth Cichlid
  11. German Blue Ram
  12. Convict Cichlid
  13. Neon Blue Acara
  14. Tambaqui
  15. Rainbow cichlid

The rest of this article takes a closer look at each of these species so you can find out what makes them a good tank mate for your Texas cichlid.

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1. Green Terror Cichlid

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  • Scientific Name: Andinoacara rivulatus
  • Adult Size: 12 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: Medium
  • Origin: Pacific side of South America

This species of fish has an aggressive temperament and thus is considered top of the list in Texas cichlid tank mates.

The polymorphic fish should be put in the tank along with the Texas cichlid at the same time, and make sure the tank is big. Both fish do not view each other as competition and thus do not harm or waste time playing with each other.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Same size as Texas cichlid so no risk of being eaten

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • None

2. Silver Dollars

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  • Scientific Name: Metynnis argenteus
  • Adult Size: 6 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: South America

Even though these fish are smaller in size, they’re schooling fishes which gives them protection from Texas cichlids, which is also what makes them a suitable tank mate.

However, since schooling fishes need loads of companions, you need a tank as large as 150 gallons for both fish to live with each other peacefully. Basically, the bigger tank the better.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Easier protection from being eaten

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Needs a larger tank for keeping

3.  Plecos

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  • Scientific Name: Hypostomus Plecostomus
  • Adult Size: 20 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: Low
  • Origin: northern South America

This group of armored catfish are very timid during the daytime and are usually found hiding behind the plants and decorations in the tank. During nighttime, they can be found swimming at the bottom of the tank.

This fish is a great choice as it is not only peaceful but also has a shy personality, in contrast to the aggressive and energetic Texas cichlid, removing any possibility for conflict.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Low-maintenance fish with no possibility of conflict

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • None

4. Oscar Fish

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  • Scientific Name: Astronotus ocellatus
  • Adult Size: 12-16 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: Medium
  • Origin: South America

These species have a semi-aggressive temperament, so they will not necessarily be found bickering with your Texas cichlids.

However, since both fish are similar in size and quite large as adults, they’ll need ample space in the tank in order to not cause conflict.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Peaceful environment if tank is big enough

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Can fight each other to the death in small spaces

5.  Jack Dempsey Fish

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  • Scientific Name: Rocio octofasciata
  • Adult Size: 8 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: Medium
  • Origin: Central America

This species is aggressive and territorial in nature, much like its company, the Texas cichlid. This is also a good tank mate because it can fend for itself even if the Texas cichlid tries to fight.

Larger tanks are advised for keeping these two fish together, but you must ensure that they haven’t already established territories within the tank, which can lead to problems.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Similar natures so less possibility of fighting

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Territorial nature can cause problems

6.  Tinfoil Barbs

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  • Scientific Name: Barbonymus schwanenfeldii
  • Adult Size: 14 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: Mekong and Chao Phraya basins of Thailand

Being a very large freshwater fish, tinfoil barbs survive the best in freshwater, same as the Texas cichlids. Furthermore, what makes them a good tank mate is their huge size, which saves them from being an easy target of Texas cichlids.

They also survive 10 years, almost as long as Texas cichlids, so they will not be getting lonely any time soon.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • They mind their own business – saves from attacks

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Expensive to keep since they need a lot of room
  • Must be kept with 5-6 other tinfoil barbs

7. Giant Gourami

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  • Scientific Name: Osphronemus goramy
  • Adult Size: 16 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: Medium
  • Origin: Southeast Asia

Giant gourami are, as the name suggests, a very large species of fish. Even so, they are considered community-friendly fish and are relatively peaceful. Hence the reason why they prove to be such great tank mates.

They are quite large though, so the tank size needs to be at least 200 gallons or larger if you’re keeping more than one gourami in the aquarium.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Help keep Texas cichlids in check

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Need a lot of swimming space

8. Clown Knife Fish

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  • Scientific Name: Chitala ornata
  • Adult Size: 24 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: Medium
  • Origin: Indochina

This nocturnal species of fish is very territorial when it grows into an adult and does not do well with its own species. This makes them a perfect companion for Texas cichlids.

If raised with adequate care, they can grow up to be very good tank mates for cichlids, but you must watch out for aggressive tendencies.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Better compatibility

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • May display bouts of aggression from time to time.

9. Black Ghost Knife Fish

black ghost fishlab
  • Scientific Name: Apteronotus albifrons
  • Adult Size: 20 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: medium
  • Origin: South America

This species is a peaceful and peace-keeping fish, which does not require a lot of maintenance to keep in the tank. Its peaceful nature makes it a good addition to the tank as Texas cichlid’s tank mate.

They can also live as long as the Texas cichlids, so they’ll stick around longer, making sure your Texas cichlid does not feel alone.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Peaceful tank environment

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Expensive to keep as they’re quite large

10. Firemouth Cichlid

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  • Scientific Name: Thorichthys meeki
  • Adult Size: 5-6 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: Mexico

This beautiful fish does not only bring a beautiful splash of color into your tank, but they also prove to be a good tank mate because of their affable nature.

These species mostly keep to themselves and do not cause trouble unless provoked, so you’ll have to be mindful of that.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Colorful addition to your tank

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • At risk of getting eaten since they’re smaller

11. German Blue Ram

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  • Scientific Name: Mikrogeophagus ramirezi
  • Adult Size: 2.5 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: Medium
  • Origin: South America

A bright-colored fish with a lot of colors and a relatively small build, German Blue Rams are a peaceful species that are usually kept with other fish which enjoy the same water temperatures. So scientifically, they’re a great match for Texas cichlids.

Behavior-wise, the blue rams are good with other fish if given ample space to move around, so the tank has to be big.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • A beautiful addition to your tank

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Need loads of swimming space

12. Convict Cichlid

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  • Scientific Name: Amatitlania nigrofasciata
  • Adult Size: 4-5 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: Central America

This species has a variety of colors available for your choosing, and since they’re hardy fish, they can survive very harsh environments easily.

Since both of them have almost the same behavioral pattern and come from the same family, they’re a great companion to Texas cichlids.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Will survive for longer

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Smaller fish is at risk of being attacked unless with a school

13. Neon Blue Acara

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  • Scientific Name: Andinoacara pulcher
  • Adult Size: 6.3 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: Venezuela and Trinidad

What’s unique about this fish is that it has a very beautiful blue color, which almost seems neon in lighting. The fish is also from the same family as Texas cichlids, so their behavioral patterns and living conditions are a great match for one another.

Not only does this fish make for a unique addition to your aquarium, it will also be a great friend to your Texas cichlid.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Similar behavioral patterns so less possibility of conflict

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Semi-aggressive so may cause some fighting

14. Tambaqui

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  • Scientific Name: Colossoma macropomum
  • Adult Size: 33 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: easy
  • Origin: South America

This is a typically beautiful fish that is twice the size of a Texas cichlid, meaning that it won’t get easily intimidated and eaten up if there is a fight.

It’s also easier to take care of and maintain, which is good for a beginner-level aquarium enthusiast as it will help you know how to maintain bigger fishes.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • No risk of getting eaten

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Bigger so requires a large tank space

15.  Rainbow cichlid

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  • Scientific Name: Herotilapia multispinosa
  • Adult Size: 6 inches
  • Compatible with: Texas Cichlids
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: Central America

As the name suggests, this fish makes for a colorful addition to your tank and brightens up the tank environment.

Being a peaceful-natured fish, it can survive with Texas cichlids despite being half its size, although you must look out for the rainbow cichlid.

Pros of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Peaceful tank environment

Cons of keeping with Texas cichlid:

  • Risk of the smaller fish getting eaten

Final Thoughts

Being a very aggressive and territorial species of fish, it can be hard to find companions and tank mates for Texas cichlids, especially those that make the tank environment more peaceful instead of chaotic.

Ranging from other species of cichlids to blue rams and knife fish, there are a lot of fish species best suited to living with Texas cichlids – this article discussed the 15 best options to choose from. We hope you found it useful!

FAQs

What are some good tank mates for Texas cichlids?

There are a lot of fish that prove to be good tank mates for Texas cichlids. Some of them include Green Terror Cichlid, Silver Dollars, Plecos, Oscar Fish, Jack Dempsey Fish, Tinfoil Barbs, Giant Gourami, Clown Knife Fish, Black Ghost Knife Fish, Firemouth Cichlid, German Blue Ram, Convict Cichlid, Neon Blue Acara, Tambaqui, and Rainbow cichlid.

What size tanks do Texas cichlids need?

A 55-gallon tank is more than sufficient for Texas cichlids. However, you may need to get a bigger tank of 110-150 gallons depending on how many companions the Texas cichlid is going to have and what their own tank preferences are.

Can you put Texas cichlids with other cichlid species?

Yes, absolutely. Texas cichlids do great with other cichlid species like Green Terror Cichlid, Firemouth Cichlid, Convict Cichlid, and Rainbow Cichlids. However, it is said that you should never mix Texas cichlids with African cichlids as they’re a deadly combination.

Ian Sterling

Ian Sterling, founder of Fishlab.com, began his aquarium journey over 30 years ago, driven by a deep fascination for fish and their diverse personalities. His website, Fishlab.com, is dedicated to making fishkeeping accessible and enjoyable, offering beginner-friendly guidance, expert insights, and a community for aquarists to connect and share experiences.

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