Can Cichlids Live in a Pond?

Cichlids are some of the most colorful, active fish out there. They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, so it’s important to do your research before adding them to your pond. Some cichlids will live well in ponds, others need larger tanks or specific environments. If you’re interested in whether or not your favorite type of cichlid can live in a pond, read on.

Can Cichlids Live in a Pond?

They can live in a pond. It just depends on the type of cichlid that you’re considering for your pond. Some will need more space while others can do well with less room if they have an adequate swimming area.

Cichlids are generally hardy fish and so long as proper care is taken, any additions to your backyard pond should fare well.

Cichlids prefer a certain level of hardness in the water. Some will tolerate slightly more hard-water than others, but if you have soft water in your pond, it’s better to avoid cichlids that require harder water.

Cichlid Breeds That Can Live In Ponds

Transparency is another issue to take into consideration when deciding whether you should get cichlids for your pond or not. Many people prefer clear water ponds. However, this may pose some problems for certain fish.

Cichlids are very territorial creatures and they will fight with other species that get into their area. Adding a few species of cichlids to your pond can be very beautiful. However, it is important to take the above considerations into account before making this decision.

Here are some of the most popular cichlid breeds that can live in a pond.

  1. Angelfish: It is a peaceful creature and it will not bother anyone or anything around it. The most impressive thing about this fish is that it is a very hardy breed. It can survive in many different conditions and therefore, you do not have to be too concerned with the water temperature or pH levels of your pond.
  2. Sulphur Cichlid: This South American native cichlid will only grow up to about 5 inches in size. However, this is a fish that does not care about territory. It is a very active creature and it can thrive in any sized pond. You can keep many Sulphur Cichlids into the same pond together and there will be no problems, they actually like to congregate in clusters.
  3. Pearscale Cichlid: Pearscale cichlids are another South American native breed that can do well in your pond. They do not grow very big and they are as peaceful as all other cichlid breeds. You can keep many in the same pond with little to no problems.
  4. Oscar: Oscars are not really a cichlid, but for the purposes of this article I had to include them in the list. Oscar fish are oftentimes called “the garbage disposals” of the fish world. They will eat almost anything and they can eliminate any type of organic waste that may be present in your pond. Just a few Oscars can do wonders for your pond, however, it is important to take their size into account. They can grow up to about 14 inches in size and therefore, you will need a fairly large pond for them.
  5. Convict Cichlid: Having this fish in your pond is a sure way to have it thoroughly cleaned. Convict cichlids are very hardy and can remove various impurities from the water. However, just like Oscars, they are large creatures with a voracious appetite for anything that is organic in nature.
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Can I have both cichlid and goldfish in my pond?

Yes, but you must have a large tank or pond. Cichlid fish are good jumpers and will try to escape an enclosure that is too small.

Cichlids also need plenty of territories and can be aggressive to fish their own size or smaller.

The cichlid fishes that are easiest to keep with goldfish are the convict cichlids (Archocentrus nigrofasciatus) and the parrot cichlids.

These are small cichlids that stay on the bottom. The convict cichlid can get up to about 4 inches in length and is a good candidate for a pond with goldfish.

Two other good candidates are the firemouth cichlid and the eartheater cichlid.

Both of these species stay small and are compatible with goldfish in a pond. The firemouth cichlid gets to about 6 inches long while the eartheater is slightly smaller at less than 6.5-inch maximum length.

Most other cichlid varieties tend to get too big for ponds and need a large tank or pond plus extra room for swimming.

Can cichlids and koi live together in a pond?

Cichlids and koi are both popular kinds of fish that require different living conditions. This means they cannot live together in the same pond. Koi like colder, softer water with a neutral pH (around 7). Cichlids need warmer water and harder water with a higher pH.

Cichlids and koi also have very different social patterns. Koi are peaceful and usually get along with each other if kept in small groups. On the other hand, Cichlids are territorial and aggressive toward other cichlids of their own species if they live together in a pond.

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Cichlids and koi also eat different foods. In general, cichlids have very different mouth structures than koi. Koi eat algae along with small insects in the water, while cichlids are carnivorous and eat larger prey.

It is possible to feed koi a pelleted food made specifically for cichlids. Koi should not be fed large amounts of beef heart or other organ meats, and they cannot handle high levels of protein in their diet. Also, wet foods (shrimp, worms, fish) are generally too rich for koi. Cichlids should not be fed foods with high levels of protein.

Can cichlids survive in cold water?

Cichlids are tropical fish, so most of them shouldn’t be put in water that is below 75 degrees. Although some people have had success with cichlids living in colder water, this usually isn’t the case.

Tropical Cichlids such as Oscar’s and African Cichlids should never be kept outside unless it’s the summer. If you have a pond in the winter months, it’s probably best to leave your cichlids inside or find another way to heat the water.


Cichlids are a great addition to your pond if you have the space and can provide them with all of their needs. They will help keep it clean while providing plenty of entertainment for any visitors who come over.

There are some important things to remember- cichlids need a lot more room than goldfish so be sure that you plan accordingly before adding these fish into your pond.

Also, keep in mind that cichlids are very aggressive towards other fish of their own kind. Be sure to research the species you want before picking one out and adding it to your pond.

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Cichlids also need warmer water than Koi and Goldfish so be sure to keep a close eye on the temperature and pH of your water.

Cichlids are also sensitive to certain additives in their water so make sure you do not throw any unnecessary chemicals into your pond if you have cichlid fish.

Now that you know more about cichlids, it’s time to start thinking about which fish you might want to add to your pond.