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Can Pleco and Cichlids Live Together In A Tank?

There are many ways you can fill up your fish aquarium at home. Still, choosing the breed of fish you will put in your tank is an important decision.

Really, as a tank owner, you want the best information on fish breeds and community tank setup. So in this post, I’ll guide you and answer your questions.

Specifically, I will be talking about pleco and cichlids throughout this article. You will find out whether these two fish can live together. And, you will also learn how you can set up a tank with these pets!

You might not know much about these fish, so I have compiled all the facts and information you will need!

Can Plecos and Cichlids Live Together in a Tank?

Plecos and cichlids might not seem like the most common pairing. The cichlids have a more aggressive disposition, while the pleco is more peaceful and accommodating.

In truth, many fish cannot live with the cichlid due to their personality.

Luckily, though, the pleco and cichlids can live together in the same tank. The conditions of your tank will have to be properly prepared and set up.

However, to answer the question, the pleco and cichlid can cohabitate a tank together!

What are Plecos Like in a Tank Environment?

Video: “Pleco Fish Care – Plecostomus”

To understand how these two fish get along, let’s first go over some basic information on both pets. Pleco comes from the South American continent and is available in many varieties.

These fish are known for their peaceful nature but are also extremely hardy fish. So, you can put your pleco in a range of tank conditions. This makes them much easier to take care of overall.

In addition to this, the pleco is known to live a long life. Most of these fish have a lifespan of ten to even fifteen years. You can keep these fish in your tank for a long time.

However, know that most plecos are pretty large. They can grow up to two feet in your tank. Thus, they will need a large aquarium to live in!

At a minimum, I would recommend getting an eighty-gallon tank for your pet. This way they live the longest possible life they can.

As I mentioned, temperature and water conditions are a little more flexible with this breed. So, you can set the temperature of your tank anywhere from seventy-two degrees to eighty-six degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition, if you want a cleaner tank, these are great fish to get. Pleco enjoys swimming at the bottom of your tank. They also eat up any waste that floats down to this area of your aquarium.

What are Cichlids Like in a Tank Environment?


Cichlids, unlike the pleco, can be on the aggressive side. Still, there are reasons that these fish can still get along in the same water. To start off, the pleco is accommodating with tank conditions.

So, they will be fine being in the required temperature of the cichlids. In fact, both these fish can fit within similar tank conditions. So you won’t have to worry about this part of the tank setup with the pleco and cichlid.

However, what really makes this tank pairing work is the schedule of the cichlid. Cichlid fish like to swim around while the sun is out. And, they go to bed when it is night.

Pleco is on the opposite schedule of the cichlid. The pleco enjoys swimming around at night and they sleep during the day.

Overall, what this means is that your fish are less likely to annoy each other and start a fight. Since these fish swim at different times of the day, they are able to live in harmony.

Finally, cichlids are by far the smaller breed. Your fish won’t grow massive like a cichlid. But they still need at least thirty gallons of water to themselves.

So it’s important to consider tank size with the cichlid and pleco. I’ll talk more about tank set up in the last part of this post!

Setting up a Pleco and Cichlids Tank Community

When you are setting up your pleco and cichlids tank, you want to keep their care needs in mind. As I talked about, both breeds need a lot of room to swim.

Especially if you want to keep aggression levels down, you need to get a big enough tank. When fish are cramped together, things can get nasty.

Considering that cichlids can get territorial, you’ll want to get a bigger aquarium. In addition, your pleco is pretty big, to begin with. So, having a large tank is a must.

You can get a smaller pleco, but this is up to you. Either way, get a good size tank for your pets and fill it up with plenty of coverage.

Substrate And Decoration

Your cichlids like to have plant life in their tank. And rocks and other structures are good to have with multiple breeds in the same water.

A substrate is needed as well, your pleco will be on the bottom of the tank a lot. They need something that is solid but not overly sharp.

Sand is actually ideal for both of your fish. Cichlids are used to sand out in the wild. And, sand substrate keeps your pleco safe while it grazes the bottom of your tank.

So keep this in mind. Finally, as with any tank, make sure you have filters and water heaters. Cichlids and pleco have more flexible water requirements. But they still need good tank conditions to thrive!


Pleco and cichlids can be a great tank pair if you have the right information. Today, I talked about both of these breeds and how you can get them to live in the same tank.

The cichlid can be hard to house with other fish, of course. But they can live peacefully with a pleco fish under the right tank conditions. To make this pairing work though, make sure your tank is big enough.

Also, keep your tank conditions at the right parameters.

Both these fish are pretty manageable, but you need good tank equipment to keep them in good shape.

So, invest in a good filter and nice tank decorations for your pets. This way they can live in the same space successfully!

Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

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