Fish Profile

Red Devil Cichlid: A Mesmerizing Devil Care, Tank Mates, Size, Breeding

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Don’t you all have some extraordinary fetish? Some of you may have a fetish for shoes, and some of you may prefer collecting coins. This might sound strange, but people actually have desires to own exotic pets, which are considered as wild species rather than pets. In this article, you will learn more about one of the exotic creatures, Red Devil Cichlid.

Let’s not go overboard about exotic pets and talk about fish. When it comes to fish, there are varieties of common freshwater aquarium fish species such as goldfish, angelfish, rainbowfish, etc. that we can own. However, some of us crave for unique species, don’t we? If you are a part of the “owning exceptional species” gang, then you have come to the right place.

Red Devil Cichlid. Have you heard this name before? I can already imagine your faces filled with intent curiosity. Red Devil Cichlid, shortly known as Red Devil, is a unique freshwater fish that appeals to you with its charismatic nature.

Closeness Alert! The Red Devil Cichlid can make you go head over heels. You will form a special connection with this large playful species quite similar to that with dogs. Having said that, the Red Devil Cichlid is not the best pet for weak hearts. Why? The name itself might have given you some hints. This fish is an aggressive predator that demands respect. Although they might be challenging to care for, Red Devil Cichlid is a joyous fish to have in an aquarium.

About The Red Devil


Belonging to the family Cichlidae, Red Devil is scientifically known as Amphilophus labiatus. This huge cichlid fish is an aboriginal of Central America, which is extensively found in Lake of Nicaragua (Lake Managua and Lake Xiloa).

Earlier in the 1980s, Red Devil was categorized under the genus Cichlasoma labiatum. With proper analysis, this striking fish was shifted to its own genus Amphilophus.


Think of a devil on your mind. What does the devil look like? I’m sure most of you pictured the devil with a red face, horns, and sharp fangs. With muscular traits, and tough jaws and pointed teeth, Red Devil looks intimidating like the devil.

With a length of up to 15 inches, this enormous fish has prominent and pointed dorsal and anal fins. Thanks to those glide fins, Red Devil is capable of gliding speedily in the water. This alluring fish has thick orangey lips that are more prominent in its natural environment. Those rubbery lips are comparatively smaller in captivity.

Unlike the name, Red Devil is available in a variety of colors. This captivating fish is either brown or grey in the wild that merges with the gloomy waters of Lakes in Nicaragua. For aquariums, you can find the Red Devil in bright red (just like you imagined the color of a devil), yellow, and white. Red Devil with multi-colored spots can also be found often. If you’re lucky enough, then you might get this species having black-tipped fins and tails.

Availability of the Red Devil

The good news is that Red Devils are widely available online and in fish shops as well, at around $17-$18.

You might want to get both male and female Red Devils. The duo looks alike, so how will you be able to distinguish between them? Male Red Devils possess sharp genital papilla and are slightly larger than the females. When you keep the male Red Devil in your aquarium, you’ll notice a protruding hump on its forehead. In the wild, the hump is noticeable throughout the season of breeding only.


Red Devil gets mature at an average of 3 years. The plus point for you is that you can spend 10 to 12 years with your beloved Red Devil. I mean, no amount of time is enough to spend with your pet. Still, that is a lot in comparison to other pets, isn’t it? Of course, you have to take proper care of the Red Devil in order to make it stay with you a bit longer.

Social Behavior and Tankmates

As I’ve mentioned earlier, Red Devil is an aggressive predator that demands respect. So, this fierce species can be very harsh on other species and also to the species of their own genus. This fish prefers to have its own territory, and it would be better to keep it alone rather than with tankmates. Don’t be sad. You can keep a male and a female Red Devil in one large aquarium because of their monogamous nature. Also, if you really want to keep the Red Devil with other species, you need to have a very large aquarium with secure caves and territories for each of them.

Difficulty index

I am sorry to say this, but Red Devil is not actually meant to be for beginners. Although this fish is easy to feed and is also capable of enduring difficult water conditions, you need to have expert knowledge about this fish to know its behavior and requirements.

A rigorous care routine, along with a large aquarium, is a must for the Red Devil. Moreover, you should be well-experienced if you plan to keep other species with the Red Devil in the same tank.

Caring for the Red Devil

If you are a well-experienced aquarist, then you can look after the Red Devil easily. With proper care and attention, this playful creature can reach its entire capability.

Newbies, you must have truly grown into the Red Devil by now. Don’t worry. Even though I told you that this fish is not for the amateurs, you can still stream it right. How? Here’s some major information that might help you to keep your Red Devil healthy for a decade and beyond.

Fish Tank

A large fish obviously needs a large fish tank. A single Red Devil requires a tank of minimum 55 gallons as it grows gradually with time up to 11-15 inches. If you prefer to keep a pair of Red Devils, a fish tank of 125 gallons or above is required.

Make sure the aquarium is spacious as this fish relishes swimming. Provide sufficient oxygen to maintain its vibrant color and health with some airstones.


As for the lighting part, don’t go too overboard, as this might affect the health of your Red Devil. Choose a normal to moderate lighting setup that can outshine the incredible colors of this fish.

Decoration & Substrate

Pay attention to this section of an aquarium setup for the Red Devil. This energetic species can be mischievous at times, so it might spoil your beautiful aquarium set up.

Cover the base of the fish tank with fine sand. Although Red Devil is an enthusiastic swimmer, it loves to hide just like in the wild. Keep tons of caves for it to hide using rocks and woods.

The Red Devil is just like a pet dog. This species is good at digging just like the dog digs a hole in the mud. Sometimes, it might topple over the stones on itself. Make sure to firmly fix the rocks and woods in the substrate with epoxy that is fish-safe. You might have seen dogs shredding their toys or even your socks. The Red Devil is no exception. This fish can tear apart the plants and eat them. It’s better not to include any plants. Too many accessories might disturb this fish. Keep the decoration minimal for letting the fish swim and hide at the same time.

Last but not least, keep the heaters and inlets or outlets in such a way that it would be impossible for the Red Devil to reach and destroy them.

Fish Diet

The Red Devil is a foodie as it eats anything that is given by you. For this omnivore, start with high-quality Cichlid pellets. After some time, provide balanced meals that consist of fish flakes, crickets, earthworms, frozen shrimps, blood worms, and even vegetables like lettuce.

You can also give boiled meat occasionally. Beware, mammal meats can block intestines if they are given to this species in access. Just treat them sometimes for being a great pet.

The Red Devil is a big eater. Feed this fish several times a day to nourish its body with the required nutrients.

Water Parameter Required By Red Devil Cichlid

Remember when I said that the Red Devil can survive in various water conditions? This fish can withstand those conditions, but that doesn’t mean you can leave it without any maintenance. You can care for it effortlessly only by altering the water regularly. Focus on these things to maintain the health of your Red Devil.

Water Temperature

The temperature of the aquarium water should be between 75 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature in the wild. Make this species feel like it is in its natural habitat.

pH Level

The Red Devil is very sensitive to pH fluctuation. The pH level of the water should be around 6.5 to 7.5. The water hardness should be 6 to 25 dGH.


Use a canister filter and a sump style for strong, efficient filtration. This huge Central American Cichlid needs a moderate water movement.

Water Quality

Since the Red Devil tends to eat more, the outcome is a lot of excretion. This might be a problem because the decomposing organic matter builds up nitrate and phosphates quickly and increases the water hardness.

Change the water weekly. Use a gravel cleaner to scrape off all the decomposed wastes properly. Observe how much the wastes have stocked in the aquarium and replace 25% to 30% of the water every week. You must clean this messy creature’s tank deeply from the substrate.

Fish Diseases in the Red Devil

The root of a fish getting diseases is poor water quality and an imbalanced oxygen level. The most common disease diagnosed in the Red Devil is Ich. Increase the temperature up to 86 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 days. Anti-parasitic medication and Malachite green are highly recommended for treating Ich.

Another disease that can be seen in this fish is Hole in the Head disease. Provide proper vitamins, nutrients, and mineral supplements.

If you feed the Red Devil with excess warm-blooded mammals meat, then it can be prone to parasitic diseases. Use fish dewormer by consulting the veterinarian for proper treatment.

The decorating accessories in the aquarium can be a shelter for all the harmful bacteria and parasites. Make sure to clean them properly.

Breeding the Red Devil

Breeding the Red Devils is quite easy even for the rookies. Keep your concerns aside because these species can be successfully bred in captivity. Both the male and female Red Devils are quite defensive of their young ones.

You don’t have to do much for the breeding process. Just follow these 3 steps:

  • Maintain the temperature of the aquarium at 77 degrees Fahrenheit to resemble the temperature of the wild during the breeding season.
  • The females prefer an inclined substrate to lay eggs. Keep driftwood in the fish tank to create a breeding area.
  • Maintain a nutritious diet for them during the breeding season.

The female Red Devil lays transparent amber yellow eggs that can be approximately 600-700 in number. It takes around 3 days for the eggs to hatch. Both the male and female species safeguard the brood until they are capable of swimming. The young clan feeds on Artemia nauplii and also on their parent’s skin. Wait for another 5-7 days, and they will be able to swim.


All you passionate fishkeepers, are you still up for it? Now the decision is all yours. After reading all the necessities of the Red Devil, it’s time to think about getting one. Trust me, you won’t get disappointed. This joyful fish will definitely bring you joy for years and years to come.

Dogs are found to be the most owned pets. Why don’t you think out of the box and own the Red Devil as your pet? Who knows these bright species might love you more.


Image Credit:


Write A Comment