Dwarf Cichlids – Top 5 Dwarf Cichlids For Your Aquarium!

Dwarf cichlids – Any cichlid fish which does not exceed 14 cm in size in their adult state in aquariums are called dwarf cichlids. However, often size is not the only criterion, besides this, the fish should have a fairly peaceful character (the ability to get along even with smaller species), and not cause serious harm to the aquarium plants, do not dig soil, etc.

Cichlids are an unusually diverse group of aquarium fish, among which there are both real giants and dwarfs.

We bring to your attention the top 5 dwarf cichlids that will decorate any aquarium.


Apistogramma can rightfully be called a beautiful dwarf cichlid. This is an extensive group of fish living in the tropical rivers of South America. The average size of adults in the aquarium is 7 cm, so in most cases, an aquarium of 40 liters or more will be enough to keep a small group.

In addition to the small size, Apistogramma has a couple of undeniable advantages, the main of which is the amazing coloring of the body. This is a real “rainbow fish”, its scales can be painted in yellow, blue, red, turquoise and other colors, although there are variations with a uniform color.

The second important feature of these fish is their peaceful nature. They are great for keeping in a general aquarium, even with small species that can get the most out of their corner of the aquarium.

Lamprologus Ocellatus

Lamprologus Ocellatus are residents of the African lake of Tanganyika. This group of fish is rather heterogeneous, the size of the representatives varies from 2 to 12 cm. These are also known as shell dwellers or shell dweller cichlid.

These Lamprologuses deserve special interest and love from aquarists. These are species whose life cycle is inextricably linked with empty shells of lake gastropods.

Lamprologuses are very attached to their dwelling and leave it only when they no longer fit on the old living space. Often, skirmishes can be observed if two individuals have chosen one shell.

To maintain Lamprologus, you will need an aquarium from 40 liters (for large species – from 100 liters). Fish are well compatible with calm, proportionate species.

Kribensis Cichlid

Kribensis Cichlid is a fish that is common in tropical regions of Africa. This is a variegated colored cichlid, which reaches a size of 10 cm. This fish comes in various colors like brown, cherry, golden, and other shades.

This is one of the brightest colored dwarf cichlids. Scales on the sides at different angles of view shimmer with purple and azure colors.

True, for this, the fish should be kept in suitable conditions – if they feel uncomfortable, then the color will turn very pale. For colorful colors and a slight bend of the muzzle (like a beak), Kribensis Cichlids are called “parrots.”

An aquarium with a volume of 40 liters will be enough to keep one pair of fish; if there is a desire to make several pairs, then the volume will have to be increased, as well as to delimit the territory with the help of decorations.

In general, Kribensis is a peace-loving fish, however, it is better not to select slow swimming fish or those with veil fins as their tank mates. The aggression of these cichlids is especially pronounced during the spawning period.

Neolamprologus Brichardi

Neolamprologus brichardi is also known as Princess of Burundi or Lyretail Cichlid or Fairy cichlid and belongs to the genus Neolamprologus, but she would definitely like to be distinguished from the mass of relatives.

The cichlid is admired for its elegance and characteristic veil fins with pointed tips. At first glance, this fish does not have a bright color, but if you look closely, you can find many striking details. The princess of Burundi can grow up to 10 cm, the life expectancy in the aquarium is 7-10 years.

You can keep this fish in pairs in an aquarium of 60 liters. Be sure to provide the Princess of Burundi with plenty of swimming space and do not clutter the aquarium with decorations.

The species is extremely peaceful and coexists well with even smaller relatives.


Julidochromis in the natural habitat inhabits the African Lake Tanganyika. This fish has a remarkable body shape and color, confusing them with other groups is extremely problematic. The size of the fish varies from 8 to 15 cm.

Unfortunately adult julidochromis are not very tolerant of each other, so it is better to limit yourself to one pair which is more than sufficient. With other commensurate cichlids, the Julidochromis get along much better.

To keep a pair of Julidochromis you will need an aquarium size of minimum 100 liters or more.