Midas Cichlid – Care, Breeding, Tank Mates & Full Details!

Midas Cichlid, part of the Cichlidae family, is a large, eye-catching, and beautiful specimen. Originating from the wild, the Midas Cichlid exhibits a naturally camouflaging dark brown to blackish body, marked with six dark bars and a large black blotch on the side.

Interestingly, these markings often disappear once the fish is introduced into an aquarium setting.

Moreover, there’s a striking yellow color morph that seems out of place but naturally occurs in the wild.

Midas Cichlid was described and found by Gunther in 1864. As they are found in Central America near the Atlantic Slope and are most common in the lakes of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the waters are calm and slow there.

They usually like to live around an area with tree roots and rocky outcroppings. They easily find their food and the major targets are aufwuchs, small fish, snails, worms, and other any creature found in the bottom body of water.

Captive breeding has led to the development of a myriad of color morphs, ranging from oranges, yellows, whites, and combinations thereof.

The most sought-after color morph is a creamy yellow, occasionally exhibiting a spotted pattern.

Welcome to your comprehensive guide on Midas Cichlid, scientifically known as Amphilophus citrinellus. This fish, with its vibrant variety of colors and striking appearance, guarantees to be the centerpiece of any aquarium.

Whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or a beginner, this guide provides essential information to help you take proper care of this spectacular species.

Quick Stats About Midas Cichlid

Binomial name: Amphilophus citrinellus
Family: Cichlidae
Habitat: Central America, Lakes of Costa Rica and Nicaragua
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Size: 10 – 14inches
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Capacity: 55 gallons
Temperament: Aggressive-Predatory
Care level: Moderate
Temperature: 22.2 – 27.8 Celsius
Reproduction: Egglayer

Midas Cichlid Appearance

Upon casting your eyes on the Midas Cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus), the first thing you’ll notice is its alluring beauty. This captivating cichlid is known for its robust body, combined with pointed anal and dorsal fins that add a regal elegance to its appearance.

The wild Midas Cichlid is a master of disguise with a dark brown, gray to blackish body featuring six dark bars and a large black blotch on the side.

This coloring, intriguingly, fades away when the Midas is introduced into the aquarium, revealing a more uniform coloration.

A fascinating aspect of this species is the vibrant color morphs that have emerged through selective breeding.

From the canvas of natural camouflage, the Midas Cichlid transforms into a palette of oranges, yellows, and whites, with some even spotting a blend of these colors. The most sought-after variant is a creamy, spotted yellow specimen, a testament to the artistry of nature.

As the Midas Cichlid matures, both genders develop a unique feature – a nuchal hump on their heads.

Although both sexes share this trait, the males boast a significantly larger hump, while females present a subtle hint of a lump.

Natural Habitat of Midas Cichlid

The Midas Cichlid is a fascinating creature with an affinity for the calm and serene waters of Central America. These cichlids primarily inhabit the slow-flowing waters of lakes and occasionally rivers, at depths ranging from 3 to 114 feet.

The natural environment of the Midas Cichlid is rich with rocky outcroppings and tree roots, offering ample hideouts and feeding grounds.

Their dietary habits reflect their omnivorous nature, as they feed on a wide variety of foods in the wild.

This includes aufwuchs (a combination of green algae, diatoms, and small animals), snails, small fish, insect larvae, worms, and other benthic creatures.

This wide-ranging diet in their natural habitat makes them fairly adaptable in an aquarium setting.

Origin and Distribution of the Midas Cichlid

Tracing the roots of the Midas Cichlid takes us back to the freshwater bodies of Central America. Originally described by Gunther in 1864, the Midas Cichlid is primarily found along the Atlantic slope, inhabiting the lakes of Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Some of these include Lake Apoyo, Masaya, Nicaragua, and Managua. They’re also spotted in the slow-flowing parts of rivers, although less frequently.

The distribution of the Midas Cichlid is an interesting tale, highlighting the adaptability and resilience of this species.

It’s worth noting that despite the dwindling availability of wild-caught Midas Cichlids in recent years, their popularity in aquariums worldwide continues to surge, thanks to successful captive breeding programs.

Growth, Size & Lifespan of Midas Cichlid

In the world of aquatics, the Midas Cichlid is considered a large species. These Central American cichlids can reach an impressive size of up to 10 – 14 inches (25 – 35 cm) in length.

Size isn’t the only attribute where the Midas Cichlid shines; their lifespan is equally remarkable.

When well cared for, the Midas Cichlid can live up to 10 – 12 years, sometimes even more. This longevity, combined with their vibrant colors and energetic personalities, makes them a popular choice among aquarists.

The Midas Cichlid, however, isn’t just about size and lifespan. They have a swift growth rate as well, with juveniles rapidly reaching a size of 6 inches within their first year.

Maintaining the health and vitality of a Midas Cichlid in captivity requires a spacious aquarium, a balanced diet, and careful water parameter management.

A tank of at least 55 gallons is recommended for a single Midas Cichlid, but a larger one is always better, given their size and active nature.

Midas Cichlid Behavior and Temperament

The Midas Cichlid is an intriguing specimen, not just for its vibrant colors but also for its distinctive behavior. As a member of the Cichlidae family, it exhibits the complex social and aggressive behaviors typical of this group.

They are known for their territoriality, especially during breeding, when they zealously guard their nests. Despite their sometimes aggressive nature, they can exhibit surprising moments of peaceable behavior when well taken care of.

Tank Setup for Midas Cichlid

Setting up a suitable environment for the Midas Cichlid is crucial for its well-being.

Every element of the tank, from size and substrate to lighting and tank mates, plays a role in ensuring a thriving environment for this captivating fish.

Tank Size

Given the Midas Cichlid’s size and active nature, tank size is an essential consideration. A minimum tank size of 55 gallons is recommended for a single Midas Cichlid.

However, given their territorial nature and potential growth up to 14 inches, a larger tank is always a better option.


Midas Cichlids are natural diggers, so the substrate is an important factor. Opt for a fine sand substrate, as it mimics their natural environment and reduces the risk of injury while they carry out their digging behavior.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

Decorations in the Midas Cichlid tank serve two purposes: they enrich the environment and provide necessary hiding spots.

This species appreciates plenty of rocks and driftwood, which not only add visual appeal to the tank but also mimic their natural environment.

Water Parameters

Midas Cichlids thrive in warm, slightly alkaline water, similar to their natural habitat. Maintain a temperature between 72-82°F, with a pH between 7.0-8.0.

Regular water changes are crucial to maintain water quality and prevent the buildup of harmful chemicals.

Filtration and Aeration

A powerful filter is necessary due to the Midas Cichlid’s size and waste production. A canister filter is an excellent choice for maintaining water clarity and oxygen levels.

Aeration can be further improved by adding an air stone or a powerhead.


Standard aquarium lighting is sufficient for Midas Cichlids. They do not have specific lighting needs, but a regular day-night cycle should be maintained to mimic their natural habitat.

Tank Mates

Choosing tank mates for Midas Cichlids can be challenging due to their aggressive nature. They are best paired with other large, semi-aggressive species.

Smaller, more docile fish are not recommended, as they may become targets for the Midas Cichlid.


Midas Cichlids are omnivorous, requiring a varied diet. A good quality cichlid pellet should form the base of their diet, supplemented with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp or bloodworms.

Ensure a well-balanced diet to maintain their health and vibrant coloration.

Monitoring Health

Like any pet, monitoring the health of your Midas Cichlid is crucial. Regular observations for changes in behavior, appearance, or eating habits can help detect potential health issues early.

A healthy Midas Cichlid is active, has clear eyes, and a good appetite.

Remember, the key to successfully keeping a Midas Cichlid is to provide an environment as close as possible to their natural habitat.

This, along with proper nutrition and regular monitoring, will ensure a happy and healthy fish that can be enjoyed for many years.

19NZ4PjA scaled 1200x0 c default

Tank Maintenance for Midas Cichlid

Maintaining a clean and healthy tank for your Midas Cichlid is an ongoing commitment. But don’t worry!

With a few essential practices, such as regular water changes, cleaning the tank, and filter maintenance, you can ensure your fish thrives in its environment. Remember, a happy fish is a healthy fish!

Regular Water Changes

Regular water changes are the cornerstone of maintaining a healthy tank for your Midas Cichlid. At least 25% of the water should be replaced every two weeks.

This helps maintain the water quality by reducing the buildup of waste and harmful chemicals.

Always remember to match the temperature and pH of the new water to the existing tank water to avoid shocking your fish.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

Keeping the tank clean is vital for your Midas Cichlid’s health. Regularly remove any uneaten food, visible waste, or decaying plant matter.

Decorations and hiding spots also need to be cleaned periodically to prevent the growth of algae or bacteria.

Always rinse any new decorations thoroughly before adding them to the tank to remove any potential contaminants.

Filter Maintenance

The filter is your primary tool in maintaining water quality. It should be cleaned every month to ensure optimal performance.

Remember to replace only a portion of the filter media at a time to avoid disrupting the beneficial bacteria that aid in breaking down waste.

Avoid cleaning the filter with tap water, as it can kill these beneficial bacteria. Instead, use the water removed during a water change for cleaning the filter.

Monitor Fish Health

Monitoring the health of your Midas Cichlid regularly is critical. Look for changes in behavior, such as decreased activity, loss of appetite, or unusual aggression.

Also, check for physical signs of illness, like cloudy eyes, bloated body, or changes in color. If you notice any of these signs, seek advice from a vet or aquatic specialist.

Remember, maintaining a healthy tank for your Midas Cichlid is not a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process that requires regular attention and care.

By keeping up with regular water changes, cleaning the tank and decorations, maintaining the filter, and monitoring your fish’s health, you’re setting the stage for a thriving, vibrant life for your Midas Cichlid.

Acclimating Midas Cichlid

The process of acclimating your Midas Cichlid to its new tank environment is crucial to its overall health and wellbeing. This process helps the fish adjust to changes in temperature, pH, and other water parameters.

Start by leaving the bag with your new Midas Cichlid in the tank water for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the water in the bag to match the tank temperature.

Next, slowly add small amounts of tank water to the bag every five minutes for about an hour.

This step will help the fish get used to the water chemistry of the tank. Lastly, gently release your Midas Cichlid into the tank, making sure to avoid introducing bag water into the tank.

Midas Cichlid Diet and Feeding

A varied diet is key to keeping your Midas Cichlid healthy and vibrant. These fish are omnivorous and thrive on a mix of meaty foods and vegetables.

Here’s a detailed guide on what and how to feed your Midas Cichlid:

Protein-rich Foods

Midas Cichlids enjoy a variety of meaty foods. These can include:

  • Commercially available cichlid pellets or flakes: These are specially formulated to provide a balanced diet for your fish.

  • Frozen or live foods: Brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia are excellent choices. These foods are rich in protein and help stimulate the fish’s natural hunting instincts.

  • Occasional treats: Earthworms and feeder fish can be given as occasional treats, but they should not make up the bulk of the diet.

Vegetable Matter

In addition to meaty foods, Midas Cichlids also require plant matter in their diet. This can be provided by:

  • Spirulina flakes: These are a great source of plant-based nutrients and can improve the fish’s coloration.

  • Fresh vegetables: Blanched peas, spinach, and zucchini are good options. They provide necessary fiber and help with digestion.

Feeding Schedule

Midas Cichlids should be fed two to three times a day. Each feeding should only include as much food as the fish can consume in about three minutes.

Overfeeding can lead to obesity and water pollution, so be careful not to overdo it.

By providing your Midas Cichlid with a varied diet and adhering to a regular feeding schedule, you will ensure your fish stays healthy, active, and colorful.

Remember, the diet plays a significant role in the overall health and longevity of your Midas Cichlid.

Midas Cichlid 1 e1568294576642 1024x721

Midas Cichlid Tank Mates

When it comes to selecting tank mates for your Midas Cichlid, it’s crucial to choose wisely.

Midas Cichlids are known for their aggressive nature, which can create compatibility issues with other fish.

Here are some potential tank mates that can coexist with Midas Cichlids, along with some species you should avoid.

Suitable Tank Mates:

  1. Oscar Fish: Their larger size and similar temperament make them a good match for Midas Cichlids.

  2. Jaguar Cichlids: With a similar size and aggression level, Jaguar Cichlids can hold their own with Midas Cichlids.

  3. Green Terror Cichlids: These fish are similarly aggressive and can stand up to the Midas Cichlid.

  4. Jack Dempsey Cichlids: Jack Dempseys are also robust and aggressive, making them suitable companions.

  5. Texas Cichlids: They are large, strong, and can handle the assertiveness of a Midas Cichlid.

  6. Plecostomus: Their armored bodies make them less vulnerable to Midas Cichlids’ aggression.

Tank Mates to Avoid:

  1. Guppies: Their small size and peaceful nature make them easy targets for Midas Cichlids.

  2. Neon Tetras: Like guppies, they are too small and passive to cohabitate with Midas Cichlids.

  3. Discus Fish: These slow-moving, peaceful fish are likely to be stressed or harmed by aggressive Midas Cichlids.

  4. Angelfish: Their long fins and peaceful nature make them susceptible to Midas Cichlids’ aggression.

  5. Goldfish: Their slow speed and distinct difference in water parameter requirements make them unsuitable tank mates.

Breeding Midas Cichlid and Fry Care

Breeding Midas Cichlids can be a fascinating experience. With the right conditions and care, you can successfully breed these fish and raise the fry.

Here’s a detailed guide on how to do it:

Breeding Process

  • Environment: First, provide an environment conducive to spawning. This involves setting the right water parameters, providing plenty of hiding spots, and ensuring a high-quality diet.

  • Pairing: Midas Cichlids form monogamous pairs. Once a pair has formed, they will defend their territory fiercely.

  • Spawning: The female will lay her eggs on a flat rock or in a dug-out pit. Both parents will guard the eggs, which usually hatch within 3-5 days.

Fry Care

  • Feeding: Once the fry are free-swimming, they can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp or crushed flake food. Over time, increase the size of their food as they grow.

  • Protection: Parents will continue to protect the fry for several weeks. Be cautious when cleaning the tank or making water changes during this time.

  • Separation: As the fry grow, aggressive behavior may start to emerge. At this point, it may be necessary to separate them into different tanks to prevent conflicts.

Breeding Midas Cichlids and caring for their fry can be a rewarding endeavor for aquarists, leading to a deeper appreciation for these fascinating fish.

Signs of Stress in Midas Cichlid

Keeping an eye on your Midas Cichlid’s behavior can help you spot signs of stress early on. Stress can lead to serious health issues, so it’s essential to understand what to look out for.

Changes in behavior are usually the first indication of stress. For instance, a stressed Midas Cichlid may become less active, preferring to hide rather than swim around.

They might also lose interest in food or have a decrease in their appetite.

Physical changes can also signal stress. This might include changes in color or the appearance of spots or patches on the body.

Rapid breathing, erratic swimming, or visible injuries can all be signs of stress. If you observe any of these signs, it’s important to identify and address the cause of the stress to ensure your Midas Cichlid’s health and wellbeing.

Common Health Issues and Treatments for Midas Cichlid

Like any other fish species, Midas Cichlids can be prone to certain health issues.

Some common problems include:

  • Ich: This is a parasitic disease that manifests as white spots on the fish’s body. Treatment usually involves raising the tank’s temperature and administering a copper-based medication.

  • Fin Rot: This bacterial infection causes the fins to become ragged and discolored. Treatment often involves improving water quality and administering antibacterial medications.

  • Hole-in-the-Head Disease: This condition is prevalent in cichlids and manifests as pits or lesions on the head or body. Treatments include improving diet, maintaining excellent water quality, and in severe cases, specific medications.

Always remember to quarantine new fish and plants before adding them to your aquarium to prevent the spread of diseases.

Amphilophus citrinellus

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

Maintaining a healthy aquarium is key to the wellbeing of your Midas Cichlid.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Monitor Water Quality: Regularly test the water for correct pH, temperature, and nitrate levels.

  • Clean Regularly: Routine cleaning helps prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria and algae.

  • Balanced Diet: Ensure your Midas Cichlid gets a varied diet rich in proteins and vitamins.

  • Limit Stress: Avoid rapid changes in water parameters and minimize noise and light pollution.

Should You Get a Midas Cichlid for Your Aquarium?

Midas Cichlids are beautiful, vibrant fish that can add a splash of color to your aquarium. However, their aggressive temperament and large size require a certain level of experience to care for properly.

If you’re an experienced aquarist who can meet their needs – including a large tank, specific water parameters, and a diet rich in proteins – a Midas Cichlid can be an exciting addition to your collection.

As with any pet, getting a Midas Cichlid should be a decision made with consideration and preparation.

With the right care, these stunning fish can provide years of companionship and enjoyment.

Conservation Status

The Midas Cichlid is classified as Least Concern (LC) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This means that, as of now, they are not considered to be in immediate danger of extinction.

These fish are quite resilient and have managed to maintain stable population sizes in the wild.

However, it’s important to note that they face threats from habitat degradation and pollution, which could impact their future status.

Availability & Pricing

Midas Cichlids are widely available in the aquarium trade, thanks to their striking colors and active behavior. They are often found in both physical pet stores and online fish suppliers.

The price of a Midas Cichlid can vary based on several factors such as size, color, and the retailer itself.

Generally, a juvenile Midas Cichlid can be purchased for around $10 to $20, while larger, more mature specimens can cost upwards of $40 or more.

Keep in mind that prices can fluctuate, so it’s worth shopping around to find the best deal.

Frequently Asked Questions About Midas Cichlid

Q – How big do Midas Cichlids get?

Ans – Midas Cichlids can reach up to 15 inches in length in captivity.

Q – What do Midas Cichlids eat?

Ans – They are omnivorous and have a broad diet. They can eat a variety of fish flakes, pellets, fresh or frozen foods, and even vegetables.

Q – Are Midas Cichlids aggressive?

Ans – Yes, they are known to be quite aggressive, especially during breeding. It’s important to provide plenty of space and hiding spots in the aquarium.

Q – How long do Midas Cichlids live?

Ans – With proper care, a Midas Cichlid can live for 10 to 12 years in captivity.


In conclusion, Midas Cichlids are a captivating addition to the right aquarium. Their vibrant colors and active personalities make them a joy to observe.

However, they require a large tank, specific water parameters, and a dedicated aquarist willing to meet their needs.

Remember, a healthy Midas Cichlid is a happy Midas Cichlid. So, if you think you can provide the right environment for this remarkable fish, you might just find a new aquatic friend in the Midas Cichlid.