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Cichlids: A Knowledge Base .: Fish FAQs! .: How small is too small?

How small is too small?

Q. I have a five gallon tank that I would like to use for cichlids. Are there any cichlids I can add to this tank?

A. The short answer is no. Cichlids require more than water volume in order to live a good healthy life. They are extremely territorial fish that require a larger foot print than a five gallon tank provides. Even the smallest Tanganyikan dwarves such as Lamprologus ocellatus require, at absolute minimum, a ten gallon tank.  Some very advanced cichlid keepers have been able to maintain Lamprologus brevis in a tank this small, but it requires a rigorous and disciplined maintenance routines combined with good experience working with the species.


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