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10 Great Tank Mates for Jaguar Cichlids: Compatibility Guide 2024

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By Lindsey Stanton

jaguar cichlid in aquarium

The name of the Jaguar Cichlid says a lot. It gives you a good idea of its coloration; it is a striking fish. It also lets you know what to expect from this fish. Like many of its kind, this Central American Cichlid is an aggressive species best suited for the experienced hobbyist. It requires a large tank and may pose challenges with finding compatible tank mates.

Fortunately, there are several options that include species just as large or unlikely to cause conflicts in your tank.

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The 10 Tank Mates for Jaguar Cichlids Are

1. Sailfin Pleco (Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps)

sailfin pleco
Image Credit: topimages, Shutterstock
Size Up to 20 inches
Diet Herbivore
Minimum tank size 100 gallons
Care Level Beginner
Temperament Peaceful (it’s best to keep only one per tank)

The Sailfin Pleco is about as peaceful as they come. It is a larger species that will keep to itself, making it an ideal choice for the Jaguar Cichlid. It’s also a very hardy fish that is relatively long-lived. You may see it called a Leopard or Clown Pleco.

2. Green Terror Cichlid (Species)

green terror cichlids
Image Credit: Piqsels
Size Up to 12 inches
Diet Carnivore, preferably live food, such as krill
Minimum tank size  75 gallons
Care Level Intermediate
Temperament  Aggressive

The Green Terror Cichlid is a South American species. Its name provides an excellent clue about why it would get along with the Jaguar Cichlid. This fish can hold its own with other aggressive tank mates.

While it’s a hardy Cichlid, it is also sensitive to poor water conditions. Plenty of hiding places and artificial plants are essential to allow the fish to establish territories.

3. Texas Cichlid (Herichthys cyanoguttatus)

Size Up to 12 inches
Diet Omnivore
Minimum tank size 50 gallons
Care Level Intermediate
Temperament Aggressive

The Texas Cichlid lives in the rivers of its namesake and Mexico. You may also see it called the Rio Grande Cichlid. Its coloration provides excellent camouflage in its native environment.

It is a territorial species with a penchant for digging, making it a challenge for first-time Cichlid owners. However, it’s not a picky eater and will readily take a commercial diet formulated for Cichlids.

4. Wolf Cichlid (Parachromis dovii)

Size Up to 28 inches
Diet Carnivore
Minimum tank size 120 gallons
Care Level Intermediate
Temperament Aggressive

The Wolf Cichlid is a hardy species that gets big enough to make it a fair fight with the Jaguar Cichlid. It is sometimes a belligerent fish, and a large tank is imperative to control conflicts.

It also requires an aquarium with lots of cover and artificial plants. This Central American Cichlid eats mainly meat and should only be kept with fish of a similar temperament.

5. Red Devil Cichlid (Amphilophus labiatus)

Size Up to 15 inches
Minimum tank size 55 gallons
Care Level Intermediate
Temperament Aggressive

Like many tank mates we’ve listed, the Red Devil’s name reflects its temperament. It also gets its name from its eye-catching red-orange coloration. It’s not a picky eater and will do well in most water conditions. They’ll do best on a diet of live food supplemented with pellets or flakes.

6. Bala Shark (Balantiocheilus melanopterus)

Image Credit: Marcelo Saavedra, Shutterstock
Size Up to 14 inches
Diet Omnivore
Minimum tank size 150 gallons
Care Level Beginner
Temperament Peaceful

The Bala Shark is a misnomer because it isn’t a shark but looks like one. Its large size and fast swimming style make it suitable as a tank mate. It prefers bigger tanks, which is another plus since it’ll give all the fish their space. It feeds on various foods, from insects to brine shrimp to bloodworms.

7. Flowerhorn Cichlid (n/a)

Flowerhorn cichlid fish
Image Credit: NERYXCOM, Shutterstock
Size Up to 16 inches
Diet Carnivore
Minimum tank size 55 gallons
Care Level Beginner
Temperament Aggressive

The Flowerhorn Cichlid is an attractive fish that will make an excellent addition to your tank. Its beautiful coloration belies the fact that it is an aggressive fish. Unlike the other species on our list, it only exists in the pet trade and not in the wild.

Flowerhorn Cichlids are hybrid fish that are easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for beginners in the hobby.

8. Jack Dempsey (Cichlasoma octofasciatum)

jack dempsey cichlid in aquarium
Image Credit: _Darko Cvetanoski, Shutterstock
Size Up to 10 inches
Diet Omnivore
Minimum tank size 55 gallons
Care Level Beginner
Temperament Semi-aggressive

Its name tells you that you’re dealing with a tough character. This South American species is a showy fish that will make its presence known to its tank mates.

Surprisingly, the Jack Dempsey isn’t as aggressive as many of its kind. It is also an omnivore that will take pellets or flakes readily. They do best in a well-stocked aquarium, with plenty of plants and a sandy bottom for digging.

9. Blue Acara Cichlid (Aequidens pulcher)

Size Up to 8 inches
Diet Omnivore
Minimum tank size 55 gallons
Care Level Beginner
Temperament Semi-aggressive

The Blue Acara Cichlid is a South American species that is less aggressive than many similar ones. It makes an excellent beginner fish since it’s relatively hardy and not a fussy eater.

It’ll co-exist peacefully with the Jaguar Cichlid, with enough space and hiding places. They can tolerate more acidic water, too.

10. Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus)

white and orange oscar fish
Image Credit: Fabika, Shutterstock
Size Up to 14 inches
Diet Omnivore
Minimum tank size 100 gallons
Care Level Beginner
Temperament Aggressive

The Oscar is one of the more popular aquarium fish. They are easy to keep and will eat whatever you offer them. While they can tolerate living in smaller tanks, it’s best to err on the side of caution and keep them in larger setups to avoid conflict.

Maintaining adequate levels of dissolved oxygen is vital for the health of these fish. Like many Cichlids, they are diggers that will destroy live plants.

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What Makes a Good Tank Mate for Jaguar Cichlid?

A good tank mate is large enough to deter the aggression that a Jaguar Cichlid can dish out when it gets territorial. Fish of a similar temperament will fare well. The key is to have a large tank to allow the fish to establish their space.

However, we also recommend monitoring the behavior of the tank mates. Things can change as the fish get older and larger.

Where Do Jaguar Cichlids Prefer to Live in the Aquarium?

While they will use the entire tank, most Jaguar Cichlids like to stick to the bottom of the tank, where they will dig and search for prey. They typically live in muddy, low-oxygenated water and can tolerate less-than-ideal conditions. Nevertheless, adequate filtration is essential, given the types of food Cichlids eat.

Water Parameters

The Jaguar Cichlid lives in the tropical waters of Central and South America. Stable water conditions are vital for keeping them healthy. They can tolerate moderately hard water and alkaline pH and do best with temperatures below 80℉. The Jaguar Cichlid is an aggressive fish that you should keep in tanks of at least 100 gallons.

jaguar cichlid
Image Credit: VallaV, Shutterstock


The size of the Jaguar Cichlid is a significant factor when choosing tank mates. It is a large fish and can grow up to 24 inches long in the right environment. That’s one reason hobbyists consider them a species for the experienced aquarist.

Aggressive Behaviors

The Jaguar Cichlid is aggressive and territorial, especially during spawning. Keeping the fish and its tank mates in a large tank is one of the best ways to curb aggressive behavior. We strongly urge you to monitor the interactions in your aquarium. You may find that the Jaguar Cichlid isn’t an ideal choice for a community tank.

Top 3 Benefits of Having Tank Mates for Jaguar Cichlid in Your Aquarium

1. Keeping Jaguar Cichlids Is a Challenge.

Once you’ve been in the hobby for a while, you may want to find fish that are more difficult to keep. The Jaguar Cichlid is an excellent choice.

2. Jaguar Cichlids Are Easy to Breed.

One of the most rewarding aspects of having an aquarium is breeding your fish. Jaguar Cichlids will make it easy, but it will spell trouble for any tank mates.

3. Jaguar Cichlids Are Hardy.

As long as you keep up with the maintenance, you’ll find that Jaguar Cichlids are relatively easy to keep. They aren’t fussy eaters and are relatively tolerant to various water conditions.

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The Jaguar Cichlid may not be the best choice for beginners, but it will certainly provide a satisfying experience for experienced aquarists. Its stunning coloration and exciting behavior are all points in its favor. If you’re ready to take your hobby to the next level, the Jaguar Cichlid is worth a look.

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Featured Image Credit: OksanaGoskova, Shutterstock

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