Peacock eel with cichlids

Peacock Eel With Cichlids


Have you ever wondered whether you can keep a peacock eel with cichlids in the same tank, or whether this is not a good idea? It’s always important to check before you stock a tank with fish, because if they aren’t compatible, you could have major problems to deal with.

Peacock eels should not generally be kept with cichlids, because cichlids can be very aggressive fish and may attack the eel. If you choose the calmest and least aggressive kinds of cichlids, you may be able to house them with a peacock eel, as long as you give them sufficient space.

In this article, we will explore what kinds of fish you can keep with a peacock eel, and whether peacock eels can be housed with African cichlids. This should put you in a good position to stock your aquarium responsibly.

What Fish Can Live With Peacock Eels?

If you already have a peacock eel in your aquarium, you need to make sure you select fish that will be compatible with it, or there is a risk of fighting and injury occurring in your tank. Peacock eels tend to be shy, retiring creatures, and they won’t thrive if they are put in with other, more aggressive tank mates.

You need to make sure your peacock eel doesn’t get bullied or attacked by the other stock you have in your aquarium, and that means choosing companions for it with care. If you select inappropriate fish, you will find that your peacock eel spends most of its time hiding in the substrate at the bottom of the aquarium.

This indicates that the peacock eel is not comfortable in the tank. You need to make sure it feels safe coming out (although this species does naturally burrow too).

You should therefore opt for non-aggressive fish for the aquarium. This could include things like:

  • Rasboras
  • Hatchetfish
  • Swordtail fish
  • Rainbowfish
  • Discus
  • Kissing Gourami
  • Angelfish
  • Blood Parrot Cichlids
  • Silver Dollars

Other fish will do well too, but that should give you a starting idea. As long as the fish are non-aggressive, they are unlikely to bother the peacock eel, and it generally keeps to itself. Peacock eels do sometimes eat small fish if they find them, so don’t stock your tank with potential targets, especially if they are bottom-dwellers like the peacock eel.

Can Peacock Eels Live With African Cichlids?

African cichlids are generally too aggressive to keep with a peacock eel, and it is better to avoid this setup. However, African cichlid aggression levels can be brought down by ensuring that they have sufficient amounts of food (so they aren’t competing with the eel or trying to defend their territory) and that they have plenty of space.

If you keep your African cichlids and peacock eel in a large aquarium with plenty of room for them to keep away from each other and no overcrowding issues, you are far less likely to run into aggression problems. Keeping the number of male cichlids down might also help to reduce their general sense of aggression and defensiveness.

Providing plenty of cover for both the cichlids and the eel will help too, as this encourages both species to claim their own space where they feel comfortable, and they won’t be tempted to fight for the other one’s territory. It will also prevent them from seeing each other too frequently, which may help to further reduce the number of conflicts between the species.

Making sure the cichlids have had plenty to eat is important too, because this reduces their aggression levels even more. Feed the cichlids regularly, and they will be less likely to attack other fish of any sort, as they won’t feel so much need to defend themselves or their patch.

On the whole, however, it is better not to house a peacock eel with African cichlids if you can avoid doing so. They are not generally considered compatible species and there is a risk that the cichlids will harass and damage the more docile eel.

It is also challenging to make sure that the peacock eel gets sufficient food, as the cichlids are voracious feeders and may eat anything you add to the tank.

Can I Put A Fire Eel In With Cichlids?

You may be able to house a fire eel with certain kinds of cichlids, but you will need to make sure that the cichlids are large enough that there is no risk of the fire eel viewing them as prey. Fire eels can grow to around 3 feet, and they will pick off smaller cichlids and devour them.

This means you need to take a careful approach when selecting your cichlids, and opt for ones that are considered medium or large. On the whole, fire eels will not bother medium or large fish, as they don’t see them as food, and these eels aren’t particularly aggressive creatures.

However, as mentioned above, it is key to make sure that you have sufficient space in the tank, especially as the fire eel gains size. In a crowded tank, particularly if there is food competition, there is a high risk that the fire eel will start to become aggressive, or that the cichlids will attack it.

Follow the normal precautions for minimizing aggression (ample space, food, and hiding spots), and you may be able to house a fire eel with certain kinds of cichlids. However, there is no guarantee that this will work, so it’s a good idea to have a backup plan in case they cannot get along and start trying to attack each other.


It is difficult to pair peacock eels or fire eels with cichlids, because so many cichlids are aggressive, and the eels tend to be more docile and shy of other fish. However, if you are careful and you have a large enough space, it may be possible to keep some kinds of cichlids with these eels, as long as the fish are gentle enough, and too large to be considered prey.