Are Yellow Lab Cichlids Aggressive? (Surprising Answer!)

Are Yellow Lab Cichlids aggressive? Yellow Lab Cichlids are not considered to be an aggressive species of fish, providing their aquarium is set up correctly. To reduce the chances of any aggression, keep Yellow Lab Cichlids with a ratio of 1 male to 3 or 4 females, stock the tank heavily, and provide plenty of sight blocks in the form of rocks or wood.

Eating Daphnia
Eating Daphnia

If you have ever been into your local fish store and seen the unbelievably bright colored fish swimming around in their African Cichlid tanks, you will have no doubt thought about getting some. Yellow Lab Cichlids are most people’s gateway fish into African Cichlids.

I first started keeping African Cichlids around 10 years ago when I bought a 75-gallon aquarium and stocked it with Yellow Lab Cichlids. That tank was one of the most active aquariums in my fish room.

In the interests of clarification, I am discussing Yellow Lab Cichlids being aggressive in the context of an African Cichlid setup, not in a general community aquarium. Yellow Lab cichlids are not suitable for a general community aquarium.



What Should You Do If Your Yellow Lab Cichlid Is Aggressive?

Occasionally, despite your best efforts, you may end up with a male Yellow Lab Cichlid who is aggressive no matter what you do. When this happens, there is generally very little you can do. One option is to move him into an aquarium on his own, or possibly into an aquarium with bigger, more aggressive fish than he is.

How Do You Prevent Yellow Lab Cichlids Being Aggressive?

As mentioned above, Yellow Lab Cichlids are not especially aggressive, for African Cichlids, but efforts should still be made to reduce and manage any aggression that they do show.

Managing any aggression starts with the aquarium setup. Yellow Lab Cichlid aquariums should be set up with plenty of rocks, ideally piled high. These rocks provide ‘line of sight’ blocks allowing fish to get out of the eye line of each other. When it comes to fish aggression, out of sight is out of mind!

Another key technique to preventing or managing aggression in the Yellow Lab Cichlid aquarium is to get the correct ratio of males to females. One of the main causes of aggression in a Yellow Lab Cichlid tank is males being aggressive to other males to show their dominance for breeding.

One male Yellow Lab Cichlid can cover 3 or 4 females. Getting a ratio of 1 male to 3 or 4 females will reduce the chance of aggression between your male Yellow Labs.

Are Other African Cichlids Aggressive?

Generally speaking, African Cichlids are aggressive fish. Of course, some species are more aggressive than others, but on the whole, they would be considered aggressive. Experienced African Cichlid keepers often describe their cichlids as having ‘lots of personality’.

As African Cichlid keepers, we can manage the aggression in our African Cichlid tanks using a variety of techniques. The best way to reduce and manage aggression in an African Cichlid aquarium is to overstock the aquarium.

African Cichlids are territorial. By overstocking our aquariums we make it so no individual fish can claim a territory. There simply aren’t enough territories to go around. If no one claims a territory, there is no need for the fish to become aggressive with one another.

Overstocking reduces aggression in another way too. With so many fish in such a small space, a bully fish can not dominate just one individual fish. His aggression is spread around all the other fish. When the aggression is spread out, no single fish becomes so injured or stressed it has a detrimental effect on their health.



In Conclusion

Yellow Lab Cichlids are not an aggressive species of fish, in the context of an African Cichlid aquarium. As long as their aquarium is set up correctly and the ratio of males to females is right, your Yellow Lab Cichlids won’t give you too much grief.

With that said, don’t be fooled into thinking you can keep Yellow Lab Cichlids with other community fish.


About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James
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