Can Yellow Lab Cichlids Live With Angelfish?

Can Yellow Lab Cichlids live with Angelfish? No, Yellow Lab Cichlids should not be kept with Angelfish. Firstly, the two species require different water parameters, with the Yellow Lab Cichlids wanting ‘hard’ water and the Angelfish desiring ‘soft’ water. Secondly, Yellow Lab Cichlids are too aggressive to be kept with Angelfish. They may attack and harass the Angelfish to death.

Eating Daphnia
Eating Daphnia

Yellow Lab Cichlids (Labidochromis caeruleus) which are also known as lemon yellow labs, the electric yellow or yellow prince cichlid, originate from Lake Malawi, Africa. They are one of the easiest of the African Cichlids to keep. This apparent ease of care often leads aquarists to want to keep Yellow Lab Cichlids in a general community tank.

Yellow Lab Cichlids work well in a community setup, but only if that community is made up primarily of similar, compatible African Cichlids and other fish that can tolerate the aggression levels. I have an article titled Are Yellow Lab Cichlids Aggressive which may be of interest to you.



What Water Conditions Do Yellow Lab Cichlid Need?

Yellow Lab Cichlids originate from Lake Malawi in Africa. Lake Malawi offers Yellow Lab Cichlids water which has a pH of between 7.8 and 8.4. The water also has a high concentration of minerals making it what is referred to as ‘hard’ water. In our aquariums, we should try to recreate these conditions as closely as possible.

If your water isn’t naturally ‘hard’ or has a low pH, you should consider using a substrate like crushed coral. Crushed coral will increase both the pH and hardness of your aquarium water.

If you prefer the look of a sand substrate, you can add a small amount of crushed coral to your filters. As the water passes through the crushed coral, it will release some minerals, thereby increasing the pH and raising the water’s hardness.

Yellow Lab Cichlids need their water temperature to be set at around 77°F (25°C). Yellow Labs can tolerate a variation in water temperature, but providing it is in and around 77°F it should be fine.

Yellow Lab Cichlids can be sensitive to poor water quality. It is essential that Ammonia and Nitrite are kept at 0 and Nitrates should ideally be kept below 40. A well-stocked African Cichlid aquarium will need frequent large water changes to prevent the Nitrate levels from creeping up too high.



What Filtration Should A Yellow Lab Aquarium Have?

As mentioned above, the fact we normally overstock our Yellow Lab Cichlid aquariums to help quell the aggression, coupled with the fact we feed them a lot of food because they are highly active, means our Yellow Lab Cichlid aquariums normally need more filtration than a general community tank of the same size might need.

I usually work on the theory of having twice as much filtration for a Yellow Lab Cichlid aquarium as I might have if I was just keeping normal community fish.

This might mean running 2 Fluval 206 canister filters on a 40-gallon aquarium instead of 1. Alternatively, running 1 filter that is rated for an 80 or maybe 100-gallon aquarium on your 40-gallon tank will have the desired effect.

It is possible to run a Yellow Lab Cichlid aquarium on sponge filters or internal filters, but in my experience, the amount of servicing they require just isn’t worth the hassle.

What Water Conditions Do Angelfish Need?

The water conditions required by Angelfish couldn’t be more different from the Yellow Lab Cichlids. Unlike the Yellow Labs, Angelfish require water that is ‘soft’ and has a pH of 6.8 to 7.5 ideally.

Angelfish also require a different style of aquarium. Angelfish are at home in a planted aquarium with perhaps the addition of a few rooks or some wood and tree roots. Yellow Lab Cichlids on the other hand would destroy a planted tank in no time at all. They prefer an aquarium setup that is based around rocks and sand with little or no plants.

What Other Fish Can Live With Yellow Lab Cichlids?

When considering suitable tankmates for Yellow Lab Cichlids, clearly other African Cichlids are natural bedfellows. ‘Other African Cichlids’ covers an awful lot of fish! Ideally, some of the more placid Cichlids like Pseudotropheus acei, Gephyrochromis, or Iodotropheus work well, as would other members of the Labidochromis family.

If you wanted to venture away from Malawi Cichlids, or you had a good collection already and wanted something different for the aquarium, the ubiquitous choice of catfish is members of the Synodontis catfish family. S. multipunctatus has long been associated with African Cichlid setups.

If you are looking for an algae eater to form the basis of a ‘cleanup crew’ then the good old bristlenose pleco will work well. If your setup is large enough (and I mean massive), then a common pleco will also do the job.

Having suggested other tank mates for Yellow Lab Cichlids, a 40-gallon aquarium stocked just with Yellow Lab Cichlids is a seriously attractive tank that will always be full of brightly colored fish swimming back and forth. It won’t fail to impress you or those who stop by to look at your aquarium.

How Should A Yellow Lab Tank Be Set Up?

An ideal Yellow Lab Cichlid setup will be based around rocks. Rocks provide caves for hiding in, line of site blocks to break up aggression and, if set up correctly, break the aquarium up into different territories that the fish can claim.

Sand is usually the substrate of choice for a Yellow Lab Cichlid aquarium, but crushed coral works just as well. Be sure to place your rocks in the aquarium first, ideally with some sort of barrier so they aren’t touching the glass, then fill the sand in around them.

If you place the sand in first, then add the rocks, the Yellow Labs may dig in the sand and cause the rocks to fall, breaking the aquarium glass.

Yellow Lab Cichlid aquariums should be well filtered. African Cichlids like their water pristine. If you would normally consider one canister filter for an aquarium, think about making it two for the Yellow Lab tank. Regular water changes will almost certainly be required no matter how good your filtration is.

Yellow Lab Cichlids will eat just about any plants you add to their aquarium, If you must-have plants, consider tough varieties like Annubias or Java Fern.

In Conclusion

Yellow Lab Cichlids are fascinating fish, and there are lots of potential tank mates available. Unfortunately, Angelfish do not make good tank mates. Angelfish require different water parameters and, although Angelfish are considered semi-aggressive in a traditional community aquarium setup, Yellow Lab Cichlids would prove to be too aggressive for the Angelfish.

One Last Thing…

If you enjoyed this article on Yellow Lab Cichlids, why not check out my other articles such as How do Yellow Lab Cichlids Breed and How Many Yellow Labs in a 40 Gallon Tank.


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
Editor