How Big Do Red Devil Cichlids Get? (Tank Size & Growth Rate)

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Red devil cichlids are among the more interesting Central American cichlids for aquarium enthusiasts. They have a charismatic personality, and their color scheme goes well with large show tank decorating styles, making them an excellent choice among beginners and experienced aquarists.

However, these feisty fish are aggressive and known for destroying anything they can get their teeth into. If you’re going to keep one, there are a few things you should know.

One question that always arises when considering this fish is how big do red devil cichlids get? In this article, we will take a look at this question and provide some answers.

How Big Do Red Devil Cichlids Get?

How Big Do Red Devil Cichlids Get

Red devil cichlids are not small fish. The answer to this question depends on the particular strain of red devil cichlid and the conditions of their captivity, but in general, they will reach a maximum size of around 15 inches (38 cm) in length. This is significantly larger than many other CA cichlids. The male Red Devil grows larger than the female.

What Size Tank Does a Red Devil Cichlid Need?

Red Devil Cichlids are known for their aggressiveness and large size. A tank of at least 75 gallons is recommended for a single male red devil cichlid, while a single female can be kept in a 55 gallons tank. The larger the tank the better, as this will allow them more space to swim and reduce the chances of them becoming territorial.

If you want to keep more than one red devil cichlid or a breeding pair, then a tank of 125 gallons or more is recommended. It’s best to keep your Red Devil by itself, and we recommend 200 gallons if keeping them with several large cichlids.

Red Devil Cichlid Growth Rate

Red Devil Cichlids grow rapidly in the first few months of their lives, but their growth rate slows down as they get older. The average growth rate for Red Devil’s is like 1.5 inches a month. Most Red Devil Cichlids are around 8-10 inches at the end of their first year. It takes 2-3 years for Red Devil Cichlids to grow their full size.

I bought a 2″ pup from LFS at the start of Jan. Now, a year after I bought him, he is almost an 11-inch bull. How fast they will grow in captivity depends on many factors, including water quality, diet, and tank size. We will talk more about how to make your Red Devil Cichlids grow fast following. 

How to Speed Up the Growth of Red Devil Cichlids?


There are a number of things you can do to maximize the growth rate of your Red Devil Cichlids in the home captivity. 

Offer a Balanced Diet

One of the most important things you can do to ensure your Red Devils grow quickly is to provide them with a balanced diet. This means a diet that includes both live and frozen foods as well as good quality pellet food.

These fish are omnivores, meaning that they’ll eat anything you put in the tank. I’ve seen a significant growth rate and color enhancement with the New Life Spectrum Fish Thera with a lot better ingredients than Hikari. Depending on your Red Devils size and how hard your fish hits pellets, you might need to experiment with various sizes.

New Life Spectrum Thera (Buy from Amazon): 6mm | 3mm | 2mm

Besides the foundation, you can also occasionally give them food like krill, earthworms, and blood worms as treats. It’s best to avoid feeding them with warm-blooded mammal meats, such as beef heart and chicken. These types of foods can cause some intestinal blockages issues.

They also need a diet that has plenty of vegetables and other plant-based foods to prevent the “hole in the head” disease.

Don’t Overfeed

Red Devils are “conscious” fish that can recognize their owner like a betta fish. They might play with you and constantly “beg” for food by wagging around at the tank corners like a dog.

Don’t overfeed them as this can lead to health problems and slowed growth. One to two small meals twice a day is all they need.

Keep the Water Clean

Another important factor in ensuring your Red Devils grow quickly is keeping the water clean. This means doing regular water changes and keeping the tank well-maintained.

As we’ve already mentioned, Red Devil Cichlids are messy eaters and will leave behind a lot of waste, which can cloud the water and stunt their growth.

You have to monitor the quality of your water and replace at least 25%-30% every week, more or less depending on how many fish are in a tank.

Doing a complete water change is usually unnecessary and can cause more stress for your fish. Fish are delicate creatures, so any changes in their environment should be minimal unless there’s something wrong with the tank itself or its filters.

Prevent Common Diseases

While there’s no special disease that Red Devil Cichlids suffer from alone, they are susceptible to many of the same illnesses as other freshwater fish.

Ich and “hole-in-the-head” diseases are the two most common diseases that Red Devils owners have to deal with.

Aquarians must take great care when adding anything else into an established aquarium because small changes could upset the balance, posing risks for disease outbreaks.

Offer a Larger Tank

One of the best things you can do to help your Red Devils grow quickly is to give them a larger tank. A small tank will stunt your fish’s growth.

A larger tank will provide more space for them to swim around in and will help keep the water clean. It will also allow you to add more hiding places with rocks and wood, which will create a more natural environment for them and help promote their growth.

Strong Efficient Filtration

These fish prefer moderate water movement. Utilizing a good quality canister filter paired with a sump setup is recommended for keeping your Red Devils healthy and growing quickly.

A filter that is too weak will not be able to keep up with the amount of waste they produce and will cause the water to become polluted and stunt their growth.

In conclusion

Red devil cichlids are large, aggressive, and fast-growing fish that can reach a size of up to 15 inches in length. You might think that red devils are just big, bad bullies. And you’d be half-right! These aggressors have been known to ram into the glass and break heaters with their powerful jaws and bite owners.

However, they are some of the most rewarding in existence, so if you think that’s up for grabs, we highly recommend giving it a go.

We are always open to feedback and suggestions, so if you have any questions or advice about growing Red Devils, feel free to let us know in the comment.

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Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

Hello, I'm Jeff- an aquarium enthusiast with over 25 years of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish, including koi, goldfish bettas, cichlids and more! For me: Aquariums are like jello - there's always room for more!

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