Midas Cichlid Complete Care Guide

For you who is a hobbyist with the urge and desire to keep a charismatic, large fish, you need to consider the black Midas Cichlid, as your perfect selection. The fish is famous for its nature to sprucing up a tank using its peculiar yet attracting color leave alone its enthusiasm while in an aquarium. The black Midas Cichlid exists in different colors such as bright red, yellow, and even dark brown. Some other fish under the same group come in white color while others have a combination of more than two colors. The variation in the color of the fish can be attributed to cross breeding. 

The Black Midas cichlid, often called scientifically as Amphilophus citrinellus derived its name from its characteristics of being aggressive towards other species of fish. The fish can destroy plant life, which is inside the tank due to its strong set of teeth and jaws. 

Midas cichlid has pointed anal and dorsal fins that gives it a great personality. In the wild, the fish is dark brown in color, having some decoration similar to grey coloration. While in captivity, the colors of this fish can change from bright red to nearly pure white. The extremely colored species have fins and tails that have black tips. 

Other fish species have fat, orange lips while others may display black lips. In the wild, the lips of Midas cichlid are extra pronounced, but when in captivity the lips tend to be less pronounced. Up to date, no biological explanation has been rendered to elaborate on the reasons behind the lips of the fish being so small when it’s put in a tank. 

This fish species happens to grow to a massive size. When they’re in the wild, their sizes appear bigger than when they’re in captivity. In its natural habitats, the species can be as long as 15 inches. The maturity period in this fish takes about three years to attain its full size. Midas cichlid is believed to have a life span of about 12 years. However, some other species can live beyond the expected life span of 12 years, depending on the scope and type of care the fish is provided with. 

Fish Profile
Another Name: Cichlasoma citrinellum
Common name:Midas Cichlid
Synonymous Names:Red devil cichlid, Cichlasoma, Heros citrinellus, majarra rayada, and C. granadense.
Fish taxonomy:Aggressive
Common Size:24 cm
Native Habitat:Nicaragua and Costa Rica Midas
Family: Cichlidae
Latin Name:Amphilophus citrinellus

Aquarium Conditions in Caring

Caring for Cichlids is easy so long as the water in the aquarium is kept clean. Aquariums are systems that are enclosed and irrespective of their size; they all need careful maintenance. When you deal in home aquariums, usually phosphates and nitrate accumulate with time and the hardness of water increases as a result of evaporation.

Since these fish are highly sensitive to instability in pH and pollutants, you’re advised to alter about 20% – 35% of the water in the tank every week, even more, or less in respect to the stocking capacity of the tank.

When changing the water in the tank, you need to make use of a gravel cleaner to ascertain that all organic materials that could be decomposing are eliminated from the tank. Many of the adverse problems that are common with tanks that are used in keeping tropical fish include organic decomposition in the tank.

As it’s common with most fish, barred Midas Cichlid is known for producing excessive waste, and they are extremely messy. Ensuring the substrate is clean is an elementary approach when you want to maintain your fish in good condition. The maintenance schedule is largely depended on the kind of food used in feeding the fish.

The Amphilophus citrinellus is among the hugest cichlids. Consequentially, it can grow as big as beyond 18 inches when in the aquarium, therefore a tank of about 100 gallons is requisite when you want to keep two fish. When constructing the aquarium, you need an exclusively thick glass so that Midas Cichlids can’t break the aquarium as they usually characterized by getting unnecessarily aggressive.

The alkalinity of the water should be maintained below 2-23 KH
The pH of the water in the aquarium should be kept at 7 to 8 neutrality
The temperature of the water in the tank needs to be in the range of 68 to 82 degrees F
The precise hardness should be kept between 4 – 20 GH

Midas Cichlids can survive on any food provided in the aquarium like live foods, fresh vegetables, flakes, and freeze-dried foods. Live worms, as well as beef heart, are the most loved foods by the cichlids.

When designing your aquarium, you should utilize rock caves to offer hiding grounds and to minimize the fish’s aggressiveness. Provisional of plants can be optional depending on your desires. Midas Cichlids are fond of moving the decorations put in the tank.

The tank should hence be designed with a substrate that is thicker than normal at its bottom since it acts as a cushion against the rocks, when they are moved around.


Due to the aggressiveness of these fish, you aren’t advised to keep them in the company of other fish in the aquarium. The black Midas cichlid can only be kept together with other species of fish if they have grown together and they have a mutual relationship. Even if all the fish can form a company of compatibility, it is necessary that you design a huge tank and exuberant caves for providing adequate territory for every fish.


When it comes to breeding barred Midas cichlid, it’s an activity that you can easily materialize excellently, but the aggression posed by the fish can cause adverse risks. So, a vast aquarium is fundamental because, during spawning, these fish can become extra violent. Moreover, when egg guarding the fishes are seen to be more aggressive abnormally. Midas Cichlids are known for providing sufficient and adequate parental care, so you’re advised to always leave the fry in the company of their parents in the tank.

Do you consider rearing Midas Cichlids?

Focus on the factors below for an excellent experience:
They are fond of redecorating the aquarium; therefore, the danger of rocks breaking the glass is very high.
They are known to grow up to 18 inches, meaning you need to build a large aquarium.

You must prepare for a long-term commitment of attending to the fish for as long as 15 years since the fish can live for approximately 15 years.
You should not keep the fish in a community tank due to their aggressiveness because, Midas cichlid eggs are sometimes the cause of their aggression.

Fish Keeping Difficulty

As much as the Amphilophus citrinellus is an extremely hardy fish and an eager eater as well as an easy, they are not the best fit for you, especially if you are an amateur fish keeper. The fish can endure various water conditions, and it feeds on any food provided in the aquarium.

The fish need serious stringent maintenance measures and a huge tank. They rarely tolerate other fish in their vicinity. You need a vast experience if you plan to keep different species of red devils in the same tank. According to the recommendations, the red devils survive well with experienced cichlids keepers who are more familiar with the right temperaments and requirements.

Foods and Feeding

Midas cichlids are omnivorous meaning they can easily survive in all manner of flake, live, and fresh foods. To ensure an appropriate balance, this fish needs to be offered with high-quality pellet or flake food daily. When you feed your fish with high-quality spirulina-based foods, cichlid pellets, crickets, carotene, krill, earthworms, frozen bloodworms, and nightcrawlers enhanced supplements, you’re sure of an excellent growth and survival.

Older fish books, as well as other compelling sources, have recorded Midas cichlids as carnivores with the reason that they can attack and eat much other fish in their surroundings. The fishes need vegetable-oriented foods to avoid holes growing in their head disease and for ensuring a balanced diet.

You need to be extra cautious when feeding Midas Cichlids with meats from warm-blooded mammals such as chicken, red meat, beef meat, etc. Feeding these fish with such meats is essential since the meats have adequate fats and proteins with often absent in cichlid’s diet.

Consequentially, these foods can lead to blockage of the intestines and degradation of organs in the body of the Cichlids. If you realize that your cichlids enjoy eating these kinds of foods, make sure you only feed them on occasions but never take it as a dietary staple.

Aquarium Set Up

Considering the size of the Cichlid with its origin from Central America, it needs a spacious room. If you plan to have a single fish in an aquarium, you will need an aquarium with a capacity of 55 gallons. For a pair of fish 100 to 125-gallon aquarium will work well. A 200 gallons aquarium is the best when you want to deal in several huge cichlids. The necessary water condition is described as that of moderate movement followed with potential efficient filtration. If you need help with that, you can try our new calculator to estimate the primary equipment you will need for such fish.

Dual filters are the best for these fish by using a canister and sump style filter. While they are less demanding concerning water conditions, oxygen levels are paramount, and they must be kept at the right levels purposefully for ensuring there are optimum health and color.

Build a stable bottom using fine sand and numerous of hiding areas within the woods and rocks. Midas Cichlids are grievous diggers, and they aren’t friendly to plants as they consume, uproot, or shred them. You must also ensure that the rocks are sufficiently and appropriately bedded on the surface of the real glass at the bottom of the tank to keep it stable and avoid toppling.

While it is necessary to give red devils with many hiding areas as well as plants, it’s equally recommended that you provide a central area with open air for the fish to swim. Since it is widely known that these fish are more often aggressive, you are advised to ensure that any fragile sets of apparatus such as the heaters and outlets/inlets are safeguarded against the destruction that could be caused by these fish due to their aggressiveness. Some of this equipment is put on the exterior, or if placing them from the outside won’t work, you should consider positioning them on the area of objects that are sturdy than the strength of the fish.

Social Behavior

Midas Cichlids were given the name red devils as a result of their aggressiveness. They are characterized as being extremely territorial against their conspecific and appear to be very rude as well. Additionally, they are also heterospecifics more so to other species. This is the reason they are intolerant of other species. When they are in their growing stages, they can accommodate other fish only placed in big aquariums, but when they attain the maturity size, they hardly entertain the company of other fish.

The only acceptable strategy towards keeping big red devils together with other species of fish is by ensuring that you have an enormous aquarium having many hiding places, a natural tank with divisions as well as caves to enhance defensible territories. However, this isn’t effective in guaranteeing that Midas Cichlids won’t be rude to other species in the aquarium in search for additional territory and it shouldn’t make you feel convinced that you can keep the red devils together with other fish.

Sexual Differences

Concerning the sexuality of this red devil, the male one grows much bigger than the female one. Moreover, the male cichlid has a genital papilla that is protruded, while the female one has a blunt genital. When in captivity, the males will have a permanent nuchal hump that is only visible in the wild at the time breeding.


Mother protecting her eggs

Cichlids are grouped as a type of fish with various breeding habits. Nearly all Cichlids are either mouth brooders’ or substratum spawning.’ This implies that these fish are capable of either laying eggs on sections of the substratum such as flat rocks, pits dug deep in the sand, and leaves or they can take eggs as well as their fry into their mouth to safeguard them against the potential predators.

The red devil for a long time has been reproduced in captivity. This fish is an obvious spawner having a family that is patriarch-matriarch -based. Being typical spawners, cichlids like spawning on inclined substrates. The spawn exists in about 600 to 700 eggs that are transparent and amber yellow in color.

The female red devil is mandated in caring for the initial brood. The larvae usually hatch after completion of 72 hours within a temperature of 77 degrees F. After they are hatched, they begin trying free swimming after 5 to 7 days. When the young red devils are two weeks old, they begin grazing on the skin of their parents for extra food.

Another great difference is that if you have an interest in breeding cichlids, is that they exist as either monogamous or polygamous.

Monogamous Cichlids

More often, monogamous cichlids happen to pair up when they are given a chance to interact in the aquarium freely. Therefore, when you’re purchasing, you need to buy about six or more young red devils and let them grow in the same tank. Immediately they mature up and begin pairing off, you should separate them against their pairs because, during this time, many of them begin to claim territory and want to defend Midas cichlid eggs through tooth and nail.

When you live your cichlids in pairs, you’ll be subjecting them to trouble due to aggression that comes from a battered female red devil. To avoid the occurrence of this problem, most breeders construct tanks with barriers which can only accommodate the size of the female cichlid, hence providing a safe environment for the female against the male cichlid.

In the worst scenario, at least many hiding areas and perhaps a few fish for use as targets may be introduced to the pairs in the aquarium. The concept here is that the cichlids will direct their aggression to the newly introduced target fish instead of subjecting it to the female pair. The right target fish can be in the form of giant botias or danios. Similarly, the target fish should have a high adaptation of diving into the gravel, just like some loaches and eels.

Polygamous Cichlids

Polygamous cichlids exist in two broad categories, open polygamy in which females and males interact freely without interruption among themselves, and harem polygamy, whereby the male cichlids maintain a vast territory in the presence of several females for a lengthy season.

So, harem polygamy is built based on one male cichlid being in control of several spawning territories from other males accessing the protected females. Then each female that is found within a certain male’s massive territory begins claiming the actual spawning sites.

The females emerge to protect these actual areas of spawning avidly. Immediately after the spawning period, the male cichlid is prohibited against accessing the spawning locations, and the female takes full charge of the Midas cichlid eggs. This kind of cichlid is often characterized by excessive sexual dimorphism, whereby the male one is much huge and has more distinct finnage.

If you are interested in breeding polygamous red devils, you must have a large area to provide necessary space for the male red devil to vacate to immediately after spawning to protect it from being battered or killed by the female cichlid.

The fact that many of the harem polygamy red devils are dwarfs, you’ll only need an aquarium that can hold about 20 gallons and it will be enough for your fish. You can make use of overturned clay pots as spawning areas, and the idea of having plenty of plants are usually welcome although respawning indulges may uproot the plants.

The open polygamy comes with only one problem, which is that cichlids are believed to form pairs, and when they are kept in this manner, more often, the female end up being killed or battered.

To protect the female against being battered or killed, you should house your cichlids in a community circumstance with the other cichlids and stand the danger of producing hybrids. Or you can house the male cichlid together with at least four or more red devil females. This step is essential when you desire to have open polygamy because it spreads the abuse of the female across all the fish, which in turn increases the chances of survival.

For open polygamy cichlids, nearly all of them are mouth brooders, meaning their eggs and fry are carried in the mouth of the female until the time when they are of age to go free swimming. The substratum spawning red devil normally digs pits in the substrate where it will lay its eggs. In any case, the parents have a sole responsibility to protect the eggs and fry from predators up to the time they will attain free swimming tactics.

Fish Diseases and Treatment

Midas cichlids are susceptible to infections and other diseases that afflict all any other freshwater fish more so if the water is of poor oxygenation, poor quality and stale. The main problem that affects fish in home aquariums is the ich.

Fortunately, ich can be treated by elevating the tank to a temperature of about 30 degrees Celsius for 3 days. If the disease does not heal by that approach, then you may have to use copper for treating your fish after removing all any available water conditioner. There’re various copper-based fish treatments available for providing medication for ich.

When using copper for treating your fish, you need to maintain the copper in standardized levels, by abiding by the manufacturing directives. If no manufacturer recommendations are given, copper tests can be conducted to determine the appropriate levels of copper. Alternatively, you can incorporate the rise in temperature with ich medication remedy.

The most dangerous hole in the head disease is among the diseases that mostly infects large cichlids due to poor water conditions. The disease emerges as pits or cavities on the face and head. It magnifies when the fish has a deficiency of one or several vitamins including phosphorus, calcium, vitamin C and Vitamin D. Hole in the head is caused by lack of variety, poor diet, over filtration by the use of chemical media like activated carbon. Lack of partial water transformations is also believed to be among the key causes of the disease.

Hard water can also lead to the cichlids suffering from this disease, so you’re advised to use driftwood to lower the level of pH if you have hard water. Metronidazole is the remedy for treating intestinal diseases in Midas cichlids. The intestinal disease can be avoided by using heavy filtration method.

As it is common with most fish species, Midas cichlids are extremely vulnerable to parasitic infections such as worms and protozoa as well as skin flukes. Additionally, bacterial and fungal infections are serious threats. Before investing in red devils, you are encouraged to study about the prevalent tank ailments. Being familiar with the catching, signs, and finding the best treatment for them as early as possible brings a huge difference when dealing with these fish.

Before adding anything to your tank, you’re needed to take caution not infect the tank contents. Among the things that increase infection to the tank include substrate, plants, decorations, and the substrate can form a habitat for hazardous chemicals or chemicals. You should be careful and ensure to sufficiently cleanse or quarantine anything you put in your established tank so that you don’t compromise the balance.

Tank Mates

There’re very few fish that an get along with the barred Midas cichlid, of which in most cases are super-territorial, toothy and aggressive. Fish that’s placed a red devil’s tank should be super-quick, must control its level of aggression, and it must be able to maneuver through various sites of the tank than the red devils. Cichlids are undeniably best swimmers in open water, and they’re very avid when it comes to safeguarding their territorial sites.

Therefore, good tank mates for red devils should be the kind of fish that love staying at the bottom of the tank or is adapted to surviving by the sideways of the tank. Moreover, they must have the same level of aggression and size as the cichlids.

Keeping a peace-loving fish together with the cichlids will easily turn out to be the food to the cichlids. Even the quickest tank mates that can’t be preyed upon by the cichlids should be assured of constant stress by the Amphilophus citrinellus as a result of territorial aggression.

Catfish can be tankmates for cichlids. Buy the South American catfish if you have a South American red devils’ tank and African catfish for African red devils’ tank. Huge, aggressive, and speedy catfish can cope with cichlids as they can hide easily. Another significant tank mate for cichlids is the south American Plecostomus. This fish has an armor, spine, and it is a bottom eater as well as an ornery. It even dislikes its own species.

Types of Midas Cichlids

There are several types of Midas cichlids including amphilophus citrinellus, barred Midas Cichlids, black Midas Cichlids, amphilophus labiatus and cichlid amphilophus.


The Midas Cichlids are readily found both in fish stores and online. The juveniles are sold at a moderate price while the adults that are excellent brooders are rare to find and cost more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Fish Are Crossed to Produce Parrot Cichlid Fish?

There’s no definite person who knows this answer; however, the parent fish are beloved to be central American cichlids. Several combinations have been forwarded suggesting crosses from red cichlids like the Midas cichlids or red devil with convicts, Quetzal or Severum cichlids although it’s also possible for the parrot cichlids to have been emerged from the crossing of more than two fish.

Can I Combine Cichlids with Other Species of Fish?

Yes, but only with certain types of fish that are tank mate for cichlids such as the Plecostomus and catfish. These are among the few species that are compatible with the cichlids since they have almost the same characteristics.

Why Do Cichlids Prey On Each Other?

Usually, one cichlid will go after other fish, and it can even batter or killing it. More often they prey against their own species when fighting for territorial space. Cichlids also turn aggressive towards one another during parental stages.

Are cichlids edible?

Yes. Cichlids fishing is fun and provides good eating as well. In the tropical climate of South Florida, many people like catching the cichlids for food.

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