Dwarf Cichlids

The group Dwarf Cichlids is not a well-defined group of fish from a certain genus. When adding fish to this group we just look at the maximum length. The group Dwarf cichlids consists of all cichlids that stay smaller than about 10 to 12 centimeters.

Different authors and websites have different ideas about the maximum length and origin of the fish. Some only include the South American cichlids of less than 10 centimeters, others add the West African and / or the smaller Malawi cichlids.

On this website we use the following characteristics for assessing whether a species is a Dwarf Cichlid or not:

  •   All origins
  • Total length including tail smaller than 10 centimeters
  • Belonging to the Cichlidae family

Origin of Dwarf cichlids

Because the maximum length is decisive for this group, Dwarf Cichlids can come from anywhere. In South America, however, many species occur that remain somewhat smaller. The Apistogramma genus in particular has many cichlids that remain small. A combination with Corydoras is often not recommended because they do not care about any territory formed by the Dwarf Cichlids.

Many Dwarf Cichlids are also found in Africa. In West Africa, the Kribensis and related species is probably the best known.


Despite the fact that these are small cichlids, they do have the fierce character of the larger cichlids. They defend their territory, eggs or young just as much as their larger relatives. They may be Dwarf Cichlids in length, but they certainly hold their own in character!

Apistogramma elizabethae

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