Cichlids are great fish that you likely want to own. If you’re looking to add some of these amazing freshwater fish to your aquarium soon, it’ll be good to get the tank set up properly.
Many enthusiasts say that it’s a good idea to add plants to tanks that contain cichlids. Plants can indeed be beneficial for a number of reasons.
What are the best plants for cichlids? Are there plants you should be sure to add to the tank?
Keep reading to learn all about the best plants for cichlid tanks. You’ll also learn about some related topics that will help you to get the best results.
Do Cichlids Like Plants?
Cichlids do like having plants in the tank. Some types of cichlids like plants more than others.
There are some types of timid cichlids that really like having hiding spots in the tank. For those cichlids, it might be more important to have plants.
The problem is that many cichlids are going to destroy the plants. Thus, keeping plants in the aquarium can be impractical if you pick the wrong ones.
Later, you’ll get important information about plants that will work well in fish tanks with cichlids. These fish can thrive in planted aquariums if you make good choices.
Can Cichlids Have Live Plants?
Yes, cichlids can indeed have live plants. However, you need to choose the right kind.
If you pick certain types of plants, the cichlids will easily destroy them. Not all plants are going to be capable of withstanding cichlids.
It truly is just about picking good plants that will work well in the tank. Pick the right kind of plants and everything will go very well.
Many say that it’s best to keep plants in cichlid tanks. You likely know that cichlids are considered to be fairly aggressive fish.
One way to mitigate aggression issues is to give the fish more hiding places. Live plants work very well to provide hiding places for cichlids.
Fish can choose to hide instead of just fighting with each other. It can be helpful for tank mates if you’re keeping cichlids in a community fish tank, too.
Do Cichlids Eat Plants?
Many types of cichlids will eat plants. There are a large number of cichlids that are herbivores that will seek out nutrient-rich plants.
It’s normal for these fish to eat plants. Omnivorous cichlids will also eat plants.
There are many popular types of aquatic plants that will get eaten by cichlids. You have to be careful which plants you choose for the aquarium or the cichlids might just eat them up.
It’s best to pick plants that the cichlids aren’t likely to eat. There are a number of great options that you’ll have available to you.
Good Live Plants for Tanks with Cichlids
So what plants can you put in the fish tank with cichlids? Below, you’ll learn about some of the best options that will work out well in the aquarium.
You can’t just put any plants in the aquarium with cichlids. If you try to do that, it’s likely that the plants will be either eaten or uprooted.
Large cichlids are known to uproot plants with weak root systems. Many types of cichlids will eat plants and kill them.
Not all plants are going to be appealing to cichlids, though. You do have options to consider.
The following ten aquatic plants should be perfectly fine to place in the fish tank with cichlids. You want to stick to recommended plants so you don’t wind up having the plants get eaten up or otherwise destroyed.
1 – Jungle Val
Jungle val is a very popular plant that many people like to put in their fish tanks. One of the best reasons to pick this plant is that the cichlids are very unlikely to eat it.
It’s likely going to survive for a long time in a fish tank with cichlids. These plants are great and will develop strong root systems fairly quickly.
They’re also capable of surviving in alkaline conditions. Since most cichlids need basic water, this is going to work out perfectly.
Caring for jungle val is always going to be easy. It won’t feel like a pain to keep this plant alive in the tank.
In fact, it will often grow to be quite tall. You’ll likely need to trim the plant on a semi-regular basis to keep it from getting too tall.
Some might find having to trim the plant to be a bit of an annoyance. It really isn’t hard to do, though.
2 – Moneywort
Moneywort is a good choice because it can grow very fast. You can plant this in your tank and it’s going to grow into a dense aquatic plant faster than you might expect.
It’s good to know that these plants have strong root systems, too. They grow strong roots fast and cichlids shouldn’t uproot them in the tank.
Cichlids might nibble on moneywort plants a little bit. Even so, it’s unlikely that they will consume too much of the plant.
Since it grows fast, damage from nibbling might be mitigated. It can also be a good option because it’s easy to care for and it thrives in the same water conditions as most cichlids.
3 – Java Fern
Java ferns make good aquatic plants for cichlid tanks. They’re excellent choices for tanks with cichlids because they have strong root systems.
Plants need strong root systems to avoid being uprooted by cichlids. This is a plant that will develop a strong root system in a short amount of time.
It doesn’t grow very fast, though. That’s one downside to this plant that you’ll just have to accept.
Luckily, this is a plant that’s easy to care for. It’s hardy and it looks nice in the tank overall.
Cichlids probably won’t eat these plants either. They generally don’t seem too interested in munching on java ferns.
4 – Anubias
Anubias plants are some of the most common ones that you’ll find being put in fish tanks. They’re also common sights in fish tanks that contain cichlids.
There are several different varieties of anubias plants that you can purchase. They look good in the aquarium and they’re also very easy to care for.
Since they’re hardy plants, they’re going to be very good for people who want to keep things simple. These plants won’t give you problems.
Of course, these plants are also unlikely to be eaten by cichlids. Cichlids should leave anubias plants alone unless they’re starving.
These plants will survive well in the basic conditions that many types of cichlids need. You’ll enjoy putting this aquatic plant in your aquarium.
5 – Hornwort
Hornwort is another great plant to put in fish tanks with cichlids. It’s good because it’s a plant that cichlids will not eat.
Cichlids don’t seem to like eating hornwort plants. It seems that they don’t enjoy the taste of these plants very much.
They should easily survive in tanks with cichlids without it being a huge problem. It helps that they’re hardy plants that can stand up to a beating.
These are versatile plants that can be used in multiple ways, too. You can float them or you can plant them in the substrate.
Some might not like that the leaves are a little messy. Even so, they’re hardy plants that make sense for cichlid tanks.
6 – Java Moss
Java moss is a popular choice that is worth your consideration as well. As usual, this is a good plant for the tank because cichlids won’t likely eat it.
It thrives in the same water parameters as cichlids. Also, it’s an easy plant to maintain due to being quite hardy.
This plant is pretty hard to kill and that makes it a perfect choice for many people. The root system of this moss is particularly strong and that helps when you’re putting it in a tank with cichlids.
You can attach java moss to the surface if you’d like to do that. If you need a good plant that will easily survive in the tank with your cichlids, going with java moss makes sense.
7 – Amazon Sword
Amazon sword is an incredibly common and popular aquatic plant. This is one that can work great when you need a strong plant that can withstand larger types of cichlids.
This is among the hardiest types of aquatic plants that you’ll find. It’s so easy to take care of this plant and its leaves will even grow back quickly.
Should the cichlids try to eat the plant, it’ll grow its leaves back fast. It has such a high regeneration rate that it’s a perfect choice for a cichlid tank.
These plants can adapt to a wide variety of water conditions, too. Amazon sword plants should work well in tanks with many different types of cichlids.
8 – Red Tiger Lotus
The red tiger lotus is a plant that you might really enjoy adding to your aquarium. You need to plant this one in the substrate so it can thrive, but you shouldn’t bury it too deeply.
This is a good plant when you have dwarf cichlids. It might not be strong enough to survive in fish tanks with larger types of cichlids.
Regardless, this is a good aquatic plant to keep in mind. It’s very easy to care for and many people enjoy the deep red color of the plant.
If you want plants that can add some aesthetic appeal to the tank, this option will fit the bill. You’ll find it to be a great plant that looks nice in your aquarium.
9 – Cryptocoryne
Cryptocoryne plants are pretty difficult to kill. You will have a good time with hardy plants that can’t be killed easily when you’re dealing with cichlids.
This plant needs to be planted directly in the substrate. It’s good at tolerating a variety of different pH balance levels, too.
If you root this plant deeply, it’ll do great in your aquarium. It’s also recommended to give this plant a bit of fertilizer to help it out.
One thing to keep in mind is that these plants don’t do well with too much light in the tank. Try to keep the light levels a bit low when you want to utilize this aquatic plant.
10 – Bucephalandra
Bucephalandra should be a good hardy plant to keep in your fish tank. The care requirements will be very similar to those of anubias plants.
Often, people put these plants directly on top of driftwood and rocks. They look really fantastic and add a lot to the charm of the aquarium.
You want to give these plants low levels of light to help them thrive. These are good plants for beginners that should do fine in cichlid tanks.
This plant grows well in many different water conditions. It gives it a versatility that makes it easy to see why it’s being mentioned here.
You now know that there are several good options when looking for plants to put in the fish tank with cichlids. The plants mentioned above should work out very nicely.
In many ways, it’ll be helpful to have live plants in the aquarium. The cichlids will appreciate the presence of plants.
You want to make sure that you buy plants that can withstand cichlids. Some types of large cichlids will uproot plants that have weak root systems.
This can be a huge problem, and that’s why it’s best to seek out plants with strong root systems. Hardy plants with good root systems have an easier time surviving in tanks with cichlids.
Since cichlids will eat plants, you need to pick options that won’t appeal to the fish. The plants mentioned above are great because fish will typically not try to eat them.
Jungle Val, amazon sword, java ferns, java moss, and many other types of plants will do nicely. You can take care of these plants easily and they’ll survive in the tank without it being an issue.
Do your best to pick the right plants that will work for your tank. You want to pick plants that can survive with the cichlids, but you also want them to look nice.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.