Most Aggressive cichlids Top 15

pckts

Gambusia
MFK Member
Oct 29, 2008
598
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long beach Cali
And then you bump into little 4 inch grammodes giving an @** whooping to larger cichlids in a huge tank (for it's puny size).
[video=youtube;3R9WtJgnxoY]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3R9WtJgnxoY[/video]

owner thinks it's a dovii lol!

Typical Grammode hit n run tactics.
They are actually more equipped to take on larger fish cause of their fighting style, probably adapted to that since they are smaller cichlids. Mine had problems with istlantum of similar size but always bullied larger fish.
 

pckts

Gambusia
MFK Member
Oct 29, 2008
598
7
18
long beach Cali
I'm aware every cichlid is different and they have their very own personality, but I'm making this from personal experience. Feel free to share your views! I know there are a lot of topics on it, but none of a list that came from me :p, this is an interesting but subjective topic that get's discussed a lot! We love fish with attitudes

Let me know what you think, I've been keeping cichlids for 12 years now. You gotta love em' :)

Here's the list! I know I mentioned some african cichlids in there, but majority are CA/SA so I'll post it under here!

Top 15 Most Aggressive Cichlids (CA/SA/WA)


1: Parachromis dovii- The famous wolf cichlid. Absolutely no other cichlid can come close to this brute. Built like a tank and thirsty for blood, this beast will eliminate all other tankmates like it was some walk in a park.

2: Hemichromis fasciatus- Banded jewelfish. I can only describe this fish in two words, ‘’HOLY SH**’’. They might lack in size, but I’ve seen little 4 inch specimens run a tank with Dovii, Red Devil, and Buttikoferi that were TWICE it’s size. It was ludicrous, I couldn’t believe my eyes until I purchased one, I’d put this fish as #1 if the dovii wasn’t built like a machine.

3: Nandopsis haitiensis- The Black Nasty cichlid. Although both sex of this species are nasty, it’s the females that deserve the reputation and it’s the females that can go completely “Black”-Nasty with color. The name itself is enough to warn you before bringing black hell into your home.

4: Nandopsis grammodes- Mini Dovii cichlid. This contender would get #3, but it lacks growth. They might grow extremely slow, yet that doesn’t slow them down from battering the living hell out of their tankmates. Grammodes are the most impressive cichlids when it comes to pure persistence when fighting!

5: Parachromis motaguense- Motaguense cichlid. The Dovii’s younger cousin, I’m serious. From my experience, they’re probably the most fierce medium sized cichlid. Fangs, intelligence, and courage is what I call a born monster.

6: Amphilophus labiatus- The famous Red Devil cichlid. I’ve seen some red devils make even the cichlids above their slave. Red Devil’s have a heart of a tiger’s. Still to this day, my all time favorite cichlid. Full of personality, a true wet pet.

7: Tilapia buttikoferi- Hornet cichlid. Buttikoferi are very different, coming from Africa and being primarily a herbivore, unlike the cichlids from CA/SA. They’re not known for lip-locking, but instead at full force, they shove or slam their enemies into anything around. Buttikoferi use the surrounding to their advantage. They are known to take on and beat Doviis and Red Devils!

8: Nandopsis beani- Green Guapote cichlid. Beani cichlids are somewhat overrated with aggression, BUT are certainly not soft. They despise other beani with a passion, true hatred for their very own race lol. Downside is they’re susceptible to bloat, any moderate levels of stress and they’re gone.


9: Caqeutaia umbriferus- The famous Umbee cichlid. A MASSIVE blue freckled monster! The entire hobby are addicted to these gems. Similar to a dovii not nearly as tenacious though. Umbee’s are capable of dominating just about anything, they rarely kill, but can be rough at times.

10: Nandopsis istlanum- Istlanum cichlid. It’s all a draw with this species! Some Istlanum can be passive, while others are nuts. Still a powerful cichlid that resembles an umbee, many people call it a “mini umbee”.

11: Amphilophus festae- Red Terror cichlid or Festae. By far the most gorgeous cichlid species! Females are stunning roses, the males are electric gold/green. Festae might be beautiful, but don’t let them fool you. Their attitudes can be overwhelming.

12: Parachromis managuense- The famous Jaguar cichlid. Jaguar cichlids are well known for being highly territorial, they love their turf. Jaguar’s are actually pretty outgoing when properly housed, since they can achieve great size. Jag’s will hold their own nonetheless.

13: Amphilophus trimaculatus- Trimac cichlid. Trimacs are strong like an ox, can hold off anything even a dovii. I had a trimac that outlived a dovii that murdered everything but him! The dovii tried and tried, yet nothing was too much for the trimac. Hardiest cichlid EVER!

14: Nandopsis salvini- Salvini cichlid. Another beauty like the festae, some say it’s even prettier! Salvini are rather small, but can fend off cichlids twice their size. Easily the most aggressive small CA cichlid.

15: Nandopsis tetracanthus- Cuban cichlid. I like to call it mini haitiensis, similar in color and ferocity. It was hard to decide which was nastier, salvini or cuban. But I’ve seen more peaceful cubans than salvini.
I think you have Beanii way to low and Istlantum could arguably be right there with grammode IMO
 

RockyMountainCichlids

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Feb 3, 2015
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I think you have Beanii way to low and Istlantum could arguably be right there with grammode IMO
Although, the nastiest istlanum I've witnessed was just as crazy as a grammodes... I have seen some peaceful istlanum and not a single peaceful grammodes! Even the least aggressive female grammodes I had was causing problems in a community tank against convicts.

The bigger the grammodes get, the scarier. Istlanum tend to get a bit chunky once they reach a certain size, kind of like Midas cichlids.

Grammodes are well-made, thin agile body, large powerful mouth, and a very intelligent fish. Like you mentioned, they have a bizarre fighting technique that subdues much larger fish! Many say the more shy the cichlid is, they often are much nastier in personality.

A neat little video I found a while back, this dominant male grammodes (in a overcrowded tank) is holding off a istlanum pair!
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkvvBS5-7Uk

And an interesting quarrel between a Grammodes and a Bartoni. This individual grammodes is surely different from what you said.
[video=youtube;YNKufcuYfPQ]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNKufcuYfPQ[/video]
 

RockyMountainCichlids

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Feb 3, 2015
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Colorado
Just for you Haitiensis fans!

This is a male haitiensis relentlessly chasing some salvini cichlids (dithers)

[video=youtube;AAHVa2Pyns0]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAHVa2Pyns0[/video]
 

Cyberman

Aimara
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Aug 14, 2011
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(1) WC Labiatus - my male and fight of a large pair of spawning Festae
(2) Beani
(3) Istlanum - my male annihilated a large male mides and a festae - totally fearless all out fighter
(4) Dovii - heavily armed killer
(5) Umbee
(6) Neet - Pound for pound the most aggressive cichlid but it's small size puts it at a disadvantage.
(7) Grammodes
(8) Trimac
(9) Haitiensis
(10) Festae
(11) Midas
(12) Banded Jewel
(13) Convict
(14) Cutteri
(15) Salvini
 

RockyMountainCichlids

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Feb 3, 2015
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Colorado
(1) WC Labiatus - my male and fight of a large pair of spawning Festae
(2) Beani
(3) Istlanum - my male annihilated a large male mides and a festae - totally fearless all out fighter
(4) Dovii - heavily armed killer
(5) Umbee
(6) Neet - Pound for pound the most aggressive cichlid but it's small size puts it at a disadvantage.
(7) Grammodes
(8) Trimac
(9) Haitiensis
(10) Festae
(11) Midas
(12) Banded Jewel
(13) Convict
(14) Cutteri
(15) Salvini
Interesting list, I have also seen some outrageously mean Red Devils.

What kind of experiences have you had with Beani and Haitiensis?
 

Cichlidfever

Plecostomus
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Aug 15, 2005
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I like that list RockyMountainCichlids & video you have to support it. Although we know that there is always different circumstances that could change that list, I think in general, you list is valid. I have owned every Cichlid that you have mentioned at some point of my cichlid keeping, in my experience I could change some of the order, but your list is in the ball park...

Grammodes & 5 Spot Jewels are Maniacts, just flat out crazy... Neets are crazy to... In my opinion it is hard to rate Haitiensis or Beani, because the are susceptible to bloat. Butukufri can be crazy to... A mature Umbee can be a killer as well... Of course we all know what a matue Dovii can do.
 
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