Red Devil Fish

Red Devil Fish

Red Devil Fish is a beautiful, fascinating, and interesting freshwater fish with a unique appearance. They are aggressive in nature with an average size of 13-inch. Its demand becomes high with time due to its stunning features that make them different from other fish. It adds sparkle, excitement, color, and fun to your fish tank.

Red Devil Fish

The red devil fish contains all characteristics similar to other fish, but some attributes make them different. In this article, we have added everything about their diet, care, breeding, tank size, and water requirements.

Scientific and other names

The scientific name of the red devil fish is the Amphilophus labiatus. They have several other synonyms and a common name, like Cichlasoma labiatum, red devil cichlid, Herichthys labiatus, Amphilophus froebelii, Heros erythraeus, Heros lobochilus, and Cichlasoma dorsatum. 

Red Devil Fish Profile

Attributes Red Devil Cichlid
Scientific Name Amphilophus labiatus
Other Names Cichlasoma labiatum, red devil cichlid
Natural Habitat Central America (Lake Nicaragua, Lake Managua)
Size 12-16 inches, average size: 13 inch
Lifespan 9-11 years
Care Level Intermediate to hard
Breeding Level Easy to moderate
Tank Size 55 gallons for single fish
Temperature 75°F-79°F
pH 6.5-7.5
Hardness 6-25 dGH
Nitrites 0
Nitrates <50 ppm
Ammonia 0
Food Group Omnivorous
Tank Mates Female red devil Cichlid
Predator Freshwater Bull shark
Colors Brown, red, white, yellow, pink
Salient Features Thick lips, slender body, pointed head, shorter fins, large teeth.

Why is it called the red devil fish?

The name red devil indicates these are aggressive in nature, and they can ruin anything which comes into their teeth. Their name does not come from their shape, but it is due to their behavior and red color.

Origin and classification

The origin of red devil fish is the Great Lake Nicaragua and the Lake of Managua Lake Xiaolu that is native to Central America.

Red devil belongs to the Cichlasoma genus and Cichlidae family. It has a freshwater species present in America, South Asia, and Africa consists of approximately 1300 fish species.  


These red devil fish are energetic, which shows their frightening appearance. It contains numerous scales in which dorsal fins and other anal fins have pointed end, and these are distinct like a swept appearance.

Their color shades may vary like brown, red, white, yellow, pink, and some contain vibrant colors that increase the attraction toward many aquarists.

Some cross hybrid species also have white colors. The fish varieties have spots on their skin of multiple colors variation, tail and fins points are blackish.

Its uniqueness comes from its thick lips shape having low captivity compare to the wild red devil fish. Their lips color also varies like mostly oranges and black color. 

Other salient features are a slender body, pointed head, and shorter fins. They contain large teeth, and strong jaws make them an excellent natural predator increase the prey’s grip and tear them. 

The natural habitat

The natural source of the red devil fish habitat is the freshwater, which native to America (lake Nicaragua, lake Managua).

They introduce in areas that match their climatic requirements like Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Singapore, and Australia (Queensland). Their habitat is the lakes, rarely entering rivers and swamps.

These areas are full of plants, trees, and have vegetation surrounding them gives protection to the fish species and becomes the food source for them. 

They are known as benthopelagic that means they like to dwell in the bottom/depth of the water body where they are living.

It is also available in the USA to raise as aquarium pets. Arizona Aquatic Gardens is one example of a store where Red devil cichlid breeds.


Red devilfish are freshwater organisms with high life expectancy. The interesting fact about your red devil fish is that they are long-lived depending upon their characteristics. They live approximately 9 to11 years if kept with proper care. In the wild, they can live longer.


The average size of red devil fish is about 13 inches. When these red devils grow up, their size is around 10 to 15 inches range according to the length and depending upon the fish species and age.

These freshwater male fish are large as compared to the females. Their proper diet and the fish tank habitat play a vital role in their size determination. However, they can perform all adult fish functions like breeding when they grow up of 6 inches.  

Can red devil fish live with other fish?

Red Devil Cichlids are aggressive and need to keep alone. The only safe practice is to keep them with their females.

However, in their natural habitat, they can live in large shoals because of plenty of space and food in lakes. 


The best thing about your fish is that they are omnivores, predators, eat crustacean and plankton species besides the human perception of carnivores because of their aggressive nature.

They eat everything entirely which you provide them with proper nourishment. In their natural habitat, they can eat the best diet.

You can feed them with a suitable feast of dry and live food, flakes and nutrients enriched pellets are also a good source of their diet.

These are also the best predators, so they like to eat crickets, spirulina, krill, insects, larvae, algae, earthworms, many other bottom-dwelling, aquatic, eatable organisms, and place diversity in their diet world.

You provide them a diet that fulfills their nutritional requirements like minerals, vitamins, and fibers. Different research studies show that the best diet of these devils is other small fish.

Therefore, socio-economic problems occur for aquarists in areas with enormous populations of these fish as the number of some other fish reduces.

Pellets and freeze-dried flakes, and meat in the correct form are necessary to keep them healthy and energetic and essential for their growth and size. 

These red devil fish of their aggressive nature attack other fish and eat them also need vegetables, fruits, and plants to optimize their health and energy and prevent them from diseases and enhance their life expectancy.

A portion of good food with nutrients rich includes chicken, carrots, spirulina, bloodworms, apples, shrimp, and flakes.  

How much and how often to feed?

They are larger than the other aquarium fish, so they eat more. You can provide them the best diet 2 to 3 times daily or frequently to complete their nutritional requirements.

If you feed them often, the uneaten food settles down in the bottom, which should remove immediately. If these remnants do not move out from the bottom of the tank, it affects your aquarium water quality.

The suitable dosage and the food combination are also the best sources for your fish to make them ready for breeding conditions. You can feed your red devil fish the proper diet with suitable frequency and dosage as per instruction.

Red Devil Fish Breeding

Red devil fish are easy to breed and frequently reproduce in aquatic gardens or fish hatcheries. In their natural habitat, spawning procedure in which females lay down eggs at some plane or on a rock’s and hard wooden surface logs.

You should provide a spawning plate in your aquarium for safe laying and collecting eggs. The number of eggs can reach 1000.

Fry starts to come out of the eggs after three days in the presence of a favorable temperature of 77°F. Both male and female take part in the protection and caring process of their eggs. Larvae begin swimming within two weeks.

They should feed with brine shrimp, freeze-dried bloodworms, and crushed pellets of good quality. It is a safe practice to move the fry to a separate tank for their safety.

You should feed the fry 3 times a day and change about half of the tank water every day with that similar parameters.

Suitable conditions for breeding are the presence of a Red devil cichlid couple and feasible temperature.

Cost of adopting red devil fish as a pet

You can buy the young fish in the price range of $12 to $15.

The aggressive nature of these goons can increase the cost in terms of increased tank maintenance.

Moreover, high food requirements will also reflect the escalates overall price of keeping this fish as a pet. 

Behavioral characteristics

Red devil fish, as its name depicts, is a very agile and furious creature. Their aggressive and predatory nature makes them unsociable.

They like digging in the tank substrate and around rocks and plants. Therefore they should tightly fix to avoid toppling.

They need a lot of open space for them to swim freely. Therefore, plenty of free space in the tank is mandatory to keep them relaxed and happy. 

They can eliminate other peaceful and docile small fish either by killing them or stressing them out. 

Water quality requirements

These are freshwater dwellers and need optimal water quality in the aquarium to match their climatic conditions.

It will improve the average lifespan of this fish. Failing to meet the acceptable water quality parameters can result in diseases, slow growth, and increased aggressive behavior.

Feasible water conditions are a temperature in the range of 75°F-79°F and a pH value of 6.5-7.5. General water hardness in the 6-25 dGH range is a measure of calcium, magnesium, and other ions.

This parameter can control by using reverse osmosis or demineralized treated water in the tank. Other parameters like ammonia and nitrite level should be zero.

It can achieve regular water change, optimal tank size, good filtration, and waste food free tank by frequent cleaning. The general rule is to replace 40% of the tank water after a week.

It requires high oxygen levels in the tank for their health and drizzling colors. For this purpose, use aquarium bubblers or air stones to fulfill the oxygen requirement.

Make it a habit to change them after every three months to ensure their functionality and suitable water quality in the tank.

It is a safe practice at which, avoid plantation as fish can damage it during digging and increase waste in the tank.

The addition of a carbon filter is essential to keep the water free of harmful chemicals and minerals. Clean the filters every week and replace the filtration media after each month to ensure a feasible tank environment. 

Aquarium size requirements

Amphilophus labiatus is a large and agile fish and needs plenty of room to move freely. The minimum aquarium size requirement is 45 inches in length and having 55 gallons of water capacity for a single individual.

Size requirement increases to 125 gallons for a pair that is more than two times. It has their aggressive nature to have plenty of room to swim for each individual to ensure a peaceful tank environment. 

The tank should make durable, thick glass with properly sealed corners to withstand any shocks due to fish colliding with the tank walls. Use sand substrate instead of gravel to assist them in digging.

Avoid plantation in the tank as shred or topple it during digging or in any act of aggression. Install rocks and wooden logs with the lateral tank side to provide playing and hiding places for the fish.

The central area of the aquarium should open and free to have plenty of space for swimming. All the accessories like rocks, wooden logs, filters, airstones tightly fix the tank glass surface that prevents overturn issues if the fish lodge or bites any piece of equipment it also prevent from it.

These fish do not have any requirement of high water current and bright lighting. Therefore, you observe the usual water movement, and moderate lighting in the room is sufficient to keep them in a relaxed mood.

They are more aggressive and difficult to handle if the conditions are not safe. You have to maintain the water parameters like the temperature, pH, ammonia, and other content. You remove the excess wastes from the aquarium water so that water quality stable with proper care.

Tankmates of red devil fish

Red devil fish are very aggressive, and other small herbivorous fish are their favorite diet. Therefore, they should keep with their species or other aggressive species like eels, plecos, and loaches.

It is an excellent practice to keep them alone or with their conspecific species to avoid agitation and financial loss. You avoid placing the calm and peaceful fish in the tank.

Fish that can not live with red devil fish

A small and peaceful temperament fish like goldfish and rainbow fish avoids. It should not place with these red devil goons, as they will stress or kill those innocents and cause heavy financial loss.

Predators of red devilfish

The only thing that can threaten the A. Labiatus is the freshwater bull shark. It has the same natural habitat as lake Nicaragua.

They are carnivorous like other sharks and like to feast on any meaty creature that comes in their way.

Red devil Cichlids hide from their predators in rocks or wooden logs in the water bodies bottom to save themselves.

Prey of Red Devil Fish

These are excellent predators and like to eat other small herbivore fish. They introduce in freshwater lakes in few areas like Singapore, Florida, and Hawaii.

Therefore, you have to keep the small fish with the red devil in the aquarium will have the ultimate result of killing those innocents and heavy financial loss.


Red Devil Cichlids are prone to various diseases like any other living organism. Some of the common disorders are Iching, Head in the Hole, and other skin infections.

The cause of their sickness is improper water and food quality. It is a safe practice to thoroughly wash any vegetable, fruits, or other live food items and check for the presence of any parasites or pathogens. 

Another common disease is swim bladder disease. Its possible causes are physical injury or poor dietary conditions. To treat the disease, look for the reason and care for it according to it.

Physical injuries require medication and treatment from an expert veterinarian, while a nutritional deficiency can resolve by proper diet. 

The cotton wool disease affects your fish in case of fungal infection and improper water quality. There are some common causes left food pieces and organic debris in the tank for a longer duration.

Its symptoms are white blotches on the head and fins of the fish. Its treatment includes the use of antifungal medication and salt baths.

Two of the other common diseases for aquarium Cichlid are Tuberculosis and Gill Flukes. The first one is contagious, and an infected individual should immediately move to an isolated place.

It will remain in good shape and health as far as you maintain water quality parameters, tank cleanliness, and feasible stocking conditions in the aquarium.

Most diseases grow due to overstress, rotten food, and other pathogens containing food items in the tank. After that, seek advice from an expert and treat them as per prescribed instructions.

Pro tips to take care of the red devil fish

● You should keep Red Devil Cichlid as a pet if you have enough finances to afford a larger water tank and fulfill other water and dietary requirements.

● Make it a practice to partial change of tank water, cleanliness, and filter cleaning every week.

● You do not leave the waste food in the tank for more than 24 hours to avoid the growth of fungus and organic matter in the tank.

● Avoid placing the fish tank in excessive sunlight to protect from the uncontrolled algal spread. 

● Keep the Red devil alone or with its female mate in the larger tank.

● Do not place plantation and gravel substrate in the aquarium as it can damage the fish during digging.

● Avoid feeding the fish with feeder goldfish as they contain plenty of diseases.

● Offer a balanced diet containing vegetables, fruits, and other live food items, as well as flakes and pellets available at stores despite being the reputation of a predator.

● In any disease symptoms case, quarantine the sick fish to a separate tank and consult some professional for proper treatment.

● Young fish is not aggressive as adult ones. Therefore, you can keep other less ferocious fish with them up to 2-3 years of age.


In this article, we have covered aspects of keeping and take care of Red Devil Cichlid as a pet. It is pretty tough for the beginner to take caution to fulfill all the requirements to rear this fish.

However, any adventurous hobbyist can give it a try and enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of this sizzling fish. 

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