Do Cichlids Like Current, And Should You Give Them Some?

Last Updated on April 11, 2022 by cmoarz

Want to make your tank as comfortable for your Cichlids as possible? Then you might be wondering if they need current in the tank. In fact, Do Cichlids like current at all? Is it something that’s necessary inside a Cichlid tank?

The answer is kind of complicated, so bear with me!

Do You Need Current In a Cichlid Tank?

This answer isn’t as straightforward as yes or no, It’s a bit more complicated than that.

The natural habitat of an African cichlid is one of a calm lake or river water. Mostly large freshwater lakes such as Lake Tanganyika, Victoria, Malawi, and Edward.

These great African Lakes don’t usually have a ton of current so it’s not something they’ve grown accustomed to, however, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any current at all in your aquarium.

Surface agitation is of the utmost importance to a Cichlid. As is a slight current due to their inability to really swim fast and far because of their confinement to an aquarium, the exercise is good for them.

But too much current is definitely a no-go.

By placing a powerhead pointed at the front or back glass, you can achieve both surface agitation and enough current to make your Cichlids happy, but not too much to stress them out.

This gives them the ability to swim against the current and to ‘slide’ down the current in a playful way, but also gives them the opportunity to get away from the current when they’ve had enough.

So to sum it up, Do Cichlids like current? Yes to a certain extent. It’s important to provide a section of the tank with a bit of current but also a place for these rockfish to escape the current when they no longer wish to be present in it.

Should I Put a WaveMaker in My Cichlid Tank?

A wavemaker should be ok as long as it’s not providing too much current. As mentioned before, enough current to make your Cichlids happy but not too much that they’re uncomfortable.

If you do decide to add a wave machine, You will notice your Cichlids will love to play in the top current and waves, However, it’s important you also give them a place where they can relax and rest with no current at all.

If you don’t provide a place where there is no current, your Cichlids will become stressed by the constant flow.

So to sum it up again, do cichlids like wavemakers in their tank? Yes but only when it’s not too much or too strong of a current, and they have a place they can go to escape it.

Got fish problems? Check out this article about fish swimming at the top of the tank!


Owner of and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!