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African Leaf Fish Tank Mates (10 Perfect Matches For Them)

When you choose African leaf fish tank mates, you should be more careful because this fish species has unique and exceptional behaviors. But you have many options. The best tankmate not only comfort your fish life but also add more color and value to your fish tank. Because diversification is better than uniformity. Find out the best one!

amazon leaf fish tank mates

Characters For Good African Leaf Fish Tank Mates

Mainly tank mate can be defined as a good friend for your fish because they will share the same tank as a home. Therefore, as a tank mate for your freshwater fish, you should choose a species that can live with your fish without any stress and issue. Thus, when you select a tank mate, you should be highly aware of both fish species. Especially when you select tank mates for aggressive and large predatory fish species like your African leaf fish.

However, if you want to find a friend for your African leaf fish, it is pretty difficult. But not impossible. Anyhow, the fish species that will live with your African leaf fish should qualify with some characteristics. First of all, you should consider the required water conditions of the fish species. And the ability to live in the same water conditions as African leaf fish. The main water parameters that African leaf fish can survive are 6.0-6.5 pH, 79-880F, and 1-10 dGH. 

African leaf fish is not aggressive. But some misunderstand as African leaf fish is aggressive because of the tendency to eat small fish.  So, you can go with non-aggressive fish species. However, African leaf fish is not a very innocent fish species. Because of that, do not try to keep other aggressive fish species like most cichlids because it can be caused to put both species in danger. Thus many aggressive fish species fight until they die. Consequently, it will create a battlefield, not a beautiful view for the mind. 

African leaf fish is a predators. They tend to catch fish species that are fit with their mouth. Also, they can grow up to about 8 inches in length. Therefore, do not keep small fish species with your African leaf fish. Definitely, African leaf fish is not recommended for community tanks. The fish species,  large and peaceful, are ideal for African leaf fish tanks. Always try to keep them with fish species. It is better to do not keep them with snails and shrimps. 

Generally, African leaf fish have very uncommon behaviors, but they are not much active. Similarly, they are not very colorful and resemble a dead leaf. Because of that, my recommendation is, that it is better to choose more colorful tankmates for your African leaf fish because it will help to enhance the stunning look of your tank. In addition to that, African leaf fish do not consume detritus or algae within the tank. So, it is better to use a fish species that clean up leftover food or eat algae as tank mate of African leaf fish.

Ten African Leaf Fish Tank Mates

Common Plecostomus

Common Plecostomus or pleco is a group of armored catfish. Also, they belong to the family Loricariidae. Pleco is a good tank mate for your African leaf fish because pleco can live in the same water conditions as African leaf fish and they prefer submerged vegetation. Moreover, pleco is a fairly hardy fish species.

They can live in freshwater with a temperature of 72 0 F -86 0 F and 6.5-7.5 pH. Further, they are peaceful fish species, but they are potentially semi-aggressive. However, it is not a harm to African leaf fish.  Also, plecos are large enough to protect themselves from African leaf fish.  On the other hand, the added advantage is that the pleco helps to keep your tank clean. 

Peacock Cichlid

Peacock cichlid is a most peaceful member of the cichlid family. So, peacock cichlid has the ability to be a good friend for your African leaf fish. This bottom-dweller is semi-aggressive. It means that the peacock cichlids are territorial. But they do not make trouble until you give enough space to live and plenty of hiding spots. On the other hand, they have the ability to enhance the beauty of the tank by their stunning colors, red, blue, yellow, gold, purple, and orange. 

Read More: 8 Non Aggressive Cichlids for Community Tank And Care

Blood Parrot

A blood parrot is another semi-aggressive one in the cichlid family. As African leaf fish, they also cannot rear in community tanks with small fish species. Because blood parrot also tends to eat small fish species. So, are not these two species compatible? Why not? You can keep blood parrot and African leaf fish in the same tank. 

However, do not misunderstand the word semi-aggressive. Actually, they are peaceful and friendly, but blood parrots are quickly stressed due to the behaviors of other aggressive fish species. Therefore, like African leaf fish, it is better to avoid aggressive fish species from blood parrots. Basically, the fundamental factor is that blood parrots also can live in preferable water conditions of African leaf fish. 

Read More: Do Freshwater Parrotfish Eat Plants?| With Parrot Fish Feeding Behaviour|

Bronze Cory Cats

Bronze Cory catfish is one of small one of the catfish family, and they are primarily suitable for a community tank. And also, this fish is schooling fish and keeping them as a group. However, at once, you have to add at least 5 members to the same tank. However, when considering our topic, can bronze cory catfish keep African leaf fish in the same tank? The answer depends. Some hobbyists’ opinion is yes. But on the other hand, some rejected it. 

However, according to the size of bronze cory catfish, there is a risk. Because African leaf fish has a larger mouth to suck their prey. So, it totally depends on the size of the bronze cory catfish. It is not better to keep very young bronze cory catfish with an African leaf fish tank. However, if you like to keep bronze cory catfish with African leaf fish, it is better to closely watch them. 


This beautiful fish is a good tank mate for your African leaf fish. But if you wish to keep more male gourami, make sure your tank has enough space. Because male gouramis are typically aggressive with each other. If not, always try to rear one male gourami in a tank. However, there is no issue with female fish; they tolerate others. However, gourami is a beautiful addition to your African leaf fish tank. 

Read More: Female Honey Gourami | 9 Fascinating Facts You Must Know |

Silver Dollar 

Silver dollar fish has a very unique and appealing appearance. This fish species has gentle nature, and they want to mind their own business. Therefore they can consider as good tank mates. So, your African leaf fish has more opportunities to live freely and peacefully with silver dollars. However, if you wish to rear silver dollars in your tank, it is better to have a sturdy tank hood because they are top dwellers. 

Bala Shark

Bala shark is also a great addition to your African leaf tank. But you should have to keep at least 4 fish, but 6 is ideal. Because they are shooling fish species in the wild. If you try to keep Bala sharks individually, they can be stressed. So, it is derived that you need enough space to keep all your fish species comfortably. In addition to that, the Bala shark also loves to eat live food. Therefore you should highly care about the diet in their mealtime. 

Ram Cichlids

Ram cichlid belongs to the dwarf cichlid group. This is one of the tiny cichlid species. Similarly, ram cichlids are territorial but peaceful than their large cousins. It means that you should provide enough space for male fish because the male needs a territory of their own. However, in general, they are small in size comparatively. Because of that, ram cichlids are not fit for your African leaf fish. 

Kribensis Cichlids

This amazing fish species is also a fun addition to your African leaf fish tank. The only thing that you have to be worried about is the territorial issue of the male. However, it is not much complicated if you rear one male with enough space. But if you rear more males, similarly, you should have kept more female fish than males. 

Firemouth Cichlid

Firemouth fish is a peaceful tankmate for your African leaf fish, but they are territorial. Further, this fish species is not schooling. They love to live in their separate territory. So, enough space is the fundamental factor in their tank. 

Are African Leaf Fish Aggressive?

It is not fair to categorize the African leaf fish as aggressive fish.  They are not aggressive at all, but many people misunderstand that African leaf fish is super aggressive. Basically, they will show aggressive behaviors when they get nervous. So, they can keep many peaceful large fish species but not with small fish species. If you keep tiny fish species with them, definitely, you have to say goodbye to your tiny fish. Further, the most important thing is, always try to give enough space to all your fish to live happily, surely it will enhance their friendly nature. 

African Leaf Fish Tank Size

If you want to keep an African leaf fish, you should have at least a 30 gallons tank. But always try to go for a large tank with plenty of hiding spots. Also, large live plants give a supper-free feeling to your fish. 

How Long Do African Leaf Fish Live

Generally, African leaf fish has the ability to live around 10 years. But this highly depends on your care, their environment, and the foods. They prefer to live in environments that mimic their natural habitat. If you care for them properly and your fish has the fortunate to live, sometimes your African leaf fish will break this record. 

How Big Do African Leaf Fish Get

When African leaf fish fully mature, they can reach about 6 to 8 inches in length. 

Preferred Tank Conditions

Mainly African leaf fish is preferred to soft and acidic water. Therefore, maintain a 6 to 6.5 pH level and hardness level of the water at 1 to 10 dGH. Further, their preferred temperature level is ranging in between 79 to 88 Fahrenheit. When considering the filter system, you should go with the filter that has the power to deal with the bioload and not create a strong current. Also, African leaf fish like to live in an environment with dim lighting conditions. 


African leaf fish is a challenging one for many hobbyists. They are looking aggressive but not at all. However, they do not prefer to share their home with almost all the species. Simply, large and peaceful fish species can live with them without any issue. Now you are well aware of the many types of fish that can be raised with African leaf fish. So, do not worry anymore! Accept the challenge. 

Credit to : Central Florida Aquarium Society – CFLAS
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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.