Do Cichlids Have Teeth: Will They Bite You? | Aquascape Addiction

Do Cichlids Have Teeth: Will They Bite You?

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Wondering if your Cichlids have teeth and will bite you? here is what you need to know and how aggressive each type of Cichlid is.

Do Cichlids Have Teeth: Will They Bite You?

Cichlids come in many shapes, types, and sizes. Yes, these are both beautiful and popular fish, but they do have a bit of a nasty rep. People often wonder whether or not Cichlids have teeth. Well, how else would they eat?

Yes, Cichlids do of course have teeth. What kind of teeth Cichlids have will depend on the specific type of Cichlid in question. If you are worried about being bitten, there is really no big cause for concern!

Do All Types of Cichlids have Teeth?

do Cichlids bite

Yes, all Cichlid species do have teeth. However, what is important to note is that different types of Cichlids have different types of teeth. What kind of teeth Cichlids have depends on where they live, their natural environment, and their diet.

There are some types of Cichlids which have smaller rows of flatter teeth, ones designed to scrape algae off of rocks and to grind up plant matter. These types of Cichlids have a diet that is based more on algae and plants than anything else.

There are also some other types of Cichlids which are far more carnivorous by nature, or in other words, there are Cichlids which are big time hunters. These types of Cichlids have larger fang-like teeth which are made to sink into and hold onto prey.

Do Cichlids Bite?

There are some Cichlids that will bite and some that will not. This really all depends on the specific type of Cichlid in question. In the section below, we will be looking at different types of Cichlids, specifically which ones are more aggressive and which types are less aggressive.

With that being said, Cichlids can be territorial and a bit aggressive, which is one reason why not all Cichlids make for good community tank fish. On occasion, they may try to bite your fingers, although it is a fairly rare occurrence.

In all reality, these little fish are way more scared of you than you are of them, and often they will just hide.

In the cases where they do bite, it’s either out of fear or territoriality, but once again, it’s pretty rare to have a Cichlid bite an owner intentionally, but then again, it does happen from time to time.

Do Cichlid Bites Hurt?

Ok, so this is going to depend on the type of Cichlid you have, and it comes down to what we talked about in the first section. Whether or not a Cichlid bite is going to hurt will depend on the size of the fish and the type of teeth they have.

The varieties of Cichlids that have smaller teeth designed for plant eating and algae scraping generally won’t bite very hard. Their teeth are not sharp, so they won’t break the skin. The most you will feel from a Cichlid bite in this sense is a bit of pressure.

That said, the types of Cichlids that have sharp fang-like teeth for catching fish, yeah, that’s going to hurt a bit.

They have been known to draw blood from human fingers. The South American Cichlid is known for biting fingers pretty hard, often breaking the skin and drawing blood.

Will African Cichlids Bite my Hand?

Generally speaking, no, they won’t bite your hands. Unless you have a very fearful or aggressive African Cichlid, they will usually leave you be.

Cichlid Aggression Chart

Let’s now take a look at the different types of Cichlids and how aggressive they are. Let’s list off the most popular Cichlids by aggression right now.

We are going to list the 10 most popular Cichlids which people tend to have in home aquariums. They are in order from least aggressive to most aggressive.

  • Angelfish = 1/10
  • Kribensis = 2/10
  • Electric yellow = 2/10
  • Electric blue = 4/10
  • Yellow tail Acei = 4/10
  • Jewel Cichlid = 5/10
  • Red zebra = 5/10
  • Convict Cichlid = 6/10
  • Oscar = 7/10
  • Jack Dempsey = 8/10

Related: 3 reasons why your Cichlid is being aggressive.


As you can see, although Cichlids are known for being some fairly aggressive aquarium fish, especially towards other fish, they really are no threat to humans.

They don’t bite all that often, and when they do, it usually won’t hurt either. It is a good idea to get a less aggressive Cichlid, especially one that doesn’t have overly sharp teeth, as there is always a chance that you may get bit.