Dovii Cichlid: Care, Size, Tank Mates, Aggression & More

Common Name(s)Dovii Cichlid, Wolf Cichlid
Scientific NameParachromis dovii
OriginCentral America
Temperature75-82°F (24-28°C)
Size24-30 inches (61-72 cm)
Minimum Tank Size150 gallons
Food & DietCarnivorous diet
Lifespan24-30 years
Water pH6.8-7.6
Tank MatesOther large and powerful fish or no tank mates.
BreedingCave spawner
DiseaseIt may be susceptible to Ich.
Dovii Cichlid
Dovii Cichlid (Parachromis dovii)

Dovii Cichlid (Parachromis dovii), also known as the Wolf Cichlid, is a Central American Cichlid that can be found in various lakes and rivers throughout Lake Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Due to its unique colorful appearance, it is one of the most popular fish kept by a good number of people. They are true predators and are a fascinating species of cichlid. 

In this article, we will be discussing the Dovii Cichlid. Let’s start by considering some fascinating facts about the Dovii Cichlid.

Dovii Cichlid Facts

Dovii Cichlid is an interesting species of fish. Here are some facts about the Dovii Cichlid:

  • Dovii Cichlids are colorful. The male cichlids have a golden yellow color pattern mixed with a silver background tinted with several specks of purple, black, and blue. While the female cichlids are often yellow in color.
  • They are adaptable. They can live in water, either in the wild or in the aquarium. But when kept in the aquarium, they should be assigned proper care.
  • Dovii Cichlids are aggressive. These species of cichlids are known as the meanest fish you can keep in the aquarium. They are very aggressive and intelligent and can do a lot of damage to other fish. So putting them in the same aquarium tank with other hostile predators like the jaguar cichlid is not a good idea.
  • Dovii Cichlids have a long lifespan. Dovii Cichlids can live for as long as 30 years or more when given proper care.
  • Dovii Cichlids prefer no tank mates. Dovii Cichlids prefer to live in seclusion and can only come together when it’s time for mating.
  • These are big fish. Compared to other species, Dovii Cichlids grow to a very large size of 24-30 inches (61-72 cm). Males are usually bigger in size than females. 

How to Care for Dovii Cichlid

While mainly susceptible to care for, the Dovii Cichlid may not be a reasonable option for an amateur aquarist. As a general requirement, Dovii Cichlids require proper care, especially in the aquarium, to survive. To keep and care for these species of cichlids, there are some vital details about the Dovii Cichlid one has to know and put into consideration. These include:

Dovii Cichlid Size 

Dovii Cichlid is a large fish with an approximate size of 24-30 inches (61-72 cm).

In comparison, males are usually larger than females. Therefore, males are usually the ones that reach 30 inches in size.

Dovii Cichlid Tank size

You need a massive tank to successfully and suitably keep the Dovii Cichlid. The dovii is a large cichlid that is ferocious and highly territorial, so it needs a good amount of unrestricted swimming area. A tank with over 150 gallons is recommended, especially if their care is long-term. Smaller tanks make Dovii Cichlids susceptible to infections, a hole in the head, etc. These cichlid species require an exceptionally huge tank and an even larger one if you intend to keep them with a breeding pair or other fish. A tank with about 500 gallons is ideal for this purpose. You will also need a good aquarium filter, such as a canister filter.


Dovii Cichlid prefer a temperature range of 75-82°F (24-28°C). While they have been found to survive in temperatures that are both colder and warmer than this range, it is not advisable to keep them in temperatures outside of the optimal range for prolonged periods. When the fish are not placed in optimal temperatures, it can cause increased stress and decreased immunity to diseases.

Water pH 

With Dovii Cichlids, the pH of the freshwater should be between 6.8-7.6 at best. As mentioned earlier, the water temperature should also be at about 75 – 82° F (24 – 28° C). However, Dovii Cichlidis a very sturdy fish and can withstand different water parameters. Higher temperature will enhance their metabolism, thus increasing their eating rate and boosting their growth. Higher temperatures are also helpful in deterring the attack of parasites like the ich. Lower temperatures stall all aspects of the Dovii, including their immunity, rendering them more vulnerable to disease. Nonetheless, there are rumors that replacing aquarium water with a little colder water would imitate rainfall, which in the wild is an excellent time for the dovii to breed. Therefore colder water could likely trigger their spawning action.

Food and Diet

Dovii Cichlid are carnivores and relatively easy to feed since they aren’t picky eaters.

Cichlid pellets are a perfect everyday means of sustenance for these species of cichlids. Dovii Cichlids primarily consume fish, but they will also accept insects and crustaceans. A handful of specimens, however, will at first only welcome live food. Still, all dovii can be taught to accept pellets and more convenient foods. 

Providing Dovii Cichlids with live food is often highly esteemed, but doing that comes with certain disadvantages as well as most life foods can inaugurate diseases into the aquarium. It is advisable not to nurture the Dovii Cichlid entirely on goldfish feeders as these are a low-level source of nutrients and do not provide everything the fish requires to stay in good health. Live food also gives rise to the Dovii Cichlids becoming more predatory and hostile than when they are nurtured with a strict diet of dead food and pellets. Diets, however, should be adapted to contain vital nutrients. An assortment of insects, including bloodworms, crickets, earthworms, and shrimps, should be made available for the dovii. Diced meat can also be given alongside beef heart, prawn, diced fish filet, and other meaty foods.

Frozen fish is also a widely preferred way of feeding fish because it prevents diseases from being introduced into the aquarium and causing harm to the Dovii. Feed them a couple of times a day, and then have them occasionally stay without food for 2 to 3 days. Doing this will keep the quality of the water elevated over a longer period. Stay clear of fatty foods such as pork. These can be very toxic to the fish.

Dovii Cichlid Lifespan 

The lifespan of most Dovii Cichlidis known to be around 24-30 years or more if provided with extensive care. The lifespan of the dovii is dependent on various elements, like the alterations in climatic conditions and the feeding habits of the fish. These factors determine the lifespan of the dovii, adding to it or vice versa.

Dovii Cichlids Aggression 

As with most cichlids, Dovii Cichlids are highly territorial and notably aggressive in nature. Little wonder they are called wolf cichlids. These species of cichlids are particularly even more hostile when they spawn. The wolf cichlid possesses very sharp teeth, which might be used against you while you work in the tank if ever they feel backed into a corner or think your hands to be an adversary. As a result, one must be on the lookout for this fish breed, as the bite of a wolf cichlid can be incredibly severe.

Dovii Cichlid Tank Mates 

Dovii Cichlids are very hostile and predatory species. This implies that they can only be kept together with other similarly big and powerful fish species.

The Dovii Cichlid will consider anything that can fit into its jaws as food. And unless the tank is large enough, the Dovii Cichlid will eliminate anything that isn’t tough enough to prevail against it, hence the reason why a good number of people prefer to keep the Dovii Cichlid isolated in an aquarium. However, it is worth noting that Dovii Cichlids are highly intelligent species. And if you keep them secluded, you will need to supply them with recreation, not necessarily for the survival of the fish but to produce a delighted and more healthful fish. There are innumerable ways by which you can supply them with distractions. One such is to provide them with a ping-pong ball to toy with. Dovii Cichlids, especially larger ones, enjoy such distractions. 

When it comes to tank mates, not all species of fish are compatible with the Dovii Cichlids. They are mostly best kept alone or as a mated pair in a large enough tank. The dominant male will eliminate other Dovii Cichlids kept in the aquarium.

The Dovii Cichlid can only be in the same aquarium with a larger fish having the same temperament and is big enough not to be swallowed. Predator species like the red devil cichlid, the piranha, the flowerhorn cichlid, the oscar cichlid, and even snakehead fishes are incompatible with the Dovii Cichlid. If these other species of cichlid must be put in the same aquarium tank, they must be well observed. But it’s not advisable. Only the jaguar cichlid can be compatible with the Dovii Cichlid. But would require high surveillance.

Dovii Tank Setup

Dovii Cichlids are a very big species, so you need a huge tank to keep them. The tank should accommodate a good amount of open swimming area. As typically acceptable, a tank with over 150 gallons is advisable, especially if their care is long-term. Smaller tanks make Dovii Cichlids vulnerable to infections and other diseases. If you intend to breed them, a tank of about 500 gallons is ideal for this purpose. The water temperature should be about 75 – 82° F (24 – 28° C). Proper attention should also be given to water filtration. Dovii Cichlids need good water movement along with strong and efficient filtration and regular water changes. 3 big sponge filters and a couple of canister filters would be great, especially for a mating pair of these fish. Frequent water changes at least 2 to 3 times per week are advisable.

If nurturing a breeding pair, there is the probability that the female will desire lots of hiding spots. Do well to invest lots of little rocks, channels, and bogwood to dig under, along with sandy or fine rock substrate. Place wide heavy rocks on the glass, not on the substrate. Dovii Cichlids dig under anything, and tumbling rocks can break the glass aquarium and scrape the acrylic tank. Glue together your preferred rock arrangements to prevent the wolf Cichlid from causing havoc to a well-positioned rock tower. Just endeavor to leave some stones or pebbles and stuff for them to move. Decorating with tough plants is also reasonable, but watch out for the growth of algae. Some flat boulders could also be added for the female cichlid to lay eggs on.

Dovii Cichlid Breeding

The Dovii Cichlid rarely breeds in aquariums. But with the appropriate arrangement, it is not a difficult task. The greatest difficulty to overcome with the dovii is the aggressive attacks between the couplings and obtaining a mating pair that fits well together. Dovii Cichlids are naturally easy to mate with. The female lays her eggs on a smooth surface but can sometimes choose a cave as their breeding spot. The female dovii prefers to find a calm space with some cover for their spawning. 

A female can lay up to 1500 eggs that hatch after five days and are safe to swim after a few days. A baby dovii is called a fry. Though still little, they are still hostile, as larger fry otherwise will eat smaller ones. To have as many as possible survive, one needs to sort the fry by size. The fry grows fast and can be fed with recently hatched brine shrimps. 

Dovii Cichlids are an intriguing and colorful species of fish to keep. If you are interested in keeping these species of cichlid, undoubtedly, the information provided in this article would greatly help you. If you already keep these wondrous fishes, tell us your experience with the Dovii Cichlids in the comment section below. 

Dovii Cichlid Care Guide (Wolf Cichlid)

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