I have owned 2 reds now for about 1.5 years. The larger male is about 20-22 cm long. His temperament was a problem in the beginning. However, I have trained him not to kill with several different methods such as rearranging the tank (taking away his cave) and chasing him around the tank with the net when he's too mean to his tank mates. He now tollerates their presence in HIS tank, as long as they never challenge him. If thet do, they're toast. The other red is about 15 cm long and he spends the majority of his time with his face in the corner of the tank. The dominant male picks on him a lot, but he's a very tough fish. Other occupants include a green terror, 5 africans, 1 dempsey, 1 firemouth, a large pleco, and believe it or not an albino tiger oscar (everyone I asked told me would not survive). I believe these highly aggressive and territorial fish can be trained to live with others provided you: 1) Keep him well fed (cichlid pellets are very well liked as well as frozen brine and bloodworms); 2) Completely change the tank setup whenever you add new fish; 3) Most important choose your tankmates very carefully, you want fish that are tough and will stand up for themselves, but will yield to the stronger more aggressive red devil after the first confrontation. I usually look for the most aggressive fish in the tank when choosing tank mates for my reds. I love these fish and would recommend to anyone! One more word of caution, they do love to dig and if you have natural plants they probably won't survive. I suggest fake plants and fasten them to your undergravel filter plates with fishing line, otherwise your red will dig them up!
I have recently had to find a new home for my full grown red devil. They are one of the most beautiful cichlids I know of, but I found it to be incredibly vicious and would not live in harmony with my other fish. They are a beautifully colorful fish, but unfortunatley mine had to be in a tank of his own.
I have one Red Devil and to describe the fish I need three words: "crazy, intense, and aggressive". I was feeding him the other day and he jumped out of the water trying to bite my fingers, and ended up free falling a meter and a half onto the floor. Whenever I walk near his tank you can hear his teeth grinding against the tank as he rams full speed into the glass trying to attack me. He has some type of Cujo complex.
I have a red devil named Lou Lou. He is the coolest fish ever! I think red devils are great long term pets. He tries to attack my cats when they look into his tank, he eats other fish, he rearranges his tank all the time, and he bites! He can also tell who I am ( his owner ) from other visitors. He's shy around new comers, but when he sees me, he bangs into the glass to try and defend his beloved tank. Red devils are pretty sweet fish.
I've owned my red devil for almost 4 years. He is by himself in the tank and is about 25 cm in length. He was originally with dempseys and another red devil, but his aggression was too much for his neighbors to handle. I've had red devils in the past, but I usually gave them back because of their ferocity. I've recently had to do some extensive work in my home and was forced to put Jaws (his name) in a 20 liter bucket for close to 8 days with only an air pump to keep him going. He survived with flying colors. It's and extremely durable fish and will give an owner years of enjoyment. I've grown attached to Jaws.
I have been keeping fish for about 5 years now. Starting off with loaches and neons, etc, but soon discovered the joy of keeping larger, more aggressive fish such as dempseys and some of the bigger Malawis. 12 months ago I read an article on red devils and was hooked. After many phone calls to dealers (many who asked if I new what I was letting myself into) I managed to track a young red down. When I got her home (turned out to be a female) she was about 3 cm long and a very pale peach colour. After a couple of days of hiding behind a piece of bogwood she settled in and started looking for food. 12 months on she is about the size of a coke can and would eat all day if she could. Her favourite food has been prawns, catfish sinker pellets, bloodworm, tubifex and small pieces of roast chicken. She lives in a 430 L tank with sand, some tuffa rock and a lump of bogwood. Her tank mate is a cuckoo catfish which she swims around with and likes to nudge with her nose. As she gets older, she has taken a shine to the family cat, doing a dance when he takes a look in the tank. Also she pays more attention to my hand when I'm cleaning the inside of the tank, getting closer all the time. A great fish, full of character and personality.