Green Terror Cichlid – A Complete Guide (Care, Diet, Facts)

Some of the best fishes to have in your aquarium today are the Green terror cichlids. Apart from their colors that give your aquarium more aesthetics. Green terror cichlids also have very interesting attributes that make them fun to keep.

If you ask seasoned aquarists, they will tell you that Green terror cichlids are special types of fishes. Hence, you need to learn a lot about them before adding them to your aquarium.


Overview of the Green Terror Cichlid Species

Most people think green terror cichlids are only just one kind of fish and are the same everywhere in the world. This is not true.

As a matter of fact, there are other subspecies fishes that are being referred to as green Terror Cichlid. They are Andinoacara saum, Andinoacara stalsbergi, and Andinoacara rivulatus. The most commonly found green terror cichlid, however, is the Andinoacara rivulatus.

One common way to differentiate between these subspecies is their scale color. Seasoned aquarist and fish experts also use the edges on fins to differentiate them.

But really, most aquarists do not care about the subspecies since they are all being referred to as green terror cichlids and have similar attributes.

Green terror cichlids are one of many freshwater fishes, and they can be found in South America regions. Rivers in countries like Peru and Argentina are places where they mostly occur.

However, you can get them online or from other fish breeders at moderate prices. The older they are, the more expensive they tend to be.

Green Terror Cichlid Appearance

Ordinarily, one would expect green terror cichlids to be strictly green fishes due to their name. But they have arrays of colors, and this is one exciting thing about them.

Green terror cichlids’ colors are always bright; this makes them one of the most noticeable fishes in aquariums. Their scales are mostly colored blue. Some of their other colors include red, metallic colors, purple, pink, etc.

There is also a diversity of color with their sexes. Male green terror cichlid attains brighter colors than the female species.

Talking about the size of these fishes, they differ from male to female, and from juvenile to adult fishes. However, the average size for green terror cichlids is recorded at 12 inches.

One thing you really have to pay attention to if you want to add green terror cichlids to your aquarium is the size of the fish. You cannot have a big fish in a small aquarium. The volume of water is also important.

Feeding Green Terror Cichlid

Another thing you have to know about green terror cichlids is their dieting. There are plenty of aspects to know about how they feed.

In rivers and freshwater, green terror cichlids are carnivores. Their common foods are earthworms and insects that are found in water bodies.

When in the tank, they eat decently unlike other species of fishes.

This means that they have good hygiene and are easily maintained. Here, they can be fed with pelleted fish foods. You can also feed them with live foods once in a while. Some live foods you can give them are crickets and worms.

But for very large species, you will have to make the pellet bigger. This can be given to them alongside live foods and flakes. Also, you can feed the large species with veggies and legumes.

There are precautions to be taken while feeding them. One that is very imperative is that they should not be fed with diets that are high in protein. They should also not be overfed. Not taking cognizance of these can affect their digestive system.

The frequency for feeding them is just 3 times a day. Feed them moderately each time.

Taking Care of Green Terror Cichlid

Taking care of green terror cichlids is very stress-free and this is one of the fun sides of having them in your aquarium.

One thing you must pay delicate attention to is the water quality in the aquarium. This determines how well the fishes will do because all green terror cichlids species react badly to poor water conditions.

Aside from making sure that the water is very clean at all times, pay attention to the pH level. Furthermore, make sure that the phosphorus and nitrogen levels are as moderate as possible.

Another thing to tale take note of is the hardiness of the water. One of the conditions that this cause is HLLE. HLLE is a common disease for most tropical and freshwater fishes. They become susceptible to it when the water’s hardness is too high.

Green terror cichlid fishes that suffer from this disease can be easily spotted with lesions on their body parts such as mouths, scales, fins. Etc.

The only way this can be avoided is to make their water as natural as possible, without additives and chemicals.

In general, poor water conditions cause green terror cichlid to suffer scale problems. This will affect their bright colors and give room for other skin diseases.

So focus on making sure that the water is in good condition at all times. Also keep their environment as hygienic as possible.

Green terror cichlids are easy to handle because once they start having health issues, it would be noticeable through the colors of their scales.

Once their shiny, fascinating colors starts to wear off, then you have to be proactive because they are no longer in a good health condition.

Breeding Green Terror Cichlid

For breeding of Green Terror Cichlid, there are 2 options available.

Firstly, you can buy an adult male and female and put them in the same tank. With this, they will mate naturally.

The second option is buying javelin green terror cichlids and leave them to naturally pair themselves and breed.

While breeding green terror cichlids, make sure you keep them away from other fishes. This is because of the aggressive nature of the species that make them kill other fishes due to overprotectiveness.

You can easily know when it’s time for them to reproduce from the physical appearance of the male. Their already beautiful color tends to be brighter, with a humplike structure visible on their heads.

Green terror cichlids have a very interesting breeding nature. They make use of the division of labor. In the area that they have chosen for breeding, the female watches after the egg. The male, on the other hand, protects the area.

Green terror cichlids are external breeders, this means that they lay the eggs externally, and fertilization also occurs externally. Males wait for the eggs to be released before fertilizing them.

As an aquarist, you do not have a lot to do during the reproduction stage. Green terror cichlids know how to take care of themselves.’

However, the quality and state of water are very essential for their reproduction and you should pay attention to this.

The pH of the water should be quite acidic, around 6-6.5. Also, you can encourage their spawning phase by providing them with lukewarm water.

The male and female fishes will agree on an area in the water to use for breeding. When they are out in the wild, it is usually a rock surface. But in the aquarium, they use the tank bottom.

After choosing the area for fertilization, the next step is to clean it before the females lay the eggs. The male then goes ahead to fertilize them.

When the eggs are fertilized, they become fry. The fry are being protected and well taken care of until they are capable of swimming.

They become capable of swimming in less than 2 weeks. You do not have to worry about the eggs or fry. One attribute of green terror cichlids is that they are very responsible parents.

So keep them with the offspring at all times. Provide them with food regularly. For the fry, you can grind the food or give them little worms.

Setting Up the Aquarium for Green Terror Cichlids

You need a very spacious aquarium tank for green terror cichlids. This is because they need a lot of space for optimum performance. Also, the male species tend to have a bigger body size.

Since they require a spacious aquarium, that means they will need a large quantity of water. A single species of green terror cichlids requires about 40 gallons of water. This volume of water doubles by two if you want to keep a male and female in the same aquarium.

Just as earlier mentioned, the quality of water is one of the most important criteria for their survival and should be paid attention to.

Green terror cichlids cohabitate well with fishes they are used to being with in freshwaters. They could be quite aggressive to other species. For cohabitation, you have to adjust the size of the aquarium accordingly to accommodate them.

Another aquarium setup that works very well for them is lightning. Furthermore, equip the aquarium with sands, stones, and rocks. This will help them during reproduction and also when playing around in the aquarium.

For hard or highly concentrated water, you can adjust the pH by making use of driftwood.

Make sure you use a large aquarium if you intend to set up in this manner. Green terror cichlids need a lot of open space, and they don’t do well with congestion.

Social Behaviors of Green Terror Cichlids

Green terror cichlids have tendencies to be aggressive, especially when they cohabitate with species of aggressive nature too. But they behave well when kept with fishes that gentle.

One way you can limit the aggressiveness is by dividing the tank into territories. This way they would not come in contact with other fishes.

However, don’t do this if there won’t be enough space left for the cichlids.

The female is usually calm than the male, but they could be very aggressive when it is breeding time. If this becomes excessive, then you have to isolate them and put them in a separate tank.

Before putting green terror cichlids in the same tank, make sure you make enquires about their origin.

African cichlids have very small body sizes and could be killed by South American green terror cichlids. So only put fishes with the same origin in the same tank.

On the other hand, some of the species of fishes green terror cichlids can easily cohabitate with include the following:

  • Pacus fishes
  • Silver dollars fishes
  • Pleco fishes

These fishes are known to be very calm and of the same size with average green terror cichlids. Therefore, there will be no cohabitation conflicts.

Challenges of Keeping Green Terror Cichlids

Although green terror cichlids are interesting fishes to keep, just like other species of fishes, they have their own flipsides.

Keeping them could be financially demanding because of the expenses in providing the perfect aquarium home to do so. Also, feeding them is very costly.

Furthermore, they demand a lot of studying before keeping them together in the same tank. Only fishes with similar aggressive nature should be kept together for safety reasons.

However, with adequate guidance from an experienced aquarist, you can keep them successfully. They are very easy to understand, so you will be able to deal with them from experience along the line.


It is obvious now that green terror cichlids are a very great addition to your aquarium. They also add value to it, and you can as well make a lot of money from its breeding.

Also, if you are one that cares about aesthetics and color in your aquarium, there are no better choices than the green terror cichlids. To this effect, you can purchase them in various colors.

Once you understand their nature, you will definitely enjoy catering to them. Especially when you want to feed them and they follow the movement of your hands.

Green terror cichlids can also be domesticated for breeding reasons. With this, you would earn a lot of money from selling the juvenile fishes and fry.

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