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Green Terror Cichlid (Andinoacara rivulatus)

The Green Terror Cichlid, a vibrant and lively fish, is a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts. Known for its striking coloration and dynamic personality, this fish adds both beauty and intrigue to any freshwater tank. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything from the Green Terror Cichlid’s profile to its dietary needs, ensuring you have all the information needed to care for this fascinating species.

Green Terror Cichlid Facts

Scientific Name Andinoacara rivulatus
Common Name Green Terror
Natural Habitat River basins in South America
Average Size 8 inches (20 cm) (can grow up to 12 in)
Lifespan 7-10 years
Water Temperature 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C)
pH Level 6.5-8.0
Minimum Tank Size 50 gallons (190 liters)
Diet Omnivore (prefers a mix of plant and animal matter)
Behavior Aggressive, especially during breeding
Compatibility Best kept with similarly sized, robust fish

Green Terror Cichlid Profile

Native to the river basins of South America, the Green Terror Cichlid (Andinoacara rivulatus or Aequidens rivulatus) is a medium-sized fish that can grow up to 12 inches in length. They are known for their aggressive temperament, especially during breeding season, and thus require careful consideration when adding to a community tank. The lifespan of a Cichlid Green Terror is typically around 7-10 years, given proper care.

Green Terror Cichlid Coloring

The Green cichlid fish is admired for its stunning color palette. Juveniles and females generally have a silver-blue body with a touch of green, while mature males develop more vibrant colors. They boast a bright metallic green body, with blue and orange accents on their fins and tail. This coloration can become more pronounced during mating seasons or as a display of dominance.

Green Terror Cichlid Habitat

Green Terror Cichlids originate from the tropical river basins in South America, primarily in Peru and Ecuador. They inhabit slow-moving rivers and streams with abundant vegetation. In their natural habitat, these cichlids are found in warm, slightly acidic water with plenty of hiding spaces among rocks and submerged wood, which is essential to replicate in aquarium settings.

Green Terror Cichlid Aquarium Setup

Creating an ideal environment for Green Terror Cichlids in your aquarium is essential for their well-being and to mimic their natural habitat. This section covers everything from tank size to water conditions and decor.

  • Tank Size and Type

Green Cichlids require a spacious aquarium due to their size and active nature. A minimum tank size of 50 gallons is recommended for a single fish, with an additional 30-40 gallons per additional fish. Larger tanks not only provide more space but also help in maintaining stable water parameters. An aquarium with a large surface area is preferable to accommodate their territorial behavior.

  • Water Conditions

These fish thrive in warm, slightly acidic to neutral water. The ideal temperature range is between 68°F and 77°F (20°C to 25°C). The pH level should be maintained between 6.5 and 8.0. Regular water testing is important to monitor these parameters. Efficient filtration is essential to keep the water clean and oxygen-rich, and weekly water changes of about 20-25% are recommended to maintain water quality.

  • Substrate and Decor

A mix of sandy substrates is ideal for Terror cichlid, as it closely resembles their natural riverbed environment. Decorations such as rocks, driftwood, and caves provide necessary hiding spots and help reduce stress. Be cautious with sharp-edged decorations as they can injure the fish. Plants can be added, but sturdy species are recommended as Green Terror might uproot delicate plants.

  • Lighting and Filtration

Standard aquarium lighting is sufficient for Green cichlid fish. However, subdued lighting can help in bringing out their vibrant colors. Regarding filtration, a powerful external or canister filter is advisable to handle the bioload and keep the water clean. Regular maintenance of the filter is crucial to ensure its efficiency.

Green Terror Cichlid Breeding

Breeding Green Terror Cichlids can be both challenging and rewarding. Understanding and replicating the right breeding environment is crucial for successful spawning. Here, we delve into setting up the breeding environment and describe the spawning process.

Breeding Environment

To encourage breeding, it’s important to set up a separate breeding tank. This tank should be at least 40 gallons to provide enough space for the pair. The water conditions in the breeding tank should mimic their natural habitat – a temperature around 77°F (25°C) and a pH between 6.5 and 7.5 is ideal. Dim lighting can also help set the right mood for spawning. Adding flat rocks or slate in the tank serves as potential spawning sites where the female can lay her eggs.

Conditioning the Breeding Pair

Selecting a healthy, mature pair is vital for successful breeding. Green Terror are usually ready to breed around the age of one year. Prior to breeding, condition the pair with high-quality, protein-rich foods. This not only improves their health but also increases the likelihood of successful spawning. Observing their behavior for compatibility is important, as not all pairs will successfully mate.

Spawning Process

Once the breeding pair is introduced to the breeding tank, spawning usually occurs within a few days if the pair is compatible. The female will lay hundreds of eggs, usually on a flat rock or slate, which the male will then fertilize. Both parents often guard the eggs zealously. The eggs typically hatch within 3 to 4 days, depending on the temperature. Post-hatching, the fry can be fed with newly hatched brine shrimp or commercial fry food.

Post-Spawning Care

After spawning, it’s crucial to monitor the tank conditions closely. Regular water changes and maintaining water quality are imperative to prevent fungal infections on the eggs. The parents usually take care of the fry, but if there are signs of aggression towards the fry, it may be necessary to remove either the fry or the parents to a separate tank.

Green Cichlids Diet & Feeding

A balanced diet is crucial for the Cichlid Green Terror’s health. They are omnivores and prefer a diet that includes both plant and animal matter. High-quality cichlid pellets, frozen or live foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms, along with occasional vegetable supplements, ensure a nutritious diet. Overfeeding should be avoided, and feeding small amounts 2-3 times a day is ideal.

Green Terror Cichlid Compatibility

When considering tank mates for Green cichlid fish, it’s important to choose species that can hold their own. They can be aggressive, particularly towards smaller or more timid fish. Suitable tank mates include other robust South American cichlids like Convict Cichlid, Blue Jack Dempsey, Green Severum, Salvini Cichlid, Gold Severum, Firemouth Cichlid, large catfish, and other fish that are not overly aggressive but can defend themselves if needed.

Green Terror Cichlid Common Diseases

Cichlid Green Terror are susceptible to typical freshwater fish diseases, particularly Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (Ich) and skin flukes. Symptoms include white spots, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Good tank maintenance, stable water conditions, and regular observation are crucial for prevention. Prompt isolation and treatment of affected fish with appropriate medications are essential to manage outbreaks.


The Green Terror Cichlid, with its stunning appearance and dynamic behavior, is a captivating addition to any aquarium. Understanding their needs in terms of tank setup, diet, and compatibility with other fish is key to ensuring their health and happiness. With proper care, these magnificent fish will thrive and bring vibrancy and life to your aquatic setup.