Green Terror Cichlid – Care, Size, Feeding, Tank Mates & Details!

Green Terror Cichlid (Andinoacara rivulatus) is freshwater species and is usually found in the tropical river basins of Ecuador and Peru in South America.

This fish is often mistaken for another similar-looking one known as the Aequidens Pulcher (Blue Acara).

Previously, they were both considered as one kind. The best way to distinguish them is through the colors on their scales and the fin edges.

The green terror cichlid is available at fish stores as well as online. They are priced moderately but become more expensive as they mature.

Quick Stats

Origin: South America
Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
Care Level: Intermediate
Average Lifespan: 7-10 years
Color form: Green, white and blue
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 12 Inches
Minimum Size of the Tank: 50 gallons
Family: Cichlidae
Compatibility: Same size or larger fish
Tank Set-Up: Freshwater with moderate current and hiding caves
Temperature: 70.0 to 80.0° F (21.1 to 26.7° C)


The Green terror cichlid fish is a brightly colored cichlid, and its body is covered with bright blue scales. They have other fascinating arrays of colors that can be pink, purple, electric blue, or red.

The male species are generally more colorful and have a bright red edging on their tail fin. This cichlid is not just about having a striking color, but the behavior of this fish is also quite interesting.

It is moderately easy to care for this fish and can be quite rewarding to have them in the aquarium as long as the water quality is maintained and they are provided with a high-quality diet.

Like other cichlids, they are a bit aggressive and require a large aquarium.

Green Terror Diet

Green Terror Cichlid, when in the wild, are carnivorous fish. They feed on insects, small crustaceans, and worms. In-home aquariums, on the other hand, they are not fussy eaters, and the best diet considered for them is a varied one that includes frozen and live food along with pellets.

Earthworms, shrimps, mussel meat, and flakes can also be fed to them along with fish pellets, crickets, and tube worms.

For the larger specimen, it is recommended to feed them flakes and live food along with larger pellets. Vegetables can also be given to them occasionally which include spinach and cooked peas.

It is, however, important not to overfeed them with a diet that is high in protein to avoid digestive problems. It is recommended to feed them three times a day on average.

Green Terror Cichlid Care

These fish are easy to care for as long as you can maintain the water conditions required by them. They are quite sensitive if the water quality deteriorates, as such, phosphorous and nitrate levels in the water must be kept in control.

That is why a biofilter is usually advised for these fish. They are also susceptible to infections and can contract parasitic skin problems and HLLE with time.

This illness or these infections can, however, be avoided if the water quality and conditions are kept in check. HLLE happens to these fish if the water hardiness is held high for too long.

They are also susceptible to lymphocytic disease, which is a virus that is quite common in tropical fish. This affects the connective tissues of the fish. Stress is considered as the main reason for this disease.

It results in white granular lesions that appear on their mouth, gills, and their fins. To avoid all of these issues, it is recommended that no chemicals be used when dealing with these fish.

The focus should be on keeping the water clean and providing them with a healthy environment with adequate oxygen levels.

The best indication of the health of these cichlids is through their colors. The adults are brightly colored, and if their colors start to fade, it means there is something wrong.

Green Terror Cichlid Breeding

The process of reproduction is quite simple, as long as you have a compatible pair. You can either purchase an already established pair or buy a few young fish and let them pair off naturally. It is not a good idea, however, to keep the green terror cichlid with other fish during the spawning period.

The males are very protective and aggressive and may kill different types of fish. The female looks after the eggs, while the male fish protects the site.

During the reproductive stage, it is easy to recognize the males as they will develop around hump on their forehead and their colors will also become brighter.

They are open egg layers, and the process of fertilization is also external. The females lay the eggs first and then the male will fertilize them in the open waters. The water conditions should be kept in mind for their reproduction.

Slightly acidic water (pH 6.5) or warm water (77-80°F) is useful for bringing the pair into spawning. The couple will clean the site which they have chosen for breeding within their territory.

This is usually a flat rock. They may even clean the bottom of the tank from the sand and then lay their eggs on the glass of the tank if there is no rock available. The fry is eventually moved to a sandpit until the time it is ready to swim.

They become free swimmers in about ten days. The female lays about 400-600 eggs that hatch in three to four days.

The Green terror cichlids are excellent parents, and it is advisable to keep them with the fry and the eggs. The fry can be fed brine shrimps, micro worms, and powdered dry food.

Green Terror Cichlid Aquarium Care

As mentioned earlier, these fish are relatively easy to care for as long as their water is kept clean. There should be a stringent maintenance schedule that should be followed along with having a biological filter.

The water hardiness should be kept in check, along with the nitrate and phosphate levels.

These fish are sensitive to pH instability and pollutants, and it is necessary to replace at least 15-20% of the tank water twice in a week, or weekly in case the tank is stocked densely.

It is better to use gravel cleaner when cleaning it weekly so that all the decomposing organic matter that may be building up is removed. Replacement water should be matched with the temperature of the tank.

You need to be careful about what you add to the tank as it can bring diseases. Not just other fish, but also plants and other decorations can have harmful chemicals and bacteria.

If the right water quality and conditions are maintained, the green terror cichlids can live in the aquarium for a good 7-10 years!

Aquarium setup

Just like other cichlids from South America, the green terror cichlid also requires a lot of space and at least 30-40 gallons for a single fish. A minimum of at least 75 gallons is advisable for a pair.

A much larger aquarium will be required if you plan on keeping them with other large fish. Efficient biological filtration should be provided along with low to moderate water movement.

Normal aquarium lighting works for them, and they like a lot of rock work with caves and hiding places. Driftwood can be used to bring the pH level down if you have tough water.

Make sure there is plenty of open area in the center where they can swim freely. If the tank is to be set up with other fish species, you can arrange the tank to block lines of sight, which helps them to divide the aquarium into territories. This is helpful for their aggressive tendencies.

Social Behavior

The most important way the aggression of these cichlids can be lowered is through adequate tank space. The green terror cichlid is moderately aggressive and can be kept with other South American cichlids easily.

Depending on the personality of the cichlids or the conditions where they grow up, they can also turn out to be quite peaceful.

Their lateral line is used for determining how much space they have available to them, and if they do not have enough, they become aggressive as adults. If they feel they have enough space open to them, they will remain peaceful.

Green Terror Cichlid Tank Mates

The green cichlids are sometimes more aggressive to their kind, and this may apply to the females. In such a case, the female ones should be kept in isolation unless they are breeding. During breeding time, they become more aggressive and require a tank of their own.

You should, however, be careful not to place the green terror cichlid with the African Cichlids as the latter is quite small and can be harassed or eaten by the green terror cichlid.

They can, however, be kept with Pleco Fish, Pacus, Oscar Fish, Gars, Silver Dollars, and other similar sized fish with a similar temperament.

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