Green Terror Cichlid Beginner's Guide

Published on November 13, 2016
Green Terror Cichlid Beginner's Guide

If you want to get a good fish for your aquarium, the green terror cichlid might be a magnificent pick.

What makes this species that's also known as Andinoacara rivulatus distinct is the fact that it sports a combination of blue and green metallic sheen.

There are multiple other color variations that you can choose. Red, pink or electric blue are among the favorites.

Males are by far the most colorful ones, but the females can also look great and full of color.

However, every has its pros and cons right? Some are easy to care, but the colors are a bit monotone, another one is crazy beautiful, but it takes lots and lots of patience to care.
The fish we are discussing, in this case, can be very demanding when it comes to food and the breeding.

Green terror cichlid's size and lifespan

The cichlid will have around 10-12 inches in length, but the aquarium variants can be slightly smaller. The fish is also known to be able to live for 7-10 years, which is pretty long for aquarium fish.

But make sure to keep in mind that the adult fish will have a pronounced hump. You might also hear about green terror cichlid aggression at times and it will end up battling other fish types in your tank.

Make sure to do proper research if you want to keep all your fish safe and healthy.

Aquarium care for the green terror cichlid

green terror cichild careBy úlfhams víkingur (Elma). (Originally posted to Flickr as Green Terror.) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This fish species doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, but there are some things to keep in mind. You need to have clean water in the tank at all times, and you also have to remember that this species is sensitive to any deteriorating conditions.

Using a biological filter and having a good maintenance schedule is recommended.

Keep the phosphate and nitrate levels under control. Replace at least 20% of the tank water bi-weekly or even each 7 days if needed.

In regards to the green terror cichlid tank size, this should be around 40 gallons for a single fish and around 70 gallons for a pair.

The pH range has to be anywhere between 6.5 and 8 and the water movement should be moderate.

You can use a large gravel substrate; this is more than ok for a fish like this.

Lighting-wise, this species doesn’t have any major requests. You need to opt for moderate lighting so that no additional setup will be required. Just like other fish types, a temperature of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit will be necessary if you want to keep your fish healthy.


Since the green terror fish is a carnivore, you can opt for a wide variety of foods. You can opt for brine shrimps, krills and bloodworms. You might try feeding them cichlid pellets as well.

If you want to boost their color you should feed them live red earthworms. Remember that foods with a lot of protein can cause digestive system problems so never offer them any red meat.

You will need to feed the adults two times a day and the young fish up to 3 times per day. Opt for smaller amounts offered multiple times per day instead of larger quantities.

Social behavior

As we mentioned earlier, there are plenty of green terror cichlid aggression cases. To lower the aggression of this species, you need to offer them a tank space that is adequately equipped and spotless.

There are some fish from this species that will be patient and less aggressive when compared to the other counterparts, so it does depend on quite a lot on the fish type for sure!

The only issue that can bring a negative social behavior is a lack of space. If you have 40 gallons or more for a single fish, you shouldn’t have any problem.

In case you have a large fish tank, and you want to add some other fish types, you do have some options. The list includes gars, silver dollars, Oscars, pacus and Plecostomus. The green terror cichlid is not venomous.

Green Terror Cichlid Breeding

The green terror cichlid species is known for being an open breeder and egg layer. Open breeder means that the female will deposit the eggs at first. Then, a male will come and fertilize them. The entire process happens in the open water!

The female will usually lay the eggs on a flat rock. She will lay around 400 eggs.

And when they start to hatch and turn into fries, make sure to feed them with brine shrimp and then you can opt for fry food or crushed flake if you want, it all depends on you!

Here is a cool video showing a green terror laying eggs. Worth the time to watch!

Green Terror Cichlid Diseases

Unfortunately, green terror cichlid fish are known to be affected by many infections.

If you have a very low-quality water or if there’s a lack of oxygenation, this fish can easy get infected. One common problem is a constant itch. Thankfully, this itch can be treated with copper. If you want to opt for the copper treatment, it’s important to remove all the water conditioners.

Another thing to note here is that green terror cichlid will also have the HLLE if you keep it in hard water for a very long time. Large fish are prone to acquire this problem, but smaller ones might have it too.

Moreover, there are plenty of cichlids that deals with intestinal disease. This can be treated with help from metronidazole and other similar compounds. Of course, other problems like parasitic infections or skin flukes can also appear at times.

These are common for most fish types, and you should document yourself on how you can get rid of these problems as fast as possible.

You shouldn’t use chemicals if you have a cichlid. Instead, try to keep the water clean and remove any dirt or unwanted problems that might appear.

These are the basic information about the cichlid's diseases to bear in mind.

Where can you buy a green terror cichlid?

You can buy green terror cichlid fish either at your local fish store or online. Either option works very well, so it’s up to you to manage your budget and opt for the best one that suits your needs.

One thing is sure if you get a green terror cichlid you will be able to beautify your aquarium and offer it meaning. An amazing fish and one of the best choices if you have a large fish tank!

Featured image: MidgleyDJ at en.wikipedia [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

One comment on “Green Terror Cichlid Beginner's Guide”

  1. I just bought a green terror pair but now planning to return 1 and keep a single fish in my 3feet x 1 feet tank.
    Hope the 1 I retain is a mail n the color explodes on maturity

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