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Home » American Cichlid

Green Terror – Aequidens rivulatus

Submitted by on February 15, 2010 – 9:12 amOne Comment

Green terror cichlid

Species name: Aequidens rivulatus
Common names: Green Terror
Family: Cichlidae
Order: Perciformes
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Maximum length: Adult males can reach 10″ to 13″. Mature females are usually smaller at about 6″ to 9″.
Minimum tank size: 55 gallons for a pair
Hardiness: Easy
Aggressiveness: Aggressive
Distribution: Peru and Ecuador
Diet: Omnivorous. Accepts all types of food.

Additional information:
Aequidens rivatus, also known as Green Terror, is a South American cichlid native to Peru and Ecuador where it can be found in warm coastal streams and rivers.

The Green Terror is a deep-bodied, oval-shaped fish with a pronounced head. Like many cichlids, mature males will develop a distinctive head bump. Adult males can reach 10 to 13 inches in length, with around 8 inches being more common while mature females are usually smaller at about 6 to 9 inches long. The coloration is an olive green above with lighter shades of pink or brown below. Along each side is a pattern of broken striping with a black spot in the middle. Males especially have a greenish-blue metallic sheen that makes them quite striking visually. There are two common color variants. One has white edging on the tail and dorsal fin, while in the other the edges are yellow or reddish. Females are duller in coloration than the males.

Green terrors are hardy fish that are relatively easy to keep. They are good eaters, and do well on a variety of foods including cichlid pellets, flakes, bloodworms, and shrimp. Occasional feeder guppies or other live food is also appreciated. Some owners report that a varied diet improves the coloration of these fish. The aggressiveness of these cichlids can vary quite a lot. Some owners report fish with calm temperaments that get along well with other species. Others find the fish to fully live up to its name, “terror”. Generally, juveniles are more docile, while adults tend to get more aggressive as they mature. Most get very territorial around breeding time, and should be kept separately during this period if problems arise. There is some indication that keeping them well fed helps prevent fighting.

Many owners say these fish are quite personable and “owner conscious”, and respond positively to them on approaching the tank. Some react to the mere sight of their favorite food container, and enjoy being hand fed. Green terrors can live ten or more years in captivity.

Ideally, water should be kept at a temperature of 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH of about 6.4 to 7.5. Frequent partial water changes are a must, as is a good filtration system. The green terror is a territorial fish that doesn’t like to be crowded. An individual fish should have a tank size of 55 to 60 gallons minimum. They can be kept in larger tanks with other Green terrors or other species, provided they are of similar size. Good prospective tank mates are Jack Dempseys, Oscars, Red Devils, and similar cichlids. Plecostomus also do well. Providing lots of rocks, caves, and other hiding places can help reduce aggression between neighbors. Plants used for this purpose may be dug up and shredded.
When adding new fish to an existing setup, conflicts have been reduced by rearranging the tank furnishings. This erases the established territories, and allows the occupants to stake out new boundaries.

Adults are able to breed at about 3 inches in length. The female spawn on a flat surface on the tank bottom, laying 300 to 400 eggs. The male and female are both very protective parents to the young fry.

Do you have experience with Green Terror Cichlids? Share with us using the comment box bellow.

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One Comment »

  • xAquatics says:

    I’ve always had trouble keeping a green terror. I’ve tried a few times, but it doesn’t appear to be very compatible with Oscars or convicts. I’ve tried it with both in a 140 gallon tank, but both times the green terror ended up not making it. I think the next time I attempt a green terror will be in a solo tank. What is the green terror compatible with?


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