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Andinoacura Rivulatus- Green Terror Cichlid:

Updated on August 15, 2015

Andinoacura Rivulatus-Green Terror:

This is an article about two special fish that are Green Terror Cichlids. They are brother and sister and are both nearly blind. Their parents were a mated pair of Green Terror Cichlids which I purchased for breeding stock. I had them for about a month when they begin to spawn.

Once they started spawning the female would lay between 200 and 400 eggs every nine days. That is great if you have a commercial breeding set up but not when you live in an 800 square foot apartment on the second floor. By the end of the second month I had three 55 gallon fish tanks with different size Green Terror Fry in them. Mom and Dad were separated to prevent any more hatchlings!



The Green Terror As A Species:

The Green Terror Cichlid is a Central American Cichlid that is found on the Pacific Ocean side of Ecuador and Puru. These beautiful fish are found in the river Tumbes more towards the coast then inland. Adult males can reach upwards of 12 inches and females stop growing once they produce eggs. There have been cases of 12 inch females but most females stop growing at about 3-5 inches in length.


Green Terror's are fairly easy to keep and are hardy fish. They are not fussy about their environment so long as the water chemistry is good. Temperature can range from about 70-82 degrees Fahrenheit. I typically keep my South American and Central American Cichlids at 76 degree unless I have breeding pairs and then I keep them at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.


I am not a fan of pellet food. It is dry and can lead to serious health issues. For fish that are less then two inches I feed a good quality flake food and live or frozen brine shrimp, tubi-flex-worms, or krill that is cut up into smaller pieces. With fish that are over two inches I feed them Tubi-flex worms and frozen krill. I also put Anachoris in the tank so that they have greens to eat. I almost always feed twice per day.

Green Terror Cichild-Helen:

The notebook behind the tank is where I keep all the water chemistry results.
The notebook behind the tank is where I keep all the water chemistry results. | Source

This is Helen:

This Green Terror is named Helen. I do not normally name my fish but she and I have had quite a time together. Helen and her brother Herc, which is short for Hercules I have raised since they were about an inch long. I found them being picked on and near death, hiding in the back of their tank. I removed them both to a ten gallon tank and weaned them back a healthier state. It was then that I noticed that Helen is pretty much blind and Herc have extremely limited vision.

The culprit here I suspect is that their parents are actually brother and sister. And the shortened gene pool led to blindness and impaired vision as a genetic disorder. There is a good lesson here for people who wish to breed fish. Pairs should be formed under observation and the stock should come from two separate sources.

Green Terror Cichlid-A wonderful fish:

She decorates her own tank which is why it looks like it does.
She decorates her own tank which is why it looks like it does. | Source

The Amazing Thing:

Most fish breeders would cull these fish or destroy them. I am just not into that and as such, made the decision that I would keep them until they died of natural causes. They are currently house in separate 20-gallon aquariums. I had hope to house them together but they fought like cats and dogs. Now they live apart and are very calm and mostly happy fish.

The Amazing thing about both of these fish is that they can tell the difference between my foot steps and my roommates foot steps. Herc gets very excited and wags his tail like a happy dog when I am at his tank. He knows he is going to get a treat of some kind. Helen has an entirely different way that she shows gratitude... she spits a stream of water at me if I walk by and do not stop. She also lets me know when she wants something because she likes to splash water out of the tank. She has remarkable aim. Both Helen and Herc are about six inches long. They do not show the typical vibrant coloration that is found in their species but they are beautiful in their own way. Herc is by much closer to the actual look of these fish then is Helen. That is mostly because she is a female. The males will eventually develop a lump on their forehead called a KOK... which was always an interesting conversation when little old ladies asked what that thing on their (Green Terror's) head was. I doubt that Herc will develop a frontal lobe KOK because of his eye impairments. Only the strong survive and in the wild neither of these two would have lived for long, nor would they have likely mated. Cichlids prove their worthy by fighting. The males will fight with the females to see if the other is strong enough to defend their fry. Both parents take care of the babies until the fry are old enough to take care of themselves. Watching Cichlids become parents is an awesome event.

A Normal Green Terror Cichlid:

Notice the KOK and the coloration.
Notice the KOK and the coloration. | Source


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    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Dave, what an interesting read, this took me back 30 years to when I use to keep fish, I had a couple of cichlids, I'm sure they weren't Green Terror, they were fabulous fish, they colours beautiful, I seem to remember their colours became more vivid when they got excited!

      Many thanks for a great hub and voted up.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Hello livelonger: African Cichlids like higher pH, South Americans and Central American Cichlids like a pH that varies with a wide range. The rivers and streams their geography flow fast and while slower back water places can be found, the water parameters change often. I found that these fish never do really well with constant water chemistry. As for their aggressive nature... not so much. They tend to be very docile unless they come from a bad home environment or if they are raised with fish like the Red Devil. I found them to be big scardy-cats... that prefer to hide rather then fight. I have met some green terrors who were very aggressive but even that behavior seems to dissipate with a better home life.... constant and regular feedings, proper nutrition, adequate tank space, etc. The problems with temperament almost always come from territory and food.

      I met a lot of keepers who fed their fish every three days and then wondered why they were so aggressive. Hello... they are hungry. The rational was to keep the tank cleaner. Lazy bast***s. I would also here I have a green terror and it kills everything I put in with it. People think they can keep four large Cichlids in a 30 gallon tank. It just doesn't work that way. Dominate male Cichlids secrete a homemone that keeps other male fish in the vicinity from growing too rapidly. This helps them to maintain their dominance. In a small tank you end up with one fish because the dominate male will kill them all off... except in the cases where you have a rouge female and she kills them all off...

      wow... I have gone off on a rant... lol. Thank you, though for the complements. They can be raised in a community Cichlid tank but with any Cichlids the odds are better if you start them all as adolescents less then 2 inches and let them grow up together.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Such gorgeous fish...had no idea they were that intelligent. They have a reputation for being aggressive and not good "community fish" - I guess that name is befitting! One thing I remember about them is that because of their natural habitat that they've adapted to, they tend to like relatively alkaline water (ph 8ish) unlike most freshwater fish which prefer slightly acidic environments. Great video and pics.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Derdriu: Thank you. These are two amazing fish. Herc usually has more color but he hates it when I turn the light on the aquarium. I think he bothers his eyes. Helen on the other hand does not notice the light so much. I keep their tanks sparse because they know where things are and have mostly moved everything around in the tanks to suit their handicap. Though Cichlids to like to make a tank their home by decorating. Despite their blindness, they have been great pets. They are a little over four years old now and could drop off at anytime. Green Terrors usually live about ten years but I do not know if they have other genetic time bombs ticking.

    • profile image

      Derdriu 6 years ago

      Davenmidtown, What an emotional, moving, touching story of Helen and her Herc! In particular, I like all the background information about the species, the parents, and Helen's and Herc's expected fates in the wild or with other owners. It's so touching that you respect Helen's and Herc's rights to living out their days with dignity instead of squabbling in the same aquarium.

      A particular favorite point in the story is the way Helen and Herc show that they know it's you.

      This is such a wonderful way to give information about green terror cichlid care. Your pretty pictures and video are much appreciated.

      Thank you for sharing, etc. (=voted up + all),



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