Post good photos of your pet or quick tips on pet care.

Care Instructions for the Aggressive Red Terror Cichlids

Red Terror Cichlid Care Instructions
Do you want to keep a fish with tons of attitude and great aggression as a pet? It is very important to know everything about your fish before you get it home. We will tell you how to care for your exotic Red Terror cichlid.
Tanaya Navalkar
Last Updated: Aug 12, 2017
Something Fishy!?
  • Very aggressive and hot-tempered
  • Tons of attitude
  • Intelligent
  • Large
  • Colorful
  • Omnivorous
That's your Red Terror cichlid!
Red Terror cichlids are a popular species of cichlids that are mainly found in Central America. They are named 'Red Terror' because of their temperament levels that range from aggressive to very aggressive. This does pose some problems in petting them, but their vibrant, colorful scales and intelligent personality make you want to go and get them home. They dominate the fish tank and can cause damage to any fish or even the hand that feeds them. So, don't try and mess around with this fish!
Get to Know Your Fish Better!
Species name: Amphilophus festae or Cichlasoma festae
Common name: Red Terror
Family: Cichlidae
Origin: Central America
Temperament: Aggressive to very aggressive
Maximum size: 14" - 18"
Recommended water temperature: 25°C - 28°C (75°F - 82°F)
Water pH range: 6 - 8
Lifespan: 8 - 10 years
Male red terror fish
Red Terrors often reach the maximum size of about 18", males being 16" - 18" and females being around 13" - 14". You can distinguish between the male and female fish, the size being the first factor. The male fish will have blue dots on its body. The female fish truly lives up to its name in color and aggression. It is very red in color and has black and blue areas on the dorsal fin.
Although aggressive, they make a good pet if kept alone or with tank mates like larger cichlids having the same temperament. They are often known as 'fish with tons of attitude'. You will need to keep a close eye while mixing because they are known to terrorize other fish in the tank. They are also intelligent species and often seem to communicate. They are said to recognize the owners and sometimes indicate asking for food near the front of the tank. They sometimes tend to bite the glass if anyone intrudes their space.
Now having known something, let's see what all you will need to take care of before welcoming this fish into your life.
Red Terror Cichlid Care
Aquarium Setup
  • If your Red Terrors are juveniles, a tank size of about 50 - 70 gallons would be enough. However, if you are keeping your fish with a mate or if it's an adult fish, then a tank of 120 - 150 gallons would be required as they need plenty of space to swim around and reduce their aggression.
  • You will just need to clone the exact natural habitat as far as possible.
  • The aquarium should have a sand, mixed gravel and sand, or small gravels. You can also put some well-anchored plants and rocky caves.
  • They are likely to dig in the gravel and make the tank décor to suit themselves.
  • Due to their large size and appetite, you will need a strong filtration method. Different filters can be used to filter the water, preferably Canister filters.
  • The ideal thing would be to change the water every two weeks, but if not, then at least once a month.
  • Maintain proper temperature to reduce their hot temper.
  • While keeping Red Terrors along with other large cichlids, it is important to care even more to lessen their aggression towards each other.
  • Make sure you don't overcrowd the aquarium with other fish.
  • Do not keep the breeding pair with other fish as they tend to be worse during that time.
  • They are omnivorous and consume all types of food offered.
  • The food offered should be according to their size and health.
  • They love to feast on cichlid flakes and pellets as a staple diet. You can also feed them bloodworms, beef heart, mysid shrimp, and brine shrimp occasionally.
  • The larger ones should be fed bulkier items to maintain their health such as large cichlid pellets or sticks, chicken liver, earthworms, and fish fillets.
Breeding Information
  • Red Terrors mature when they are 3.5" to 4" in length. The males lose the black barring, and a change in the coloration is seen. It turns somewhat light green around the throat and belly areas, while the females tend to retain their juvenile colors.
  • They can be easily bred if a pair is formed. Spawning becomes easy and can be done in a large fish tank of about 120 gallons for adults. The eggs are laid on the rocks usually, and the spawning area is guarded by females.
  • However, make sure you don't keep them with other fish during the breeding time as they get hyperaggressive. They might even kill the other fish or confine them to a corner in the aquarium.
  • Maintain the pH and temperature of water to facilitate breeding and spawning both. You can isolate the fry after they start swimming.
Well, now you know that Red Terrors are not the ones you can take lightly. They are colorful and a pleasing treat to your eyes. They make wonderful pets. You just need to take a bit of extra care.