- Regular price $55.00
|Ecuador and Peru.
|Will acclimatise to a wide range of conditions. pH: 6.0-8.0, dH: up to 20 degrees.
|No special requirements
|Male fish grow larger. Female fish retain the bright red colour and dark banded pattern into adulthood.
|Cichlid pellets, flake and frozen foods
The Red Terror is known from the Rio Esmeraldas drainage in Ecuador to the Rio Tumbes basin in Peru, on the Pacific side of South America. Here it is found in various biotopes, including small-medium sized rivers, where it tends to favour the slower, heavily vegetated reaches close to the margins. This species is highly territorial and grows very large (length and girth), so a voluminous aquarium is required with powerful filtration to match. Provide a substrate of soft sand or small rounded gravel. Sizeable pieces of driftwood and rocks/slate can be used to create sheltered areas, but these should be made secure as these hefty cichlids are notorious diggers and they more than capable of moving decor around. Bonding pieces of rock together with aquarium grade silicon sealant prior to filling the tank is sensible. As large quantities of substrate are likely to be bulldozed on a daily basis, plants cannot be cultivated. A guard should be fitted to the heater in order to protect it against breakages, or better still, opt for a canister filter that has a heater built in, so the element is not situated in the tank itself. Partial water changes should be carried out on a frequent basis to help keep nitrate to a minimum. This is an exceptionally aggressive species which is best maintained singly or as an established male-female pair. They are intolerant of their own kind, but can sometimes be combined with other robust cichlids, if the aquarium is particularly spacious (over 1000 liters) and has a plethora of visual barriers. Tankmates could include other Central/South American cichlids of a similar size and temperament, or large armoured catfish. However, if breeding does occur, expect a huge amount of aggression directed towards the other fish and be prepared to move the tankmates to another aquarium for their own safety. Sometimes the male can be very persistent when wanting to breed, and if the female is not receptive, he may harm her. So always observe carefully and have a tank divider on hand, should the need arise to separate an overly amorous male from his female. Ensure the aquarium has a tight fitting hood that is weighted down, as these heavyset fish are expert jumpers. Despite its large size and belligerent nature, this remains a popular fish with cichlid enthusiasts. Sexual dichromatism becomes apparent when the fish reach 10-12.5cm (4-5").
Omnivorous. This species requires a balanced diet in order to retain good colours. Slow sinking pellets/sticks, frozen foods such as Mysis shrimp, krill, chopped cockle, chopped mussel meat and prawns will all be taken with much enthusiasm. Be sure to provide a vegetable component to the diet, such as spinach, kale, lettuce and cucumber.
This species has been bred in the home aquarium, but it can be difficult establishing a compatible pair. Simply placing a male and female together is unlikely to work and may have disastrous consequences. It is far better to obtain a group of juveniles and grow them on, letting a pair form naturally from the group. However, you would need to have a plan in place for rehoming the remaining fish. Even then, if the female is not receptive, the male may end up killing her, so always have a tank divider on hand should things get violent. When ready to spawn, the colour of the fish will intensify. The courtship dance is a vigorous affair, with much mouthing and tail slapping. Again, have the tank divider handy in case things get a bit out of control. Eggs are usually deposited on a vertical piece of slate, a flat piece of driftwood, or in a rocky cave. Up to 3000 eggs will be laid/fertilised, and these can be expected to hatch within 72 hours. The parents will then move the wrigglers to a pre-dug pit. They will become free-swimming after a further few days when their yolk sacs are used up, and can be offered baby brineshrimp or crushed flake. At this point, it would be wise to separate the male from the female using the tank divider, as the male will be hyper-aggressive in defense of the fry. If carrying out maintenance on the tank, he is quite likely to attack your hands, so be very careful. Parental care usually continues for around 6 weeks. Please be aware that a bonded pair may reproduce on a regular basis, and always in exceptionally large numbers. Therefore, it is important to consider whether you should really allow this species to reproduce in the home aquarium, and should have a homing plan in place for the potentially hundreds, if not thousands, of juvenile fish (that are going to attain a substantial size), which are going to quickly overwhelm an aquarium. Once the fry have been removed from the aquarium, observe the adults carefully as the male may attempt to spawn again immediately, and the female may not be ready.
*Photo is for reference only