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Green Terror

By | Last Updated : 24th May 2020

Green terror, a freshwater fish belonging to the cichlid family, is indigenous to the Pacific region of South America. This species is often confused with two other cichlid species, namely the A. stalsbergi and A. blombergi. It was first described in 1860 by the German ichthyologist Gunther. Its stunning appearance, hardy nature, and aesthetic appeal make it a preferred choice in the aquarium trade. However, this fish may not be for everyone to keep due to its aggressive demeanor and large size. Some of this species had been used for experimentation on hormone research.

Green Terror

 Quick Information

Scientific NameAndinoacara rivulatus (previously known as Aequidens rivulatus)
Other NamesGreen terror cichlid, blue-green terror cichlid, false green terror
OriginRiver basins of Ecuador and Peru in South America
TypeFreshwater fish
Conservation StatusNot recorded
Behavioral CharacteristicsAggressive and territorial particularly when matured, prominent in the female species
School SizeNot a schooling fish because of its aggressive nature. Should either be kept singly or in mated pairs
Physical TraitsSlender, deep body with stripes throughout as well as pointed dorsal fins
ColorsAdults: Metallic green, and blue body with orange-red stripes on the dorsal and caudal fins

Juveniles: Tan body with patches of silver-blue
Size (How big do they get)Big; 8 – 10 inches (20.32 – 25.40 cm)
Growth RateFairly moderate, with 4 – 10 inches at maturity if given the proper amount of nutrition
Lifespan7 – 10 years
Sexual Dimorphism (How to tell their gender)Present; Males: Big, and light-colored with red stripes along its tail, and a round, pronounced nuchal hump on its forehead, that develops during the mating period; Females: Smaller than their male counterparts with a darker coloration, lacking the red stripes on the fins and also the hump
Probable Diseases Bacterial and fungal infections
Approximate Price (How much is it for)$7 – 10
Green Terror Cichlid
Green Terror Fish

Tank Setup & Care Sheet Details

Care LevelIntermediate to expert
Tank Size30 – 40 gallons (113.5 – 151.4 liters ) for a single green terror; 75 gallons (283.9 liters) for pairs

Water Parameters

pH Level6.5 –  8.0
Temperature68 –  75 °F (20 – 24 °C)
HardnessAbout 25 dGH
Aquarium  Water FlowLow to moderate

Tank Ambience

LightingModerate  (cannot withstand bright lights)
Substrate TypeSand, live rocks, plants
Tank MatesCompatible with:  Oscar, jaguar cichlid, Jack dempsey, firemouth cichlid, flowerhorn cichlid, bleeding heart tetra, silver dollar, and pacu

Incompatible with: African cichlid, mbuna cichlid, corydoras, blue acara, and severum cichlid
Suitable Position in the TankNo fixed position


DietBloodworms, earthworms, tubifex, mussel meat, as well as pellets and flakes
Frequency 2 times a day
Female Green Terror
Green Terror Size

Important Things to Know For Fish Keepers

  • The green terror is known for its digging tendencies; so, owners should think twice as well as maintain caution while adding rooted plants as substrates.
  • If you find your green terror losing color and turning pale all of a sudden, it could be due to stress caused by improper water conditions and other factors as well. Besides opting for a water change, look out of other symptoms like loss of appetite, bloated appearance, and inactivity as that could indicate an underlying medical condition.
Male Green Terror
Green Terror Fish Image


Q. What is a balloon green terror cichlid?

The balloon green terror cichlid is a little different from the traditional ones in terms of appearance. Going by their name, they have a balloon-shaped structure with a short body.

Q. What is the difference between the green terror and the blue acara?

People often take the green terror for the blue acara and vice versa due to the close to similar color patterns. However, they have visible physical and temperamental differences. The blue acara is smaller and less aggressive than the green terror.

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