Texas Cichlid Care Guide (Diet, Tank Mates, Breeding, Size)

    Texas Cichlid Care Guide

    Texas cichlid (Herichthys cyanoguttatus)

    Texas Cichlid is one of the common fish species aquarists look at when seeking a valuable addition to their fish aquarium. This fish species is growing increasingly popular in recent years, not just because of their interesting appearance but also because of the value they add to fish tanks. 

    There are several interesting details about Texas Cichlids, and you can be sure of finding them all in this guide. If you are a beginner or even an experienced aquarist that intends to include Texas Cichlids in your fish tank, then this is most likely the best piece you would come across today. 

    This Texas Cichlid care guide covers all the essentials to successfully keep this species in your tank. It offers simplified information on crucial aspects, including the safe tank setups, tank mates, feeding, and breeding of Texas Cichlids. 

    Category Rating
    Care level Intermediate
    Family Cichlidae
    Lifespan 12-13 years
    Size Up to 12 inches
    Tank setup Freshwater, large space, sturdy plantation
    Tank size 45-55 gallons per fish
    Temperament Aggressive and territorial
    Diet Omnivorous
    pH 6.0-8.0
    Temperature 71.50F to 770F

    About the Texas Cichlid

    Texas Cichlid size

    Texas Cichlid is known as Herichthys cyanoguttatus among the scientific community. It is one of the most prominent members of the popular Cichlidae family. This species is native to the Rio Grande Drainage in the United States of America, hence its name. 

    Texas Cichlids and their Central American relatives are very territorial and aggressive. Therefore, this species is most dominant in their natural habitat. This feature also makes them selective about tank mates and suitable community tanks. 

    Texas Cichlids are popular in the fishkeeping community because of several reasons, and one of them is their appealing look.

    There is also a blue texas cichlid (herichthys carpintis), which has even more intense blue scales. They are also smaller than true texas cichlids

    This species comes in several colors that add beauty and elegance to the fish tank. Other reasons include their high economic value and entertaining activities. 

    Nevertheless, keeping Texas Cichlid in fish tanks comes with its challenges. But the consolation is that you can mitigate these challenges if you know the right steps to take. This Texas Cichlid Care Guide will help.

    Lifespan of Texas Cichlids

    Green Texas cichlid

    One of the advantages of Texas Cichlids over most other species is their long lifespan. They have a longer lifespan than most other aquarium fish

    Texas Cichlids can live up to 13 years if you keep them under ideal and suitable conditions. In the wild, this species often lives between 10-15years on average. 

    However, it is essential to note that this species’ lifespan varies because several factors influence them. You have almost total control over these factors if you are keeping this species in an aquarium. 

    The factors that influence the lifespan of Texas Cichlids in an aquarium include;

    • Feeding
    • Tank conditions
    • Tank mates
    • External factors 
    • Presence or absence of pests and parasites

    The more you enhance these factors to favor Texas Cichlids, the healthier and longer they live. 

    Texas Cichlid Appearance

    Texas Cichlid Appearance

    You can easily distinguish Texas Cichlids from most other species of aquarium fish because of their unique appearance. Their uniqueness ranges from size and color to boldness and elegance while swimming. The major challenge often comes from distinguishing between male and female Texas Cichlids. 

    This fish species often grows very big. If you keep Texas Cichlid under suitable conditions with a proper diet, it can grow as big as 12 inches. On average, they usually reach a size between 10-13 inches in the wild. 

    Texas Cichlids have the Cichlids silhouette shape that is peculiar to the Cichlidae family. They have a robust fin that sits on their sloppy, slightly curved fin base. They also have an obvious hump on their heads. 

    The color of Texas Cichlids is another outstanding feature. Their presence in a fish tank can make it glow and give radiation of beautiful colors. 

    Although there are slight variations in individual fish color, they generally have an unusual dotted pattern. These dots have irregular sizes with no precise arrangements. The color of these dots can vary from light blue to green, and this accounts for one of the most noticeable variations. 

    The juveniles of Texas Cichlids usually have a pearl-grey body with sparse white dots primarily on the fins and few other parts of the body. Likewise, you can find two characteristic black dots on their body, one at the caudal fin base and the other at the center of their body. 

    Adult Texas Cichlids also have their distinguishable colors in varieties that are labeled as; Blue Texas Cichlids, Green Texas Cichlids, and Red Texas Cichlids. These specific colors are mostly on the dotted spots, while the background body can be gold, dark or light blue. You should note that there is a noticeable color transition as they move from juveniles to adults. 

    Differences Between Male and Female Texas Cichlids

    One of the prevalent challenges with recognizing Texas Cichlids is differentiating the male and female sexes of this species. First off, the easiest tip is to take note of the color difference in male and female members of this species. 

    Male Texas Cichlids usually have brighter colors compared to females. Likewise, they grow noticeably larger than the females. 

    You would also find the male Texas Cichlids developing a noticeable cranial bump, which is referred to as the nuchal hump. Many male Central American cichlids will grow one as they mature

    These features can perform dual functions. First, it can help you distinguish the males, and also, it can help you tell how long a male Cichlid has lived. 

    Texas Cichlid Care and Tank Setup 

    Beautiful brilliant diamond aquarium fish Herichthys carpintis in blue water. Underwater, selective focus, motion blur image

    Ensuring proper care of your Texas Cichlid is essential in increasing their lifespan, keeping them healthy, ensuring proper growth, and maintaining their attractive outlook. Keeping them in an unsuitable tank or leaving them without proper care can be disastrous. 

    Texas Cichlids are freshwater fish, and it is quite easy to recreate their natural habitat in your aquarium. All you need to do is review various critical environmental factors and tank parameters such as temperature, pH, tank size, etc. 

    Aside from being a freshwater fish, Texas Cichlids also prefer warm water. The ideal water temperature for this species is within the range of 71.5℉ to 77℉. Therefore, you might need to include a suitable heater in their tank setup. 

    Texas Cichlids prefer neutral or near-neutral tanks, and they thrive best in a pH range between 6.5 and 8. The water hardness should be between 8 to 15dGH to complement this pH. Moderate water flow in Texas Cichlids’ tank will also be of great advantage. 

    You can consider the integration of substrates and sparse plants in the tank setup. This addition will assist in the simulation of their natural habitat in the best way possible. 

    These substrates can be gravel, fine sands, or a mixture of both to keep it as natural as possible. The addition of live or artificial tanks will also enhance this simulation. It will provide hiding and resting spots for the fish, particularly in juvenile tanks. 

    Texas Cichlids need considerable space to swim and move around when it comes to tank size. Besides the fact that they can grow relatively big, they are also quite aggressive and territorial.  

    On average, you will need 45 – 55 gallons of water per fish. Texas Cichlids are also agile, so you might consider adding a lid to their tank to prevent them from jumping out. 

    Texas Cichlid Food and Diet

    Like every other living thing, the diet and feeding habits of Texas Cichlids are essential factors. The food you give them and how well you regulate their diet will go a long way in influencing their growth and overall health. Also, this is an important aspect of your Texas Cichlid care guide.

    Texas Cichlids are not picky eaters, which is another reason why keeping them in the tank is quite easy. They are omnivorous; thus, they feed on both plants and animals. In the wild, they mostly feed on anything they find in their environment, including smaller fish. 

    It is safe to say Texas Cichlids are always hungry. So, their diet and feeding regulation is dependent on you because they will eat anything you feed them anytime you feed them. 

    You can feed your Texas Cichlids with high-quality pellets. They also love live and frozen foods. You can feed them with blood worms, insects, crustaceans, frozen shrimp, and other foods. You can also include some plant-based food such as spinach or lettuce. Texas Cichlids do not require any special nutritional supplement because they are sturdy. 

    Feeding them twice a day within a reasonable space is enough to ensure their proper growth. You can consider feeding juveniles thrice a day to ensure that their diet matches their body’s rapid growth requirement. 

    It would be best if you got rid of all leftovers from the tank to prevent the development of bacteria. You should also avoid overfeeding your fish to avoid any side effects. 

    Behavior and Temperament 

    Green Texas Cichlid
    Green Texas Cichlid

    Like most other members of the Cichlidae family, Texas Cichlids also exhibit aggressive and territorial behavior. So, you should consider this while choosing your tank size if you intend to keep more than one fish.

    Texas Cichlids are not schooling fish. They don’t get along with each other, talk less of getting along with members of other species. 

    This aggressiveness and territoriality also make them dominant in their environment. Texas Cichlids often bully and even eat other fish, particularly smaller fish. This temperament also makes them selective in terms of suitable tank mates. 

    One way to mitigate their aggression is to add plenty of natural boundaries. Rocks, driftwood, and large plants help fish understand where territorial borders are. Cichlids tend to be more aggressive in tanks where breaks in line of sight don’t exist.

    Texas Cichlids are active swimmers; therefore, you would rarely find them hiding except something is wrong. They are diggers, and they can dig substrates and move the gravel around. Also, they are rough swimmers.. So, don’t be surprised when you see them shred the plants in their tank. 

    Nevertheless, Texas Cichlids appear to be very intelligent. They have a way of recognizing and interacting with their owners. You will find them pushing forward when it is time for feeding, and they also give specific reactions to different events. 

    Texas Cichlids Tank Mates 

    Texas Cichlids often live solitary in the wild due to their unwelcoming, aggressive, and territorial behavior. For a cichlid species they are middle of the road in terms of aggression. But they are much meaner than community fish.

    Keeping Texas Cichlids with other fish in the same tank might be disastrous if proper care is not taken. The members of this species are aggressive and territorial; hence, you have to consider several factors before introducing other fishes to their environment. 

    These factors include tank size, adequate feeding, type of fish, and the behavior and temperament of the other fish. 

    If the tank is too small a Texas Cichlid may claim the entire aquarium as its territory. Tank mates may end up with torn fins and even missing eyes.

    That said, other aggressive cichlid species are good matches. So long as you provide enough space for each fish to have some room. They will gill flare and mouth wrestle at times. But will otherwise live well together.

    You can safely keep the juveniles with other species, but the relationship becomes increasingly difficult as they grow. The older they grow, the more they learn how to pick on other fish in their environment. 

    Some of the compatible tank mates with Texas Cichlids are; 

    • Plecos
    • Giant Gouramis 
    • Tambaqui 
    • Scavenger Catfish 
    • Knifefish

    These species are slightly compatible because they can fend for themselves and defend themselves from the bully behavior of Texas Cichlids. Species like Giant Gouramis have a matching size that makes it difficult for them to be bullied. 

    Some of the compatible species can also have opposite behavior to Texas Cichlids. Some of these species include passive swimmers and bottom tank dwellers. Tank size is, however, still a powerful factor. 

    Keeping Texas Cichlids with the same species is relatively easier. All you need is a tank that provides enough space for independent activities with little or no interference. 

    Texas Cichlids Reproduction and Breeding 

    The Texas cichlid (Herichthys cyanoguttatus) in a Aquarium ,Selective focus.

    First off, if you are interested in the breeding and reproduction of Texas Cichlids, it must reflect in your tank set up as this is part of your Texas Cichlid care guide. You should prepare flat surfaces that the fish will find suitable to lay their eggs. 

    Breeding and reproduction in Texas Cichlids can start once they are 2-4 inches. To prepare them for the breeding processes, you can keep a single male and female in the same tank. 

    The breeding process starts with courtship, where the opposite sexes display courtship behavior. The male will repeatedly try to flap the side body of the female. 

    Once it’s spawning time, the female Texas Cichlid will prepare a suitable surface to lay its eggs. The female will then lay its eggs around this surface, where the male will fertilize them to mark the end of their spawning session. 

    Their eggs are approximately 2mm in size and a single spawning session and can produce 1000 eggs or more.  The fertilized eggs will hatch into a fry within 2-3 days, after which you can collect them into a different tank. This fry can develop into independent free-living juvenile Texas Cichlids within 2-3 weeks. 


    Texas Cichlids are dominant species with striking colors and large bodies. They exhibit aggressive and bullying behaviors. Texas Cichlids are not picky eaters, and they will feed on both plants and animals, including live foods. 

    Texas Cichlids are sturdy. Therefore, they are flexible with their tank requirements, but you have to keep it within a reasonable range. 

    Selecting a tank mate for Texas Cichlids might prove a hassle because of their temperament and behavior. However, essential considerations like tank size, size of the other fish, and feeding habits can help you make the best choice. 

    Overall, Texas Cichlids are valuable additions to an aquarium. However, it is best to pay attention to the best Texas Cichlid care guide (this one!) to get the most out of them.


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