Introducing the Green Terrors   

Aqualand takes a look at Aequidens rivulatus 

 
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Green Terror Factoids

Origin Peru and Ecador
White saum (fringe) Dorsal and tail trimmed in white
Gold saum (border) Dorsal and tail trimmed in gold (or orange)
Maximum size 8 to 10 inches
Sexing Males prettier and larger

Breeding

Pit spawners @ 4 to 5 inches

Security Not a hider but needs space

Temperature

Prefers 75 to 80o

Attitude

Aggressive and hungry

Foods

Not picky -- typical cichlid

Water

Not picky


LA
Gold saum green Terror with jack dempsey and gold jack dempsey below.

LA
Gold trim more evident on this eight-inch green terror.


Origin.  We know green terrors come from Peru and Ecador.  This makes them typical South American cichlids -- arguers over territories, destroyers of live plant life, and eaters of whatever they can catch.  One of my friends said he saw several adult green terrors co-existing with alligators in a display at a zoo.  Do not try this at home.

Interest Piquers.  What first intrigued our interest in these guys was a bucket of four-inchers traded in by one of our customers.  We threw them in a 20H and watched them chew on each other.  After two of them bellied up, we split them up -- one per each of several 10 gallon tanks.  Then we watched as each started developing some very attractive adult coloration.  Unfortunately, we have no pictorial records of that maturing litter.  We’re starting from scratch with some younger specimens.

LA Pic
Nice size mouth on green terrors.  White saum here.

Name?  Since we see more juvies than adults, we’ve never seen any turn into “terrors.”  Most Aequidens seem a little on the wimpy side.  We mix young green terrors with several species of barbs.  They get less ripped than when kept with other cichlids.  They seem about the same personality as jack dempseys.  If you think you have a mean green terror, put it in with a red devil or Buttikoferi.

LA Pic
Left:  Beat up three-inch gold saum green terror kept with equal-sized Dempseys and jewels.
  He deceased on the fourth day.  Right:  Beat up white saum, slightly larger and in need of a tank cleaning.  White saums show up less often.

Varieties.  White saum (German for “seam” or “border” or “fringe” or “edge” or “trim”) grün green terrors have a dorsal fin and tail trimmed in white.  So why not call them weiss saum und gelb saumMachts nichts.  You can figure out the gold saum name for yourself.  

LA Pic
Two-inch neon green terror bit up by an anostomus.  

LA Pix
Two weeks later.  They heal fast.   More formerly chewed green terror directly below.

LA Pic
Starting to look lots better.  Nice color for green terrors under two inches.

New Green Terror.  In 2004, we encountered a neon green terror.  Our first six were surgically altered by an anostomus.  The second batch of six (in a different tank) all jumped out and rolled in crud.   The chewed-up batch recovered.  The dried up dirty half-dozen did not..  Neon green terrors cost a little more, but will probably revert to the price mean as they become more available.  (We haven’t seen any in 2005.)       

Keep Covered.  If the prior paragraph’s subliminal message didn’t get the message across ... you need to put a lid on these guys.  We don’t think of most cichlids as jumpers, but our personal observations indicate that green terrors think of themselves as jumpers.  If a danio bails, big deal.  Seen one; you seen ’em all.  However, you hate to lose a good looking cichlid you maybe babied for years.  Or babied for two days in the case of the dried up dirty half-dozen.

 

Aquarium Size.  Treat your green terrors like you’d treat jack dempseys.  Give them more room as they increase in heft.  Females need caves or plastic plants to avoid the males’ constant attention (biting, chewing, tail whacking).  Male and female green terrors alike prefer larger quarters.

LA Pic
Green terrors work fine in a 55 full of South American cichlids.

Tank Mates.  When small, green terrors mix with any number of small cichlids as well as other speedy tank mates.  We recommend barbs.  We know that anostomus like green terrors (at least small pieces of them) and harass them unmercifully even in large tanks (55 in our case).  Small jaguars grow faster than green terrors and in a tank of mixed cichlids, they prefer to chew on the green terrors.

Foods.  Green terrors eat flakes, pellets, frozen foods, and live foods.  In other words, you will find few foods they will not eat.  As with most cichlids, they respond well to color foods.  Like severums, they show a proclivity for green peas.  Do all green fish like green peas?  Suggestion:  Avoid the green peas frozen in cream sauce.

Plants.  Here’s another vote for plastic plants.  As they increase in heft, green terrors grow less and less tolerant of live plants.  Weight your plastic plants so they can’t make them float to the top.  We like those pre-weighted, cichlid-proof plastic plants.

LA Pic
Bit of a bump on this small neon green terror's head.  

Sexing.  Male green terrors grow larger and more colorful than females.  They also grow the typical male cichlid nuchal (whatever that means) bump on their forehead as they mature.  Two males in a small tank may will present a problem.

Conditioning Secret.  Condition your male and female green terrors in separate tanks.  This makes sure your female gets the nutrients she needs with none of the harassment and stale pick up lines male cichlids are well known for.  After stuffing their guts with pellets and flakes, add some live foods for dessert.  Here’s the real secret to conditioning:  Feed your potential breeders several light feedings per day -- not one gut-busting, all-you-can-choke-down, tank-polluting shovelful of food.  Several feedings (light) per day yield an increase in girth (especially in the female) and in color (especially in the male).

LA Pic
Green terrors survive but don't thrive in dirty water.

Water Secret.  Green terrors (and most other cichlids) eat like little piggies and excrete like little piggies.  Most can live just fine in old yellow water that you would not drink -- unless you go on Fear Factor.  However, you need to flush their toilet once in awhile.  We like gravel vacuuming and 50% water changes every week on larger fish (25% on the little guys).  Add water the same temp plus NovAqua.

Temperature Secret.  Here comes another non-secret cichlid spawning secret:  Warm up their tank a bit (maybe five degrees).  Green terrors and most cichlids (forget discus and uarus) will spawn at lower temperatures.  They just spawn quicker at higher temps.

LA Pic
Could be another male green terror, but we'll try to spawn with above selected male.

Home Court Secret.  Condition your female green terror in the tank you want to spawn her in.  This gives her the home court advantage.  Cichlids can get very territorial with their home tank.  Your male already has the advantage of size and testosterone.  Give your female the home court advantage.  Let your male be the confused cichlid dropped into new territory possibly behind enemy lines.

LA Pic
Not always practicing what we preach, we put our male (L) and female (R) in a 10.

Spawning Tank Secret.  Got a 20H, 20L, 29 or a 30?  Go for it.  Bigger the tank the better.  Your female green terror needs roaming (escape) room.  Very few female cichlids kill their mates.  Male cichlids often get too rambunctious during their nuptials.  Give your female a cave or three.  Add a batch of bushy plants to increase her cover.

LA Pic
Convicts make an excellent dither fish.  Green terror tail sticking out behind filter.

Dither Fish Secret.  Adding a perceived outside threat, adds to the green terrors’ tendency to bond together.  Convict cichlids make an excellent dither fish candidate.  They like to argue and can run away at escape velocity.  Do not add a male and female convict or they will breed all other fishes out of house and home.

LA Pic
Provide a choice of hiding places for your green terror breeders.

Hiding Place Secret.  Caves, driftwood, and plastic plants all offer places for non-ready females to avoid the over-amorous attentions of excited male green terrors.  Even pieces of PVC pipes will work.

 

LA Pic
Male green terror plus his newest and bestest buddy.

 LA
Gold saum green terrors four to six inches.

LA
White saums under two inches -- still not common yet.

  LA
Some three-inch white saum green terrors.

LA
No spawning process to show.  Schade.

Patience Secret.  Sometimes you just gotta let green terrors and all other cichlids take their own sweet time.  Since we’re in a hurry, we’ll set up another pair.

Stay tuned for our next episode  "Green Terrors -- the Unborn Identity."  LA

© 2004, © 2005  LA Productions

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