How to Care for Your New Texas Cichlid

Aqualand Info on Herichthys cyanoguttatus

 

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Texas Cichlid Factoids

Origin

Southern Texas and northern Mexico

Maximum Size

Males 12 inches.  Females smaller.

Housing

Needs (and takes) lots of room
Tank Mates Varies at different ages
Types of Texans Blue, green, red, other
Water Not picky but needs frequent water changes
Food Very flexible

Threats

Other cichlids and other Texas cichlids
Longevity 15 years

Temperature

60 to 80

Attitude

Aggressive, territorial, belligerent, temperamental
Sexing Males larger with longer top and bottom fins
Breeding comments Easy breeder.  Large spawns.

LA
Nice lovable face.

Origin:  Southern Texas and northern Mexico originally.  Since they have such huge spawns, most are now raised commercially.  One pair can easily meet the needs of a city the size of Des Moines.

LA
11-inch very obvious male Texas cichlid (with smaller female behind him).

LA
Ten-inch female in the same tank -- a 20H temporary emergency home.

Maximum Size:  In large tanks, Texas cichlids can easily attain a foot in length.  However, since many Texas cichlids are reared in 55s, many will top out at six to eight inches.

Housing:  Like oscars, your Texas cichlid needs plenty of room.  If kept as a single specimen, a 55 will work.  A pair in a 55 will not grow to full size -- not exactly a bad deal.  Most of the Texas cichlids you will encounter never reach full size.  A full-grown Texas cichlid presents an awesome presence.

Tank Mates:  When small, Texas cichlids will mix well with barbs, but, oddly enough, not with other young cichlids.  Chocolates and jaguars, for instance, beat the crap out of little Texas cichlids -- even in a 55.  In addition to hogging the food, the other cichlids shred their fins, peel their scales, and finish them off.  Little Texans fare best when kept with their own kind.  The fast growers and slow growers co-exist fairly well.

LA
1.25-inch Texas cichlid.

LA
1.25-inch green (carpinte) Texas cichlid.

LA Pic
Three-inch "red" Texas cichlid.  Cool fish.  Not common.

Scott C., March 25, 2006
Red Texas cichlids are actually hybrids of H. Carpinte and the red parrot.

Types of Texans:  You'll see silvers, blues, greens (theoretically a different species, H. carpinte), and reds.  The problem is, many of the different types readily breed together so you can see quite a range of colors.  Texans will breed fairly easily with other species also.  They're not as bad as killifish and rusties, but they are promiscuous.  Cross them with a red devil and create your own flowerhorns. 

 

Water:  Like most large American cichlids, Texas cichlids will put up with incredible abuse.  They survive in nearly any type of water -- including mildly brackish.  Of course, they will look better, grow faster, and spawn more readily in clean water.  Texans love water changes.  Water changes will trigger spawning desires in many cichlid species.

Food:  In the wild, Texas cichlids spend their days sifting sand in search of edible morsels.  They eat all manner of vegetation and smaller animal organisms.  In your tank they will eat anything you give them that mentions fish food on the label regardless of contents.  Goldfish pellets should meet their needs admirably.  Texans are eager eaters.

LA
Three-inch Texas cichlid in a crowded tank of young ranging from 1.5 to 3 inches.

LA
Whoops.  Here's a four incher in the same 20H tank with 43 other Texans..

LA
More of them.

LA
Still more of them.

Threats:  Bigger cichlids whup up on small Texans.  Overcrowding does not seem to bother them if you make enough water changes to keep their water clean.  Once they attain five or six inches, they become the threat.

LA
Texas cichlids are not hiders.

LA
But they don't always want to cooperate.

Longevity:  Most large cichlids kept in good conditions will live for 10 years.  We've seen reports of Texas cichlids living 15 years.  Their longevity goes up when kept as single specimens.

Temperature:  Much hardier than most cichlids, Texas cichlids can survive temperatures in the sixties -- not a recommended practice.  This means they can compete with our U.S. centrarchids (sunfish) and do in the New Orleans area.  They will do great at 70 degrees.

LA
Female Texas cichlid with sort of a nuchal bump.

LA
Looks to be a green with small nuchal bump.  He's about 7 inches.

LA
Five-inch assumed female green Texas cichlid in the same tank.

LA
Five-inch probable male Texas cichlid housed with four parrot cichlids.

LA
Four-inch probable female in same tank -- looking a bit chewed on.

 

Attitude:  Texas cichlids love to dig, move their gravel around, shred the vegetation, rush to the front of the chow line, push other fish around, and stake out territories they are willing to fight for seriously.  They are also very friendly to whoever feeds them -- much like an oscar (and many other large cichlids).  They also like to display -- probably part of their territorial tendencies.

LA Pic
Just arrived five-inch regular Texas cichlid.  Very washed out from moving stress.

LA
Looking better after two weeks.

Sexing:  Use your basic cichlid rule of thumb to sex your Texas cichlids.  Males grow faster and are larger than females.  Males have longer extensions on their dorsal and anal fins.  Males over three-years old have a pronounced "nuchal bump" on their foreheads.  Females are smaller and chunkier.  Lots of luck sexing any Texas cichlid under three inches.

LA
Looking closely, you can see his teeth (barely).

Breeding:  You will need at least a 55 to breed them (or you will lose a lot of females).  A bigger tank is better.  Provide caves and plastic plants for the female to escape from the occasionally over-amorous male.  Add a speedy dither fish to distract the male's aggression and aid in the pair bonding.  Bump the temp about 5 degrees.  Then prepare to take credit for spawning your Texas cichlids which probably wanted to spawn almost as much as they want to eat.

Last Words:  Do not expect to sell all your Texas cichlid fry and retire to Arizona.  You can produce many more than you can sell.  LA

Go to Spawning Texas Cichlids for more info.

© 2006  LA Productions
aqualandpetsplus.com

                                            

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

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