Care Level: Moderate
Live Plant Safe: No
General Description: The True Red Terror or Festae Cichlid, herein referred to as simply Red Terror, are found in clear or whitewater coastal drainages of northern Peru and western Ecuador. The majority of specimens available within the aquarium trade however are commercially produced. A popular cichlid for its beautiful red and yellow coloration and bold black striping as adults, hobbyists should take into account the relatively large adult size (12″) and extremely territorial nature of a Red terror before considering one for their aquarium. Maintaining the aquascape in an aquarium with a Red terror can often feel like a losing battle, as they can dig and move around what decor is present. Male Red terrors will grow much larger than females, in addition to developing more pointed dorsal and anal fins. Most specimens sold however are mere juveniles that will be difficult to sex and will also not likely be mature enough to have the coloration they’re known for, appearing more plain. Breeding Red terrors can be extremely difficult, as males will often kill females in the process of pairing. Red terrors begin to reach sexual maturity at approximately 4-6″ in size. One specimen per aquarium is typically best practice for the majority of hobbyists.
Diet Requirements: Red terrors are omnivorous in nature, consuming fish, crustaceans, insects, and plant matter. One the unfussiest eaters in the aquarium trade, a diet made up of various high quality protein and vegetable based foods are ideal. Such options include frozen brine shrimp, mussels, and pieces of krill or silverside fish. Foods containing Spirulina algae are a plus. Red terrors will accept large sinking pellet foods and flake foods, but these should not make up the majority of their diet. Variety is the spice of life in order to maintain color, immune function and longevity of your fish. We discourage feeding live fish to Red terrors because they are often of little nutritional value and increase the risk of introducing disease.
Care Requirements: A minimum 75 to 90 gallon aquarium is ideal for a small Red terror. An adult will require much more space upwards of 150 gallons; even more space is required for a compatible pair of Red terrors. This cichlid cannot be put into a biologically immature aquarium. Biweekly water changes are encouraged to keep water parameters pristine (Nitrates < 30 ppm). Poor water quality will result in your Red terror having deformities and hole in the head disease, which are permanent. Equipping the aquarium with a canister filter can also be advantageous to maintain a healthier environment. Red terrors are relatively indifferent to aquarium decor, but some stacked rocks to create caves, driftwood and other natural looking arrangements will bring out the beauty of this cichlid and disperse its aggression. Some unobstructed and open swimming space should also be provided. A sandy or fine substrate several inches deep is preferred and the aquarium should be well oxygenated. Given the aggressive and territorial nature of the Red terror, only other very robust cichlid species with similar temperament and adult size should be considered. Other large, active species such as tinfoil barbs (Barbonymus schwanenfeldii) and silver dollars (Metynnis argenteus) are also a possibility. Purchasing fish at a more juvenile life stage will increase the chances of it getting along with tank mates. Small fish species may be eaten as a Red terror matures. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 5-20, pH 6.0-8.0.
Purchase Size: Small: 1-1/2″ to 2″
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.