Care Level: Moderate
Live Plant Safe: No
General Description: The Texas Cichlid is the only cichlid species that occurs naturally in the United States, found in the Rio Grande drainage in the southern US [Texas] into Mexico. One of the most belligerant cichlids, the Texas cichlid requires a very large aquarium to thrive on its own, let alone if the hobbyist is attempting to house it with other species (see ‘Care Requirements’ below). Maintaining the aquascape in an aquarium with a Texas cichlid will feel like a losing battle, as they constantly dig and move what decor is present. An adult Texas cichlid can reach a size of approximately 12″, with males averaging larger than females. Males will also have pointed dorsal and anal fins, and a hump on their head that develops with maturation. Pairing a male and female Texas cichlid can be difficult, namely because determining sex of adolescent individuals can be challenging.
Diet Requirements: Texas cichlids, in nature, feed predominately on small aquatic invertebrates but will also consume plant matter. One the unfussiest eaters, 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. Foods containing Spirulina algae are a plus. Texas cichlids 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.
Care Requirements: An aquarium no less than 6 feet in length should be used for a Texas cichlid. At minimum, a 200 gallon aquarium is thus ideal for a Texas cichlid. Smaller or juvenile specimens can be kept in smaller quarters (no less than 90 gallons), but the aquarium will have to be upgraded accordingly and even young Texas cichlids can be incredibly territorial. This cichlid cannot be put into a biologically immature aquarium. Weekly water changes are encouraged to keep water parameters pristine (Nitrates < 15 ppm) as Texas cichlids are intolerable of high nitrates and deteriorating water parameters. Equipping the aquarium with a canister filter can also be advantageous to maintain a healthier environment for a Texas cichlid. The aquarium should be aquascaped with some stacked rocks to create caves, or the use of broken terra cotta pots can be used as refuges. Ample unobstructed and open swimming space should also be provided. A sandy or fine substrate several inches deep is preferred and the aquarium needs to be well oxygenated. Compatability with other fish comes down to the size of the aquarium the Texas cichlid is kept in first and foremost, and then the size of the individual. This species is often kept as the only fish in an aquarium. Recommended water conditions, 74-84° F, KH 5-12, pH 6.0-7.0.
Purchase Size: Medium: 1-1/4” to 1-1/2”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.