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Texas Cichlid

texas cichlid

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Scientific Name:   Herichthys cyanoguttatus      
Min. Tank Size:   120 gallons      
Personality:   Territorial & aggressive      
Temperature:   72-78°F      
pH:   6.0-7.5/5-12°dGH      
Size:   12"      
Diet:   Omnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Best kept alone or in pairs in a species tank; juveniles can be kept with other species of similar size. Should not be kept with Herichthys carpintis to prevent interbreeding.

Texas Cichlid

Formerly classified as Cichlasoma cyanoguttatum, the Texas Cichlid now belongs to the genus Herichthys. These fish are Central American Cichlids, native to the Rio Grande drainage area in both the southern U.S. and Mexico. This species is the only Cichlid native to the United States and though it is primarily found near Texas, introduced populations now exist in Florida. Texas Cichlids are sometimes referred to as Pearl Cichlids, named for the reflective, pearl-like spots covering their bodies. These fish exhibit a variety of colorations ranging from brownish gray to blue. Adults of the species typically exhibit two small black spots - one at the base of the caudal fin and another near the middle of the body - and mature males develop a bump on their heads.

Tank Set-up

A Texas Cichlid tank should be at least 120 gallons in capacity to comfortably accommodate a single fish and give it room to move about. These fish prefer plenty of open space for swimming. Because this species tends to dig in the substrate, planted tanks are not recommended. Large rocks and pieces of driftwood would be the preferred way to go. Any stacked rocks should be secured firmly in place with aquarium epoxy to prevent them from tumbling and cracking the glass. To provide optimum conditions for the Texas Cichlid, well oxygenated water with strong filtration is required. Oversized filtration in the form of a large canister filter, or a combination of two, would be recommended. In addition, weekly partial water changes are a must as part of the regular aquarium maintenance regimen.


Texas Cichlids are an omnivorous species and, in the wild, they feed on a variety of foods including insects, plant matter and other fish. In the home aquarium, they're not picky eaters at all. They'll eagerly accept most foods offered. Feed a staple diet of Cichlid pellets or flakes supplemented with live and frozen foods like bloodworms, earthworms, brine shrimp, etc. Include vegetable matter, such as shelled peas and/or a good quality Spirulina-based flake as part of their regular diet. Feed a regular varied diet for the best health and coloration.


Breeding Texas Cichlids is fairly easy once you are able to establish a breeding pair. The breeding tank should be decorated with large rocks and flat pieces of slate to serve as spawning sites. Because these fish can become extremely aggressive during breeding periods, it is wise to use a tank divider to separate the male and female until they get used to each other. Once spawning occurs, the parents will guard the eggs and move the fry to a prepared pit in the substrate after they hatch. These fish have been known to hybridize with other related species, so it is best to keep them separate from other similar species to prevent interbreeding.

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