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Red Texas Cichlid Care, Tank Preparation, Breeding & Tank Mates

These hybrid freshwater species are popular among fish lovers due to their spirited beauty. They are exotic, large in size, and intelligent fish variety. The behavior of this hybrid fish is similar to other Cichlid varieties and has aggressive territorial behavior. In this article, I am going to give you some useful information about Red Texas cichlid and their behaviors.

Red Texas cichlid is a result of crossbreeding of Red Parrot female fish and Texas cichlid (Herichthys cyanoguttatus) male fish. The female red parrot fish is also a result of selective crossbreed. Farmers breed Red Head cichlid (Vieja melanurus) and Red Devil cichlids (Amphilophus labiatus) to produce parrotfish. Thus, Red Texas cichlids inherit genes of these three-cichlid species.

How big do Red Texas cichlids get?

If you provide optimum tank conditions, Red Texas cichlids can grow up to 12 inches. If not they will grow up to 6 inches.

How fast does Red Texas Cichlid grow?

Red Texas can reach its maximum size (12 inches) within 2.5-3 years. If you provide optimum tank conditions, they will grow fast.

The native habitat of Red Texas Cichlids

They are a hybrid variety and they are unable to be found in the natural environment. But parent male Texas cichlids are native to the United States and you can find them in a Rio Grande river that is flowing through Texas and Northern Mexico. Thus, they are named Texas or the Rio Grande cichlids. Other than the Rio Grande River, you can also find them in neighboring lakes, tributaries, and ponds. These native habitats have fast flow and relatively warm water. 

Red Texas cichlids have attractive color patterns. And their appearance is closer to male fish. They inherit body shape and spots from their father and bright red color from their mother. They have deep and oval-shaped bodies. This variety may live around 10-15 years under optimum tank conditions.  

Preferable tank conditions and Tank setup 

Tank size 

You should use more than a 75-gallon tank for the adult fish. They reach 12 inches in size and because of that, they need more space than other aquarium fish. Therefore, it is recommended to keep them in a 240-300 gallon tank for optimum growth. Red Texas cichlids prefer lots of open space to swim. When adding substrates, you should pay attention to this factor too. 

Tank substrates

If you can provide natural substrates such as sand, stones, driftwood, and live plants, it is better for your Texas fish. Because they much prefer natural habitat feeling. Driftwood provides hiding grounds to Red Texas and they are using it as a territory. 

Light intensity 

Most of the Texas species prefer low-light conditions. Because of that, light intensity is not an issue for Texas fish. If you decorate your aquarium by using rooted floating plants, it is better. It will provide a natural habitat feeling and also shade to the tank.


Naturally, Texas cichlids live in relatively warm water. Thus, they preferred temperature range is 71.5°F – 77°F. Thus, you have to use a heater to maintain the water temperature of the tank at the optimum level.

 the pH of the water

Red Texas cichlids can live in a slightly acidic pH range. It is from 6.5 to 8. 

The hardness of the water

The hardness of the water should be between 8-15gGH. 

Filter system

Texas species are recognized as messy eaters and they are sensitive to nitrate levels. Thus, you should install an efficient filter to reduce nitrate levels and maintain water quality. That filter should have the ability to filter biological, mechanical, and chemical substances. If you have large cichlids like Red Texas in your tank, you should regularly change water even if your aquarium has a good filter system. 

Read more 8 Non-Aggressive Cichlids for Community Tank And Care

Red Texas Cichlid feeding method

It is recommended to feed your fish 2-3 times per day. You can add food in the morning (7 a.m. – 8 a.m.), afternoon (1 p.m. – 2 p.m.), and evening time (5 p.m. – 6 p.m.). If you want, you can skip the afternoon feeding session. It is better if you can purchase quality fish food that contains an adequate amount of nutrients for Red Texas cichlid. Because of omnivorous behavior they can eat both animal and plant matter. 

You can purchase fish pellets, fish flakes, and frozen or live feed for them. Please add a sufficient amount of food that fish can eat within 2 minutes. It will reduce food waste in your aquarium. The uneaten foods cause a reduction in water quality.

Food preference

Red Texas cichlids are omnivores and they can eat meat and plant matter. Generally, Texas is not a finicky eater and because of that, they can adjust to a wide range of food varieties. In aquarium habitats, Red Texas cichlids eat any type of food including fish pellets, vitamin-enriched fakes, frozen food, and live foods.

Red Texas cichlids prefer live and frozen food than formulated foods. Thus, you can use high-quality flakes and pellets regularly and live or frozen food as a supplement. The life foods are small shrimps, blood worms, and small insects. You can also use vegetables and algae-based food for the Red Texas cichlid diet. In the wild habitat, parent male Texas cichlids eat small insects, worms, small invertebrates, and plant matter. 

Red Texas Cichlid tank mates 

Because of Red Texas’s aggressive behavior, they are not suitable to add to community tanks. But in some exceptional cases, they can live together with other species. They can adapt to the community tank when they are kept from the juvenile stage in the same tank. But their peaceful behavior can suddenly change with time. Therefore it is recommended to keep them in a separate tank. If you need to keep them with other fish, keep them with the following fish varieties.

Do not keep Red Texas cichlid fish with small fish such as Guppies, Molly fish, zebra, and tetra fish. Because Texas fish will consider those small fish as their food.

Breeding facts of Red Texas Cichlids 

How to identify male and female

The appearance of male Red Texas Cichlid Fish

Like most ornamental fish, the male version of Red Texas has a brighter color than the female. Male Red Texas Cichlids are larger than female Red Texas. Sometimes males may develop cranial bumps when they become older.

The appearance of female Red Texas Cichlid fish

You can distinguish female Texas from a spot on the dorsal fin. Female Texas fish have a black spot on their dorsal fin and male fish do not have that kind of black spot on their dorsal fin. Some females may develop cranial bumps when they get older.

How do select fish for the breed?

Texas cichlids are egg-laying, open spawners and they are easy to breed. You have to select compatible pair for breeding. Normally breeding pairs should have more excellent characteristics than other fish. The body shape, fins, body-color, and spot patterns are highly considered for the selective breed. Because offsprings get traits from parental genes. Thus, you should select the most healthy, colorful, and attractive compatible pair for the good quality breed. Normally Texas cichlids are sexually matured within 6-8 months and the size will be 6 inches.

How to encourage red Texas cichlid fish for breeding?

If you want to encourage your cichlid fish to breed, you should provide a flat surface as a breeding site. This flat surface can be a flat stone. Typically fish start breeding when they are 2-3 inches in size. When female fish are ready to breed they start to clean the breeding site (flat substrate). Female fish lay around 1000 eggs at one spawn. The egg size is around 2mm. 

Do Red Texas Cichlid fish have parental care?

Yes, female Red Texas cichlids protect deposited eggs while male cichlid guard the territory boundaries. But in the breeding period, male and female Red Texas cichlid is extremely aggressive. Therefore, it is better if you can provide a separate tank for Texas cichlids in the breeding period. 

Red Texas Cichlid juvenile care

The red cichlid eggs are hatched within 3-5 days. Then fry stage of Texas transport to the pit that digs in the sand and they keep them for about 5-8 days. You can feed on the free-swimming fry stage with live foods like brine shrimp, powdered flakes. The Fry stage also feeds on organic matter in the tank. Sometimes the first few batches are eaten by parent fish. It is a general thing for Texas cichlids and it is better to do practice rounds before they truly breed.

How to identify female and male red Texas cichlids?

The male Red Texas cichlid has a pointed and large dorsal fin. When males get mature, they develop a cranial hump on their forehead. Adult female fish do not have a cranial hump on their forehead. Male fish are larger than female fish.

How to care for Red Texas cichlids?

Red Texas cichlids are easy to rear. They prefer a natural environment like the Texas cichlid. Thus, you can cover the tank bottom with sand and rocks. You can add aquatic plants to the aquarium. But do not add sensitive plants, because Texas cichlids are burrowing near the plants. Try to use rooted floating plants for your aquarium. It will control light penetration. These fish prefer shade conditions over lighter conditions. They reach 12 inches large when they become adults.

Therefore, they need slightly big tanks that can contain more than 75 gallons of water. You should use a good filter to maintain the water quality and a heater for maintaining the water temperature. These fish prefer slightly higher water temperature and it is in between 70° to 75°F. They prefer a slightly acidic pH level and the ideal pH level is 6.5-8. The water hardness should be between 8-25dH. 

Are Red Texas Cichlids aggressive?

Yes, Red Texas cichlid fish is more aggressive than other Texas cichlid fish. Thus, red cichlids’ behavior is most related to Flowerhorn cichlids rather than other Texas cichlids. You can add them with robust semi-aggressive or aggressive fish species. Because of their aggressive behavior, they are not suitable for the community tank. Male Red Texas cichlid fish are more aggressive than female fish.

They show higher aggressiveness when the breeding period is started. Thus, it is recommended to separate compatible pairs into separate tanks for breeding. Sometimes male fish fight with female fish in the breeding season. Thus, you can use a tank divider to separate male and female fish from each other in the breeding season.

Types of Texas Cichlids?

According to the body color, there are some Texas cichlid varieties (Herichthys sp.) such as Red Texas cichlid, Green Texas cichlid, Blue Texas cichlid.

Blue Texas Cichlid

The blue Texas cichlid (Herichthys carpintis) is a beautiful creature that has a vibrant blue color body. They are native to Mexico. These fish are a fairly large and excellent choice for large aquariums. They also prefer a habitat that is similar to the natural environment. Thus, you can add sand, and stones to the tank bottom. Aquatic plants and driftwoods also can be used to facilitate natural habitat feeling.

In the aquarium trade, they use this name for various species such as Herichthys carpintisHerichthys cyanoguttatus, Herichthys labridens, and others. The name “Blue Texas” is often used for species that are not yet scientifically described. Those are Herichthys sp, Herichthys sp, turquoise, Poza Rica, and Rio Cazones.

Green Texas Cichlid

The name “Green Texas cichlid” is used for two species that are closely related to each other. Those are Herichthys carpintis and Herichthys cyanoguttatusHerichthys carpintis species is collected from the Mexican region. You can distinguish two species by looking at their spots. Herichthys cyanoguttatus has smaller spots than Herichthys carpintis. This cichlid is also known as lowland cichlid or pearl scale cichlid.

Can Texas Cichlids live with Oscars?

Yes, Texas cichlids can live with Oscar fish. They are well-matched tank mates. Other than Oscar cichlids, Texas cichlids also peacefully live with Jaguar cichlids, large dieter fish species, Catfish, Silver dollar, Knife fish, Eels, and Jack Dempsey species.

Do Texas Cichlids have teeth?

Yes, they have well-developed pharyngeal teeth in the throat together with regular teeth. 

What kind of Cichlid is a green terror?

Green terror is a vibrant freshwater species that belong to the cichlid family. This variety is native to the Pacific side of South America. They are polymorphic and having a white or gold-orange ending in the tail and dorsal fin.

Difference between Super Red Texas Cichlid vs. Red Texas Cichlid

The main difference is associated with their body color. Red Texas cichlid is close to orange in color and Super Red Texas fish has a cherry red color.

What is the short body Red Texas Cichlid?

These short body Red Texas cichlids are the result of selective breeding. Normal Red Texas can grow up to around 12 inches. But short body Red Texas can grow up to around 8-9 inches maximally.

Red Devil Texas Cichlid 

Red devil Texas cichlid (Cichlasoma labiatum) is an aggressive fish with pointed dorsal and anal fins. This variety has a color range. Some are bright red, yellow, or white. Some of these beautiful creatures have rubbery orange-colored or black color lips. fish have black-tipped tails and fins too. 

Red Devil vs. Texas Cichlid

Red devil Texas belongs to the Texas cichlid group. But the red devil cichlid is not a naturally occurring variety. It is a hybrid of female red parrotfish and male Texas cichlid fish. 

Are Red Texas Cichlid and flower horn the same fish?

No. Red texas fish is not a flower horn fish. Both varieties are hybrids. But those hybrids come from two or more different species. The physical appearance of both hybrids has a close relationship. But there is a huge difference in both varieties. The base parents vary in these two varieties. Trimac cichlid (Amphilophus trimaculatus) is the base of the flower horn variety. But the red Texas cichlid is a hybrid of Herichthys species. 


Red Texas cichlid is a hybrid variety and they have bright red coloration. But the majority of red Texas cichlids are closer to orange in color. Thus, farmers try to increase Texas cichlid color to bright red. Generally Red Texas cichlid fish are aggressive. In the breeding season, they show many aggressive behaviors. Thus, you should select tankmates for them carefully.

It is better if you can separate the particular male and female red cichlids in their breeding period. Female cichlids are egg bears. They deposit thousands of eggs on a clean flat surface. Male Red cichlid fish protect fry from foreign threats. Because of omnivorous feeding behavior, they eat both plant matter and animal matter. Further, they prefer relatively warm and slightly acidic water. Further Red Texas cichlids love to live in a habitat that gives a more natural feeling.

Credits to Journey with Red Texas Cichlids

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.