The Green Terror Cichlid (Andinoacara rivulatus) is a large and vibrant freshwater fish that has captured many aquarium enthusiasts’ attention.
Whether it be their unique appearance or how hardy they are when you put them in your large community tanks (and trust me; no one wants an injured fish), there seems always to be someone who loves these handsome guys.
As the name implies, adult Green Terror Cichlids can be very aggressive. But if you want to keep this fish, especially in an American cichlid aquarium, you’re going to need to find tank mates that can handle their terror.
So, what are the best green terror tank mates? Let’s find out.
How to Choose the tank mates for Green Terror Cichlids?
The challenge of choosing fish that get along is an ongoing one for many aquarists. There are so many factors that can determine whether or not you’ll have success, and even when it comes down to certain types of creatures, there’s no telling what might happen next.
When choosing tank mates for your Green Terror Cichlids, here are some things to keep in mind.
The male Green Terror Cichlid can grow up to 12 inches in the aquarium, while females usually stay around 5 inches. In addition, these fish are open breeders who need plenty of swimming area.
Due to their large adult size and aggressive nature, a 55 gallons aquarium is recommended for a single female green terror, and a 75 gallon is the minimum tank size for a sole male green terror. If you decide to get a pair of green terrors, aim for a tank of at least 75 gallons. The more space they have, the better they tend to get along.
You might be interested in this article: Green Terror Cichlid size, tank size and growth rate
When it comes to food, most Cichlids are opportunistic, and even relatively peaceful ones will try their best at eating other types that can fit into their mouth.
As one of the larger South American cichlids, don’t keep smaller fish with Green Terrors; they will be harassed or eaten sooner or later.
Juvenile Green Terrors are usually easy going, even if they are known to become aggressive as of late juvenile or adults. You can mix them with a broader selection of tank mates.
The cichlid’s personality changes as it grows. A Green Terror grows slowly and will not be able to tell you what its true personality is until three years of age; If the Green Terror is your dominant cichlid in the tank, then you should not get other fish capable of killing it.
Most male cichlids tend to be more territorial and aggressive, but the Green Terror is an exception. Female Green Terrors tend to be more aggressive than males, particularly when mating. They should be kept individually.
When it comes to a cichlid tank, there’s always some sort of pecking order; the dominant fish will be at the top of this hierarchy. If you’re having trouble with aggressive behavior in your current setup, it might be best to remove any smaller ones that get harassed by the dominant species.
The dominant Green Terror can be housed with other large SA/CA cichlids. Well, you should consider their personality and the tank conditions. These fish often end up being relatively peaceful.
Decorations and Rocks
Decorating your aquarium with the right decorations can help improve compatibility between cichlids. If you’re mixing Green Terrors with other species in a large tank, make sure to arrange the tank with rocks, caves, or driftwood that can provide hiding places and territories for the fish, breaking up open space and helping to reduce aggression.
While we have talked about this a lot, fish have individual personalities and can be unpredictable in their behavior patterns depending on all factors mentioned above. Cichlids are known for their aggression, but there are always exceptions to the rule.
Always be prepared to deal with your Green Terror’s personalities when you’re thinking about buying the next addition to your tank.
Green Terror Tank Mates in a 55 gallons tank
Based on years of hand experience, a 55 gallons tank is the minimum tank size for an individual female Green Terror. One solo male could survive but would be happy off in a 75 gallon tank or larger unless you can find one of short-bodied fish.
For a relatively peaceful adult Green Terror, you don’t have too many options of tank mates. Some good fish for a single female green terror in a 55 gallons tank include:
- A Bristlenose pleco (or Spotted Raphael catfish) will do a great job cleaning the tank.
- A group of 5 corys, avoid these small pygmy cory catfish that will be eaten.
- A group of 6 tiger barbs, make sure they are big enough not to be eaten.
A 55 gallons tank will be tough for a single Green Terror with any tank mates long term. If you have no plan to upgrade to a larger tank, you might consider a different fish. My top pick is the Blue Acara Cichlid, which has very similar coloration but is much smaller.
Can I Keep 2 Green Terrors or a Pair in a 55 Gallon Tank?
The short answer is no. While it’s possible for juveniles, you’re going to get aggression as they age. Even a pair, the female becomes extremely aggressive during spawning and will beat each other up; they need a place to retreat from the other.
Can I Keep one Green Terror with Jack Dempsey in a 55 Gallon Tank?
Another No. These fish might get along for a little while, but there would definitely be some problems once they grow bigger. A 55 gallons tank isn’t big enough to house both the Green Terror with Jack Dempsey at their mature sizes.
Green Terror Tank Mates in a 75 gallons tank
In my opinion, I consider a 75 as the minimum tank size for life, no matter you have one male Green Terror or want to grow a bonded pair together in it. This will provide enough swimming room and territory for them to spread out.
Their tank mates’ options are much greater with a 55 gallons tank. Of course, the best practice is to get several juveniles and let them pair up at their own pace. After all, breeding brings a whole new level of enjoyment from fish keeping.
Some good tank mates for a single adult male green terror in a 75 gallons tank include:
- Bristlenose plecos or Spotted Raphael catfish, stay away from Sun or Eclipse catfish as they are fast grown fish and will eat anything that fits in their mouth.
- A group of 6-8 corys, pygmy corys, buy species as big as you can
- A school of larger tetras
- One other similarly sized and tempered Central and South America Cichlid, such as keyhole cichlid, firemouth cichlid, green or gold severum, parrot cichlid or blue acara.
Green Terror Tank Mates in a 125 gallon tank
A 125 gallons tank is the perfect size for setting up a well SA/CA stocking cichlid tank that you can keep more than one Green Terror. This gives them plenty of space and eliminates the issue of them fighting for territory.
When it comes to setting up a CA cichlid community, the “mix” of fish can be tricky. You may need to remove the aggressor or add another submissive fish to fix the issue. It is a delicate balancing act!
With a 125 gallon tank, you can mix a few more other cichlids from Central America and South America, such as:
- Firemouth Cichlid
- Jack Dempsey Cichlids
- Flowerhorn Cichlids
- Convict Cichlids
- Keyhole cichlid
- Silver Dollar Fish
- Parrot Cichlid
Like the stocking idea of a 75 gallons tank, you can also add Bristlenose or Spotted Raphael catfish, a school of larger tetras, a group of 6-8 corys. Besides, Gars and Pacus make good tank mates.
Watch out for corydoras. They won’t be bothered until the Green Terrors reach up to 6 – 8 inches. The Choking Hazard caused by the spiny dorsal fins of corys is a potentially dangerous situation for both green terror and their tank mates.
Thank you for reading! We hope this article has helped you learn more about the compatibility of different fish species with green terror cichlids. Please remember to always do your research before adding any new fish to your tank in order to avoid compatibility issues and stressful living conditions for your fish.
If you have any suitable candidates, please let us know so we can take a look!