How Big Do Green Terrors Get? (Minimum Tank Size & Growth Rate)

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The Green Terror Cichlid (Andinoacara rivulatus), known as the Orange Saum, Gold Saum, and White Saum, is a great fish for hobbyists who are looking for an exotic and beautiful addition to their tank.

The Green Terror is a gorgeous fish with an amazing array of colors and patterns. Adults Green Terrors will show off an exquisite array of colors under the rainbow that will catch your eye no matter what.

As the name suggests, the Green Terrors are also significantly more aggressive and terrorized than other members in the genus Andinoacara. Before you’re standing in the fish store thinking about bringing this fish to your tank, you must take the time and learn how it should be cared for.

Today’s guide will talk about the basics, the Green Terror Cichlid size, and the minimum tank size for Green Terror.

How Big Do Green Terrors Get?

How Big Do Green Terrors Get

How big do green terror Cichlids get? As one of the large South American Cichlids, male Green terrors can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) in length, while females only reach 5 inches (12.7 cm) with proper conditions.

Green Terrors are recognized as the largest fish in the genus Andinoacara. Don’t confuse their close cousin, the Blue Acara (A. pulcher). They have a very similar appearance, but the Blue Acara is smaller and only reaches 6.3 inches (16 cm).

Also, keep an eye out for its other relative, the A. stalsbergi, which has the same aquarium trade name (Green Terror). The typical length of an A. stalsbergi is around 4.4 inches (11.3 cm), but some specimens can grow to reach sizes comparable with an A. rivulatus.

Species Common NameMax Size
Andinoacara biseriatusNone5 inches
Andinoacara blombergiNone8 inches
Andinoacara coeruleopunctatusNone6 inches
Andinoacara latifronsPlatinum Acara7 inches
Andinoacara pulcherBlue acara6 inches
Andinoacara rivulatusGreen terror12 inches
Andinoacara sapayensisGold Acara6 inches
Andinoacara stalsbergiGreen terror8 inches

Minimum Green Terrors Tank Size

There’s a lot of misleading information being passed around about this species online. The minimum tank size for green terror cichlids is often recommended as a 35 -40 gallon tank is the first. I do not think that a tank this size will keep these fish healthy and happy in the long term.

As a result, new owners who choose such a small aquarium may get discouraged from a tank of stunted Green Terrors swimming in poor water conditions. Well, the situation would be worse.

Based on my years of first-hand experience, the minimum tank size for a single female Green Terror is 55 gallons. If you want to keep one male Green Terror or form a pair from a batch of juveniles, I consider 75 gallons as the minimum tank size for life for the following reasons:

Fish Size and Tank Size

A 55 gallon tank measures 48″ (L) x 13″ (W) x 21″ (H). Full-grown males can get up to 12 inches in length. Can you imagine how cramped and miserable a 12-inch fish would be in a tank that is only 13 inches wide?

Green Terrors are Open Spawners

Green Terrors are egg layers and open spawners, meaning females release eggs into an open surface for external fertilization. It is best to keep several juveniles and let them pair up naturally to obtain pairs. The more fish you have in the tank, the bigger the tank should be.

If a 55 gallons tank is your only have, you can use it as a grow-out tank. When the fish reach 6-8 inches in length, you can move them to a 75 gallon or larger tank. Or choose a different fish. You have better plenty of options, and the Blue Acara is an excellent choice. 

How Fast do Green Terror Cichlids Grow?

Green Terrors are relatively slow growers compared to most other SA/CA Cichlids. The typical Green Terror growth rate is around a 1/4 to 1/2 inch per month.

I get this question a lot. The answer isn’t as simple or straightforward as you might think. It really depends on various factors, including its genetics, water quality, proper diet, environment, etc.

Here are many facts related to fish Grow Rate:

  1. In a group of juveniles, one fish will grow larger and faster than the rest.
  2. The growth rate changes; it is not constant.
  3. Fish don’t just grow in length, but also height and girth. While some fish are getting “longer,” others may be filling out with body mass;
  4. “The big waters have big reputations for big fish” is known to hold true for aquariums. Water changes are the number one factor in stunting fish growth.
  5. Some fish just grow faster than others.

How to Make Green Terror Grow Faster?

I think you might have ideas by now on how to make Green Terror grow faster. Let’s recap some of the key points:

Frequently Water Changes

Assume that you have a large tank and a group of healthy small fish. You will need to perform 50% water changes weekly to keep the water quality high and increase your fish’s chances of reaching its potential.

Feed them a Variety of Quality Foods

A varied diet is key for proper growth in all animals, including the Green Terror. In the wild, Green Terror Cichlids feed on insects, crustaceans, and other small fish. In the aquarium, you can provide them a similar diet by feeding them quality flake foods, freeze-dried food, live food (brine shrimp, bloodworms), and even vegetables.

The New Life Spectrum Fish Thera is much better than the Hikari because it has better ingredients. I’ve seen an increase in growth rate and color enhancement when using this product. There are many different sizes out there, so you may want to experiment with which ones work best for your fish.

New Life Spectrum Thera (Buy from Amazon): 6mm | 3mm | 2mm

Maintain Proper Temperature and pH

To make your Green Terrors grow quickly, you need to recreate their natural habitat in your aquarium. These fish are hardy, but they can be sensitive to poor tank conditions.

The recommended water parameters are:

  • Water temperature: 68 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 8.0
  • Water hardness: 5 to 20 dGH


There you have it! If you can provide a 75 gallons tank with frequent water changes, quality foods, and the proper environment parameters, your Green Terror Cichlids should reach their full potential size in no time.

Fish-lovers unite! We’re always happy to talk about whether this species would be right for you. If there’s anything we can do, just let us know, and it will make our day – especially if its fishing related 😉

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Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

Hello, I'm Jeff- an aquarium enthusiast with over 25 years of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish, including koi, goldfish bettas, cichlids and more! For me: Aquariums are like jello - there's always room for more!

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