Texas Cichlid (Herichthys cyanoguttatus) Species Guide

Texas cichlids, scientifically known as Herichthys cyanoguttatus, are a unique and fascinating species of freshwater fish native to North America. As the only cichlid species endemic to the United States, they can be found in rivers and springs of Texas and northeastern Mexico. Adorned with striking blue and green patterns and known for their intelligence and complex social behaviors, these vibrant fish have become a popular choice among aquarium hobbyists.

Appropriate care and understanding of their temperament, breeding habits, and environmental needs are essential for those interested in keeping Texas cichlids in their home aquariums. While these fish can exhibit territorial and aggressive behaviors, with the right conditions and tank mates, they can also showcase their fascinating personalities. A comprehensive species guide can provide the insight needed to successfully care for and appreciate these captivating creatures.

Img Of A Texas Cichlid Swimming

Texas Cichlid Species Guide Summary

  • Average Lifespan: You can expect your Texas Cichlid to live for around 10 years.
  • Care Difficulty: Taking care of Texas Cichlids is moderately difficult.
  • Colors: Watch your Texas Cichlid display shades of green, blue, and turquoise.
  • Compatibility: Keep in mind that Texas Cichlids can be aggressive, so choose tank mates carefully.
  • Conservation Status: Don’t worry; the Texas Cichlid is considered a species of Least Concern.
  • Diet: Feed your Texas Cichlid variety, including pellets, flakes, and live foods.
  • Distribution: Find Texas Cichlids in the Rio Grande drainage area and northeast Mexico.
  • Group: Your Texas Cichlid is part of the Cichlidae family.
  • Habitat: Texas Cichlids usually inhabit slow-moving warm rivers.
  • Hardness: Aim for a water hardness level between 5 and 12 dGH.
  • Interesting Fact: Texas Cichlids are the only cichlid native to the United States.
  • Minimum Tank Size: Set up a tank of at least 55 gallons for your Texas Cichlid.
  • pH: Keep the pH levels between 6.5 and 8 for a happy Texan.
  • Scientific Name: Remember, your fish’s scientific name is Herichthys cyanoguttatus.
  • Size: Your Texas Cichlid can grow up to 12 inches in length.
  • Temperament: Expect your Texas Cichlid to show territorial and aggressive behavior.
  • Temperature: Maintain water temperature between 70 and 75°F.
  • Where It Swims: Texas Cichlids typically swim in the middle to bottom regions of your tank.

Appearance & Varieties

The Texas cichlid comes in a range of stunning colors and sizes, making it a popular addition to your aquarium. Let’s dive into the various varieties and the subtle differences between them.

Sex Differences

In general, male Texas cichlids are slightly larger and more colorful than their female counterparts. Males also tend to develop a distinctive nuchal hump on their foreheads, particularly during mating season.

Now, let’s talk about the different color varieties:

  • Blue Texas cichlid: This variety boasts an impressive electric blue coloration. Its body is covered with stunning, iridescent blue speckles, giving it a vibrant appearance.
  • Green Texas cichlid: As the name suggests, this variety exhibits greenish hues. It’s known for its mottled green and black patterns, giving it an eye-catching, yet more subdued appearance.
  • Red Texas cichlid: The red variety has a beautiful reddish-brown hue, with a unique mix of red and black speckles on the body. This contrasting coloration makes it a fascinating addition to your tank.
  • Electric Blue Texas cichlid: This showstopper has a striking electric blue color, making it stand out in any aquarium setting. Combined with dark speckles and an iridescent sheen, it’s a truly mesmerizing sight.

When it comes to size, Texas cichlids generally grow up to 12 inches, with males usually being the larger of the two sexes. But, remember, the size and colors of your Texas cichlid may vary depending on their genes and environment. So, while choosing a Texas cichlid for your aquarium, be prepared for a little variation in appearance as they mature. Nonetheless, their spectacular coloration and intriguing patterns make them a captivating addition to any aquarium.

Behavior & Temperament

You might find Texas cichlids quite interesting due to their behavior and temperament. They are known for their territorial nature and can exhibit quite a bit of aggression, especially during breeding times. It’s important to keep this in mind if you’re planning to keep Texas cichlids in your aquarium, as they may not be the best tank companions for more peaceful fish species.

When it comes to establishing their territory, Texas cichlids won’t hesitate to push away any items in their way. They might rearrange your tank setup by moving rocks, plants, or even the substrate. So, be prepared for some redecorating from time to time.

While their territorial behavior can make them a bit intimidating, Texas cichlids are actually quite intelligent and can be fascinating to observe. You’ll notice that they can recognize their owners and might respond eagerly when it’s feeding time. This response makes them quite endearing if you can overlook their aggressive tendencies.

To mitigate some of their aggressiveness, you can try providing them with ample hiding spots and visual barriers. This way, every fish in your tank can have their own little space to retreat when they feel threatened. This can help reduce instances of aggression and allow your Texas cichlids to live more harmoniously in a community.

Lastly, even though these fish can be quite the handful with their aggressive and territorial nature, they can be a thrilling addition to your aquarium if you’re up to the challenge. Just remember to be vigilant about providing the right environment and selecting suitable tank mates to ensure the best experience for both you and your fish.


Texas cichlids (Herichthys cyanoguttatus) are fascinating fish when it comes to their breeding habits. If you’re looking to breed them, here are a few things to keep in mind.

First and foremost, the habitat is crucial for successful breeding. Make sure your breeding tank has a shallow water depth, ideally less than 30 cm deep, as observed in the wild 1. Also, maintain a water hardness level between 10-15 dGH to create a suitable environment for your Texas cichlids.

To start the process, you’ll want to introduce a healthy pair into the breeding tank. Both partners should have some hiding spots available to prevent any aggression or territorial disputes. Don’t forget to provide flat rocks or slates on which the female can lay her eggs. A clean and well-maintained environment goes a long way in ensuring successful breeding.

Once the breeding commences, the female Texas cichlid will lay her eggs on a carefully selected and cleaned surface, with hundreds of eggs deposited in a single session. Post-spawning, both parents will actively guard and tend to their eggs.

Upon hatching, the fry will emerge after a few days. At this stage, the parental care exhibited by the Texas cichlid pair becomes exceptional. Both partners, especially the male, fiercely protect their offspring from potential threats. The fry can be fed high-quality crushed fish foods or freshly hatched brine shrimp.

As a casual reminder, always keep an eye on the water parameters during these important life stages to ensure the best possible conditions for your Texas cichlid family.

Care Instructions

Food & Feeding Frequency

As an owner of a Texas cichlid, you’ll want to keep in mind that these fish are omnivores. They’ll enjoy a variety of foods, from crustaceans and bloodworms to plant matter. It’s essential to provide them with a well-balanced diet to maintain their health and growth. Try to feed your Texas cichlid 2-3 times a day, giving them only as much food as they can consume in a few minutes.

Potential Diseases

Be aware that Texas cichlids can be susceptible to common fish diseases, such as ich and fin rot. Keep an eye out for any signs of illness, including unusual behavior, loss of appetite, or discolored fins. Maintaining proper water conditions and a clean tank helps to prevent diseases from occurring. If you notice any signs of illness, promptly address the issue and consult with a fish specialist for treatment options.

Tank Setup

When it comes to setting up an aquarium for your Texas cichlid, the tank size matters. These fish can grow quite large, so you’ll need at least a 50-gallon tank for a single Texas cichlid. If you plan on having more fish, increase the tank size accordingly.

Substrate and decorations are essential elements in your Texas cichlid’s habitat. Aim for a sandy or fine gravel substrate with plenty of hiding spots using rocks, driftwood, and decor. They’ll appreciate plants in the aquarium, but be prepared that they might nibble on them or uproot them while exploring their environment.

Water Conditions

Proper water conditions are crucial for the health and well-being of your Texas cichlid. These fish thrive in a temperature range of 72-79°F, with a pH between 6.5 and 8.0. Water hardness should be between 8-12 dH.

Good filtration is essential for maintaining water quality and reducing the risk of disease. Make sure to perform regular water changes, replacing about 25% of the tank’s water every 2-4 weeks to help maintain a clean and healthy environment for your fish.

In The Wild

If you find yourself curious about Texas Cichlids, you’re in good company! Texas Cichlids (Herichthys cyanoguttatus) are interesting fish that inhabit the Rio Grande River in Northern Mexico and the southern United States. Also known as Rio Grande Perch, these lowland cichlids have adapted to various environments in the region.

You might be surprised to learn that Texas Cichlids are the only cichlid species native to the United States. They prefer slow-moving waters with plenty of hiding spots among rocks and vegetation. As an invasive species, they have also made their way to other areas such as Florida and Louisiana. Keep an eye out for them if you frequent the waters in these states!

Texas Cichlids are considered a sport and game fish, which means they’re popular among anglers. While they’re not a top choice for meals, they offer a fun challenge for recreational fishing. Their aggressive nature means they’ll put up a good fight, so be prepared for some exciting battles with these feisty fish.

In conclusion, Texas Cichlids are fascinating fish that have found their way across various states in the USA and beyond. Remember to tread lightly in their native habitats to avoid disrupting their ecosystems, and enjoy the thrill should you decide to engage with them during your fishing adventures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Texas Cichlids Good Tank Mates?

Texas Cichlids can be a bit tricky when it comes to compatibility in a community tank. They’re a territorial species and can become aggressive towards other fish, especially during breeding season. To ensure peaceful coexistence, choose tank mates that are of similar size and temperament, but not another cichlid species. Providing plenty of hiding spots and dividing the tank with decorations can also help reduce aggression.

How Much Do Texas Cichlids Cost?

The price of Texas Cichlids varies depending on factors like age, size, and color. Typically, you can expect to pay around $15-$30 for a juvenile Texas Cichlid. Adult specimens or those with unique color patterns may cost more. Be sure to purchase your cichlid from a reputable breeder or pet store to ensure you’re getting a healthy fish.

How Do I Keep My Texas Cichlid Healthy?

Maintaining a healthy environment is essential for your Texas Cichlid’s well-being. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the tank help prevent the buildup of waste and harmful substances. Monitor water parameters like temperature, pH, and nitrite levels to keep them within the recommended range for cichlid species.

In addition to maintaining the tank, it’s crucial to provide a varied and nutritious diet. Feed your cichlid high-quality pellets or flakes, supplemented with live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms. Feeding a variety of foods helps ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients for optimal health.

A well-cared-for Texas Cichlid has a lifespan of around 10-15 years, so following these guidelines will help you enjoy your colorful companion for many years to come.


You’ve learned a bit about the interesting Texas cichlid. Keep in mind they have fascinating agonistic behaviors, and remember to provide proper care to maintain their health. Enjoy observing these beautiful fish in their natural habitats or your aquarium!

Leave a Comment