Texas Cichlid

Texas Cichlid

Herichthys cyanoguttatus

Texas cichlid information:

Scientific name:  Herichthys cyanoguttatus
Common name:  Texas cichlid
Max. size: 30 cm / 12 inches
pH range: 6.5 – 8.0
dH range: 8-25
Temperature range: 21-24° C / 70-75° F

The Texas cichlid is the only cichlid native to the United States. In addition to being a popular aquarium fish in many parts of the world, it is also an appreciated game fish in southern U.S. and northern Mexico. Even though this fish is an American cichlid and not an African, it was depicted on a stamp released by the Côte d'Ivoire (known as Ivory Coast prior to 1985) in 1981. The Texas cichlid is not included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The Texas cichlid is considered difficult to keep, primarily due to its feisty temperament. This fish is not recommended for beginners. If you take good care of your Texas cichlid it can reach an age of 15 years.

Herichthys cyanoguttatus has been known under several other scientific names, including Herichthys cyanoguttatum, Herichthys cyanoguttatus, Cichlasoma cyanoguttatum, Cichlasoma pavonaceumHeros pavonaceus and Parapetenia cyanostigma.

Texas cichlid habitat and range:

The Texas cichlid is a subtropical fish that hails from a benthopelagic environment. It lives in pools and runs of small to big rivers and its native habitat is the lower Rio Grande drainage in Texas, U.S. and north-eastern parts of Mexico. The Texas cichlid has been introduced by man to central peninsular Florida and the Edwards Plateau of central Texas. A similar introduction has taken place in the Verde River basin (La Media Luna region) in Mexico. The Texas cichlid was also introduced to the Philippines in the 1970s, but it is not known whether a Texas cichlid population is now established in Philippines or not. 

Texas cichlid common names:

The Texas cichlid is primarily known under two names in English: Texas cichlid and Rio Grande cichlid. Sport fishers sometimes refer to it as the Rio Grande perch. In Mexico, the Spanish name for this fish is Mojarra del norte.

Texas cichlid description:

The Texas cichlid displays a sparkling golden colour with pearly highlights. The body and fins are decorated with white and turquoise dots. Along the middle, rear half of the body and at the base of the caudal fin of the fish you can see several small black dots. Many Texas cichlids have three black bars on the body.    

Juvenile Texas cichlids are pearl-gray with white dots on body and fins. They have two prominent black dots; one in the centre of the body and one at the base of the caudal fin.

During the breeding period, the underside of the Texas cichlid turns completely black and the three black bars will intensify in colour.

Texas cichlid setup:

In the wild, Texas cichlids are found in densely grown pools and runs of small to large rivers and it is a good idea to mimic this type of environment in the aquarium. A single Texas cichlid can be kept in a 75 gallon aquarium, while a couple needs at least 125 gallons. If you get a pair, be prepared to divide the aquarium into two separate parts in case of extensive violence. If you want to keep a Texas cichlid with other fish, the aquarium must be at least 125 gallons.

Fins sand is an ideal substrate for a Texas cichlid aquarium, and plenty of rocks and roots should be added to create hiding spots. It is also a good idea to use rocks, roots and plants to divide the aquarium into several territories. As mentioned above, the natural habitat of the Texas cichlid contains plenty of aquatic plants. Since the Texas cichlid likes to burrow around plants and sometimes even attack plants, it is important to pick sturdy species that can handle this type of behaviour. Your Texas cichlid will definitely appreciate getting some floating plants to hide under.

Texas cichlid tank mates:

The Texas cichlid is a territorial fish and you must be careful when picking its tank mates. Only combine the Texas cichlid with fish that can fend for themselves and will not tolerate being bullied. Exactly how aggressive a Texas cichlid is varies considerably from specimen to specimen. You can for instance combine Texas cichlids with other big cichlids from Central and South America. 

Texas cichlid care:

The Texas cichlid is sensitive to high levels of organic waste. Combine proper filtration with frequent water changes. Changing 25-40% of the water once a week is a good rule of thumb, but you might have to modify it to suit your particular aquarium. The pH-value should be kept around neutral (pH 7.0) and the water should be soft or medium hard. The recommended water temperature is 70-75° F (21-24° C) but these fishes can adapt to higher temperatures as long as the change is gradual.

Texas cichlid feeding:

Wild Texas cichlids live on insects, crustaceans, worms and plant matter, and it is advisable to mimic this varied diet in captivity. The Texas cichlid is known to readily accept most type of dry, frozen and freeze-dried food in the aquarium. You can for instance use high-quality flakes or cichlid pellets as base, and supplement with vegetables, algae based food, and different types of live/frozen/freeze-dried meaty foods such as worms. 

Texas cichlid breeding:

Texas Cichlid
texas cichlid picture. Copyright www.jjphoto.dk

The Texas cichlid is a prolific species in the wild and they are easy to breed in the aquarium as well. Texas cichlids are clutch tenders and both parents will protect and care for the offspring. They are open breeders and prefer well-oxygenated water.  

Sexing Texas cichlids
Sexing Texas cichlids can be very tricky because males and females can look very similar to each other. Generally speaking, females will be smaller and show less bright colours. If you have an older male, he might develop a cranial bump. There are however reports of female Texas cichlids developing bumps as well, so this mode of sexing is not 100% reliable. 

Texas cichlid breeding
Female Texas cichlids are normally ready to reproduce when they have reached a length of 2-3 inches. When she is ready she will start cleaning a flat surface, such as a rock, and providing your Texas cichlids with a suitable spawning surface is therefore a good idea if you want them to spawn. The female can lay up to 500-1000 eggs on the spawning surface and the male will follow after her and fertilize them. The eggs are around 1.7 mm in size and will be tended to by the female while the male guards the territory. During this period, both sexes are highly aggressive and the male can even attack the female. It is advisable to keep them with at least a few fast fishes that can serve as targets for the male; if he has no one to chase he can become very aggressive towards the female. Another salutation is to install a divider that will keep the female and male Texas cichlid separated from each other. 

The eggs will hatch after 3-5 days and the female fish will help the young one out. Before the eggs hatch, the parents will have dug out a small pit in the substrate to serve as a home for the newly hatched fry. The Texas cichlid fry will stay in this pit for 5-8 days before becoming free swimming. To begin with, the fry will feed off organic matter. Roughly a week after becoming free swimming they are normally big enough to eat newly hatched brine shrimp and crushed flake food.

Texas cichlids sometimes get confused and eat their own offspring instead of rearing them. Hopefully, they will be more successful with the next batch.    

Blue Texas Cichlid

The blue Texas cichlid is also referred to as blue cichlid, Texas blue and simply Texas cichlid. The name blue Texas cichlid can refer to a number of different cichlids found in North and Central America.  The species that most commonly are sold under the name blue Texas cichlid are Herichthys carpinte, H. cyanoguttatu and H. Chuco but there are a number ofother Herichthys sp species that are also referred to as blue texas cichlid such as Herichthys sp. "Rio Cazones", Herichtys sp. "Turquoise and Herichthys sp. "Poza Rica". These species arewidely mislabelled and confused with each other in the trade.

Blue Texas Cichlid
Blue Texas Cichlid - Herichthys carpinte.
Copyright www.jjphoto.dk

Blue Texas Cichlid Care and setup:

All species sold under the name blue Texas cichlid can be kept under similar constitutions as earlier described for the regular Texas cichlid. They different species do however have slightly different temperament which means that it is even more important to decorate your aquarium to limit aggression when you plan to house blue Texas cichlids. I described how to do this earlier by limiting line of site and creating natural territorial borders.

Blue Texas Cichlid Breeding:

The different species now as blue Texas cichlid all breed in a similar fashion and can be breed in much the same way as the regular Texas cichlid. Try to slightly adjust the water parameters if your blue Texas cichlids refuse to spawn to find the right parameters for your species. IT is however usually relatively easy to get them to spawn if you have a compatible pair. Blue Texas cichlid fry will accept newly hatched brine shrimps from day one.

Red Texas Cichlid.

The red Texas cichlid is a hybrid and is not present in the wild. It is believed to be a cross between a Flowerhorn cichlid and a Texas cichlid which is why the red Texas cichlid often is sold as a Flowerhorn cichlid rather than a red Texas cichlid.

Red Texas Cichlid Price

The prices of red Texas cichlid differs greatly and can be everything from 10$ to 1000$+. There are two main reasons for the large price span. The first and less important one is that these fish still are quite rare and the store therefore can charge they price they want for them. The other more important reason is that the quality of fish in different price ranges. Only very few fish grows to very red show specimens while most specimens turn out to be of much lower quality. High quality specimens are very rare and as such expensive. Buying red Texas cichlids as fry are somewhat of a gamble since only a very low number of them will grow out to be really red. Most fish will never develop the red or will have a large number of black spots on their body making them more black than red.

Red Texas Cichlid Setup and Care.

Red Texas cichlids are considerable more aggressive than other Texas cichlids and should be thought about as flowerhorns rather than as Texas cichlids. They should only be kept with other large robust and aggressive fish. They require a large aquarium if you are going to be able to house them with other cichlids and are otherwise best kept alone.

The red Texas cichlid is easy to care for and will accept most types of food. They produce large amounts of waste which means that large frequent water changes and good filtration is a most.

Green Texas Cichlid

Green Texas cichlid is the common name for Hericthys carpintis. It is native to mexico and it is despite its name green texas cichlid unclear if there are any established populations of Hericthys carpintis in Texas. The Green Texas cichlid is very similar the regular Texas cichlid, Herichthys cyanoguttatu, but has larger spots. The Regular Texas Cichlid and the Green Texas cichlid are very closely related and will if interbreed if kept together. You should therefore never keep Texas cichlids and green Texas cichlids together in the same tank.

The green Texas is sometimes also called pearl scale cichlids as well as blue Texas cichlid and lowland cichlids. They only seldom grow bigger than 20 cm / 8 inches. Green Texas cichlids are like most other Hericthys species often mislabelled and sold under the wrong name.

Green Texas Cichlid Setup and Care.

The green Texas cichlid are found in rivers as well as in water with faster currents and can adapt to most water conditions as long as extremes are avoided. They require a large aquarium decorated with rocks and/or roots. Plants are not necessary.  They produce a lot of waste and large water changes are recommended on a weekly basis. Green Texas cichlids ill accept most types of food.

They can be kept with other large semi aggressive fish and is suitable for a community setup with other larger cichlids.

Green Texas Cichlid Breeding

The green Texas cichlid is easy to breed and is a substrate spawner that uses a flat rock, a flower pot or similar as a spawning substrate. The hardest part of spawning the green cichlid is to get a compatible pair. Each spawning can result in up to a 1000 eggs and sometimes even more for a large pair. The green Texas cichlids turn jet black while caring fro their eggs and young. They usually make good parents and green Texas cichlid eggs hatch after about 5 days and are free swimming 3 days later. Green Texas cichlid fry can be feed newly hatched brine shrimps as soon as they are free swimming.

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