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Red Texas Cichlid

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Red Texas Cichlid
(Herichthys sp.)
Quick Care FactsCare Level: Moderate
Temperament: Aggressive
Maximum Size: 12"
Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons
Water Conditions: 68-84° F, KH 5-15, pH 6.0-7.6
Diet: Omnivore
Origin: Selective breeding, Asian fish farms
Family: Cichlidae
Species: Texas Cichlids
Aquarium Type: Cichlid-New-World
Species Information
The Red Texas Cichlid is a hybrid fish that was developed by the cross breeding of Flowerhorn Cichlid (Cichlasoma sp.) and Texas Cichlid (Herichthys cyanoguttatus), thus does not exist in the wild. In a sense the Red Texas Cichlid is a second generation hybrid, as the Flowerhorn Cichlid with which it is cross bred is already a hybrid produced by cross breeding the Trimac Cichlid with other various Central American Cichlids. As Flowerhorn cross breeding began in the mid 80s, they have since been bred with multiple other species and line bred for coloration and pattern, which has made them almost indistinguishable from their wild origins.
While Flowerhorn Cichlids are well established with various strains of reproducible colors and patterns, the Red Texas Cichlid is in a much earlier stage of its development. Because of this the overall quality of each fish varies widely between individual specimens, which means only a few specimens grow to exhibit the brilliant red and black colorations that are so highly sought after. The rarity of species with the brilliant red show coloration and the scarcity of their availability in the aquarium hobby has meant that their price is often quite expensive and can vary wildly between various aquarium stores.
While high quality show specimens are a rare find, aquarium stores will often have fry or juvenile Red Texas Cichlid which while a gamble, may turn out to be an attractive fish. While most fish will never develop the brilliant full body red coloration, and will instead have a large number of black spots on their body making them more black than red. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and many of the red, black and pearl fleck specimens while not show quality turn out to be very attractive and rewarding fish.
Aquarium Care
Red Texas Cichlid should be housed in a aquarium of at least 75 gallons, with 125 gallons or larger being recommended for multiple specimens. Their environment should have a sand or fine gravel substrate, should contain an adequate amount of rock caves or pieces of driftwood to hide among and use as territory. If live plants are used, make sure they are either secured to driftwood, rock, or planted in pots below the substrate as they will either be shredded or relocated.
Light intensity is not an issue, although the species prefers to have the option for shade it its disposal. Red Texas Cichlids are hardy in nature, but are messy eaters and can be sensitive to high levels of nitrates; they should be provided with strong and efficient biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration in order to ensure clean water conditions and keep nitrate levels down. When keeping large Cichlids like these, hobbyists will generally need to perform regular water changes even when using a good filtration system.
Aggression is a serious consideration when keeping Red Texas Cichlids as they are considerable more aggressive than other Texas Cichlids (Herichthys cyanoguttatus). When planning tank mates for this species, it is best to think of the Red Texas Cichlid as a Flowerhorn Cichlid rather than as Texas Cichlid. They should only be kept with other large robust semi-aggressive to aggressive fish species in a suitably large aquarium.
Keeping Red Texas Cichlid in a community of large Cichlid will mean that a 6 to 8 foot long tank is a minimum with something along the lines of an 8 foot 240 gallon to 300 gallon being recommended. While they require a large aquarium if you are going to house them with other Cichlids, they can be kept alone in tanks as small as 75 gallons.
Aggression varies by individual (as with most Cichlids) and until they grow to be larger (at least 6 inches), they unlikely to display much aggression towards other tank mates. However, as they grow they will attempt to control territory within the aquarium unless there is already a dominant fish within the aquarium or the tank is over crowded preventing any one fish from dominating.
Compatible tank mates are usually other aggressive Cichlids such as Oscars, Jaguar Cichlids, and Jack Dempsey, large Catfish, large dither fish species and Robust Plecostomus variants are also a good choice as they are naturally armored and not usually perceived as a threat.
Feeding & Nutrition
The Red Texas Cichlid is an omnivore and naturally eats worms, insects, small invertebrates, and plant matter in the wild. However, they are not picky eaters and will easily adjust to a wide variety of commercial fish foods. It is best to provide a varied diet of commercial foods with live foods being reserved as a treat or supplemental feeding, this will ensure good health and contribute to coloration intensity.
Suitable commercial foods include: live, frozen, or freeze-dried krill, ghost shrimp, crickets, worms, as well as vitamin-enriched, omnivore oriented flake, pellet and stick food items. Feed one or twice daily an amount the fish will consume within a few minutes. Young fish should be fed more often in order to support their natural growth cycle, adult fish will do well to be fed once or twice a day. Always keep an eye on the overall girth of the fish and adjust feeding accordingly if it appears to be too thin or appears overweight.
Additional Photos