site logo

Main Index > Detailed Fish Profiles > The Cichlids > Green terror
10 visitors reading profiles


This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the

central america


Green terror

Aequidens rivulatus


    Often confused with The Blue Acara the Green terror is more aggressive and has a more pronounced "bump" on the forehead when mature. Typical of most large cichlids the terror are noted for their aggression and should only be kept with fish that can fend for themselves

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: 8 in (20 cm)
    Tank: 48 inches
    Strata: All
    PH: 6.5 to 7.5
    Hardness: Soft to hard
    Temperature: 72°F to 82°F (20-24°C)


    Order: Perciformes
    Suborder: Percoidei
    Family: Cichlidae
    Genera: Aequidens
    Species: rivulatus

Green terror

Common name:

    Green Terror ,White Saum, Gold Saum

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    South America, Ecuador and Peru

General Body Form:

    When looking at the Green terror from the side or profile angle the fish is oval in shape. Looking at the fish from the front shows a very broad forehead area that tapers down to a compressed rear area. In mature males, the forehead can develop a noticeable hump. They can reach a length of about eight inches and have been known to breed at half that size.


    The Males are the lookers in this Species. The basic body color is a bright greenish white. The tail of the male terror is beautiful, reticulated and fringed in bright Red. The female is a rather drab Olive Green in color and lacks the metallic look of the male. On some the the chin area is blue green in color.

Green terror


    Typical to most Cichlids the Green terror is a Hardy and easy to care for fish if their needs are met. They are omnivorous and will accept all types of food and relish anything live. The tank should be large and have plenty of caves and nooks to hide in. driftwood, rockwork and Live plants although helpful may be uprooted. When young they may be kept in cichlid community but as they mature they live up to their name and will terrorize all but the largest fish. It is best to keep them in a species tank. Provide good filtration and do frequent water changes.


    Like the Blue Acara they are Found in still and sluggish waters of the local river basins.


    The best way for a planned spawn is to raise a group of unrelated juveniles to sexual maturity (about 3") and allow them to pair off. The most robust pair should be chosen for breeding and other pairs should be removed. This fish breeds in the typical Aequidens fashion, They will find a site in open water and usually spawn on a flat stone. Other Cichlids tend to hide their nest in caves, but The Green terror does not . The water parameters are not critical. It is easily spawned in hard or soft water and high or low pH. They exhibit extremely good parental care and spawns of up to 400 are not uncommon. The female will take the dominant role in raising the fry. The fry can be raised on baby brine shrimp or fine flake food.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Safraz
My Green terror laid 1050 eggs 3 gays ago their first breeding and the female is very very aggressive not allowing any other fish to get closer. So I had to move all other fish and kept only the male and female in the tank. Today some have started swimming.
From: Amanda C.
I have been keeping cichlids for many years now, decades actually, and have always been attracted to the larger ones. I have found that the aggression level of greens terrors, oscars, and some others to be generally overstated, especially when given enough space, or when compared to C.A. cichlids, the Midas or Dows, for example. Note: I do not consider chasing with no damage done, and no fish being deprived of their food to be significant aggression, rather just typical cichlid behaviour. My point is that I would hope that no one would forgo this lovely species solely on the 'terror' part of the name.
From: Rick McCloy
I have two green terrors that we purchased about six months ago. The female is about five inches and the male is about five and one half maybe six. I read that the male has more orange-red on the tail but my female has orange too. The females orange almost went away completely but came back with a vengeance and the male lost most of his orange and now the female has more orange on her tail than the male. The male however is bigger. The female has been laying eggs for about two months maybe a little bit longer. I had them in a large tank with some oscars, a bumblebee, two blood parrots, a pleco, wip tail cat, channel cat, and a 8 puffer, marble sail fin well she laid her eggs and he was not interested. About two weeks later she was all plump and pregnant so we put them into a 20 since all the eggs got eaten by the parrots and the bumblebee. They laid about a week later and she ate the eggs. Now two weeks after that she laid eggs again. that was yesterday and they are still in the tank. I put a taracata saucer in there and she laid in that. I didn't see the male fertilize but then again I didn't see the female lay them. I was feeding them last night and there they were about two hundred eggs. So we will see. He is just swimming around like nothing happened but she is very aggressive. She wont let him near the eggs, and the wip we put in there for the algae is being attached by the female. She also does not like anyone near the tank. She attacks the glass and flares up her gills when we get near to check them out. Last time they had eggs the male was very aggressive and was attacking the glass. During their last breeding cycle the male and the female were fighting very aggressively and they were both missing scales and had bite marks all over their faces. The male was also whipping her with his tail. I didn't notice any injuries this time but we were not watching her as we didn't think she would mate for at least another week. Thank for your time.
From: Srinath
I have 4 Green Terrors (2 male and 2 female) for the last 1 year and here is my experience with them. They were about 1.5" when I bought them and now are in the range of 3-4". The males started fighting when they were about 2"+ and the weaker one would go hiding. The aggressive male and the other 2 females have been spawning regularly and the first lot of the fry did not last long. The second lot are alive and kicking thanks to the fact that I moved the parents to my community tank, yes community tank. I have Gouramis, Silver Sharks, Plecos in my community tank. The Green Terrors are not bothering anyone and have spawned again in the community tank. It might be just another day or two before the newborns are hatch. For all the aggression I have heard of Green Terrors, these seem to be doing pretty well in a community tank. The fry from the second lot are now 1/2 to 3/4" in size and are coexisting with Zebra Danios! It is always the female who takes care of the babies, herding them, moving them around, keeping them in line.... while the male hovers around nearby and guards the territory. Very interesting to watch their brood care. One of my earlier experiences with the Green Terrors. They beat up my Oscar real bad and he succumbed.
From: Amy
I bought my green terrors a year and a half ago, they were about the size of my thumb (2 inches or so) and I thought they would get along if they both had a hiding spot, and I purchased them together. It didn't last once they started really growing, one became so aggressive that the other one never came out of its hiding spot. He even beat up our large oscar to the point that it couldn't recover and passed away. The less aggressive one never grew for the longest time since it never was out of its hiding spot. Finally I had to put a divider in the tank so that it could have a chance to grow. They're around the same size as each other, almost full grown I think. But the one is still alot more aggressive, it got over the divider one night when it was jumping for it's food, and got into a fight with the other one all night long, and I woke up to a almost finless green terror. They sure heal nicely though, you could never tell that it had been beaten up so badly. They're so beautiful (or handsome since they're male I think). Definitely one of the most interesting fish I've had.
From: Indran Pather
Hi all. I've had my green terror for the last 4 months. I got him at 5cm and he has since grown to around double that size. He is kept in a 400l tank. His companions are a 30cm common pl*co,a 15cm leopard pleco,2x10-12cm frontosa and most surprising his best friend a large rainbow shark that goes everywhere with him. My GT gets on well with all the tankmates and only gets aggressive when others go near his cave. The tank is decorated with live plants,driftwood,and rocks. All fish are fed cichlid pellets and the GT gets a daily treat of earthworm. The others show no interest in earthworms. I do a daily 20% water change which I was told will help the fish grow faster. My young terror shows brilliant colours and is the star attraction in the tank whenever I get visitors as he is not shy and always right up against the glass defending his territory should anyone come too close. Please contact me if you would like to share any info.
From: Jim
I am also currently owned by a male and female pair of green terror cichlids that I purchased at a size of about 4cm. Amazingly in six months the male has grown from that size to an accurate measurement of 18cm, the female 12.5cm. No joke. Both of my dempseys have been at the same growth rate. Dempseys and the green terrors are living in a sixty gallon (227Litre) hexagon tank with live plants and lace rock, also a little bogwood. They have never messed with each other. The biggest surprise to others is the fact that I have raised these two species to this current size along with breeding krebensis pair, male-only checkerboards, Apistogramma Eunotus and Cacatuoides, a pair of male Melanochromis Johannii and cyaneorhabdos("maingano"), a female convict, and a fire eel. The most dominant a-holes of the tank are the johannii males followed by the mainganos and convict! The little 7cm johannii males chase the big green terror and dempsey male around the tank. I regularly witness the little tiny Eunotus chasing the same bite of bloodworm that the big green terror is already set on. Weirdly they just focus on the food, not each other. I know that I am what most consider to be "lucky" as far as the community cichlid setup that I have. I assume that the combination of favorable environment for all, raising them all together, and the regular twice a day floating pellet feeding (for the terrors,dempseys,and johannii) along with the other semi-regular assortment even including sliced up night crawlers straight from the bait shop!!!(rinsed with clean water) can contribute to this kind of species companionship. I will not try to introduce live food until the big ones have their own tank. I would only advise this kind of community set up if you are to introduce all of the species together with the largest species young and the smallest species close to adult size. I believe you can find many "personality matches" among aggressive fish that are not known to co-habitate. Just be patient with juvies. But if they fight aggressively from the get go they will not out grow it. Please share info. E-mail me at I will never have fish for sale but I do have fairly adequate knowledge to share.
From: Lilly
I've had four green terrors over the past couple years. All of mine grew very slow. I have one juvies at the moment for the last 11 months and he has only grown an inch. I've been keeping him in a 55gal up until recently when I discovered he was picking my oscar almost to death. I have since moved him to a 20gal long. (Temporary until I can set up something else). He is only about 3'' right now. In the past my GT's bred. I had bought two at 2.5'' and they spawned in my tank. The fry didn't live very long however. This pair was also very slow growing. They only grow a inch and a half when I had had them for a year. They were housed in a 55gal with regular water changes. After much thinking about why they were growing so slow I can to think about the dealer's tanks. I noticed that in the LFS they almost never sold and 20 juvies were housed in a 10gal tank. I think that their growth was stunted from being in the 10gal so long since almost no one bought them. $6.99 for a 2.5'' juvie. Also, I believe that because there were so many of them in a small space they were not getting enough food to go around.
From: Tom
These fish are truly the most beautiful and aggressive fish I've ever kept in twenty years. In a 4 foot tank with 2 firemouths they dominate all others except 3, 3 inch clown loaches and 7 corydoras juleei (yes at only an inch long they are real exceptions- but this is due to a chemical deterrent the corys' emit. rivulatus need their own tank to breed, which happens every few months. Fry are protected until breeding/ courtship begins again, then they are eaten. Provide a safe hideaway for female to escape male harassment but the female vigorously protects her fry and eggs, so the male needs some refuge from hen pecking. If anyone would be interested in free fry email me!
From: Hugh
I have a community tank with 3 male Green Terrors + 1 female, 4 Oscars, and 3 Pleco's. I bought them all together as juveniles, which probably explains why I don't have a problem with a certain species dominating another species. All the fish (excl. the female Green Terror) are + 18 cm and each specie seems to live in ignorance of the other. Now and again the dominant male Green Terror will spar with the dominant Oscar, but no-one gets the better of the other. I agree that the Green Terror is one of the most beautiful fresh water tropicals. The contrast of the emerald green against a bright red has had many of my friend commenting on their beauty. I feed my fish only on Tetra Doromin. I tried to change to other brands, but my fussy fish would have none of that.
    Some stats on my tank:
  • Size: 6ft
  • Capacity: 800 lts
  • Filter: Under gravel + wet & dry. UV light
  • Pumps: Power-head inside teh tank for undergravel. Pump in wet & dry connected to an overhead spray-bar

From: Jase
From my experience Green Terrors get along with fish that do not look like them. They will fight with any similar looking fish like a Jack Dempsey ect. But are ideal with Oscars,Silver Dollars & even Discus, yes Discus!!Don't Keep them with Blue Acaras as they will fight or inter breed. My newest pair have bred after only having them for about a month the female is only about 3 inches,has gone very dark in colour and won't let any fish even the male partner anywhere near the hatching fry.
From: Phil Walls
I've had a fondness for Rivulatus since I brought home a pair ( male and female) about four months ago. The males' growth rate was around 4 times that of the female and I eventually grabbed another female of equal size...approx. 6cm. The original pair often followed each other around the tank until a week ago when the larger female started taking more interest in the male and started hunting the smaller female from the male. Tonight the large male and female put on the usual cichlid "wiggle" display of courtship and proceeded to engage in pseudo fighting routines. The male promptly did his best to dominate my 420Litre tank and ended up battling my 12cm Jack Dempsey and 10cm firemouth at the same time. I was surprised to see my usually placid male green terror attack the other male fish in the tank and unfortunately inflicted a bit of damage to his tankmates.......the green terror wasn't unscathed either, with a damaged lip and lots of scales missing from around his gills......normally the green terror is the one breaking up the fights, not starting them. Once dominance was asserted the female and male hovered around a small terra-cotta pot for a brief time before the female started to lay her eggs....I'm guessing about 300 at this stage. The harmony of the tank has restored at this stage as the female remains with the eggs....constantly fanning them, and the male stands guard about 8-12 cm from the cluster of eggs. I'm surprised that both fishes allow their tank mates to come close to their breeding site at this stage.....not too close but even the kribensis have camped just behind the flower pot without harassment, maybe this is due to the large size difference though and the G.T's aren't threatened buy these little ones. Things should be interesting in the next few weeks as the jack dempsey's fry are about to wriggle out of their breeding spot in the next few days......







Privacy Policy | Contact Badman's Tropical Fish
Copyright ©
All rights reserved. Reproduction of any portion of this website's content is forbidden without written permission.