|Common Name(s)||Red Texas Cichlid|
|Scientific Name||Hybrid of Herichthys cyanoguttatus, Paraneetroplus synspilus, Amphilophus citrinellus|
|Origin||Do not exist in wild|
|Minimum Tank Size||75 gallons|
|Food & Diet||Omnivorous|
|Possible Tank Mates||Oscars, Jaguar cichlid, Jack Dempsey, Large Catfish, Robust Plecostomus|
|Breeding||As hybrids, Red Texas Cichlid are most likely infertile.|
|Disease||May be susceptible to Ich and Fin Rot.|
Red Texas Cichlid Care
If you are interested in an addition to your tank that is bright, beautiful and presents a challenge, the Red Texas cichlid is an excellent choice. With their unique background and gorgeous appearance, these fish are certainly an exciting breed, but absolutely require caretakers with experience. If you are a beginner, this fish is not a good stepping-stone into the hobbyist niche- this article will highlight some of the most important things you need to know about this colourfully difficult fish.
What is a Red Texas Cichlid?
The Red Texas Cichlid is a freshwater fish developed by a cross between a male Texas cichlid (Herichthys cyanoguttatus) and, most commonly, a female Red Parrot cichlid (Paraneetroplus synspilus x Amphilophus citrinellus). As a hybrid, the Red Texas Cichlid does not have a scientific name like their purebred counterparts; however, many of their care needs and behaviour mimic those of the standard Texas cichlid.
The Origins of Red Texas Cichlid
The breeding of Red Texas cichlids can be quite difficult, and the phenotypic results of these crosses are often variable. The Red Texas cichlid is thought to first have been developed in 2004, making it still quite early in their evolution. The cross requires a male Texas cichlid and a female Red Parrot cichlid, the latter of which is a hybrid between the Redhead cichlid and the Red Devil cichlid. Therefore, the Red Texas cichlid the product of three different fish. As such, it is never 100% certain hoDo w the offspring will develop both physically and behaviourally. Additionally, these fish are not found in the wild, as they were first bred in captivity.
Important to note is that the Red Texas cichlid is, at the end of the day, simply a red coloured Texas cichlid. As such, the breeding of a male Texas cichlid with a female fish that will provide the red colouration does qualify the offspring as a Red Texas cichlid; however, the use of a Red Parrot female will likely provide you with the best results. More information on breeding can be found below.
The highly sought-after look of the Red Texas cichlid comes from the marriage of the gorgeous red of the Red Parrot cichlid and the unique pattern and general appearance of the Texas cichlid. Typically, the males are a brighter red and will develop a nuchal hump that increases in size with age, while females will usually have darker spots on their back. They are only a couple of inches as juveniles but grow quickly (at least 4 inches in the first 6 months) until they reach a maximum size of 1 foot. Females usually are slightly smaller than the males.
It is important to note that the appearance of the Red Texas cichlid is highly variable, and dependent on the breeding of the fish. It is difficult to guess how a juvenile fish will end up looking, similar to how, when you have a child, you never know what parent they may look more similar to. While the red and black colouration is desired in these fish, the less popular orange and yellow variations are often quite common, which is why the breeding process is so important. Furthermore, juvenile Red Texas cichlids are often not as pigmented (standard Texas cichlid juveniles are typically grey) and will “fade” into their colour.
The Red Texas Cichlid, like many other cichlids, is hardy, aggressive, and territorial, and is quite active during the day. In fact, they are considered one of the most aggressive cichlid species, meaning that care must be taken to help reduce these levels in the fish. They’re also quite the busy bodies and are often found moving substrate and plants. This can be mediated by ensuring that the tank size, setup, and dwellers are chosen with care. Additionally, sourcing your new cichlid from a reputable breeder can ensure you are well informed on the fish’s parents and temperament.
Food & Diet
The Red Texas Cichlid is an omnivore that can thrive well on most commercial diets. These are certainly not picky fish and are content with most food options, so long as there is variety in their choices. The Red Devil cichlid is generally a big fan of small invertebrates and plant matter and enjoy live foods as a treat.
Food for Red Texas Cichlid
- Live, frozen or freeze-dried krill
- Ghost shrimp
- Worms (i.e. bloodworms)
- Dry flakes or pellets
- Brine shrimp
- Blanched vegetables
Again, variety is essential to these freshwater fish and their health, so be sure to take the time to switch up their diet. Imagine eating only carrots for the rest of your life- it’s both bland and a one-way trip to serious health issues. When considering how much and how often to feed your Red Texas cichlid, one to two times a day is advised, limiting the amount of food to how much they can eat in a couple of minutes. Any extra food should be removed to ensure that the water quality is maintained. Juvenile Red Texas cichlids should be fed more often as they grow, with adjustments being made to ensure their health.
Lifespan & Disease
With proper care, the Red Texas cichlid can live to be between 10-13 years in captivity. They are hardy fish, susceptible mainly to common aquatic diseases such as Ich and Fin Rot. Ich is a highly contagious parasitic infection often induced by stress and poor tank conditions. Quarantining any infected fish is important to stopping the disease’s spread; medication for Ich is easily found over the counter. Furthermore, make sure to perform water checks to make sure levels of nitrates, temperature and pH are appropriate. Fin Rot is also a common disease, often resulting from an injury, which, with the Red Texas cichlid’s aggressive nature, can be common. Keep an eye on your fish and be sure to grab them the appropriate over the counter medication.
It is important, as with any fish, to be sensitive to your cichlid’s needs and to try your best to meet their care requirements, all of which are described below. If you are unable to provide them with the environment they need, it may be a good idea to consider a different fish.
Red Texas Cichlid Breeding
Breeding a Red Texas cichlid is a challenging process that is not as simple as creating a Red Texas pair and waiting for them to mate (though we wish it could be). The male Red Texas is akin to a mule, which is a cross between a donkey and a horse; oftentimes, they are infertile, meaning that breeding must come straight from the original cross. While this process may seem daunting, we have highlighted the most important steps to consider when breeding these beauties.
Selecting Breeding Pair
The pair must be well bonded and selected for their traits. First, choose the Red Parrot female you would like to use. It is important to note that you cannot use a male Red Parrot as they are often infertile. When choosing the male, a Green Texas cichlid is often best suited; in fact, the Thai GT is a specially bred green Texas cichlid with the most desired traits and are a good option for breeding.
Provide a Breeding Tank
This will help reduce aggression between the pair (which often increases during breeding). Screens in the tank can help them bond without being able to reach each other; terracotta pots are also a great option which allow the females to hide in a place where the males cannot.
The pair will chase each other before mating and dig out gravel to lay eggs in. The female will lay around 500-1000 eggs, but many of these fry will not have the desired characteristics. If you are hoping to have the ideal red colouring and pearly pattern, culling any non-desired fish may be necessary.
Beyond the Red Texas cichlid there are variations such as the Super Red Texas cichlid and the Short Body Red Texas cichlid. The differences are evident in their names. The Super Red Texas cichlid has a brighter, almost crimson colouration in comparison to the more orange-red of the standard Red Texas cichlid. This more intense colour is often a product of luck; however, diet can influence colouration, with use of red enhancing pellets. The Short Body Red Texas cichlid is smaller than the standard Red Texas cichlid and can get to around 8 inches. These variations are good to consider when deciding what cichlid you’d like to purchase or breed.
Red Texas Cichlid Tank Setup
While the Red Texas cichlid is not found in the wild, it still shares many of the same tank requirements as the standard Texas cichlid. Found naturally in Southern Texas and Northern Mexico, the Texas cichlid is a subtropical fish that enjoys warm, soft, slightly acidic waters. Their main home is the Rio Grande Drainage, but they can also be found in the rivers and ponds that drain to the main site. The conditions of the Texas cichlid habitat should be mimicked in the aquarium for your new Red Texas cichlid.
The Red Texas cichlid enjoys a tank with ample places to hide, shade and soft substrate. Sand and fine gravel are great choices for the bottom of the tank, in conjunction with rock caves, driftwood and pots as hiding places. Freshwater plants are also great additions, but it is important to have them tethered to the rocks or beneath the gravel. This is due to the Red Texas cichlid’s affinity for moving things in their habitat around. Having a tank with variety and shade will help curb aggression and keep your new fish friends happy.
The Red Texas cichlid needs freshwater that meets particular temperature, pH and hardness requirements, detailed below. Be sure to perform regular water checks so that the water is always perfect.
The Red Texas Cichlid prefers warmer water between 68-74, but can tolerate some variance.
Slightly acidic water with a pH of 6.5-7.5 is best suited to your Red Texas cichlid.
Water with a hardness of 5-12kDH is favoured by the Red Texas cichlid.
The large size and aggressive nature of the Red Texas cichlid calls for a tank size of no smaller than 75 gallons. This will ensure that this fast-growing fish has the room it needs not only to live comfortably, but to also reduce their aggression levels. If you are planning on housing your new Red Texas cichlid with other fish, a tank that can hold at least 125 gallons is necessary to curb fighting and ensure all its residents are secure. The larger the tank used to keep these fish, the happier they (and you!) will be, so if you have the space and means, try to purchase as big of a tank as possible.
The aggressive nature of the Red Texas cichlid makes choosing tank mates extremely important to both the wellbeing of your new cichlid and any potential tank mates. These fish are akin to bullies and will actively attack any smaller, less hostile neighbours- in some cases, they will even kill and eat them. As such, if you do want them to share their tank it is essential that the tank is 1) very large and 2) has ample spaces for the fish to hide/create their own territory. Fish that are similar in size and able to defend themselves are best suited to joining the Red Texas cichlid.
Potential Tank Mates for Red Texas Cichlids
- Oscar fish
- Jaguar cichlid
- Jack Dempsey
- Large Catfish
- Robust Plecostomus
One thing to note is that blue crayfish and other cichlids are not great matches for the Red Texas cichlid. It is always best to keep these fish alone, or to do research into any species you would like to pair them with.
Red Texas Cichlid Price
Due to their rarity and the difficulty presented when breeding, finding Red Texas Cichlid can be a challenge. Even when you find a Red Texas Cichlid for sale, they can be relatively expensive at around $350.00 per fish. In fact, when they first arose as a new species, their prices were astronomically higher, at around $4000.00- talk about a hot commodity! Now, the Red Texas cichlid can be found more widely, some even being offered at pet stores. However, we recommend going to well established breeders in order to ensure that the fish you are purchasing are healthy.
The Red Texas cichlid is a colourful and unique fish that is an excellent addition to the veteran hobbyist’s collection. We hope this article provided you with a good overview of their needs and have primed you to be the best Red Texas cichlid co parent you can be. Always be sure to ask questions and seek out help when caring for your fish!