Red Texas Cichlid: Care, Size, Tank Mates & Tank Size

Common Name(s)Red Texas Cichlid
Scientific NameHybrid of Herichthys cyanoguttatus, Paraneetroplus synspilus, Amphilophus citrinellus
OriginDo not exist in wild
Temperature68-74°F (20-23°C)
Size12 inches
Minimum Tank Size75 gallons
Food & DietOmnivorous
Lifespan10-13 years
Water pH6.5-7.5
Possible Tank MatesOscars, Jaguar cichlid, Jack Dempsey, Large Catfish, Robust Plecostomus
BreedingAs hybrids, Red Texas cichlids are most likely infertile.
DiseaseIt may be susceptible to Ich and Fin Rot.
Red Texas Cichlid
Red Texas Cichlid. Lerdsuwa, CC BY-SA 3.0

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 colorfully 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 its care needs and behavior 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 have first been developed in 2004, making it still quite early in its 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 is the product of three different fish. As such, it is never 100% certain hoDo w the offspring will develop both physically and behaviorally. 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-colored Texas cichlid. As such, breeding a male Texas cichlid with a female fish that will provide the red coloration qualifies 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.

Red Texas Cichlid Care – Petsmart, Size, Tank Mates? Price?


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 usually have darker spots on their backs.

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 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 look, similar to how, when you have a child, you never know what parent they may look more similar to.

While the red and black coloration 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 color.


Like many other cichlids, the Red Texas Cichlid is hardy, aggressive, territorial, and 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 busy bodies and are often found moving substrate and plants. This can be mediated by ensuring that the tank size, setup, and dwellers are carefully chosen. Also, sourcing your new cichlid from a reputable breeder can ensure you are well informed about 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 enjoys live foods as a treat.

Food for Red Texas Cichlid

  • Live, frozen or freeze-dried krill
  • Ghost shrimp
  • Crickets
  • Worms (i.e., bloodworms)
  • Dry flakes or pellets
  • Crustaceans
  • 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 your 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 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 stop the disease’s spread; medication for Ich is easily found over the counter.

Furthermore, perform water checks to ensure appropriate nitrates, temperature, and pH levels. Fin Rot is also a common disease, often resulting from an injury, which can be common with the Red Texas cichlid’s aggressive nature. Keep an eye on your fish, and be sure to grab them the appropriate over-the-counter medication.

As with any fish, it is important 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). 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; the Thai GT is a specially bred green Texas cichlid with the most desired traits and is 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 allows 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 the fry will not have the desired characteristics. If you are hoping to have the ideal red coloring 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 color than the more orange-red red of the standard Red Texas cichlid.

This more intense color is often a product of luck; however, diet can influence coloration with the use of red-enhancing pellets. The Short Body Red Texas cichlid is smaller than the standard Red Texas cichlid and can reach 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, which 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 the water is always perfect.


The Red Texas Cichlid prefers warmer water between 68-74 degrees Fahrenheit but can tolerate some variance.

Water pH

Slightly acidic water with a pH of 6.5-7.5 is best suited to your Red Texas cichlid.

Water Hardness

Water with a hardness of 5-12kDH is favored by the Red Texas cichlid.

Tank Size

The large size and aggressive nature of the Red Texas cichlid call for a tank size of no smaller than 75 gallons. This will ensure that this fast-growing fish has the room it needs to live comfortably and reduce its 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.

Tank Mates

The aggressive nature of the Red Texas cichlid makes choosing tank mates extremely important to both the well-being of your new cichlid and any potential tank mates. These fish are akin to bullies and will actively attack any smaller, less hostile neighbors- 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

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, it 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!

The Red Texas cichlid can now be found more widely, some even being offered at pet stores. However, we recommend going to well-established breeders to ensure that the fish you purchase are healthy.

The Red Texas cichlid is a colorful 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!

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