Green Terror

Overall satisfaction


Acquired: Fish / pet store





Easy to Feed


Easy Environment Needs


Compatibility with other species


Compatibility with own species


Activity Level






Interaction with owner


Big, bold and beautiful


United States

Posted Sep 17, 2014

Green terrors aren’t as aggressive as their name implies, but the name fits some individuals quite well. While many wouldn’t win a personality contest, these are incredibly gorgeous fish.

The males are highly iridescent with metallic green/blue markings on their face and lining their scales. Adults also have particularly pretty fins and, as they mature, the males develop a hump on their head.

There are at least a couple different species sold under the name green terror. A number of ‘green terrors’ are actually the smaller and generally less aggressive Blue Acara, which never develops a hump.

If you do get a true green terror, an adult needs a moderate to large tank to be kept as a single specimen. I kept mine in a mixed tank with other South American cichlids as a baby then moved him to a 55 gallon species tank when he started to mature.

I didn’t have any real aggression issues in the mixed tank, but my green terror was kept with other species of South American cichlids that didn’t share any visual similarities with it. This species can be kept with other similar, but different looking South American cichlids even as adults as long as the tank is large enough. However, considering their eventual size, such a tank would have to be exceptionally large.

When green terrors earn their name is in pairs claiming a mating territory. Some say the females are the more aggressive gender in this species, but both can terrorize a tank if there isn’t sufficient room available.

When keeping them with other fish, a variety of hiding spots should be provided. A single adult doesn’t have a need for caves and will generally swim out in the open. They do well with driftwood and a planted aquarium, but love to dig so plastic plants are the way to go unless you don’t mind constantly buying new plants.

Green terrors need a high quality diet, but aren’t picky eaters. Like oscars, they enjoy gulping down large mouthfuls of food. They can be fed large cichlid pellets, and mine particularly liked frozen food that was large or held its cube shape when thawed.

This species doesn’t require exacting water conditions, but they are highly sensitive to water quality. Green terrors can be susceptible to a number of health issues that can nearly all be avoided by providing a well-filtered tank and a consistent maintenance schedule.

Even as babies, these are pretty fish that only become more beautiful with age. For a single specimen South American cichlid I prefer oscars for their personality, but if you want a visual showstopper the green terror can’t be beat.

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