What is a Texas Cichlid?
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What is a Texas Cichlid?

The Texas Cichlid, also known as the Pearl Cichlid or the Rio Grande Perch, is notorious for its temperament which involves aggression and toughness. All kinds of cichlids are known to be territorial and aggressive, but this type of cichlid is a cut above the rest. It would take a courageous and adventurous aquarium hobbyist to take on this belligerent fish. If you are one of those people, you might want to read on so you would know exactly what you are getting yourself into.


The Texas Cichlid is the only one of its kind to be a native of the waters of North America. It is usually found in the waters of northern Mexico and southern Texas, which is the waters of the Rio Grande. Because these waters have closed environments, usually rivers, this fish has grown accustomed to being overly protective of their territory, hence their personality of being snappish and intolerant of potential trespassers.

Physical Appearance

The Texas Cichlid may be famous for being a brawler, but it looks elegant and majestic with its sparkling spots that are so shiny that you would think it is adorned with pearls. It has a brownish gray body with sharp spines along its pectoral, dorsal, anal and pelvic fins. It can grow up to 12 inches with the males generally growing larger than the females. As a juvenile, the spots appear to be closer together with less space in between, but as it grows older, the spots become more pronounced.

Behavior and Temperament

Some Texas Cichlids can get along pretty well with other kinds of fish in a community tank, but in general, this fish is an aggressor and would attack other fish whether they are cichlids or not. They are also known to attack plants and anything else that moves inside the aquarium, including human hands. They may even attack the aquarium walls if humans push their face againts it. The Texas Cichlid is extremely territorial and is not friendly with other cichlids. You may have to think twice about putting more than a couple of cichlids in one tank.


Set the conditions of your fish tank to make the Texas Cichlid comfortable by keeping the pH balance between 6.5 to 8.0 and the water temperature between 70 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This fish usually spends most of its time in the middle area and the bottom area of the fish tank, so make sure that those areas have a lot of room for them to swim in. With its size, a fish tank that can contain at least 100 gallons of water should suffice. Feeding the Texas Cichlid is pretty easy since it eats pretty much everything. As an omnivore, it can feed on fish flakes, pellets, earthworms, goldfish and guppies. Keep the feeding schedule at 2 to 3 times a day with small amounts of food. You do not have to worry too much about it developing diseases since the Texas Cichlid is very resistant to several kinds of fish diseases, as long as the fish tank is maintained well, of course.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; Creative Commons Attriubution / Supplied by Charles & Clint

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