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A  live stream on YouTube each Wednesday (audio and visual) week, and the release audio only on Spotify on the Sunday.

Is light-hearted fun, information, and different views on all things aquarium and tropical fish tank-related

Tips and tricks that we have learned over the years of keeping tropical fish.


Red Terror

The Red Terror Cichlid

Cichlasoma festae

Native Location: Ecuador and Peru

Climate: Tropical

Maximum Size: 50cm/20cm (Males/Females)

Temperament: Aggressive

Diet: Omnivore

Breeding: Easy

Temperature Range: 25-29℃ (77-84℉)

Preferred pH Range: 6.0-8.0

Minimum Aquarium Size: 650L+ (1800CMx 60CMx 60CM approx)

Potential Tankmates: Only large 6”+ cichlids

Care Level: Easy

The natural habitat of the Red Terror Cichlid, scientifically known asCichlasoma festae, is primarily found in the freshwater rivers and lakes of South America, particularly in the Tumbes River in Peru and the Esmeraldas River in Ecuador. These vibrant fish thrive in environments where the substrate consists mainly of fine sand and scattered rocks, which provide essential hiding spots and breeding grounds. Surrounding plants often include dense, submerged vegetation and overhanging foliage that partially shades the waters, creating a complex ecosystem for these cichlids to explore and feed. The water type in their natural habitat is typically soft to moderately hard, with a slightly acidic to neutral pH, mirroring the varied conditions of tropical river systems. This environment supports a rich diversity of life, offering the Red Terror Cichlid ample opportunities to feed smaller fish and invertebrates while providing the necessary cover from predators.

Creating the ideal aquarium for the Red Terror Cichlid involves more than just replicating their natural habitat. It also requires a spacious tank, with a minimum capacity of 650 litres for adults. This is crucial, as it reflects their potential size and territorial nature. The substrate should consist of fine sand or small, smooth pebbles that mimic the riverbeds of their origin, allowing them to exhibit natural behaviours such as digging. Decorations should include large rocks, driftwood, and robust, rooted plants like Anubias or Java Fern, which can withstand occasional uprooting attempts, providing shelter and breeding spots without being easily destroyed. When it comes to tank mates, choosing robust and similarly sized fish is essential; smaller or more docile species might become targets. Suitable companions could include larger Central and South American cichlids, but always monitor interactions closely to prevent aggression. An environment that balances open swimming spaces with well-structured hiding areas will help mimic the dynamic ecosystem of their native rivers, promoting a healthy and stress-free life for these magnificent fish.

The ideal diet for a Red Terror Cichlid in a home aquarium should closely mirror their natural Omnivorous feeding habits to ensure they receive the necessary nutrition for growth and vibrant colouration. A balanced diet comprises a mix of high-quality cichlid pellets or granules as a staple, supplemented with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and krill to provide essential proteins and nutrients. Occasional offerings of fresh vegetables, like shelled peas or cucumber slices, can aid digestion and provide variety. It's crucial to feed them in moderation, offering small amounts that can be consumed within a few minutes, once or twice a day, to prevent overfeeding and maintain water quality. Tailoring their diet this way fulfils their nutritional needs and encourages natural foraging behaviour, keeping them engaged and healthy within the home aquarium setting.

Breeding the Red Terror Cichlid in a home aquarium presents an exciting challenge for experienced aquarists, given their vibrant colours and fascinating behaviours. To initiate the breeding process, it's essential to provide a spacious and well-structured environment with a tank capacity of at least 650 litres to accommodate a breeding pair and their territorial nature comfortably. The water conditions should closely mimic their natural habitat, with a temperature maintained around 25-29°C (77-84°F) and a slightly acidic to neutral pH. Substrates of fine sand and ample hiding spots created by rocks and cave structures can encourage breeding behaviours. Increasing the frequency of high-protein foods during the breeding season can help condition the pair. Once a pair has formed, they will select a flat surface or a cave to lay their eggs, which the female guards fiercely while the male patrols the perimeter. Post-spawning, monitoring the tank dynamics closely is crucial, as Red Terror Cichlids can become exceptionally protective of their fry. Regular water changes and maintaining excellent water quality are paramount during this period to support the fry's and their parents' health. Successfully breeding Red Terror Cichlids offers a rewarding experience, showcasing the intricate parental behaviours of these magnificent fish.

Dead on Arrival (DOA) Policy: In the unfortunate event that your fish arrives dead, please follow these steps: Within 12 hours of the delivery, take clear, unopened bag pictures showing the deceased fish. Send these photographs and your order number to our customer service email at or to our Facebook page, and we will then offer a refund or store credit for the cost of the fish. 

Two-Week Guarantee Policy: We stand behind the health and quality of our fish, which is why we offer a two-week guarantee starting from the day of delivery. If your fish dies within this time frame, adhere to the following procedure: Take clear photos of the deceased fish. Using a reliable test kit, document water parameters (pH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite levels) via a dated image. Please email us the photographs, water parameters, and order number to or our Facebook page. After reviewing your claim, if approved, we will issue a store credit for the cost of the fish. Our two-week guarantee does not cover fish deaths due to unsuitable water conditions, incompatible tank mates or "disasters", i.e. a heater overheating. To prevent such situations, we recommend thoroughly researching each fish species' needs before introducing them to your aquarium. 

 Freight Charges: Please note that shipping or freight charges are non-refundable under all circumstances. We hope this guide makes our refund and guarantee process more understandable. If you have any questions or need further clarification, please contact us at We are always happy to assist. Thank you for choosing The Fish Room. Happy fishkeeping! 

All our fish are quarantined on arrival for two weeks. During this time, we treat any health issues that may occur during transport and ensure each fish is eating well and looking healthy. All fish are treated with Flubendazole before finally going on sale.


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