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Herichthys cyanoguttatus

Herichthys cyanoguttatus 

Above: Herichthys cyanoguttatus, Texas Cichlid with fry. Photo by Mario Toromanovic. See video below.


Herichthys cyanoguttatus, also known as the Texas Cichlid, is the only cichlid species native to North America. This fish was originally described in 1854 by Baird and Girard.

As a juvenile, the Texas cichlid is pearly gray with white dots on the body and fins and displays two characteristic black spots— one in the center of the body and the other at the caudal fin base. As the fish matures, the body becomes a golden shade with pearly highlights, and the fins and body become adorned with white and turquoise spots.

Adult fish are decorated with three black bars and the rear half of the body— including the caudal fin base— sports a profusion of small black dots. Once they are in breeding color, the underside and rear of the body turn black and the three black bars will become even darker. Full grown males can easily reach up to 12 inches, but females generally stay smaller, around 6 to 7 inches. 


  • Herichthys = Greek for very masculine fish


The natural home of the Texas cichlid is the lower Rio Grande Drainage in Texas and northeast Mexico. It can be found not only in the main river but also in smaller streams and pools, and is commonly referred to as the Rio Grande perch. It is a popular game fish in its natural habitat.


AlthoughHerichthys cyanoguttatus may withstand temperatures as low as 60°F for short periods, ideal conditions should fall between 72° and 78° and pH between 7 and 8. It was easy to duplicate its natural water parameters in my tank, since my Lake Michigan water has a pH 7.6 and I keep the temperature around 78°F. 


Herichthys cyanoguttatus are omnivorous. In nature they feed on worms, insects and crustaceans, but they also have strong herbivorous tendencies and should have plenty of vegetable matter in its diet. I fed my fish with mix of veggie flakes and pellets that I use for my African cichlids, with occasional feedings of frozen Mysis and brine shrimp. I offered live black worms when conditioning the fish for breeding. 


I obtained my group of eight, Texas Cichlid in trade with fellow GCCA club member. At the time I acquired the fish, they were five to six months old and approaching two inches in length. After few months of growth, it turned out that I had eight males. As the fish approached breeding size, aggression escalated, so I separated them into two groups of four fish. I was lucky enough to procure a full grown female from a friend at work. As soon as I introduced her to the group of males, she paired up with the biggest fish. The nine-inch male she selected was more than double her size of about four-inches.

Since Texas cichlids are substrate spawners, I placed a few terracotta flower pots and flat surfaced stones in the tank. There were also several hollow ceramic cichlid caves in the tank previously. To my surprise, the fish spawned inside of a big ceramic cichlid cave. After spawning, both the male and female guarded the eggs. The eggs hatched 3 days post spawn.

Herichthys cyanoguttatus are clutch tenders and both sexes are devoted parents. The male guarded the territory while the female stayed close to the clutch. Both sexes become extremely aggressive while tending to the fry. As soon as fry were free swimming, I offered them newly hatched baby brine shrimp, which they readily accepted. 

Retail Price

Herichthys cyanoguttatus is quite common in the hobby and therefore easy to obtain. You can find them regularly from local breeders, or sometimes even in your local pet shop. In the aquarium trade, you may find fish sold under names such as blue Texas cichlid, green Texas cichlid, and red Texas cichlid. These common names can cause confusion because they are used for color variants of Herichthys  as well as for hybrids and entirely different species.

Make sure to buy your fish from a reputable fish breeder or exporter and avoid buying hybrids. Juveniles are available from hobbyists in the $8-10 range. Breeding pairs in $50 range. 



Video by Mario Toromanovic

Report January 2014 by Mario Toromanovic

Yssichromis sp. "Blue Tipped"

 Yssichromis sp.

AboveYssichromis sp. "Blue tipped"  Photo by Rick Borstein. See video below.


Yssichromis sp. "Blue tipped" is a mouthbrooding cichlid from Lake Victoria, Africa which was found near Rusinga Island. This fish, which does not yet have a species name, was originally discovered by Yves Fermon in 1992. In the hobby, it is often referred to as "blue tips" or just "blue tip". 

Yssichromis sp. "Blue tipped" is a rather slender bodied fish. A large male might get up to four inches and females are about a half inch smaller. The coloration is highly variable, especially on the males when spawning. When the boys are feeling very "sexed up", they turn a steely blue and the caudal fin is edged in red-orange.

However, the color is fleeting in my experience and I wasn't able to obtain a picture of a colored up male. Here is a link to very nice picture of a colored male available from Dave's Rare Fish. For the most part, this is a silvery-tan fish with some green and darker blotches on the side. Males which are quiescent will sometimes show a blue swath along the back. 

Females are a bit drab, mostly silver-tan, and have a few gold highlights. Depending on the light, both males and females will show some metallic glints.


Yssichromis sp. "Blue tipped"  is usually found in the open water. Reports are that it schools with an open water cyprinid (Rastrineobola argentea) to help protect it from predators.


Yssichromis sp. "Blue tipped" is easy to keep. All it needs is clean, hard water that is 75-80F and a two foot or longer tank.


Yssichromis sp. "Blue tipped" readily accepts prepared foods such as New Life Spectrum cichlid pellets, Dainichi Veggie Deluxe Pellets, Extreme Cichlid PeeWee pellets, Repashy gel foods and most flake food. In the wild, this fish is an open water zooplanktivore that feeds predominantly on insects.


I obtained a eight, tiny Yssichromis sp. "Blue tipped" fry from fellow GCCA Member Matt Swarzek. At the time, the tiny fry were baredly three-eights of an inch long. The fry went into a 5-gallon tank with a sand bottom. Initial growth was slow, but once the fry got up to about half an inch, growth accelerated. When the fry were a bit over an inch, I moved them to a 40 breeder and later to a 75 gallon tank. The 75 gallon tank had a sand substrate and was filtered by two large Swiss Tropicals sponge filters. At this point, the fish were just under three inches long and occasionally I saw flashes of the blue coloration as a male danced in front of female.

Shortly thereafter, I observed the first female holding. I allowed her to hold for twelve days and then stripped her of fourteen small fry. The babies are immediately able to eat baby brine shrimp and a week later I transitioned them to flake food.

Retail Price

You are not going to find Yssichromis sp. "Blue tipped" at your local pet store. You can sometimes find it on the internet or from hobbyists who maintain rare Victorian species.  I suspect that unsexed juveniles would go for $8 per fish. 


Video by Rick Borstein

Report May 2015 by Rick Borstein


Chicago Aquatic Experience

I think it is pretty cool to have an event like this coming to Chicago, I for one will be checking it out. 

Aquatic Experience – Chicago is the first show in our industry’s history to combine everything aquatic under one roof. From saltwater to freshwater with pond and aquatic animals, we’ll have it all. Consumers and retailers are invited to join us for educational seminars and a thriving show floor filled with hobbyists from entry level to the most sophisticated aquarium keepers as well as livestock and equipment experts and the industries best and trend setting manufacturers. Add in a bevy of high powered speakers you’ve heard of and read articles from but have not had the chance to meet in person and you’ve got a “must see” for any aquarist no matter what their experience level. - See more at:

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