That's not a Green Terror!

Information and guides to the south American Cichlid genus Andinoacara

Andinoacara rivulatus (Günther, 1860)


Common Name

  • Green Terror - incorrectly used, this refers to Andinoacara stalsbergi
  • Orange Saum
  • Gold Saum
  • White Saum
  • False Green Terror


  • Andinoacara rivulatus, Musilová et al, 2009, new combination
  • 'Aequidens' rivulatus, Stawikowski et al, 1998, provisional name
  • Aequidens azurifer, Fowler, 1911, junior synonym
  • Aequidens rivulatus, Starks, 1906, new combination (part.)
  • Acara aequinoctialis, Regan, 1905, junior synonym
  • Aequidens rivulatus, Eigenmann et al, 1903, new combination
  • Acara rivulata, Boulenger, 1899, new combination (part. (all except the first of the 'types'))
  • Acara pulchra, Günther, 1862, misidentification (part. (specimens b-d))
  • Chromis rivulata, Günther, 1860:418, original combination


  • Orange - seams to the caudal (tail) and dorsal fins, the most common colouration seen
  • White - seams to the caudal (tail) and dorsal fins, often (but not always) seen as white in younger fish and turning orange as the fish matures.
  • Red - seams to the caudal (tail) and dorsal fins few references to this variant available

Type Locality

Pacific slopes of the Andes, western Ecuador, from the Rio Chone and Portoviejo drainages in the north to the river systems draining into the Golfo de Guayaquil (mostly the greater Guayas drainage), including also Rio Zarumilla and Rio Tumbes in the northwest of Peru.

Some sources describe this species from Rio Esmeraldas drainage system, this species is Andinoacara blombergi. Any fish described from the more southern points in Peru are in fact Andinoacara stalsbergi


rivulatus = provided with small brooks (Latin); referring to the blue streaks on the pre-orbital and cheeks.


The lectotype, which is the largest specimen of the type series, measures only 72.1 mm SL and 96.9 mm TL (Wijkmark & al. 2012).
The largest specimen examined by those authors was 123.3mm SL (extrapolated TL about 165mm), Eigenmann (1922) recorded a maximum TL of 207mm for his material. However, from field and aquarium observations, males are known to attain up to almost 30cm TL.

Average adult size: 8.6-12"/22-30cm


As an omnivorous fish they are generally easy to feed. It is suggested to feed a good quality cichlid stick as staple, and supplement this with regular feeds of live and frozen foods such as earthworms, prawns, mussels, and other such foods.

Vegetable matter, including peas, spinach should also form a good proportion of the diet. High protein foods such as beefheart and other red meats are not advisable.

We feed our fish with Vitalis cichlid pellets, and live foods, including bloodworm, and meal worm.


Unless you are keeping this fish in a very large tank (6 feet or more) then it is best they are kept as single fish, or as a mate pair. The older the fish the more aggressive and territorial they become, and will consume any fish small enough to fit in their mouths.

Good tank mates for these fish are other large cichlids, large characins, such as bleeding heart tetras, and medium/large catfish.

Small corydoras are not advisable as the larger fish will try to eat them, and the corydoras spines tend to stick in the cichlids mouth, often reslting the loss of both the cichlid and the catfish.

These fish are not suitable for a standard community tank.

Water Conditions

  • Temperature: 71-77°F (22-25°C)
  • pH: 6.5-7.5
  • Hardness: 1-5°dGH

A. rivulautus require soft water (less than 3.37°dGH), but can tolerate moderately hard water (3.38-6.74°dGH). If keeping these fish in harder water may have ill effects on the fish in the long term, and you may have problems hatching any eggs.

Tank Size

A minimum of a 36x15x18"/91x38x45cm (LxWxH) for a single adult fish

The tank should be hard scaped, using rocks and bogwood. Sand or fine gravel is best as a substrate, do avoid large gravel as this can be swallowed and cause digestive problems.

Ensure the fish has swimming room, as well as places to hide. Once settled in these fish are very bold and will come to the front of the tank to see you.

Live plants should really be avoided as they will be pulled up and eaten.


This video shows some tank bred Andinoacara rivulatus, the video identifies these cichlids as Andinoacara aequintialis, which is incorrect and has been altered in the video title and description.

This video shows Andinoacara rivulatus spawning.

This video shows a pair of white Saum Andinoacara rivulatus.