The Blue Acara cichlid is a South American cichlid and is very mellow until it is protecting its fry. It is tough, does not get stressed easily and does not need a lot of care, so it is an easy choice for new keepers.
The Blue Acara cichlid binomial name is Aequidens pulcher. Pulcher means “beautiful”.
The Blue Acara cichlid is usually confused with some other South American cichlids from the same genus; for example, the Green Terror Cichlid. They shared the same scientific name for quite some time because people thought they were the same. Recently, the Green Terror Cichlid has been renamed to Aequidens rivulatus. The Green Terror is very violent and not a good choice for beginners.
The Blue Acara cichlid is sometimes also confused with young Jack Dempsey’s. The Jack Dempsey is also a violent species. It will live for 10 years.
Blue Acara Cichlid Geographical Range and Habitat
It resides in Central and South America, down to from Trinidad & Tobago down to Venezuela and Colombia. It is found in clear and muddy water. It feeds in insects, crustaceans, and worms.
Blue Acara Cichlid Appearance and Size
The largest Blue Acara cichlid ever known was 6.3 inches. The body is short and thick. It has a large forehead and its fins can be quite long.
The normal color of the body is shimmery blue gray, but it can range from off-white to blue-green. The precise coloration varies regionally between different populations. The color of the main body is somewhat sparkly steel blue-gray, though the precise shades vary from pale off-white-blue to bluish-green to blue. The body sometimes has visible on it. Sometimes the fins have a little orange color. There is a lot of variation in this species, that’s one reason it is confused with other species so often.
Blue Acara Cichlid Care
The Blue Acara cichlid is usually docile, but it can become violent with smaller fish. These fishes must be kept fish its own size, this way peace should prevail. The Blue Acara cichlid is usually kept with other South and Central American cichlids; for example, Banded cichlids (Heros Severus), Convicts (Amatitlania nigrofasciata), and Firemouth cichlids (Thorichthys meeki).
All of these fish are violent when they are breeding or protecting their fry. The level of aggressiveness is different with different fish. The dark blue ones are the most violent ones. They will live in all aquarium strata, top to bottom.
A 30 gallon is adequate size for the a Blue Acara cichlid aquarium. If you want to keep pairs, they will need 50 gallons of water per pair.
The Blue Acara’s produce a lot of waste and it will accumulate, so you will need to clean the tank regularly. Use a powerful filter and change between 15 and 20% of the water each week. It will be easier if you keep a large, less decorated tank rather than a small, crowded one.
Temperature in the tank should be in the 72 to 85°F (22 to 30°C) range. Give many hiding places, and include many hiding locations in the decorations. The pH-level must be 6.5 to 8.0 (slightly acidic to alkaline), and the water hardness must be around 25°dGH.
These fish prefer aquariums which are planted and have hiding spaces. Give them fine substrate and keep in mind that they like to dig so protect plant roots with larger rocks.
Blue Acara Cichlid Feeding
Being a predatory fish, the Blue Acara feeds mainly on insects, crustaceans, and worms and can also be taught to eat dry and frozen food. It can be given pellets, worms, shrimps and earthworms. They like chopped fish too. If your fish is young, give it a wide variety so that it can get used to eating everything.
Breeding Blue Acara Cichlids
The genders are difficult to tell apart; however, the male is typically larger and has a slight hump, the fins may be larger too. After reaching a length of 4 inches the female becomes ready to breed and will lay her eggs on a clean rock and the male will fertilize them. Both parents will take care of the eggs and the fry and will become very violent towards other fish. If the eggs are removed after fertilization they will mate once more in two weeks.
The conditions for spawning should be 79 to 82° F (26-28° C) as the temperature. The pH should be 6.5 to 6.9 and the water softness must be 3 to 10° dGH. Provide the fish with an flat, clean rock or something comparable to use as a spawning substrate.
The Blue Acara Cichlid fry are quite small feeding on aufwuchs. Changes in the water chemistry may cause them stress, so make the changes small and gradual.