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Cichlids / South America / Acaras / Blue Acara

Blue Acara
"Aequidens" pulcher

SYN: Aequidens latifrons
PD: An oval-shaped cichlid with a broad forehead. The body coloring ranges from light gray to black with each scale having an iridescent yellow to turquoise spots. Five to eight transverse stripes are present, but often not visible, on the body. The cheeks and gill cover are marked with turquoise spots and lines. The fins are marked with a covering of iridescent turquoise to dark blue splotches and the caudal fin and rear part of the anal fin may be marked with a pink tint. The upper crest of the dorsal fin is occasionally orange.
SIZE: To 8" (20 cm) in nature, although rarely larger than 6.3" (16 cm) in captivity.
SS: "Aequidens" coeruleopunctatus, A. latifrons, A. rivulatus.
HAB: Northern South America and Southern Central America; Colombia, Panama, Trinidad, Tobago, Venezuela
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A tank measuring 36 (91 cm) with a volume of 35 gallons (132 L) is sufficient. The tank should have strong lighting and a fine gravel or sand substrate is recommended. Use hardy plants in the back and corners of the tank. Hiding places of rocks, roots, and wood are suggested, as are open swimming areas.
WATER: pH 6-8 (7.0), 1-25 dH (10), 68-77°F (20-25°C)
SB: A territorial, though peaceful species that can be combined with similarly-sized companions. Pairs from monogamous bonds and later, nuclear families.
SC: Pimelodids, Loricarids, Doradids, Cichlasoma, Severum, other Acaras, larger characins,
FOOD: Live; insect larvae, crustaceans, worms, insects; chopped meat; tablets; large flakes
SEX: The anal and dorsal fins are more elongated, often extending beyond the caudal fin, on the male.
B: The Blue Acara may spawn several times a year under the right circumstances. The pH should be between 6.5-7.2, the water hardness from 2-10 dH, and the temperature from 77-82°F (25-28°C). The eggs are deposited on rocks out in the open. These are fertilized by the male and carefully guarded by both parents. The parents may pick off unfertilized eggs. The eggs hatch after 2-5 days, and the young are free-swimming a few days later. The parents continue their care for the fry, which can be fed on Artemia nauplii and roftiers.
BP: 5. Breeding is easy.
R: The Blue Acara group is undergoing further revisions, so this is why Aequidens appears in quotation marks. Fish are sexually mature from 2.8" (7 cm). The Blue Acara is a greedy eater whose excrement quickly dirties the water. Thus it is essential to make frequent partial water changes and not to overpopulate the tank. Most fish available to the hobby are bred in Florida or Southeast Asia and lack the coloration of wild-caught specimen.
DC: 4. The Blue Acara is a hardy cichlid which requires regular water changes.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com