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Cichlids / South America / Acaras / Flag Acara

Flag Cichlid, Flag Acara, Curviceps, Sheepshead Acara
Laetacara curviceps

SYN: Acara curviceps, Aequidens curviceps
PD: The Flag Cichlid is oval-shaped with a rounded caudal fin. The body color ranges greatly depending on the population. Generally the back and head are olive gray. The flanks are green to blue in color, increasing in color as they near the caudal fin. Occasionally a few scales may be red. The first rays of the dorsal fin are light-green becoming green, then dark blue on the final rays. This fin is marked with a red edge. The caudal fin is dull red-orange in color with a series of blue, broken lines. The anal fin is the most colorful of all, with the middle rays being deep blue, and the outer partners having similar coloration to that of the caudal fin. Red and blue morphs are also widely available. A black, lateral stripe extends from the eye, back to the mid-section of the fish.
SIZE: Males to 3.5" (9 cm), females to 2.8" (7 cm)
SS: Young Port Cichlids (Cichlasoma portalegrense), Dorsigerus (Laetacara dorsiger)
HAB: Found near the bands of slow-moving rivers and lakes. South America; throughout the Amazon Basin.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A tank measuring 24 (61 cm) with a capacity of 20 gallons (75 L) is fine for a pair. The tank should have heavy vegetation in the corners and back parts. Use driftwood, roots, and rocks to supply hiding places. The tank should have open swimming areas and a fine gravel or sand substrate.
WATER: pH 6.0-7.8 (7.0), 1-18 dH (8), 72-82°F (22-28°C)
SB: A peaceful fish outside of the spawning season. The Flag Cichlid can be combined in a community tank with good-sized tetras of the upper swimming levels. However, at spawning times, the pair should be removed so they are not to damage any companions. This species will no harm plants. Pairs form nuclear families.
SC: Tetras, Hatchetfish, Corydoras, Loricarids, Gouramis.
FOOD: Live; crustaceans, insects, aquatic insects, worms, insect larvae; flakes; pellets.
SEX: Males are larger with elongated anal and dorsal fins.
B: Separate the pair from other fish into a breeding tank having water with a temperature from 79-86°F (26-30°C), a pH of 6.0-6.8, and a water hardness from 1-6 dH. The pair should be conditioned with insect larvae and crustaceans, and frequent partial water changes should be made. Open brooders, that lay as many as 300 eggs on a previously cleaned rock or piece of wood. The eggs may be consumed by the parents. If this behavior continues, the eggs should be removed just after the spawning. In either case, the eggs hatch after 2-4 days, and the fry are free-swimming several days later. The young are very small, and can be fed on liquid foods along with Artemia nauplii.
BP: 6. The Flag Cichlid is not difficult to breed.
R: Fish belonging to the genus Laetacara (derived from the Latin word, laetus, meaning happy) are known as "Smiling Acaras," as a series of dark stripes extend from the eyes to the lips. This gives the appearance that the fish are smiling. The Flag Cichlid does best when kept under a regime of frequent partial water changes. Most fish available to the hobby are captive-bred. Wild-caught specimen have much better colors are far more variable as several different geographical color morphs are known.
DC: 4. A hardy cichlid recommended for community tanks.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com