Synonyms: Acara minuta, A. portalegrensis, Aequidens portalegrensis
Physical description: An oval shaped cichlid with a deep body. The body of males is greenish-gray, while females tend to have red and brown hues. The scales may have a blue-green iridescence in reflected light. A broad, lateral band extends from the eye to the caudal fin. The anal, caudal, and dorsal fins are blue-gray to green gray with iridescent spots. At spawning times, the body is almost black.
Size/Length: To 10" (25 cm), although usually not more than 8" (20 cm)
Similar species: Black Belt Cichlid ( C. bimaculatum), Flag Cichlid ( Laetacara curviceps)
Habitat: South America; Rio de la Plata in Southern Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay
Aquarium: A tank measuring 36" (91 cm) or 40 gallons (151 L) is adequate for adult fish. The Port Acara has a tendency to burrow so potted or strongly rooted plants should be used. A cover of floating plants is recommended as is a gravel substrate. Leave open swimming areas and provide some rocks, wood, and roots for hiding.
Water chemistry: pH 6-8 (7.0), 2-18 dH (8), 61-73°F (16-23°C)
Social behavior: A territorial, but peaceful fish that can be combined in a community tank with other Acaras, catfish, a smaller fish of the upper swimming levels. Males may quarrel over territory, although little damage is done. Pairs form nuclear families.
Suggested companions: Cichlasomines, Eartheaters, Acaras, Armored catfish, Pimelodids, Doradids, Loricarids, Silver Dollars, large hatchetfish, Leporinus, Anostomus.
FOOD: Live; crustaceans, insect larvae, aquatic insects, worms; flakes; pellets.
SEX: Males are slightly more colorful, and more slender at spawning times.
Breeding techniques: Use water with a temperature from 73-77°F (23-25°C), a pH from 6.5-7.0, and a water hardness from 3-10 dH. Perform frequent partial water changes in order to stimulate spawning. As many as 500 eggs are laid on rocks and leaves (when available). The young and the eggs are carefully guarded by both parents. Start feeding with nauplii and roftiers.
Breeding potential: 6. Breeding is not difficult.
Remarks: In nature this species often deposits its eggs on fallen leaves so that the brood can be moved when threatened by predators or drying up. An early fish to be imported into Europe.
Difficulty of care: 4. A robust cichlid that can be kept in cooler water.
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