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Electric Blue Acara (Andinoacara pulcher) Trio

Electric Blue Acara (Andinoacara pulcher) formerly Aequidens pulcher

The Electric Blue Acara (Andinoacara pulcher) is a stunning color variety of the Blue Acara cichlid that is native to Trinidad and Tobogo and parts of Venezuela.  The Blue Acara is found in found throughout Central and South America from Panama to Columbia and is often confused with the highly aggressive Green Terror (Andinoacara rivulatus) by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts.

Blue Acara are an adaptable species that are found in a variety of habitats, from murky still waters to flowing clear water rivers and streams.

Electric Blue Acara (Andinoacara pulcher)

Electric Blue Acara (Andinoacara pulcher)

The Electric Blue Acara is a color strain that has only been available in the United States since 2013.  They have the temperament of Rams and will not usually dig up the plants or rearrange the decor in your aquarium, nor will they harass other members of a community tank.

The Blue Acara has a compact, somewhat stocky body with long, flowing fins and a rounder head than similar cichlids.   Their steel blue body color can vary by locale from shades of brown, blues, to black.   Their blueish green scales give them a sparkling appearance.  Their bodies are decorated with five to eight vertical stripes and blue iridescent spots, and they posses a few horizontal green lines on the face with a distinctive black line that runs from the eye down the cheek.  The fins have a tinge of orange on the tips with some specimens having a red dorsal rim.

The Electric Blue Acara strain has a uniform iridescent blue color over the entire body of the fish as well as the fins.  Both sexes posses a bright orange trim stripe that runs along the top of their dorsal fins.  Mature males develop more pointed dorsal and anal fins, while the females have a more rounded appearance.

Electric Blue Acara are actually peaceful cichlids for their size and can be housed in a community tank environment with other species of the same size. Some good tank mates include medium sized characins,  other relatively peaceful cichlids, Corydoras catfish, and Loricariids.

Electric Blue Acara are best housed in a densely planted 55 gallon or larger aquarium with a soft, sandy or fine gravel substrate, some driftwood branches, and some floating plants to provide shade.   Wild Blue Acara are avid diggers so plants such as Anubias spp. or java fern that can be attached to the decor stand a better chance of survival.  Electric Blue Acara and their wild cousins can be quite sensitive to deteriorating water quality, so an efficient biological filter and regular water changes are mandatory.  A canister filter system is a good choice for this species.

Electric Blue Acara are great parents and become sexually mature at about 4 months of age.   They are easy to breed and unlike some other electric blue species, breed color true.

The best way to identify a pair is to buy 6 juveniles and allow them to naturally pair off.   Once you have a pair, remove the fish to a breeding tank that is set up as above with slightly soft water with a  pH 6.5-7.0 and a water temperature between 77-82°F.

Use an air powered sponge filter in the breeding tank along with lots of flat stones and broad leaved Amazon (Echinodorus sp.) type plants for potential spawning sites.

Condition the fish with live or frozen bloodworms, tubifex, chopped earthworms, brine shrimp, etc. until they begin to clean off a spawning site.  This can be a broad plant leaf, excavated pit in the substrate, or a flat rock.  The female will lay a line of eggs on the surface and the male will follow her to fertilize them.  The process continues until up to 200 eggs are spawned.

The male will guard and defend the spawning site while the female tends to the eggs which normally hatch in around 48-72 hours.  After approximately 72 hours the fry become free swimming and can fe fed microworms or baby brine shrimp.

The parents will continue to care for the fry for about two weeks after which they may spawn again.

Electric Blue Acara are carnivorous and should be fed fresh, frozen or freeze dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, earthworms, tubifex, chopped mussels, or chopped shrimp.  They will also accept most cichlid flakes or granules.

Both Blue Acara and Electric Blue Acara are available online and from specialty shops to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts in a variety of sizes from 1 1/2″ to 6″ however,  the Electric Blue variety demand much higher prices.

Electric Blue Acara (Andinoacara pulcher)

Electric Blue Acara (Andinoacara pulcher)







Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 71-82° F, KH 5-25, pH 6.0-8.0
Max. Size: 6″
Color Form: Blue, Tan
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: OK with peaceful like size species
Origin: Central and South America, Farm Raised
Family: Cichlidae
Lifespan: 7-10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Posted in Cichlids, Featured Articles, Freshwater Fish, New World Cichlids, South American Cichlids, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (0)

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