The Blue Acara (Aequidens pulcher) has been a cichlid of choice for many years for the South American cichlid aquarium. Its species term pulcher means “beautiful”, and true to its name it is a beautiful medium sized fish cichlid. Its color is mostly a steel blue-gray, but it is distinguished from other Acara species by a broader forehead.
This is a hardy species that makes an excellent choice for the beginning cichlid keeper. They are moderately easy to care for as long as the water quality is maintained and they are provided a quality diet. They are a ready feeder and if bred they become excellent parents. They spawn easily and take very good care of their fry.
In the wild the Blue Acara is primarily carnivorous, eating small fish, crustaceans and insects. In the aquarium however it will eagerly take pellets and most commercially available fish foods. We recommend high protein based foods, that contain a larger amount of fish meal. This fish will also benefit from frozen foods such as Frozen Bloodworm and Brine Shrimp.
This cichlid is a bit more courteous than the others of its genus. A peaceful community cichlid, it can be kept with other similar sized South American cichlids, catfish, or plecostomus. Though it is a fairly peaceful member of the Cichlid family, it can bully smaller fish. It should be kept with the same size or larger fish.
The Blue Acara is generally peaceful even with its own kind. If more than one is kept, they will form pairs. Mature males will be larger and develop slightly pointed dorsal and anal fins, where as females will be smaller and generally have a more rounded appearance than males.
Blue Acaras have a relatively peaceful temperament, at least when not protecting young. They have the potential to bully smaller fish and are therefore normally housed with fish of their own size or larger. It is best kept with other reasonably peaceful American cichlids such as Festivums (Mesanauta festivus), Convicts (Amatitlania nigrofasciata), Firemouths (Thorichthys meeki), Severums (Heros severus) and Geophagus sp.
They are most comfortable with a tank bottom of fine sand and plenty of hiding places among rocks and wood. Plants are appreciated, but Blue Acara love to dig and can uproot them. Hardy plants such as Sagittaria and Vallisneria are best, and should be potted to protect the roots. They need frequent water changes as their excretions will cloud the water and promote disease.
The Blue Acara tends to be confused with its very similar looking relative, the Green Terror Aequidens rivulatus. For some time the Green Terror was actually known as the A. pulcher, but it is now recognized as an independent species. The Blue Acara is slightly smaller and not as aggressive as the Green Terror, nor does it develop as large a hump on its head when mature.
Common Name: Blue Acara Cichlid
Scientific Name: Aequidens pulcher
Natural Range: Central and South America
Maximum Size and Longevity: 8-10 years
Maximum size 15cm
Temperature: 24°C – 28°C.
General Hardness: 100—250 ppm.