If you have a freshwater fish tank, you probably already know what a challenge it can be to find the right species to fill it with.
While there are plenty of fish to choose from, getting the right combination can be tricky. There are so many factors to consider, such as feeding preferences, water requirements, and of course, potential companions. Cichlids are known for being one of the most aggressive fish species, so while they are beautiful, it can be a challenge to keep them in a community tank.
Not any more. If you are interested in keeping a cichlid species for its beauty or entertaining behaviors, but are worried about how it will get along with your other fish, all you need to do is consider the Electric Blue Acara. This fish comes from one of the most aggressive species of fish in the entire world, but it has a unique disposition.
This fish gets along well with most other kinds of fish and is one of the most peaceful species you will find. It has minimal care requirements and can tolerate drastic swings in temperature and other water conditions. It also will eat just about anything you feed to it!
But wait – there must be a drawback, right? No. This fish is one of the best fish you can keep in your freshwater aquarium, and it’s one that you have to consider right away.
Electric Blue Acara Background
This fish, known scientifically as Andinoacara pulcher, is a freshwater fish species that is native to the lakes and rivers of South and Central America. Preferring to hang out in slow-moving waters, this fish is a member of the Cichlidae family, which is a well-known family of fish among aquarium hobbyists.
The Electric Blue Acara is popular among fishkeeping enthusiasts for various reasons. It is prized for its peaceful demeanor as well as its ease of care. It is also relatively affordable. Most fish of this species cost between $6 and $15, with prices determined mostly by the size of the fish as well as their age.
These fish are native to the freshwater basins of South America. These waters tend to be heavily vegetated, which provides a safe and nurturing environment for these fish to avoid predators and to raise their young. Because these waters typically contain lots of oxygen and vegetation, the substrate tends to be rich and nutrient-packed. Sunlight is minimal, with floating vegetation providing these fish shelter from above.
Electric Blue Acara Appearance And Behavior
The Electric Blue Acara has an appearance that matches its name. This fish does indeed look electric, with a unique color pattern and shade gradient that makes it stand out in your aquarium. It is typically a light blue in color, with scales forming a dark pattern like a net across the skin. They also usually have black, white, or yellow spots on the side.
As the scales approach the head, the colors on this fish turn from a blue into a pale gray or black shade. The pattern will come to the head of the fish, often reaching even lower. These fish have blue fins with orange edging.
The scales of the Electric Blue Acara are densely packed, creating a gorgeous display of cascading colors over their bodies. The bodies themselves are compressed and elongated, with the narrowest part of the body being where the abdomen transitions into the caudal fin. These fish have just one large, merged dorsal fin apiece, and caudal fins that are larger than their anal fins.
Electric Blue Acaras also have dark, penetrating eyes. These eyes are exceptionally large and have pupils enclosed by orange irises. Their eyes protrude slightly above their heads, which is not usually noticeable unless you are looking at the fish head on. These fish do not grow to absurdly large sizes, only reaching up to about seven inches in length.
This fish has an excellent disposition that makes it the perfect choice for freshwater aquariums. It causes little hassles in the tank and is tolerant of almost all other species. While it will occasionally engage in shows of aggression during breeding season, you don’t have to worry about this fish going after your other species at any other time in its life.
These fish are terribly curious. They will spend much of their day digging into the substrate.
While this is a natural behavior that is only to be expected of this fish, keep in mind that it can pose some problems in a freshwater aquarium. If you have any kind of equipment lying on the bottom of your tank, the Electric Blue Acara might not be able to resist digging it up. In addition, they can knock over decorations or even pull up the roots of any live plants you may have.
Since these fish love to burrow, they usually hang out in the lower or middle levels of the water column. Occasionally, they will swim to the surface of the water, but you probably won’t see them doing this very often.
Otherwise, these fish will spend their days swimming and hiding in the tank. They like to swim freely in the water as well as hide in the plants or decorations in this tank. Electric Blue Acaras are also unique in that the females are spectacular mothers. A mother fish will gather food and bring it back to her offspring, which is a behavior that is common in many bird and mammal species but exceedingly rare in fish.
Electric Blue Acara Tank And Water Requirements
Electric Blue Acaras aren’t finicky, but you’ll want to try and replicate their natural living conditions to the greatest extent possible when you are setting up their tank. Maintaining the proper water parameters is crucial, and while these fish aren’t overly sensitive to minor fluctuations, the more consistent you can be, the healthier your fish will be in the long run.
For starters, try to keep the water temperature in your tank around 75 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. They can accommodate larger variations, with the ideal range between 68 and 82, but maintaining a balanced temperature of 75 to 76 degrees will also suit your other tank inhabitants.
Try to keep the pH of the tank either close to neutral or slightly above neutral. Generally, the pH should be around 6.0 to 7.5. Water hardness should be maintained at around 6-20 dH. Water flow is also critical for these creatures. Although they love slow-moving bodies of water, they prefer to live in densely planted tanks. The growth of vegetation requires good aeration and filtration. You don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for a filtration system -a simple filter on a medium-0high setting will take care of all of your needs for you.
You also need to pay attention to lighting. The exact amount of lighting that you include will depend largely on the type and quantity of plants you choose to grow, as well as the requirements of your other fish. However, you’ll want to make sure you don’t overdo it on the lighting, as this can disturb the natural circadian rhythm of your Electric Blue Acara. You can use a basic aquarium lamp and just keep it on a low setting to best suit the needs of this attractive species.
You must also pay attention to the substrate as you’re setting up your tank. Because Electric Blue Acaras love to dig, you will need to be careful about the type of substrate you choose as well as wheat you place in or on it. Try to use a substrate that consists of large, even grains of sand or rounded gravel. The shape of the substrate is more important than the type, with larger pieces more ideal than fine-grained sand.
Remember that the natural habitat of the Electric Blue Acara includes lots of vegetation. Try to make your fish feel at home by adding lots of live and/or artificial plants. You can also add some decorations, rocks, and driftwood.
Don’t overdo it on the decorations or plants, however, because you will still need to provide your Electric Blue Acara with some swimming space. Each Electric Blue Acara must be kept in a tank that can hold a minimum of 30 gallons. For every additional Electric Blue Acara that you add, you will need to add fifteen gallons of water.
What Do Electric Blue Acaras Eat?
Electric Blue Acaras are not finicky eaters, preferring to eat meat and other carnivorous food sin chew old. In captivity, they prefer to eat meaty foods like shrimp, bloodworms, or even muscles. Try to provide your Electric Blue Acaras with as diverse a diet as possible. This will allow them to receive the nutrients they need without causing illness or digestion problems.
You can feed your Electric Blue Acaras premade fish foods that are in a pellet or granule format. This will provide all of the nutrients your fish needs in a premixed format so that you don’t have to worry about spending extra time or money to make sure their needs are met.
In addition to meaty ingredients, you should also add a small amount of plant matter, as these fish are technically omnivores. While you will likely have live plants in the tank, you can also purchase dry leafy foods and feed them to your fish. If you don’t think these foods have the ideal nutritional qualities, you can add chemical supplements.
No matter what you feed your Electric Blue Acara, remember that your fish should only be fed as much food as it can eat in two or three minutes. Feed your fish twice a day for best results.
Electric Blue Acara Tank Mates
Finding potential tank mates for your Electric Blue Acara should not be difficult because these fish are so peaceful and get along well with just about any other species. Electric Blue Acaras are found in a wide swath of Central and South America. Therefore, they encounter many other popular freshwater aquarium species in their wild environment. You might include natural companions like barbs or catfish to your tank.
You should avoid fish that are particularly large or overly aggressive. If you have large tankmates, they may have a tendency to bully your Electric Blue Acara. This can lead to some serious issues such as malnutrition and injury. On the flip side, however, some smaller species of fish can easily become snacks for your Electric Blue Acaras.
It is always safe to house Electric Blue Acaras with other types of cichlids. You might want to include a tank mate that is a member of a South American cichlid family, like the banded cichlid. The only thing you need to make sure of is that all of your cichlid fish are of roughly the same size or they will have a tendency to bully each other. Consider other species like the Velvet, Moga, or Zebra Cichlid.
You could also add fish from the Characidae family. You can add species like plecos or Corydoras catfish, both of which are easy going and easy to manage.
There aren’t very many species you need to avoid, but in general you should resist the urge to keep Electric Blue Acaras with angelfish, dwarf cichlids, or aggressive fish in general. In terms of non-fish inhabitants like shrimps or snails, remember that size is a factor here, too, and you’ll want to err on the side of caution. Consider non aggressive small shrimp if you want to be safe.
You can also keep Electric Blue Acaras together. In fact, they do best when housed with members of their own kind. You can keep them in pairs or in groups of at least six for best results.
Common Electric Blue Acara Diseases
Thankfully, Electric Blue Acaras are relatively hardy and are not prone to many diseases. Occasionally, you may have issues with water quality that can lead to some minor health problems. Pay attention to the cleanliness of your tank in order to avoid major problems from developing.
Dirty water can cause a whole host of illnesses not just for your Electric Blue Acara, but for all of your fish species. Try to clean your tank at least once a week, removing and replacing about twenty to thirty percent of the water each time. You should thoroughly clean the tank and substrate, along with any decorations inside it, at least one a month as well.
Keep in mind that another common issue with Electric Blue Acaras is their propensity to develop digestive problems. Keeping these fish in a small tank can cause them to become fatigued and it also disrupts their natural feeding patterns. Electric Blue Acaras aren’t glutinous eaters, but they occasionally will overeat if you are not careful about how you feed them.
Keep an eye on you fish during and after feeding time to monitor for any issues. If you notice problems like your fish swimming oddly, moving slowly, or tipping to the side, they are probably over full. You will need to give them a break from feeding for a day or two to allow time for everything to digest and pass through.
If you notice this happening repeatedly, you may need to adjust your feeding patterns or diet in the long term. Dietary issues can lead to other problems like skin irritation and behavior concerns. Try switching up your fish food if you notice persistent problems, as well as if you see the colors of your fish changing over time.
Breeding And Life Spans Of Electric Blue Acaras
Whether you’re a novice or more experienced fish keeper, likely part of the reason you got into fishkeeping was so that you could explore the possibility of breeding your own fish at home. Luckily, Electric Blue Acaras are some of the easiest Cichlids you can breed. If you are interested in breeding these fish, you should invest in a 20 gallon tank that is somewhat less densely planted than the main tank.
In the breeding tank, substrate should consist of large grains of sand. This substrate should be covered with flat rocks to prevent burrowing. Water temperature should be held consistent around 77 degrees Fahrenheit – slightly higher is also acceptable – and a pH that is neutral or slightly less, at around 6.5 to 7. Aeration is also important.
Most Electric Blue Acaras reach sexual maturity at around eight to ten months of age. Males and females will form close pairs and spend most of their time hanging out at the bottom of the tank together near the rocks. These rocks will eventually serve as these fish’s breeding grounds.
Females will lay up to 200 eggs and will linger afterwards to protect their young. Male fish tend to swim further away but will still stay close by to look after their young. Eggs are incubated for about two days before the young appear and start looking for food. For the first few weeks, the fry will stay with their mother as they get used to their new world.
If you’re looking for a fish that will live for a very long time, look no further than the Electric Blue Acara. When provided with the proper living conditions, this fish can live up to ten years in captivity. In the wild, there are reports of Electric Blue Acaras living even longer – up to twenty years in some circumstances!