Electric Blue Acara: care, size and tank mates- 2020

Electric blue acaras

The Electric Blue Acara may look like it has escaped from a fairytale book cover, but we can assure you that it’s one hundred percent real. Though it comes from one of the most aggressive fish families out there, it is actually quite peaceful and can be kept with many other species successfully. 

The Acara does not need much care, can tolerate broad temperature ranges and will be happy to feed on anything! Are you sounding like your fish type? If so, keep on reading to learn how to take care of them successfully.

Overview

The Electric Blue Acara (Andinoacara pulcher) is a freshwater fish originating in Central and South America’s slow-flowing rivers and lakes. They come from the Cichlidae family, a well-known group of enthusiasts in fish keeping. 

They are a fish that is relatively tolerant and has a peaceful temper. It will rarely cause you trouble, and will just get along with most of the fish. During breeding time, the only time you need to worry about aggression. 

These fish can live for relatively long periods of time, especially when compared to other freshwater fish. They can live up to 10 years with good care and with conditions in the aquarium. This number is nearer than 20 years in the wild.

As with many other Cichlidae family members, the Electric Blue Acara is a popular choice for many aquarists. 

Taxonomy

Here is the scientific classification of electric blue acara:

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cichliformes
Family: Cichlidae
Genus: Andinoacara
Species:
A. pulcher
Binomial name
Andinoacara pulcher

Price of Electric blue acara

Most fish are priced somewhere between $6–15 depending on their size. The size of the fish plays a major part in determining its price. The majority of smaller and younger fish tend to be lower in cost.

Lifespan

The usual factors affecting any fish can impact their lifespan. Their living conditions, poor water quality, and high stress will diminish significantly how long they live. If you are taking proper care of them and are committed to maintaining their habitat then you will have them for a while. 

In our opinion, this is one of the most overlooked advantages of owning that fish. It’s all about the bond and the amount of time you’ve got with your fish.

Typical Behaviour

They are very curious fish – their love for digging into the substrate can show this. This is of very little concern in the wild but when it comes to the tank, your equipment may fall victim to their unlimited interest. 

Because of their burrowing passion, they’ll usually be found near the tank ‘s base or middle layer. They can swim up to the surface sometimes, but that would only happen on rare occasions. 

These fish’s swimming behavior is a healthy mix of hide and swims around. You’ll see them bathing around as well as navigating through the tank’s plant bushes.

In this species, maternal care also deserves a special mention. The mother acts like most mammals and will provide the offspring with food to give. This is quite unusual for fish (we’ll get back to this in the article later on).

Appearance of Electric blue acara

Electric blue acaras
Image by 5snake5 from Commons Wikimedia

That Blue Acara appearance is truly electrical. They stand out from other aquarium fish by their excentric color pattern and unusual combination of shade gradients. 

Their body is predominantly light blue with scales throughout their skin forming a netted dark pattern. They often have sides with white, black, or yellowish spots. 

The blue gradually turns to dull gray or black towards their heads. Usually, this uneven pattern only covers their head but sometimes reaches lower. They also have blue fins but they also have an orange edging. It has densely packed scales forming beautiful, easily discernible cascades.

On the sides, their body is lengthened and compressed. The thinnest part of their body is where the abdomen (caudal fin) transitions into the tail. They have a single, large dorsal fin, fused together. Its caudal fin is circular and larger than its pelvic, pectoral or anal fins. 

Their eyes are large with a dark pupil, with a reddish or orange iris in between. They are also protruding above their heads, this is particularly apparent when you look at them as the fish swim towards you. They ‘re not as big as regards their size. They are usually 6.5-7 inches tall.

Habitat and tank condition

That fish comes from South America’s slow-flowing freshwater basins. These rivers are generally heavily planted–creating a safe environment for them to escape predators and raise offspring. 

In their natural habitat, the substratum presents rich feeding grounds containing all kinds of meaty invertebrates and smaller fish. 

Rivers are also sheltered from above aside from the planted bed. Drifting plants on the surface of the water both provide protection from the sun and act as a source of food.

Tank setup

Royal gramma tank setup

There’s nothing tricky about a tank recreating its natural environment. 

First, we need to discuss the water parameters. When it comes to water chemistry these species are undemanding. However, try to keep the parameters within this optimal range to ensure your fish grows to their full potential:

  • It would be optimal to have a temperature range of 68-82 ° F but keep it at around 75-76 ° F.
  • 6.0-7.5 pH acidity is ok but best to keep it close or slightly above neutral.
  • The hardness of the water should be kept within 6-20 dH.

Now that the main parameters are out of the way, we must reflect on the flow. Since these species will be kept in a pretty large planted tank, a nice aeration and filtration system should be installed. A normal filter would do the job just fine on a medium-high setting. 

The lighting depends on how many and what type of plants you decide to get. A normal aquarium lamp will usually suffice. Just ensure the lighting doesn’t disturb your fish’s natural cycles. 

The substrate is an important aspect of any tank setup, but even more so when it comes to the Blue Acara. We have mentioned their love of digging it up already. Therefore we recommend using rounded gravel or large even sand grains. The type of substrate really does not matter, just as much as the shape. 

Finally, the decorations and the plants. Take a look at what should and should not be placed in your aquarium before buying anything. 

Its natural habitat is full of plants. The plants can be mixed with some driftwood or rocks to make your fish feel comfortable. Whatever you do, maintain a healthy ratio of decorations and free space for swimming.

What Size Aquarium Do Electric Blue Acara Need?

One Electric Blue Acara should be kept within a minimum 30-gallon tank size. Allow 15 gallons of water per additional Acara that you add.

Electric blue acara Tank mates

These fish are tranquil, and most species will get along in the tank. Acara naturally encounter fish from a variety of families, from catfish to small barbs, because of their wide distribution range. Large or aggressive fish especially aren’t a good choice.

You could choose from a number of other South American Cichlids, such as Banded Cichlids, a tank mate. The most important thing is to ensure that they’re similar in size. 

When it comes to selecting suitable Electric Blue Acara tank mates you have some flexibility. Their peaceful nature means they will get along in a community tank with most other fish and avoid trouble starting wherever possible. 

You don’t want to pair them with fish known to be exceptionally aggressive or substantially larger than your Electric Blue Acara. Significantly smaller fish (like neon tetra) can also cause some aggression in this fish too, so if possible stay clear of them.

Fish of the family Characidae can also be a good choice. If you are looking to freshen up your tank’s bottom layer, consider catfish (Corydoras or Plecos). Both are calm and are unlikely to cause any trouble.

Other ideal tank mates include:

However, there are a few fish that should be avoided. Dwarf cichlids, angelfish or other very aggressive members of the genus Cichlasoma, for instance. 

It’s also a question of size to keep any non-fish inhabitants as tank mates. Your best bet is nonaggressive little shrimps.

Peaceful fish that are similar in size is the safest combination (though when it comes to size there are exceptions to the rule). 

This is just a small example of the potential tank mates you might be able to pair with this fish, but it’s a good start. Practically anything peaceful with similar water parameters can thrive is possible.

What to put in the tank?

Question mark symbol
Image from Pexels

Although Electric Blue Acara is a pretty low-maintenance fish, we recommend that you spend a little time ensuring that your habitat is appropriate. This can go a long way to make them happy and to provide comfort and enrichment. 

You’ll want to imitate their natural environment as much as you can for this purpose. This means, primarily, that you will want plenty of hiding places where they can feel safe. This gives them a sense of security and allows them to let down their guard a little bit (which is great for stress reduction). 

They’ll also spend a decent time researching and digging into the substrate.

Because of this, you ‘re going to want to make sure that the substrate is soft and nice so they don’t cut or scrape themselves.

Keeping Electric Blue Acara Together

We can definitely keep Electric Blue Acaras together. It is better to keep them in pairs or at least in groups of six.

Electric Blue Acara Care

Fortunately, Acaras are pretty robust and rarely develop severe diseases. Of course, there are still things that you need to be careful about. 

Firstly, it is extremely important to have good water quality. Dirty water will cause sickness so you need to make regular routine cleaning of your tank. Approximately 20-30 percent of water should be renewed every week. 

Also, clean the substrate and tank themselves every 3-4 weeks. The second thing about that is diet and digestion. 

Keeping these fish in a small tank can lead to digestive problems, which in turn makes them seem exhausted and disturbs their natural feeding behaviour.

While they’re not very greedy, if feeding is not done properly, overeating can still be a major issue. If you notice fish swimming oddly (turning to the side, or very slowly) they probably ate too much. Give them a break to process everything for a day, or so. To prevent this from happening their diet or feeding patterns change again. 

Excessive amounts of food are not the only problem with dieting. Poor quality foods can cause skin irritation or disturb natural behaviour. If you notice something is wrong, think about buying different foods. 

This is something you will notice due to color fading and fish disorientation.

Electric blue acaras Feeding

Though Electric Blue Acara are little peaceful fish, they may be vicious predators in the wild. 

The core of their diet should be meaty foods, such as bloodworms, shrimps and perhaps even small pieces of musk. The important thing to remember is they should diversify their diet as much as possible. This helps your fish get all the necessary nutrients. 

You might think about buying specialized premade fish foods – they usually come in pellets or granules. More importantly, the quality feed will provide the right amount of nutrients for your fish, and save you time. 

Since they are omnivores, some portion of their diet should be based on plants. You should either have appropriate live plants in the tank or buy dry leafy foods (the most popular is usually this). 

Using chemical supplements, you can improve the nutritional qualities of dried food. But nothing is better than maintaining a well-balanced diet.  The Blue Acara should get as much food as it can eat in sitting time of 2-3 minutes. Fed them twice a day to avoid any health complications. 

You may want to check out these articles:

Honey gourami: complete care, size and tank mates- 2020

Royal gramma: care, price, tank mates and size- 2020

Behavior & Temperament

As we said earlier, when it comes to cichlid aggression, Electric Blue Acara is the exception to rule. They everyone is nothing like their loved ones like the African cichlid, Oscar fish, Jewel cichlid, and Jack Dempsey. 

This means they are doing well with a wide variety of tank mates (more on that in the section below) and will rarely cause any disruption in your aquarium. Along with their ease of care, this temperament makes them a very easy fish to keep! 

You’ll definitely enjoy watching the Electric Blue Acara in terms of their general conduct. They are very keen to explore and are often going to root around and investigate various areas of your tank.

They are active diggers, which means that in search of little things to nibble on, you will often see them rummaging through the substrate. If you have any rooted plants this could cause a problem because sometimes these small fish can root them up. Just something you should keep an eye on! 

Because they’re peaceful yet curious they ‘re going to show a mix of behaviors while in your tank. Sometimes you might see them hiding and shy, and sometimes they’re going to dart around to explore and dig through the substrate.

Breeding 

Electric Blue Acara may be among the easiest to breed Cichlids. A breeding tank should be approximately 20 gallons and have somewhat fewer plants than the main tank. 

You can use large sand grains for the substratum, and cover it with flat rocks. The temperature of the water should be slightly above 77 ° F with pH neutral or slightly below (6.5-7 pH). It is a plus to have a proper aeration system in place. 

Males and females form pairs and spend most of their time near the bottom, close to the rocks. The rocks are going to be its breeding grounds. Usually, these fish reach sexual maturity when they are around 8-10 months old. Females will lay approximately 150-200 eggs and stay around to protect the offspring.

Male fish will swim a bit further away and stay there as well to protect juveniles. The period of incubation usually lasts about 2-3 days, after which the first juveniles will appear and begin looking for food. They will, however, not leave their mother for a few weeks and stay close to her.

Potential Diseases

There are no diseases that are exclusive to this fish species. Like all fish there are some of the suspects you ‘re going to want to look out for. 

Ich and skin fluke are two of Electric Blue Acara’s most common illnesses. If you maintain excellent water quality and give them a healthy diet, however, these are unlikely to occur.

Avoid Overfeeding

There are no diseases that are exclusive to this fish species. Like all fish there are some of the suspects you ‘re going to want to look out for. 

Ich and skin fluke are two of Electric Blue Acara’s most common illnesses. If you maintain excellent quality of water and give them a healthy diet, however, these are unlikely to occur.

Conclusion

Conclusion

Electric Blue Acaras is one of the loveliest and most fascinating cichlids available. Their unusual but beautiful appearance has earned them a place among the finest fish in the aquarium. 

They are a robust fish that won’t take up too much of your time. Their natural setting translates beautifully into home aquariums. It lets you build a beautiful freshwater tank with planting. 

Blue Acaras are a great choice for beginners because, in terms of care and feeding, they are not very demanding – they are also very easy to breed. The wide range of possible tank mates allows you to keep them in a varied tank. They are, on the whole, a great addition to any tank.

Electric Blue Acara is one of our favorite fish species, with ease. They not only look awesome, but they’re also a breeze to care for! It’s no mystery why they find this already popular fish in more and more freshwater tanks around the world. 

If you are on the fence to buy this fish, we strongly advise you to go for it! They ‘re not going to be disappointed. 

With this care guide, we tried to be as thorough as possible and the entire process is pretty simple for the most part. However, we would love to hear from you if you have any additional questions or suggestions about how we can improve this guide!

 

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