Fish Guide

Blue Acara: Care For The Least Aggressive Cichlid

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Which is the less aggressive Cichlid that you can keep in your tank? This is the most asked question as there are a lot of fishkeeping hobbyists looking for a tank that is friendly to most species. So, here we come to the conclusion of Blue Acaras. Even though they are a little larger and more aggressive than the Blue Acaras, they are simply the best.

Blue Acara is the popular choice of the South American aquarium. It is not only gorgeous but also hardy in nature. It is a breathtaking medium-sized fish that holds a steel blueish gray color. If you are looking for a courteous fish that is free from genetic deformities, Blue acara is the right choice for you. All you need to do is maintain a warmer tank with slightly acidic water.

Moreover, you can learn a lot about caring for the Blue Acara even though they are pretty easy to keep. Here is some of the information that can help you to create the best environment for your beautiful Cichlid.

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SeaClear 30 gal Show Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set, 36 by 12 by 16″, Clear buy amazon
Seachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner – Chemical Remover and Detoxifier 500 ml buy amazon
COODIA Vacuum Gravel Cleaner Automatic Aquarium Sludge Extractor buy amazon
Fluval Aquatic Peat Granules, Chemical Filter Media for Freshwater Aquariums, Water Softener, 17.6 oz., A1465 buy amazon
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Blue Acara: Overview

Blue Acara is the best choice for the beginner level as it is a hardy species. Unlike the electric blue acara which faces a lot of deformities, Blue acara is easy to keep in an aquarium. The only thing you need to take care of is the water quality and a proper healthy diet plan.

Furthermore, these species are the best feeders. Blue Acara is the best parent in the fishkeeping world as they take care of the fries. Out of the 1000s that they breed, they would eat up the first breed but take care of others later.

Similarly, Blue Acaras are bottom feeders. So, you can keep fine sand and hiding spaces. You can even put in some hardy plants for them.

Size of the fish 8 inches+
Difficulty Beginner
Minimum Tank Size 30 gal (114 L)
Temperament Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness Very Hardy
The temperature of the water 72.0° F to 85.0° F (22.2° C to 29.4° C)
The pH of the water 6.5 to 8.5
The hardness of the water 5 dKH to 25 dKH
Lifespan 10 years
Breeding Aggressive when breeding but a good parent
Swimming Everywhere but mostly from mid to bottom
Availability of Blue Acara Common
IUCN Status Not listed
Diet of the fish Carnivore

The Appearance of Blue Acara

Blue Acara is famous for the name Aequidens pulcher. Pulcher means “beautiful” and it holds truth in its name itself. This Cichlid is quite easygoing though aggressive at times. It is a medium-sized fish with a steel blue-gray color.

Do not be confused with the Green Terror as Blue Acara. The Green Terror is now known as a different species, Aequidens rivulatus. The Blue Acara is smaller and less aggressive than the Green Terror. Likewise, the Blue Acara has a broader forehead but not a large lump as they get matured like that of the Green Terror.

Moreover, Blue Acara is quite big and can reach up to 8 inches or 20 cm in length. It is even enhanced due to its broader forehead, unlike other Acara species. Although, you can see it growing at a slow pace from the size of 4 inches to the least.

These cichlids have a set of pharyngeal teeth in their throat like the parrotfish. Similar to their fish group, Blue Acara has spiny rays in their fins. The back parts of the anal, pelvic, dorsal, and pectoral fins are covered with these rays to be safe from the dangers. Hence, these fins promote fast swimming.

The sexual difference among the Blue Acaras can be minimal. Here is how you can tell them apart.

Female

These fish are smaller than the male fishes. The females have a round body and sloped forehead. They have no dorsal fin extensions. Besides, they lack any yellow or orange tint on their ventral or anal fins.

Male

Male Blue Acaras have longer dorsal and anal fins which are arched around the tail fin. Likewise, you may or may not notice yellow to orange tips on their anal fin. The male has a more hump-like forehead and is generally larger.

They are quite similar in appearance. Hence, it is difficult to tell the male and female Blue Acara apart.

The Behavior of Blue Acara

This Cichlid is more peaceful than other Cichlids which are supposed to be aggressive. Similarly, you can safely say that these fish are more giving to their own kind and can even form pairs of their own.

You can keep Blue Acaras with the same sized or larger fish for a better tank environment. Generally, they are not aggressive until any fish crosses its territory. The Blue Acaras are territorial rather than aggressive. Additionally, these fish are excellent parents and they breed every two weeks regularly. So, be ready for a fry tank.

Natural Habitat and Origin

The Blue Acara is a fish from Trinidad, Tobago, and Venezuela. It is native to South and Central America. The first time Blue Acaras came into light was in 2015. Since then, it is famous in the fishkeeping world as well.

The Blue Acara is quite hardy in nature. Hence, it is good for even beginners. Moreover, these fish are the habitats of the still waters to white water which are fast flowing.

Aquarium Care For Blue Acara

Tank care is the basic requirement when you are looking to rearing any kind of fish. If the tank is not suitable, the lifespan cuts short. Hence, you must keep the tank water clean as well as maintain the aquarium to give the best lifestyle to your Blue Acara.

In the closed tank space, nitrate and phosphates rise. Hence, it can cause a spike in the hardness of the water. These situations are even aggravated by water evaporation. Thus, to maintain the quality and stability of the water, you need to change the water weekly.

Tank Size

The best tank size for the Blue Acara is a minimum of 30 gallons aquarium since the Blue Acara is a big fish. Similarly, you would like to look for a tank with a lid to avoid them from jumping out of the tank when you are feeding them.

To create a safer environment, you can even lower the water levels, so they do not hit your lid and accidentally hurt themselves! A tip to tame them is to lower the temperature a bit. However, keep in mind that it must be under the specs.

Substrate

You can choose a soft sandy substrate. The Blue Acaras will appreciate the sand substrate as they generally love it in the mid to bottom of the tank.

Stocking

Blue Acaras are more subtle in the cichlid family. However, they still show signs of aggression if they are overstocked in an aquarium. The breeding time also makes them a little cranky.

So, make sure you do not stack up a lot of Acaras in the same tank. You can keep bonded pairs or groups of five. Additionally, make sure that these Acaras are of the same size or age.

Decorations

Adding some dried leaf litter will also give a natural feel to your Blue Acaras. These leaves will also act as a food source for the fry if you are up for breeding.

For hiding spaces, you can use caves and shaded areas. You can even use PVC pipes after sterilizing if you want. This is a great way to reduce stress in your tank.

There is no need to be picky with decor. You can add any plants, rocks, and driftwoods as you like. The decor that would mark the territory of Blue Acaras is better.

Lighting And Filtration

Since the Blue Acaras are blackwater fish, the fish prefer subdued lighting. However, you do not have to worry a lot about it. These fish are quite hardy and can adjust to what you provide.

However, if you can keep the lighting low, Blue Acaras will be more than happy.

For filtration, you can use canister filters. As these fish are large, they require better filtration. You can also get a sponge filter if you like.

I would suggest the following products

For Lighting:

For filtration:

Water Care

Fish live in water. So, the best thing you can do is to take care of the water that they live in. The following are the ways you can take care of the quality of the tank water.

The temperature of The Water

The temperature of the water should be from 72.0° F to 85.0° F (22.2° C to 29.4° C). You can lower the temperature of the water by a little if the fish is too jumpy. However, maintain the temperature between the range to keep the fish healthy.

pH Of The Water

The pH of the water should be between 6.5 to 8.5. You can maintain the pH of the water through various means. You can get an idea about How to Lower pH Level In Saltwater Aquarium from here.

The Hardness of The Water

The Blue Acara prefers hard water. Hence, you can maintain the hardness of the water between 5 dKH to 25 dKH.

Water Change

For maintaining clean water, you will need to change the water weekly. 25 percent of the water works well with the stock. If you have stocked the aquarium well, you can change the water bi-weekly too. If so, change at least 50 percent of the water.

Water Quality

To maintain the quality of the water, you shall not deteriorate the water past 15 ppm nitrate. The ammonia level should also be zero to avoid the poisoning of water. Similarly, nitrate levels should also be 0-5 ppm.

Best Plants For Blue Acaras

Plants help the aquarium to be full of oxygen. Moreover, they provide better aesthetics to the water friends and create a better view for the eyes as well. There are many plants that you can use in the aquarium.

However, you do not need plants in a blue acara aquarium for the oxygen alone. These plants will help the Blue Acara when they spawn in the water. Thus, you need to choose a plant that does well with a sand substrate as well as hardy enough to get through the movements in the water. Following are the best plants for the Acaras.

Java Moss

Java Moss is a low light hardy beginner plant that has a moderate growth rate. It does well in the temperature of 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Moreover, it has very low problems occurring in its growth. Small problems like melting can be taken care of pretty easily.

Growth Rate Moderate
Care Level Easy (some problems might occur, but it is easy to care for)
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallon
Light Low to moderate
Temperature 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C)
Water pH level 5.0 to 8.0 or higher

Java Fern

Java Fern is another best plant for the Blue Acara. You can easily carpet the Java Fern and create the best look for your aquarium. Mostly, its growth is comparatively slow. However, it is easy to care for.

Growth Rate Comparatively slow
Care Level Easy to care
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallon
Light Low to moderate
Temperature 22 ℃ to 27 ℃ (72 ℉ to 82 ℉)
Water pH level 6 to 7.5

Vallisneria

Vallisneria is a plant with a moderate growth rate. It is also an easy plant with the requirement of low to moderate lighting. Furthermore, it is hardy enough for the Blue Acara as it can take care of the high ph of water.

Growth Rate Moderate
Care Level Easy
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallon
Light Low to moderate
Temperature 63 °F to 82 °F (17 °C to 28 °C)
Water pH level 6.5 to 8.5

Anubias

Lastly, the list consists of Anubias. It has a slow growth rate but it is easy to care for. It needs low to medium lighting in the aquarium and can take up to 6 to 9 ph of water.

Growth Rate slow
Care Level Easy to care
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallon
Light Low to Medium
Temperature 22 to 28 degree Celsius (72 to 82 degree Fahrenheit)
Water pH level 6.0 to 8.0

Types of Equipment Needed For Blue Acara Tank

Some equipment can help you create a better lifestyle for your pet fish. Hence, making you a better aquarist. Look at the following pieces of equipment that you can utilize in order to give your aquarium a bio topic feel.

Gravel Cleaner

When the aquarium is densely stocked, the water quality gets compromised. Hence, you must take gravel cleaner into consideration to clean out the decomposing matter. This decomposing organic matter can get stuck into the gravel that is sitting at the bottom of your tank. Thus, causing a spike in ammonia.

Heater

The heater helps you to maintain the temperature to a certain extent. This is not to warm the water but to keep the water temperature in check especially if your room temperature fluctuates a lot throughout the day.

Aquarium Safe Peat

The aquarium safe peat is a way to make the Blue Acaras feel more at home. These fish come from blackwater. Hence, the addition of peat will create a blackwater feeling in the fish.

Dechorinator

The water dechlorinator helps to maintain the water chemistry and break down the chlorine from the harmful tap water. Especially it helps the saltwater fishes like the Blue Acaras.

Air Pump

An air pump will help you get the oxygen in the tank running. It might also create some movement in the water which works well with the Blue Acaras.

Feeding Blue Acaras

You can feed Blue Acaras pretty easily. They are carnivores. A small tip here is to feed the fish food of various varieties without buying in high quantities.

Furthermore, you can choose from a number of foods such as live food, frozen food, and much more. Different types of worms are loved by the Blue Acara. So, you can take in blood worms, earthworms, and much more.

For frozen food options, you can choose from pellets and colorful carotenoids. These are easy to accept for the cichlid as a piece of their diet.

Common Blue Acara Diseases

Although Blue Acara suffers from lesser diseases than the Electric Acaras, there are still some diseases that they suffer. Some of the common diseases of the Blue Acara are:

Hole In The Head (HITH) or Head & Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE)

Hole in the head disease is quite common in some fish species. It is a mystery of what exactly is the cause of it. Hence, the treatment is also as difficult. It is even harder to spot it in the early stages.

Symptoms include the eroded patched around the lateral line or the head of your fish. The cause of the disease can be the use of carbon in your filtration system. You might also be careful of the lack of key nutrients, stress, water quality, etc.

Skin & Gill Flukes

The next common illness is the skin and gill flukes which are not quite visible to your naked eye. This disease is also difficult to diagnose. These worm-like parasites may cause your fish to have mucus on the skin, itchiness, scratching, redness in gills, and on skin. Similarly, you can also see your fish breathing heavily.

Like most diseases, the cause of this disease is also stress, overcrowding, and bad water parameters.

Bloat

Bloating is quite similar to what we humans experience. Your fish will feel an accumulation of gases, fluids, and unpassed food. Most aquarists might be confused with the fish getting pregnant.

However, the bloated fish will seem more discomforted. Besides, these fish will have difficulty swimming and will show signs of raised scales, unusual behavior, and less pooping.

The causes of such disease are blocking of the intestines, constipation, bacterial infection, or even internal tumors or internal growth.

Ich (White Spot Disease)

Another kind of parasite that may trouble your Blue Acaras is Ich. Such diseases look like white pimples on your fish.

These pimples occur on the mouth, fins, body, gills, etc. You can see the fishes scratching, showing white spots in the body. In addition, you might even see some redness and bloody streaks! The cause here is the parasite itself.

Best Blue Acara Tank Mates

Cichlids are aggressive fishes. Hence, you must be very careful with the tankmates you choose for them. Since Blue Acara is from a peaceful community, it is going to be a lot easier. The following are the best tankmates for the Blue Acara.

  • South American cichlids of similar sizes
  • Catfish
  • Plecostomus
  • Red-Tailed Rasbora
  • Firemouth
  • Angelfish
  • Discus
  • Severum
  • Orange Head Geophagus

I suggest you not pair the Blue Acaras with small fishes. Even though they are not very aggressive, they can show signs of aggression once they start breeding. Hence, it is not a good idea at all.

Breeding Blue Acaras

It is quite easy to rear the Blue Acaras. You shall purchase and pair the acaras from 6 or more but when they grow up, they soon start mating. Starting with a group like this can help push the breeding process faster. However, if you have only one pair, it might not be much of a successful plan.

Spawning

As I mentioned earlier, the breed can get a little aggressive when they start breeding. So, you can prepare a fry tank or a breeding tank from the start.

You can set up a tank with sand substrates and sponge filters. I will not recommend canister filters when you are breeding as it is harmful to the fry. Similarly, you can see spawning rigorously which can last up to 24 hours or a week.

Closely check the male’s breeding tube. It is clearly visible which makes you sure about the breeding. The pair will clean the spawning site and when it is clean enough, females will lay 50 to 300 eggs. They will soon be fertilized by the male.

Leave them in for 4 hours to the least for fertilization if you want to artificially fertilize the eggs.

Egg & Fry Care

You shall maintain a temperature between 77 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 27 degrees Celsius). The eggs will hatch within 48 to 72 hours after they are fertile. The fries will start swimming after it.

You can feed them baby brine and micro worms. Within 7 to 8 days, you can upgrade to smaller daphnia or grindal worms.

The Blue Acaras are good parents. Hence, you do not need to care about them eating their fries. However, before spawning again, they might show signs of aggression again. Hence, if you notice any spawning behavior, immediately set a fry tank and take the fries out to their own tank.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can A Blue Acara Go With Cichlids?

Blue Acara is not as aggressive as most Cichlids. Hence, the peaceful fish can live with a lot more tankmates than other cichlids. I have mentioned the compatible tank mates above.

How Do You Breed A Blue Acara?

The blue acara needs an environment with a temperature of 78 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit to induce breeding. Similarly, a pH level of 7 to 7.2 would be just perfect.

To make the breeding easier, you just have to maintain a warm water temperature with an acidic environment.

How Long Does It Take for Acara Eggs to Hatch?

It takes 3 to 7 days for the Blue acara’s eggs to hatch. This depends on the water temperature as well as the fry tank environment.

Out of the 400 to 1000 eggs that they lay, they eat the first breeds. However, they stop eating their breeds after some time, and thus incubation starts thereafter.

Will Blue Acara Eat Tetras?

Although Blue Acaras are more peaceful than other cichlids, they still follow the rule of the fish kingdom. That is larger fishes eat out the smaller ones. Hence, Blue Acaras eat tetras.

However, do not be disheartened because you can still put larger tetras in the tank. You can definitely put some taller-bodied tetras in the tank without thinking twice.

I have the same in my tank and they work out. The only thing to take care of here is having a larger tank sufficient for all of them.

What Is The Difference Between Blue Acaras And Electric Blue Acaras?

Many newbies get confused between the blue acara and the electric blue acara. Besides, why not? They have quite similar names and belong to the same family.

I am here to change that. Blue acaras are larger than the electric blue acaras while being comparatively aggressive. Electric blue acaras with their short appearance of 6 inches are more peaceful than blue acaras that go up to 8 inches and plus.

Similarly, electric blue acaras are quite difficult to look after as they suffer from physical deformities more than blue acaras.

Besides, these deformities include difficulty in swimming, diseases related to head and jaw, weight issues, etc. Along with it, they might face rotting in the fins which makes it difficult for them to open and close them properly.

Last Words

Blue Acaras are a great choice for your aquarium if you are wanting to set up a saltwater tank with a less aggressive cichlid. It is a fish that goes well with any other fish unless it is showing any signs of spawning.

Moreover, it is not just easy to care for but also a great aesthetic to your tank. The hardy fish will actually get very fewer diseases than other fish. You can even decorate the tank with your own imagination!

So, are you ready to get a Blue Acara? Let us know in the comment section below your experience with the Blue Acaras!

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