Cichlid-Electric Blue Acara - 40mm

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The Electric Blue Acara is a freshwater fish that is becoming more and more popular in the aquarist community.

Here’s why:

First, they’re absolutely stunning to look at. When we first saw a picture we thought it was photoshopped! Then when we finally got the chance to see one in person it was mind-blowing.

They’re also quite easy to care for. In fact, Electric Blue Acara care is something that pretty much anyone can manage.

And last but not least, they’re quite mellow. A lot of potential owners think the opposite when they see that these fish are cichlids, but it simply isn’t the case.

If you’re looking for a beautiful and easy aquarium fish to care for we highly recommend the Electric Blue Acara. In this care guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about this fish and how to ensure that it thrives in your tank.

Species Summary

The Electric Blue Acara (Andinoacara pulcher) is a fish in the rather extensive Cichlidae family. They’re an extremely well-liked fish among aquarists and in recent years we’ve seen interest in them increase even more.

These fish originate from South and Central America and can be found in slow-moving waters just like a lot of their relatives in the cichlid family. Typically this means rivers, deep streams, and lakes (usually near a tributary).

Most cichlids are known for their aggression but the Electric Blue Acara is the well-behaved child in the family. They’re quite peaceful and their list of compatible tank mates is rather long (we’ll get into this further on).

While the practical benefits of owning this fish are certainly a plus, the main draw is their striking blue appearance. They will be the star of your tank no matter what other fish you have!

Lifespan

The average Electric Blue Acara lifespan is between 8-10 years in captivity. In the wild, this fish can live double that!

Their lifespan can be impacted by the usual factors that affect any fish. Subpar living conditions, poor water quality, and high stress will significantly decrease how long they live. If you take care of them properly and stay committed to maintaining their habitat then you’ll have them for a while.

 

Appearance

The name of the Electric Blue Acara does a great job summarizing their appearance. When you see these fish swimming it looks like shiny blue neon!

These fish are primarily light and shiny blue with some subtle details that add to their glimmer. On the side of their bodies, you’ll typically see a bit of faded yellow more toward the front half.

The top edge of their dorsal fin has a vibrant yellow/orange line that really stands out. This line is also found on the back edge of their caudal fin, but it’s much smaller and usually very faint (you might not even notice it).

Electric Blue Acara side angle

Their scales are quite visible due to the brightness of the blue on their bodies. This gives their sides a neat patterned look that can be very mesmerizing to observe.

The one place on their bodies where the bright colouration fades a bit is their forehead. Starting at the front of their dorsal fin and extending down to their upper lip is a dark grey patch devoid of any blue.

In terms of their build, Electric Blue Acara have the standard cichlid body. Their bodies are long, and about average in terms of thickness.

Their dorsal fin starts about a quarter of the way back from the front of their body and extends all the way back to the start of their caudal fin. Their caudal fin is symmetrical and about as tall from top to bottom as their body.

Size

The average size of Electric Blue Acara is somewhere between 15-17cm in length. This is a very manageable size and allows them to be comfortable in a fairly average tank.

Electric Blue Acara Care

Electric Blue Acara care is fairly straightforward and easy to manage no matter how experienced you are.

With that being said, there are still some care guidelines that you’ll need to abide by if you want them to live a long and happy life. You should always prioritize the health of the fish in your tank, so this is a section you don’t want to skip.

Tank Size

The recommended tank size for the Electric Blue Acara is 113L. This will give them enough space to swim and be active. We’ve heard of people putting them in slightly smaller tanks, but we strongly discourage that.

If you plan on keeping multiple Electric Blue Acara in the same tank you’ll need more space. Tack on 56L for every new fish you want to keep.

This means if you have two of these cichlids you’ll need 170L. If you have three you’ll need 227L (and so on).

Water Parameters

Great water quality and sticking to the recommended water parameter guidelines are absolutely essential if you want your fish to thrive. Failing to provide this will lead to serious health complications.

Fortunately, Electric Blue Acara are pretty hardy fish. This means you have a pretty generous range for most of the recommended water conditions.

  • Water temperature: 22°C to 27°C will be fine. 24.4°C is the sweet spot if possible.
  • pH levels: These fish can handle anything between 6 and 7.5 pH but somewhere between 7-7.5 pH is optimal. 
  • Water hardness: 6-20 dH

What To Put In Their Tank

Although Electric Blue Acara are pretty low-maintenance fish, we recommend spending a little time to ensure that their habitat is suitable. This can go a long way in keeping them happy and providing comfort and enrichment.

To do this you’ll want to mimic their natural environment as much as you can. Primarily, this means you’ll want to have plenty of hiding places where they can feel safe. This gives them a sense of security and allows them to let their guard down a bit (which is great for reducing stress).

They will also spend a decent amount of time investigating and digging into the substrate. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure the substrate is nice and soft so they don’t cut or scrape themselves.

Author Note: Any floating plants such as hornwort will also do a great job of helping them feel at home. In the bodies of water Electric Blue Acara occupy, there are usually plants and vegetation floating on the surface.

Food & Diet

The food you give your fish will make a significant impact on their health (obviously). It’s important to be mindful of their natural diet and how you can replicate it in captivity.

Electric Blue Acara are omnivores but eat a lot of live critters in the wild. This means you’ll need to feed them enough protein-rich food to satisfy their nutritional requirements. 

Some great options for this are bloodworms, brine shrimp, small insects, and earthworms.

If you don’t want to hassle with this then you can feed them pellets and flake fish food provided it has enough nutritional value to keep them healthy.

You’ll also want to make sure they get some variety. Don’t feed them an entirely protein-based diet simply because they seem to enjoy it. Make sure that whatever foods you’re giving them have some plant-based properties as well. Electric Blue Acara nibble on a wide range of snacks in the wild, and you want to maintain this variety in your aquarium too.

Avoid Overfeeding

It’s also important to avoid overfeeding. While this might seem complicated at first, it really isn’t. Simply don’t exceed two meals a day and give them an amount that they can eat in a couple of minutes.

If it’s taking your fish four minutes or longer to eat their meal, you’re feeding them too much!

Behavior & Temperament

As we’ve mentioned earlier, Electric Blue Acara are the exception to the rule when it comes to cichlid aggression. They are nothing like their popular relatives such as the African cichlid, Oscar fish, Jewel cichlid, and Jack Dempsey.

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

In terms of their general behavior, you’ll definitely enjoy watching the Electric Blue Acara. They’re very eager to explore and will often root around and investigate different areas of your tank.

They’re active diggers, which means you’ll often see them rummaging through the substrate in search of little things to nibble on. If you have any rooted plants this might cause an issue because these little fish can uproot them on occasion. Just something to keep an eye on!

Since they’re peaceful yet curious they will display a mix of behaviors while in your tank. Sometimes you might see them hiding out and being shy, and other times they’ll be darting around exploring and digging through the substrate.

Electric Blue Acara Tank Mates

You have some flexibility when it comes to choosing suitable Electric Blue Acara tank mates. Their peaceful nature means that they’ll get along with most other fish in a community tank and will avoid starting trouble whenever possible.

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

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

Here are some great Electric Blue Acara tank mates that we recommend:

  • Cory catfish
  • Discus fish
  • Oscars
  • Rainbowfish
  • Otocinclus
  • Bristlenose Pleco
  • Moga cichlid

This is just a small example of the potential tank mates you can pair with this fish, but it’s a good starting point. Pretty much anything peaceful that can thrive with similar water parameters is possible.

The Best Tank Mate Of All

Even though they’re flexible when it comes to sharing a tank with other fish, keeping Electric Blue Acara with their own kind is probably the easiest option available to you. The general rule for this is to make sure the total number of these fish is divisible by two.

The best numbers to shoot for are either two Electric Blue Acara with each other, or 6,8,10, etc. This will prevent anyone from potentially getting picked on.

While a lot of aquarists don’t like the idea of having a single-species tank for the sake of variety, the visual display you get from this fish has changed a lot of minds. When you have multiple Electric Blues in the same tank it’s quite stunning to watch!

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