Electric Blue Acara: Care, Breeding, Diet & Behavior
Electric Blue Acara Complete Guide
The Electric Blue Acara is a hybrid derived from the Blue Acara (Andinoacara pulcher). It is a striking blue fish and a member of the popular and easy-to-care-for Cichlid family.
They are native to the slow-moving freshwater lakes and rivers of Venezuela and Trinidad. Unlike many other Cichlids, the Electric Blue Acara is not aggressive outside the breeding season and can be kept peacefully with a wide range of tank mates.
These beautiful fish are extremely popular in aquariums for so many good reasons. Let’s take a closer look at the Electric Blue Acara.
The Electric Blue Acara has a long life span. In a well-kept aquarium, they can live for up to 10 years. In the wild, they have been known to live for up to 20 years.
The Electric Blue Acara is a light blue with a silvery sheen that gives them the “electric” name. They have a large merged dorsal fin with the standard cichlid body shape.
They often have yellow or orange edges that make them even more attractive and paler blue or grey foreheads. Their coloration’s luminosity makes their scale pattern highly visible and distinctive, which adds to the visual appeal of these fish for many people.
When choosing an Electric Blue Acara, be mindful that the Green Terror Cichlid looks similar and is often mislabeled. If the fish has a large dark spot on its side, it is not an Electric Blue Acara.
While the Green Terror Cichlid is a gorgeous fish, it is, as you might suspect from the name, a very aggressive fish who cannot be kept with smaller or more peaceful tank mates.
The Electric Blue Acara reaches 6-7 inches in length in adulthood.
Electric Blue Acara Care
An Electric Blue Acara needs at least a 30-gallon tank. If you plan on keeping more than one, add an additional 15 gallons for every additional acara. Keep in mind that these are active fish and require room to thrive – a bigger tank is always better.
Electric Blue Acaras are curious fish who actively enjoy digging in their substrate and spend most of their time in the middle or bottom of the tank, rarely ascending to the surface. Provide a smooth substrate like rounded gravel or large-grained sand that won’t cut or scrape them as they investigate.
For Electric Blue Acaras to be happy, the tank environment should mimic their natural environment, so they will need plenty of plants, caves, or other hiding spots where they can feel safe.
Adding some plants that float on the tank’s surface is a great way to reproduce the natural vegetation and lighting they would have in the wild.
Providing places where they can feel hidden and secure reduces fish stress and keeps them healthy, but balance your sheltered areas with a good amount of free-swimming space for these active fish.
Electric Blue Acara Water Requirements
- Water temperature: 72-82°F, but 76°F is ideal
- pH: 7-7.5
- Water hardness: 6-20 dH
Food and Diet
Electric Blue Acaras are omnivores but primarily eat a high-protein diet in the wild, digging in the earth for worms and insects.
They require a protein-rich diet, and they will enjoy bloodworms, brine shrimp, small insects, earthworms, or morsels of shellfish. You can also feed pellets or flaked fish food, provided it is high in protein and nutritionally balanced.
There are many healthy, high-protein cichlid food formulas available that are a good choice for an Electric Blue Acara.
When it comes to feeding an Electric Blue Acara, it’s important to remember that their natural diet has a lot of variety. Stock live plants in the aquarium or offer dry leafy foods as a supplement.
Electric Blue Acaras are prone to digestive issues when their tank is too small, and they will overeat if allowed. When overfed, they may swim strangely and seem disoriented. To avoid overfeeding, offer food twice a day, but only as much food as they can eat in 2-3 minutes.
Behaviors and Temperament
While Electric Blue Acaras are peaceful and non-aggressive, they remain active and curious fish. They have an appealing mix of resting while hiding in a concealed spot, then darting around the tank.
They enjoy digging in the substrate, investigating their habitat, and looking for snacks to nibble on. They may occasionally uproot aquarium plants in their digging, but most people don’t find it a problem behavior.
In maturity, the males will be larger than the females and have a slightly more vivid coloration. Males will develop a slight hump on their foreheads. The males also have longer, pointier dorsal and anal fins, while the female’s fins remain shorter and rounded.
As a rule, they make good tankmates for other peaceful and non-aggressive fish that are approximately the same size. Some good tank mates for an Electric Blue Acara include:
- Cory catfish
- Bristlenose Pleco
- Moga cichlid
- Discus fish
- Pictus catfish
- Pearl cichlid
- Zebra cichlid
- Small invertebrates
However, the best tankmate for an Electric Blue Acara is another Electric Blue Acara. If you plan on adding more of these beautiful fish to your aquarium, keep in mind that they should be kept as a pair or in a small school of six or more.
During the breeding season, acaras are prone to becoming aggressive with each other, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them to see if they begin to pair off.
Electric Blue Acara Breeding
Electric Blue Acaras are relatively easy to breed and exhibit unusual maternal behavior when caring for the fry, so many people enjoy breeding them. Here’s how to breed Electric Blue Acaras.
Notice When They Are Ready to Spawn
If you want to breed Electric Blue Acaras, keep at least six individuals, so they have the freedom to choose. Having more females than males increases the chances of creating a compatible breeding pair.
When they reach maturity, at 8-10 months old or 3.5 inches long, you will notice them begin to pair up and spend time together, and they may become aggressive with other fish.
It’s a good idea to have a breeding tank ready, so you can immediately give the new couple some privacy.
Set Up a Breeding Tank
To prevent aggressive behavior, provide the perfect spawning conditions, and protect the fry, it’s always a good idea to put Electric Blue Acaras in a breeding tank. The breeding tank should be:
- 20 gallons
- Temperature: 76-77°F
- pH: 7-7.5
- Water hardness: 12-18 dH
- Air-powered filter to protect the fry
The breeding tank should have fewer plants than your main aquarium and be decorated with hardy plants with strong roots. Prepare a coarse sand or fine gravel substrate, and add large flat stones.
Breeding Care for the Electric Blue Acara
As soon as you notice a pair of acara kissing, move them to the breeding tank. Feed them a live food diet three times a day. Gradually increase the tank temperature (by 1-2 degrees a day) to 80°F.
The parents will both choose and clean their spawning site. The female will lay eggs on a flat rock, and the male will fertilize them. This may happen several times. They will spawn 150-250 eggs for every breeding.
Once the eggs are laid, both parents will watch over them and protect the site. In fact, their protective instinct is so strong that if their breeding tank is too small, the parents may fight each other.
Raising Electric Blue Acara Fish Fry
After 3-4 days, the eggs will hatch. The parents will move the fry to a nest they have prepared by digging in the substrate, and the parents will feed and care for them. The fry will start to swim in a few days, so feed them brine shrimp, daphnia, or micro worms.
Acaras are good parents and will look after the fry for a couple of weeks, during which the fry will often stay close to their mother.
Keep them in the tank together until they stop caring for the fry. However, in some instances, young adult Electric Blue Acaras have been known to eat the fry, so be prepared to remove them from the breeding tank if necessary.
Electric Blue Acaras are monogamous and mate for life and will be ready to breed again in a couple of weeks. They are one of the easiest cichlids to breed, and their unusual parental behavior is very appealing, so many people find breeding acaras to be an enjoyable and rewarding hobby.
Electric Blue Acaras are beautiful, peaceful fish who get along well with many other fish. Their distinctive color looks great in a vast range of tanks and environments. They are also tolerant of a wide range of water conditions, hardy, and not prone to disease or illness.
Their long lifespans and easy breeding mean that you can make these fish the focal point of a home aquarium, get to know them, and learn their habits and preferences.
They are fascinating and rewarding fish for a home aquarium, so consider adding a few to your freshwater tank today.