Electric Blue Acara: Ultimate Guide (Care, Diet, Breeding & More)

Electric Blue Acara swimming in tank.

Electric Blue Acara is a vibrant freshwater Cichlid that requires no introduction to the aquarium community.

We’ve always called them the showstoppers of the aquatic world and their name alone justifies our carefully selected moniker.

As ornamental fish, they are simply stunning. And as a member of a community tank, they are just as peaceful.  

But we love them even more like pets, where they combine three impressive traits to become everyone’s favorite Cichlid fish.

Firstly, they are a low-budget, low-maintenance species that are less demanding in captivity. Also, they are resilient enough to tolerate different tank water conditions. And in conclusion, Acaras will be happy to feed on whatever food item exists in captivity.

Below, we cover everything you may have wanted to know about the Electric Blue Acaras, including their expected lifespan in captivity, typical size and appearance, tank size, diet, behavior, potential tank mates, breeding, and more.

So, keep reading if this sounds like your ideal pet fish.

Species Overview

Electric Blue Acara is another popular fish within the broader Cichlidae family. Scientifically, these fish are called Andinoacara pulcher and originate from the southern and central parts of the Americas.

They are among the most sought-after species when fish lovers want to add some flair even to the most boring aquarium. In the wild environment, Electric Blue Acaras prefer specific natural water bodies like lakes, streams, and rivers.

Unlike most Cichlid fish, Electric Blue Acaras are probably the most peaceful Cichlids, always known to cohabitate with a wide range of suitable tank mates without causing a fuss inside the tank.

CategoryRating
FamilyCichlidae
ColorBlue, mixed
LifespanUp to 10 years
Care LevelEasy
Behavior & TemperamentPeaceful
CompatibilityMildly compatible
Food and DietOmnivores
SizeUp to 7 inches
Tank SetupFreshwater, planted
Tank Size (Minimum)30 gallons

Lifespan

A typical Electric Blue Acara will live longer in the wild than in captivity. But that’s the same for most freshwater fish.

Precisely, these fish can live for 8-10 years and will easily surpass that in the wild, sometimes even doubling it.

As you might have anticipated, the fish’s standard lifespan depends on the existing tank water conditions.

And that’s all about understanding what your fish would need to flourish at home and matching them to such conditions.

We won’t dwell so much on the ideal tank water conditions at this point, but if you want to shorten the fish’s lives, keep them in a subpar environment, with excess stress levels, and low-quality food.

Appearance

Well, well, well! Electric in these fish’s name indicates what to expect as far as their general appearance goes. And in our most honest assessment, Electric Blue Acaras are such a fascinating species.

They have a standard shimmering blue hue all over their bodies with a few extra details to complete the beautiful appearance. However, the undersides of their bellies have a slightly faded yellow coloration but that doesn’t take anything from their incredibly stunning appearance.

Furthermore, Electric Blue Acaras have elongated dorsal fins with a vibrant yellowish-orange line sitting on top of the fin. The same line can be seen on the caudal fin albeit smaller in size and more faded.

What’s more, Electric Blue Acaras have quite noticeable scales that are meant to complement the smooth appearance of their brightly colored bodies. Such a combination gives these fish an eye-catching appearance inside the tank especially when swimming.

Their general body appearance will be the first indication that you are dealing with a typical Cichlid species. They have long bodies with just a standard thickness both in captivity and the wild.

The pointed dorsal fins will neatly continue towards their backs to meet the caudal fin and form a neat intersection at this point. Finally, they have a symmetrical caudal fin that also contributes to the standard body size.

Size

The standard size of a full-grown Electric Blue Acara is around 6 to 7 inches. This doesn’t qualify them to be one of the largest species in captivity but certainly makes them fairly easy to care for in captivity.

Of course, the fish’s size doesn’t remain constant in any environment. So, you must provide suitable water conditions to maintain your Acaras at the largest end of the growth spectrum.

Electric Blue Acara Care

Thankfully, Electric Blue Acara care is quite manageable and we believe, these fish might even suit newbie aquarists that can commit to maintaining a spotless environment.

There are a few basic guidelines you will want to follow to help your fish reach their optimal size in captivity, and that sums up the ideal tank water conditions.

Literally, anyone willing to keep Electric Blue Aacaras pays enough attention to the fish’s health and will want to prioritize such aspects as tank size, water parameters, diet, and even tank mates.

Let’s review these guidelines together;

Tank Size

Ideal tank setup focuses on the fish’s size and behavior in captivity. And for Electric Blue Acaras, don’t settle for anything below 30 gallons.

However much you could be tempted to design a smaller tank, just don’t fall for it. Electric Blue Acaras are such an active species and will need ample space to remain happy in captivity.

Remember, the aforementioned 30-gallon tank capacity only suits a single fish. If it’s a multi-species environment, you will need an even larger tank.

For any two Electric Blue Acaras at home, we recommend at least 45 gallons. If it’s three species, go with 60 gallons. But how? You may ask. Now, this is the trick.

The general rule, though undocumented, states that a single Electric Blue Acara needs a minimum of 30-gallon tank capacity at home, as we’ve mentioned. Thereafter, you should consider an extra 15 gallons for any additional species in the same space.

Water Parameters

Maintaining high-quality water is the easiest way to keep a healthy Electric Blue Acara population. That implies sticking with the most suitable water parameters regardless of the situation.

Electric Blue Acaras are highly adaptable fish in captivity, and won’t have trouble adjusting to the new habitat as long as you don’t go to the extremities.

So, here are the suitable parameters you will want to stick to when creating Acara’s habitat;

  • Water Temperature: 72°F-82°F
  • Water Hardness: 6-20 dH
  • pH Levels: 7-7.5

As usual, you should place much emphasis on assessing the status of the tank water because that’s the easiest way to ensure everything’s within the recommended range. That’s why we advocate for proper investment in a suitable aquarium testing kit.

What to Put in Their Tank?

Proper acclimatization is key to keeping healthy Electric Blue Acaras at home. And even though they are such a hardy species, they need a similar environment to what they are used to in the wild.

We don’t mean fanciful designs with excess decorations, but just a simple tank with suitable elements. All in all, your priority should be to create a natural-looking tank using the best items.

As usual, this entails plenty of hiding spaces, designed with suitable decorations. Having enough places to hide not only lowers the stress levels but also makes your fish more secure in their new territory.

Because they will be fully immersed in digging around or near the substrate, you should make the bottom of the tank as soft as you can. Be sure to create a comfortable layer that won’t cut or injure your fish. And we can only think of one material; fine sand.

What’s more, the Electric Blue Acaras are accustomed to the sight of plants in the wild. And introducing floating varieties like the hornwort will be effective at mimicking the actual environment.

Common Diseases

Fortunately, Electric Blue Acaras aren’t susceptible to any species-specific diseases like some fish would be. Anything affecting them in captivity will be the same conditions troubling most freshwater fish.

Firstly, Ich is one of the most common conditions your Acaras will be vulnerable to. As we’ve always stated, Ich is highly contagious and may easily attack the entire community if you don’t isolate the sick fish in time.

The classical symptoms to look out for if you suspect an Ich outbreak include white spots on the fish’s body, loss of appetite, and abnormal hiding.

Ich shouldn’t be so troublesome if you can provide suitable tank water conditions. But if you are unlucky with this condition, try to go with what works best for your Electric Blue Acaras.

If it is a more conservative approach like increasing the water temperature inside the tank, then you better make it quick. If that doesn’t work, get suitable copper-based medications to treat the infection.

Skin flukes are another common infection in the Electric Blue Acara community. But just like Ich, you can keep it at bay by maintaining sustainable living conditions including a balanced diet, high-quality water, and ideal parameters.  

What Do Electric Blue Acaras Eat?

Electric Blue Acaras are natural omnivores and their general appearance in captivity will depend on what you feed them at home. Sometimes, even the color intensity improves with high-quality food.

These fish survive off live critters in their natural environment. However, you don’t have to strictly follow that if you keep them at home.

You will have done enough by maintaining a balanced diet that involves proteins, vitamins, and occasional snacks. Speaking of proteins, Electric Blue Acaras accept small insects, earthworms, brine shrimp, and bloodworms in captivity.

Also, they can feed them on high-quality flakes and pellets that are great for keeping them nourished inside the tank.

We stated that a balanced diet is essential to the health and well-being of Electric Blue Acaras. So, you don’t have to stick to standard meaty foods all the time. Make their feeding routine as diverse as possible by occasionally introducing your Acaras to snacks and plant-based food sources.

Of course, not even Electric Blue Acaras can escape the risk of overfeeding. So, you will probably want to keep things simple by only feeding them small meals at different times of the day. We recommend at least 2 meals every day with a standard time limit of 2 minutes.

Behavior & Temperament

And now, the best news? Electric Blue Acaras defy a common belief about most Cichlid species; aggression.

Most Cichlid species are so aggressive and territorial and won’t tolerate other species inside their habitat. But everything changes with Electric Blue Acaras, a non-aggressive fish that boasts an enviable list of potential tank mates.

If it’s a like-for-like comparison, perhaps Electric Blue Acaras would edge other popular Cichlid fish like the Jack Dempsey, Wolf Cichlids, and African Cichlids because of their mellow personality. That’s the same reason Electric Blue Acaras might be the perfect Cichlid for newbie aquarists.

Looking at the general activity level, Electric Blue Acaras are just as active as most Cichlid fish. They never hesitate to explore their new habitat and will sometimes examine the substrate on a purely investigative mission.

Also, these fish love digging, and will occasionally sift through the substrate, sometimes even going as far as uprooting the live plants. That’s why you need properly anchored plants as part of tank decoration.

Don’t panic if you see a shy Electric Blue Acara in captivity. It’s quite common with these fish because they sometimes mix a wholesome combination of skittish behavior and incessant dashing around the tank. It just depends on their mood at the time.

Electric Blue Acara Tank Mates

Electric Blue Acaras have many tank mates and this is your time to experiment with other non-aggressive species that you might have wanted to include in your aquarium.

Acaras are peaceful fish and you can’t keep them with the more aggressive species that will want to cause trouble inside the tank.  But that doesn’t mean smaller fish will fit in the same aquarium, because of the possibility to ignite Acara’s aggressive behavior.

In general, you should stick to other peaceful fish of similar size when choosing new tank mates for the Electric Blue Acaras. A few such examples are listed below;

Of course, other possible tank mates could be missing in this list but that doesn’t mean they can’t cohabitate with Electric Blue Acaras. You can try out any peaceful fish but be sure to monitor their interaction with the Electric Blue Acaras over a long period.

Hey! This is just as important. Electric Blue Acaras have no problem sharing the same space at home. So, that’s the easiest option if you can’t identify or afford other suitable tank mates.

If you opt to follow this path, just stick to the even numbers, like 2, 4, 6, and 8 respectively, to limit any aggression.

Breeding

Thanks to their charismatic personality and peaceful temperament, Electric Blue Acara breeding is easily achievable in captivity.

They reach sexual maturity by around 4 to 5 inches. A significant part of successful Cichlid breeding depends on the fish’s behavior in captivity.

And for Electric Blue Acaras, this is never challenging because the potential mating partners will be happy to stay together for as long as you need them. However, this also means one species can only have one breeding partner at any given time.  

To induce breeding, it’s important to create a new tank to house the viable species. A minimum of 20 gallon capacity for the new tank is efficient enough to facilitate breeding, while the temperatures are best maintained at 75°F-76°F.

During the same period, try to introduce the right layering element like soft sand at the bottom of the tank. Having enough rocks gives the female species enough options to lay their eggs without worrying about their safety.

You will easily notice when the breeding period approaches because the mating partners will develop a close bond with one another. After the female finishes laying her eggs, the male will then come in to fertilize them.

Like most Cichlids, Electric Blue Acaras are protective of the new fry and will look after them until they are old enough to survive on their own.

There’s no reason to panic if you notice more aggressive behavior from your Electric Blue Acaras during the breeding season. It’s a normal process that’s worth paying attention to, but certainly not serious enough to trouble your fish as long as you’ve provided a new breeding tank.

Final Thoughts

Electric Blue Acara Cichlids are a sight to behold in captivity. They are the modern showstoppers of the Cichlid world and we are not even exaggerating anything here.

Their popularity in the modern aquarium community these days confirms what we’ve known about Electric Blue Acaras all along; a beautiful, peaceful fish that’s pretty easy to care for.

For newbie aquarists looking to experiment with a distinct Cichlid variety, you know where to turn to.

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