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Maximum size : 6 cm

Redbreasted Acara - Laetacara dorsigera : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Red-Breasted Acaras(Laetacara dorsigera) possess a peaceful temperament unless they are in breeding condition. However, their hardiness and adaptability make them suitable for both beginner and experienced aquarists alike. To keep these Cichlids happy, it is advisable to house them with small to medium-sized peaceful tankmates, such as Corydoras Catfish, Hatchetfish, and Tetras. If you provide sufficient territory and spawning areas, you can combine them with other Dwarf Cichlids like Apistogrammas. When setting up an aquarium for Red-Breasted Acaras, ensure to provide soft to neutral conditions, dark sand substrate, and plenty of hiding spots or broken lines of sight among driftwood, caves, and dense plantings. Diffusing light can also be achieved with floating plants. The filtration process should be efficient, but the water movement should be relatively gentle. To maintain nitrate levels, frequent partial water changes are recommended. Red-Breasted Acaras exhibit a range of colours, from cream to yellow and brown. In addition, their lateral stripes can vary from reddish-brown to blues and purples, depending on their mood. These Cichlids possess iridescent blue spots on their body and fins and are named for their red chest colouration. With the proper setup, these Cichlids will surely be a stunning addition to any aquarium.

Redbreasted Acara Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Red-Breasted Acaras can be a challenging task as their physical differences are subtle. While both sexes possess a dorsal spot, it is worth noting that the female's marking may be more pronounced. Males, on the other hand, tend to be slightly larger and heavier than females, boasting a higher dorsal fin and a more vibrant belly colouration. Conversely, females tend to be plumper with duller abdomens. It is worth mentioning that both sexes are capable of performing notable colour changes at their discretion or in response to external stimuli.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameLaetacara dorsigera
Year Described1840
Other NamesRed-breasted Flag Cichlid
OriginsBolivia Brazil Argentina Paraguay
Max Size6 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asPairs
Lifespan3 - 8 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.0 - 7.5
GH1 - 20
TDS36 - 268
68 - 82
20 - 27.8

Natural Habitat

The Red-breasted Acara is a fascinating species of Cichlid that is native to the Rio Guapore in Bolivia and western Brazil, as well as the Rio Parana drainage in Argentina, southern Brazil, and Paraguay in South America. They are found in the calm, slow-moving waters of swamps, rivers, and tributaries that are rich in marginal vegetation. These fish are known for their unique ability to leap from the water and land on nearby floating vegetation to escape predators, a trait that showcases their impressive agility and survival instincts. However, this behaviour may also make them vulnerable to flying predators, adding another layer of intrigue to their natural history.


Red-Breasted Acaras are prolific bi-parental substrate spawners, provided that they are kept in suitable conditions and well-fed on live and frozen foods. These Cichlids display a characteristic colour change to indicate their readiness to breed, and they may accept mates almost immediately from that point. When breeding, Red-Breasted Acaras usually lay up to 200 eggs on flat rocks, leaves, such as Anubias and Echinoids, and occasionally on the aquarium glass, with a preference for horizontal surfaces. Females guard the eggs while males defend the perimeter. Within 48 hours, the eggs usually hatch, and the parents may often release the fry straight from the egg by biting it. The newborn fry is almost invisible to the naked eye, and the parents will care for them in small prepared gravel pits. The fry should become free-swimming after a few days. Feeding the fry can be challenging, but algae or moss nearby may help them survive on aufwuchs. Alternatively, liquifry and decapsulated brine shrimp can be used. The fry should start accepting crushed flake food after around three weeks, depending on their growth rate. Both parents share the responsibility of raising the fry for over three months.

Diet & feeding

In order to maintain the best health and colouration of your Red-Breasted Acaras in the aquarium, a balanced and varied diet is essential. While these Cichlids are generally not fussy eaters, they will benefit from regular feedings of small live and frozen foods such as Mysis, Artemia, Bloodworm, white Mosquito Larvae, and Daphnia. In addition to live and frozen fare, it is also crucial to incorporate high-quality dried foods into their diet, such as flakes, pellets, and granules. These dried foods should be specially formulated to include other algae or plant content to ensure a balanced diet. By offering your Red-Breasted Acaras a diverse and nutritious diet, you can help to ensure their optimal health and vibrant colours.

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