Redbreasted Acara (Laetacara dorsigera)
Red-Breasted Acaras have a relatively peaceful temperament when they are not in breeding condition. They are hardy and adaptable, making them suitable for the beginner aquarist as well as the more advanced fish keepers.
Tankmates should be peaceful, small to medium-sized and large enough not to be eaten, yet small enough not to harass the Dwarf Cichlids. Ideal companions could include Corydoras Catfish, Hatchetfish, and Tetras. In larger tanks, you can combine them with other Dwarf Cichlids such as Apistogramma and smaller Loraciids, as long as you provide sufficient territory and spawning sites.
These fish are best maintained in an established aquarium with soft to neutral conditions. Ideally, try to provide a dark sand substrate and plenty of hiding spots or plenty of broken lines of sight amongst the driftwood, caves, and dense planting. You can also use floating plants to help diffuse light. Filtration should be efficient, but water movement relatively gentle. It would be best to carry out frequent partial water changes regularly to keep nitrate at a minimum.
The Red-Breasted Acaras primary colours are cream, yellow, to brown. In addition, they have dark lateral stripes that can change from reddish-brown to blues and purples, depending on their mood. These run through the top lip just below the Acaras " white smile" across the lower half of their flanks. These Cichlids exhibit iridescent blue spots on their body and fins and are named for their red chest colouring.
|Scientific Name||Laetacara dorsigera|
|Other Names||Red-breasted Flag Cichlid|
|Origins||Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay|
|Aquarium Level||Bottom - Middle|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Pairs|
|Lifespan||3 - 8 years|
|PH||5.0 - 7.5|
|GH||1 - 20|
|TDS||36 - 268|
|68 - 82℉|
20 - 27.8℃
Photos of the Redbreasted Acara
The Red-breasted Acara is native to the Rio Guapore in Bolivia and western Brazil, and the Rio Parana drainage in Argentina, southern Brazil, and Paraguay in South America. Here, they inhabit the slower-moving water areas in swamps, rivers, and tributaries with dense marginal vegetation. These Cichlids are known to leap from the water and land on nearby floating vegetation to escape predators; however, this may, in turn, make them vulnerable to flying species.
What to feed the Redbreasted Acara
In the aquarium, Red-Breasted Acaras can be a bit picky in regards to what they eat. However, they will accept most things. For the best health and colour of your fish, you should offer them frequent meals of small frozen and live foods such as Mysis, Artemia, Bloodworm, white Mosquito Larvae and Daphnia.
Their diet needs to be balanced, so, therefore, you should also provide your Cichlids with high-quality dried food such as flakes, pellets, and granules, some of which should incorporate other algae or plant content.
How to sex the Redbreasted Acara
It is pretty challenging to differentiate between male and female Red-Breasted Acaras as their differences are very subtle. Both sexes have a dorsal spot, though the female's dot is often more prominent. Males are usually slightly larger, heavier, have a higher dorsal fin and a more intense belly colour than females. In contrast, females are plumper and have duller abdomens. Both sexes perform significant colour changes at will or in response to a physical condition.
How to breed the Redbreasted Acara
Red-Breasted Acaras are bi-parental prolific substrate spawners if kept in the right conditions and well-fed on live and frozen food. Pairs will change colour to indicate they are ready to breed and may accept mates almost immediately from that point.
These Cichlids will usually deposit up to 200 eggs upon flat rocks, leaves like anubias and echinoids and sometimes on the aquarium glass, though generally preferring horizontal surfaces.
The females will guard the eggs while the male defends the perimeter. The eggs will usually hatch within 48 hours where the parents may often release the fry straight from the egg by biting it, so don't think they are attacking or eating the eggs. The newborn fry is virtually invisible to the naked eye, and the parents will raise them in small prepared gravel pits. The babies should become free-swimming a few days later.
Feeding the fry can be tricky unless algae or moss is nearby, the young usually surviving on aufwuchs. However, you can try liquifry and decapsulated brine shrimp. The fry should accept crushed flake food around week three. Depending on the babies rate of growth, both the parents will equally share the responsibility of raising the fry for over three months.