blue acara male

Breeding blue acara

Breeding blue acara

What you will need

  • blue acara male
    Blue acara male showing extended dorsal and anal fins

    3 foot tank hood and lights

  • coarse sand or fine gravel
  • 200w heater stat
  • some large flattish stones
  • Some hardy plants with strong roots
  • internal power filter

Blue acara general care and information

They are an attractive species that is easy to care for and easy to breed. They can grow up to 6 inches long. The male has longer dorsal and anal fins which may have a red outline. Temperature should be 75F. Water should have a hardness 15dh with a ph of 7.2 but this is not critical. Most tap water should suffice. 30% water changes with aged water is recommended because they produce a lot of waste. When not breeding they can be kept in a large aquarium with similar robust species. Feed with live food, especially chopped earthworms and a quality pellet food. Even chopped up pieces of fish are welcomed.
They mate for life so it is a good idea to buy 6 or more youngsters and raise them together. When they start to mature they will naturally self select their own mates. Breeding size is about 3.5 inches and over.

Preparation for breeding blue acara

When you see a pair of blue acaras lip locking and staying together then place the pair into the breeding tank. Feed solely with live food 3 or more times a day. Chopped earthwoms are ideal. Raise the temperature to 80F over several days, ie increase by 2 degrees per day.

Blue acara breeding behaviour

female blue acara laying eggs
female blue acara laying eggs on a flattened stone

Both parents will help clean the spawning site. They will also both defend the nest and guard the young from threats.
The female lays a batch of eggs which the male fertilises. Then this is repeated many times until the females eggs have all been laid.
They both take turns in guarding the eggs. They also both clean the eggs with their mouths and fan the eggs. They even help the fry out of their egg shells when they are hatching. Spawns are usually 200-300 in number. Both parents at this time will guard the brood with great determination. It is sometimes a good idea to have dither fish in the tank for the parents to defend against to stop them fighting between themselves.
After breeding and raising the young has finished, they can be ready to breed again after another 2 weeks.


Raising the fry

breeding pair blue acara guarding eggs
breeding pair of blue acara guarding the eggs

The eggs hatch after 4 days. The parents move them to a newly dug pit at this point. After another 4 days in the pit, the fry become free swimming.
Feeding can start with brine shrimp, microworms and daphnia.
Leave the parents with the fry for at least 2 weeks or until they stop caring for the fry. The fry are usually quite safe because blue acara are good parents.


24 thoughts on “Breeding blue acara”

  1. I have a blue Acara that I think layed eggs. This fish had a batch in September and I removed what I thought was the male at that time. I raised the fry and then gave a bunch of them away. I kept 2, but they are still very young born the end of September. Will these eggs that the larger fish hatch? Can they be fertilezed by one of the other acaras even though they are so young. And if not fertized what will happen to eggs?

  2. I have two blue acara’s one male(about 6″)and one I believe is a female (about 5″), I caught the male doing the spawning dance so I decided to put them both in a breeding tank. The male continue to try but the female acara seems as if she’s not interested. But I saw them glide across one another doing that spawning thing. I am not sure what to expect.

    • Most cichlids, (including blue acaras) like to choose their own mate. Having one male and one female does not guarantee you a breeding pair. You should ideally have 5 or more acaras to increase the chance of a compatible couple pairing off.

  3. Do we need to separate the male and female from other fish in tank after the eggs are laid? There are other blue acaras in the tank. It’s a 55 gal tank

    • If you can put in a divider that would be ideal because they are quite aggressive, especially when protecting their brood. It is better to remove the other fish than the parents. Disturbing the fish may spook them into eating the brood so take care.

  4. I have a mated pair of blue Acaras that are over a year old at this point they have been laying batches of eggs every few weeks for the last several months but so far none have even reached the wiggler stage. If I try to remove the eggs they fungus over and if I leave the eggs with the parents the eggs will disappear from the rock they spawn on after about 2 to 3 days. Are they simply laying infertile eggs or is there something else that wrong? They are in a 55 gallon tank sharing it with a bichir and a pleco. I have tried removing the pico before but this does not seem to matter and the eggs disappear all the same. Temperature is at 80°, it is lit 12 hours a day, no nitrates or nitrites, and water is more on the hard end. Any suggestions as to help the fry hatch?

    • It sounds like the eggs are infertile. Do you remove the eggs to an aquarium with exactly the same temperature and water? When you put them in another aquarium you will need an airstone to pass bubbles near the eggs to prevent detritus settling and you could also dose the tank with methylene blue to protect from fungus.

    • I have raised several batches of babies successfully only one batch developed fungus. The parents from what I’ve found need to stay with them until hatched,as they continually fan the eggs until hatched they move the eggs occasionally . After they hatch I found it’s better to catch the female hold her back and remove the fry and place them in your baby tank

  5. When I remove the eggs I actually keep them in the aquarium, I just put the rock in a fry net that suction cups to the side of the tank. I also try to put it close to the filter output so that there is consistent water flow around them. This doesn’t seem to help and the eggs eventually fungus over. If they are simply infertile, will the fish eventually produce viable eggs as they get older or is it possible this pair simply can’t produce fry?

    • Infertility is usually not a permanent state. Sometimes better nutrition, different (or cleaner) water conditions can make the pair fertile.

  6. Hey guys cant seem to find the specific answer to my own question, how long may i keep the fry with the parents. I tried sseperating before. And it worked with the first batch. So i attempted too put them with the second batch with them but the fry were already big enough to eat the babies by the the tail end. And killed about 100. So i decided to put them back with the parents a week later. (The surviving 100) the parents ate them all. So what to do? Tried putting juvies back still really small maybe 1/4 inch and two toothpicks thick. The parents ate some of the bigger ones from the first batch when i did it. So now i have the rest of the juvies in a 30 gal. And my pair in a 55 by them selves, (electric blue) not standard. Will it be better to leave the fry with the parents until when? If i leave them with the parents the entire time will that be a mistake. From what i noticed they are better parents then i lmao. How long can they rock with the parents?

  7. Never put back fry to parents as they will not recognise them after not seeing them for a while. They will see them as food. Parenting in cichlids must be continuous otherwise the parental bond is broken. Three weeks with the parents is reasonable, but it depends on the parents. A better guide is the behaviour of the parents. When the fry are escaping the control of the parents then that is the time to separate.

  8. Question…my acara fry hatched beginning of March 2017. They are barely an inch long…some barely 1/2″. Tiny little Franken-fry. Water parameters/temp/etc are always consistent. The mollies in their tank have no issue growing. The acara just don’t grow. There are 12 of them so it’s not due to overcrowding. They eat plenty. The only thing I can think is that I used meds back in May or June or somewhere back then in all my tanks due to columnaris some new mollies brought to one tank. Since I use the same equipment for all tanks for water changes, I figured it best to treat everyone. Could the meds have stunted them? I bought 1.5″ acara back in January 2017 and they were the parents. Seemed way too small but those were the only fish in the tank. Def the parents. The parents are now huge and have no issue growing! So what’s up with the fry?

    • Generally you need to do frequent water changes to reduce the level of nitrates to encourage the fry to grow. Are your nitrates high? Also the temperature has a definite effect on the growth rate of fry. The only other thing I can think of is parasite infection, which would affect fry more than larger fish.

      • I have another pair that breed frequently in the same tank no problem nitrates are good water charges every five days

  9. I got lucky and picked out a breeding pair of acara, I had them in a 45gal with other breed cichlids and they bread a couple times fine good parents but when disturbed but cleaning or whatever of coarse they or someone would eat the tiny fry!! So I took everyone else out but a non-aggressive bala and a pleco , they mated again but now their eggs fungus over!!! just bad luck now or what might be going on???

    • Bad luck it seems. They are frequent breeders so just keep trying. Try adding a little methylene blue to the water and check your ammonia,nitrite levels, etc

  10. I have one pair of electric blue Acara they have a flat stone they are constantly doing their mating dance but never lay eggs water conditions are very good. I had them in a 40 gallon tank moved them back where I had them in a 120, that’s when they started their ritual. Any suggestions.


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