Care Level: Moderate
Live Plant Safe: With Caution
General Description: The Threadfin Acara, also referred to as the Heckelii Cichlid, are found in river basins and drainages of the northern Amazon Basin across Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Closely related to the genus Geophagus, however Threadfin acara do not seem to sift through the sand as rigorously and will spend a considerable amount of time hovering in the middle water column. Unless a pair of Threadfin acara are breeding, they are a rather peaceful cichlid and will not predate on even very small fish. Threadfin acara are social, preferring to be kept in groups of 5 to 8 individuals but even more are encouraged. This is important because Threadfin acara form a heirarchal dominance structure. Too few of individuals can result in weaker specimens as the target of constant antagonism by dominant individuals, or the group may behave more nervously and fail to settle in. Both male and females will have a yellow base coloration with a spectacular “gem” like appearance across their bodies, and can develop elaborate red filaments off of the dorsal and caudal fins. Females are described to be more robust and thicker-bodied when they reach sexual maturity; this can take a minimum of 2 to 3 years. Most specimens offered are juveniles, lacking both color and fin filaments typically. An adult Threadfin acara can reach a size of approximately 7″.
Diet Requirements: In the wild Threadfin acara are omnivores, but a greater proportion of their diet should be vegetable based. A diet made up of various high quality vegetable and protein based flake foods and sinking pellet foods are ideal, in addition to offering frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp that contains spirulina algae and other mixed freshwater preparations. Freeze-dried Tubifex worms are also a favorite, as are providing live blackworms occasionally as a treat. Variety is the spice of life in order to maintain color, immune function and longevity of your fish.
Care Requirements: An established minimum 90 gallon aquarium is ideal for a group of Threadfin acara as outlined in the General Description section. A bigger group (8+ individuals), or much larger individuals, will require more space and the tank should be upgraded accordingly as the fish grow. Mechanical filtration is highly recommended to extract small particles that are continually stirred up by their occasional sand-sifting behavior. This will also prevent wear and tear on your filter’s mechanisms. Threadfin acara are intolerable of nitrite or ammonia spikes. Weekly water changes are encouraged to keep water parameters up to standard (Nitrates < 30 ppm) because this species does not endure deteriorating water parameters well. If maintenance is neglected, Threadfin acara are susceptible to head and lateral line erosion and stunted growth. A sandy or fine substrate is highly suggested due to some sand-sifting foraging behavior. Coarse substrates can inhibit feeding behavior, damage gill tissue and even cause internal damage or blockages if ingested. The aquarium should be aquascaped mostly with driftwood or similar furnishings to replicate tree roots, but some open swimming space should also be provided. While Threadfin acara would unlikely consume live plants deliberately, their natural browsing behaviors could uproot them and that is why they are listed to be added in a live planted aquarium “with caution.” Threadfin acara are compatible with a variety of small to medium fish, including Geophagus species, so long as tank mates thrive in similar tank conditions and water parameters. Do not mix Threadfin acara with overly aggressive or pugnacious Central or South American species. Recommended water conditions, 76-82° F, KH 5-8, pH 6.0-8.0.
Purchase Size: Medium: 2-1/2” to 3”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.