|Synonyms||Aequidens dorsigera, Astronotus dorsigera, Parvacara dorsigera|
|Distribution||Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay.|
|Sexual Dimorphism||Juveniles difficult to sex. Mature males tend to be slightly larger, more colourful, and may develop elongated finnage - although differences tend to be quite subtle.|
|Maximum Size||8cm (3.2")|
|Temperature||20-26 deg C (68-79 deg F)|
|Water Parameters||Soft and acidic. pH: 5.0-7.0, dH: up to 15 degrees.|
|Compatibility||Softwater community with no tiny fish.|
Dim-medium (brighter lighting can be diffused with plants).
The Redbreasted Acara is native to the Rio Guaporé in Bolivia and western Brazil, and the Rio Paraná drainage in Argentina, southern Brazil, and Paraguay. Here they inhabit the slower-moving areas of water that have dense marginal vegetation. These fish are best maintained in a mature aquarium with soft to neutral conditions. Ideally, try to provide a dark sand substrate and plenty of shady hiding spots amongst driftwood, caves, and dense planting. Floating plants can also be used to help diffuse the light. Filtration should be efficient, but water movement fairly gentle, and frequent partial water changes should be carried out on a regular basis to keep nitrate at a minimum. Tankmates should be peaceful and of small-medium size (large enough not to be eaten, yet small enough not to harass the dwarf cichlids). Ideal companions could include Corydoras catfish, hatchetfish, tetras, and suckermouth catfish. Interestingly, the scientific name 'Laetacara' translates as 'smiling/happy cichlid' in reference to the 'smiling' appearance of fish from this genus. May also be seen on sale as Redbreast Acara.
Offer a variety of frozen foods such as vitamin/Spirulina-enriched brineshrimp, white mosquito larvae, bloodworm, Mysis, daphnia, and various dried foods such as flake, green flake, crisps, slow sinking granules/pellets etc.
This bi-parental substrate spawner has been bred in the home aquarium. Eggs are usually deposited on a flat piece of rock/wood/broad leaf, or inside a cave. The female guards the eggs whilst the male patrols the perimeter. The eggs should hatch within 48 hours, and the wrigglers will be free-swimming just a few days later. At this point, the fry can be offered newly hatched baby brineshrimp (Artemia nauplii) and moved on to larger foodstuffs as they grow. If spawning occurs in the community aquarium, the other fish may need to be moved for their own safety.