Laetacara

Aquarium fish: Laetacara (Laetacara dorsigera)
Size: 7 cm
Origin: South America
Water temperature: 20-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 100 l

Laetacara (Laetacara dorsigera ) -bellied Akarka, Cherry Akara, Red-bellied Korumba (Laetacara dorsigera) – a small aquarium fish from the cichlid family.

Occurrence

South America. The species is found in Rio Guapore in Bolivia (where the river is called Rio Itenez) and in western Brazil, and in the Parana Basin in southern Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, also in the Uruguay River in southern Brazil. The fish live near sunken roots, near the bottom covered with leaves.

Characteristics and disposition

It grows up to 6 cm of standard length (8 cm of total length).

The shape of the body is oval, laterally flattened. Compared to other small species of the genus Leatacaraher body is stockier, fuller and the front of her head is more rounded. The side band begins at the back edge of the eye and ends at half the length of the body. Five wide, vertical stripes are visible from the other part of the body to the base of the caudal fin. Usually there is a distinct stripe between the eyes and a dark spot at the base of the dorsal fin, edged with a blue or white color.

Brown-yellow body. Red belly and dewlap. Depending on the mood, the coloration may change, e.g. the front of the torso may be all black, the back may be light, and the vertical stripes are not very visible. For this reason, it is not always possible to distinguish between the sexes.

The colors become intense during spawning. Adult males are slightly larger and have more elongated pectoral, anal and dorsal fins. At femalesthe dark spot at the base of the dorsal fin is clearly larger, and the red color is more intense. One of the mildest cichlids. They are characterized by calmness and shyness.

They form pairs on a permanent basis. During spawning, they show little territorialism and, like other cichlids, they will be aggressive towards their own and similar species. They most often forage near the bottom. Known for being able to jump out of the water, onto the shore, onto the nearby vegetation when threatened. Unfortunately, they are then more susceptible to attack by land predators.

In good conditions, they can live up to 8 years.

Nutrition and feeding

In nature, they eat algae, detritus, small insects, worms, crustaceans and other zooplankton. In the aquarium, feeding is not a problem. They can be given good-quality dry food in flakes or granules, supplemented with frozen or live food, e.g. bloodworm, daphnia, artemia and with the addition of plant food (spirulina).

A balanced diet will keep the fish in good condition and have a nice color.

Aquarium

For a couple, a tank of at least 80 cm in length, partially planted with vegetation, with a sandy surface and decoration with dry roots and flat stones is recommended. A recommended addition are also dry leaves of eg Oak, Beech, Ketapang, which will release into the water humic compounds desired by fish. They don’t like too bright lighting. Light can be limited by floating plants.

Frightened, they can jump out of the aquarium , so it is necessary to use a cover. Red-bellied acaras are very sensitive to pollution and deterioration of water quality . They require regular weekly changes (20-25%) and efficient biological filtration. The optimal water parameters for them will be 24-27˚C, 5.0-6.5 pH, 2-15 dGH. In a properly arranged and large social aquarium they can be kept with other calm South American cichlids or small tetras (tetras, neon, microorganisms), especially the latter will give them greater daring.

Breeding

Fish pair up and breed in the open. For breeding, it is recommended to purchase a group of at least 6 young fish and allow them to pair naturally. Most often they are associated with each other for life. We stimulate the generated steam for spawning by feeding more live or frozen food and increasing the temperature to 27-28 ° C. The female, ready for spawning, takes on intense colors.

During spawning, it lays about 200-300 eggs, usually on a flat surface, e.g. a stone, a root or an aquarium glass. Depending on the temperature, the brood lasts 40-60 hours. Both parents look after the roe and fry. They also often help the larvae to get out of the casings, collect them into their mouths, chew them and spit them out into a depression in the substrate.

The larvae take about 10 days to develop and are often transferred during this time. Caregivers stay with the young for up to 2.5 months. The free-floating fry are very small and should be given powdered food. After a few weeks, artemia larvae and micro nematodes can be started. The fry are particularly sensitive to changes in parameters and water pollution.

Instead of one large change per week, it is recommended that you carry out more frequent minor changes. Young fish reach sexual maturity after about 4 months.

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