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Red port acara - Cichlasoma portalegrense

Red port acara - Cichlasoma portalegrense

Scientific name: Cichlasoma portalegrense

Common name: Red port acara

Family: Cichlidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 10 - 12 cm (3.94 - 4.72 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 6.5 - 7

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 3 - 10°N (53.57 - 178.57ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 19 - 24 °C (66.2 - 75.2°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: South America

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: aggressive to smaller

Usual place in the tank: Bottom levels


The Red port acara originate from South America, namely Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia where they inhabit shallow streams with slow moving soft waters.

Short description

The Red port acara gets its common name from where they were first caught to be imported to Europe for the aquarium trade. This was Porto alegre in Brazil and they have been extremely popular with fish keepers since. This is probably due to the fact that they are relatively easy to care for compared to some of the other cichlid species and have quite a peaceful disposition. They do not have the vivid markings of some acaras but they do settle well into the aquarium and are quite easy to breed making them ideal for novice cichlid fish keepers.

Adult specimens will reach an average length of around 7-8 inches meaning they can be cared for in a medium sized aquarium as long as it is not overstocked. They are to be found under other common names such as the Port acara and Black acara but if you wish to be certain of obtaining the correct species they are classified under the Latin name of Cichlasoma portalegrense.


If cared for correctly, the average lifespan for the Red port Acara is 6 years.

General care

The Red port Acara is quite an easy species to care for and are not very demanding but as with all fish species they do require good housekeeping within the aquarium and good water conditions. Most cichlids are high waste producers and these fish are no exception. Always use a filtration system that is rated for the water volume contained in the aquarium. The minimum sized aquarium that should be at least 30 gallons if low stocked, for larger numbers of these fish you should upgrade the size of the aquarium accordingly. The water temperature should range between 19-24°C (66-75°F) and the pH should be set between 6.5-7.0 as they prefer slightly acidic water. The Red port acara will spend a lot of time sifting through the substrate so sand makes an ideal choice and for decoration you should add rocks or wood to provide hiding places. Plants can be added but you do run the risk of them being uprooted as the fish dig in the substrate.

Water changes will need to be performed, at least 10% weekly to maintain the water quality and aim the outlet nozzle of the filter towards the water surface to keep the oxygen levels high in the water column.

They can be housed with other cichlids of a similar size and disposition and also bottom dwellers but if they pair and show signs of spawning they will become territorial and may show some aggression.


Although the Red port acara is classed as carnivorous they will also accept vegetable based foods to vary their diet. For the staple diet offer small cichlid pellets but vary this with treats of live or frozen foods such as blood worms or brine shrimp. They will also accept vegetable matter in the form of spirulina flake or blanched chopped peas.


Mature males will grow larger than mature females and develop extended finnage.


The Red port acara is not a difficult species to breed successfully. The are substrate spawners and will prepare a nest for the eggs in the sand. Raising the temperature of the water will often initiate the spawning process and you will see them perform a courting dance. When they are both ready the female will deposit the eggs in the nest and the male will then swim over them to fertilise immediately.

The eggs should hatch after approximately 4 days and the wrigglers will consume their yolk sac for their first feeds so do not require any other food. Once free swimming the fry will accept newly hatched brine shrimp until they grow on large enough to consume other foods.

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