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Laetacara dorsigera
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Laetacara dorsigera

Common Names: Red breasted acara
Red-breasted flag cichlid
Synonyms: Acara dorsiger
Family: Cichlidae
Category: Cichlids
Distribution: America - South
Main Ecosystem: Swamp; Rivers and tributaries of the rio madeira and rio paraguay regions.
Temperament: Territorial; Will protect fry and eggs vigourously when breeding, but this is usually within a limited range of the nestsite, usually no more than 5 or 6 inches. When not breeding, genuinely peaceful with non-cichlid fish too large to consume, reasonable community fish where other specimens are not smaller than 1.5 cms. Aggression may spark in competing for territory with closely related species, but otherwise one of the most keepable cichlids for community. Allow for at least 15 gallons of space per pair.Overcrowded pairs will quarrel incessantly though little real damage is done, fish may risk exhaustion though, this is a persistant defensive species.Given enough room though , their demeanour is almost entirely peaceful. Will not compete in a cichlid community containing larger species, so include them only in peaceful setups with fish of a similar average size.
Diet: Ominvore; A willing feeder of most available fishfoods, though granules and cichlid pellets and small carnovore pellets will be preferred. Verging towards carnivory, so make sure they get all the usual bloodworm, brineshrimp, and chopped shellfish they could wish for. Will take the fry and eggs of other species.
Care: Uncomplicated, tolerant of water quality values for a cichlid, this fish is within the beginners remit, and an excellent first cichlid if treated with reasonable care. Prefers a well decorated tank with high levels of vegetation, will exploit nooks and crannies in bogwood and rock arrangements.Much better with a compatible mate than without, may become reclusive if not allowed an opposite sex partner.Will typically claim an area in an aquarium and stick to it. Good water quality and oxygenation are expected, but this fish will tolerate the odd mishap with both temperatures and water quality. Known to survive from 20- 30 c, although captive specimens should not be expected to live up to those tolerances. Tough, but not suitable for cycling a tank.
pH:
6.9 - 7.8
Temperature:
25°C - 29°C
77°F - 84°F
Hardness:
Potential Size: Male: 7.6cm (3")
Female: 7.6cm (3")
Water Region: Middle, Bottom; Keeps close to vegetation and rocks in shallow waters.
Activity: Diurnal; Strongly diurnal, like many cichlids it will bed down in its territory for the night.
Gender: Subtle, both sexes have the spot on the dorsal fin, the male is usually slightly heavier and has a higher topfin and vaguely taller build than the female. Both sexes perform major colour changes at will, or in response to physical condition and hormonal changes.
Breeding: Pairs will change colour to indicate breeding condition, and may accept mates almost immediately from that point. Usually a basic cream, yellow to brown fish with dark lateral stripes, this changes to become any colour from russet to purples and blues running from the top lip just below the acaras characteristic "white smile" across the lower half of the flanks finishing in diffuse colouration on the caudal peduncle and tail. Blue iridenscent spots, though always subtly present are much increased in intensity at this time.

Willing breeder. Dorsigera's will spawn openly upon rocks or more usually leaves like anubias and echinodas, sometimes on glass, though usually preferring horizontal surfaces. Up to 200 eggs are laid. The fish are sexually mature at four months. Parents often release the fry directly from the egg by biting it, so dont jump to conclusions that they are attacking or eating the eggs. Newborn fry are almost invisible to the naked eye, and the parents will raise them in prepared fine gravel pits. Feeding the fry can be problematic unless mosses and some algae are nearby, the young usually surviving on aufwuchs , though liquifry can be tried and decapsulated brineshrimp cysts and naupli can be used. The fry should take ground flake food by about week three. Depending on the growth rate of the fry , parental care may be maintained for over three months. Both parents equally share the responsibilities of raising the fry.
Variants: There will be small colouration differences throughout its range, usually most apparent at breeding times, when some specimens will have red flushes through to others having primarily blue,purple,black, or even green flushes on the lower half. The distinctiveness of the spot on the topfin may also cause some confusion with laetacara curviceps, though the spot in the dorsigera is more distinct and better edged with blue or white. Certain specimens may have hybridised, therefore making clear comparisons difficult
Comments: A superb little fish with all of the personality and little of the violence that makes cichlids so popular, and a small manageable species for the average community tank of around 30 gal, though species tanks may be smaller at around 15-20.
Main Colours: Yellow, Brown, Black
Markings: Striped And Spotted
Mouth: Normal
Tail: Convex
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Image Credit: longhairedgit
Submitted By: longhairedgit
Contributors: longhairedgit, ACIDRAIN
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