Sunday,26 September 2021, 7 : 38 AM

Andinoacara blombergi

A Blombergi
Andinoacara blombergi
Image Credit: Alf Stalsberg


Andinoacara blombergi is a smaller species amongst Andinoacara having a standard lenght of 4.5 " and total length of 6 ".
It is found in drainage of river Esmeraldas in North Ecuador, South America.


(Click for details of Cichlid taxonomy)

Andinoacara blombergi was described by Günther in 1859 as Aequidens rivulatus.
However it was described as a separate species by Dr. S.O. Kullander in 2012.
The genus name Andinoacara is formed by two words "Andino" and "Acara".
Andino refers to Andes Mountain Chain in South America.
These cichlids are found on the slopes of Andes mountains and in the valley formed by three arms of Northern Andes.
The term "Acara" has been used historically for Cichlids.
So the term Andinoacara literally means "Cichlids from Mountain Andes".
The species has been named in recognition of the life’s work of explorer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker Rolf Blomberg (1912-1996).
Rolf Blomberg, born in Sweden, made several expeditions in Ecuador and eventually settled in Quito, Ecuador.


Shape :-

  • Body shape is moderately slender to moderately deep and laterally compressed.
  • Body depth is 44.3 % of SL (Standard length).
  • Predorsal contour is straight ascending, It is steeper than pre pelvic contour, and curves slightly on the posterior side to orbit.
  • Dorsal-fin base is slightly curved or straight except for stronger curvature immediately before caudal peduncle.
  • Pre pelvic contour is sloping, straight or slightly curved.

Head :-
  • Head is relatively short, having a width of 17% of SL and length of approx 34 % of SL.

Snout :-
  • Snout is somewhat produced, approx 11 % of SL.

Eyes :-
  • Orbit(eyes) are in middle of length of head, in upper half of head.
  • Inter orbital(between eyes) space is 11 % of SL and is flat or slightly convex, slightly narrower than mouth width.

Mouth :-
  • Mouth is terminal(front of the body).
  • Upper jaw projects slightly before lower jaw, and extends to the back of head and is placed vertically halfway between nostril and orbit.
  • Lips are moderately thick, both upper and lower lip folds interrupted in the middle.

Gill rakers :-
  • Gill rakers are evenly spaced, short and stubby and found on the outside margin of the arch.
  • There are 1-3 rakers in the upper arm of the arch, one in the angle (joint) of the arch and 6-8 rakers on the lower arm.
  • The first two arches are free and the others are held up in the middle.

  • Outer row of teeth are erect or slightly retrorse(pointing backwards), fixed or slightly movable.
  • Teeth are unicuspid(single cusp) with slightly recurved tip, larger than inner teeth, very slightly increasing in size from posterior to symphysial, tips narrow, rounded, some teeth with abraded tip.
  • Inner teeth are in a narrow band of anteriorly 2-3 rows in upper jaw.
  • There are 3-4 rows in lower jaw, similar in shape to outer teeth but much shorter, slightly retrorse, depressible, few with abraded tips.
  • Like all cichlids A blombergi have teeth in not only their jaws but also a set of pharyngeal teeth. Lower pharyngeal jaw is, somewhat slender, length 86 % of width, toothed area length 64 % of width.
  • Teeth along lateral margins are erect, slender, laterally compressed, almost unicuspid, with only slight anterior bulge.
  • Remaining teeth are slender, erect, bicuspid with posterior antrorse, more or less acute cusp and low, often inconspicuous anterior blunt cusp or bulge.
  • Size of teeth gradually increasing towards center and back .
  • Posterior and median teeth are sub molariform, posterior most with median cusp and indicated anterior cusp, median teeth with worn, rounded or flat tips.
  • There are 7-8 teeth on each side along median symphysis, 13 + 14 teeth in a row along the posterior margin.
  • Lateralis canal has openings on head including one median coronalis pore, on each side of head two nasal, four lachrymal, five infraorbitals, three supra temporal, four frontal, five preopercular, and four dentary openings.

Scales :-
  • There are cycloid scales on cheek, gill cover, anterior nape, chest and pre pelvic area , remaining scales are slightly ctenoid.
  • Cheek area has 3-4 scale rows
  • Predorsal scales have a definite midline row or with posterior overlapping scale pairs.
  • Scales along midline are smaller than adjacent scales and get smaller posteriorly;
  • Pre dorsal Scales usually number between 8-12.
  • Pre pelvic scales are embedded in skin, smallest about half size of flank scales.
  • As with all cichlids, lateral line is interrupted. Upper lateral line has 15- 19 scales, it is separated from dorsal fin by 4 to 4.5 scales in front and 1.5 scales in posterior. Lower lateral line has 8-9 scales, it continues by 1-2 tubed scales basally on caudal fin.
  • There are 16 scales in circumpeduncular row.
  • There are no scales in fins, except caudal fin which has small cycloid scales basally to almost in the middle.
  • There are 24- 26 scales in E1 row.
  • E1 row is row of scales just above lower lateral line.

  • Dorsal Fin :-
    • Dorsal-fin spines increase in length till 6th spine , from which sub equal in length, last two spines are slightly longer.
    • Dorsal-fin spine count is between 14 to 16.
    • Dorsal soft rays are branched and their number is between 10- 11.

  • Anal Fin :-
    • First anal spine is inserted two spines before last dorsal fin spine (antepenultimate).
    • Soft anal fin is pointed, in some cases it is prolonged and it reaches past 1/5-1/3 of caudal fin.
    • Anal fin has 3 spines which is a characteristic feature of this genus, there are 8-9 soft rays and 5th ray is longest.

  • Pectoral-fin : -
    • Pectoral fins occur in pair, they are asymmetric, with rounded dorsal tip.
    • Pectoral fins area about 33% of SL.
    • Pectoral-fin rays number between 13-15.
    • 3rd and 4th ray of pectoral fins are longest, reaching to above vent.

  • Pelvic Fin: -
    • Pelvic fin is acuminate (pointed) and is approx 30.6 % of SL.
    • Pelvic fins might be prolonged, and reaches almost to anal fin.
    • First ray of pelvic fin is longest.

  • Caudal Fin :-
    • Caudal peduncle is as wide as it is high about 16% of SL.
    • Caudal fin is sub truncate or slightly rounded.

Distribution & Habitat

Andinoacara blombergi has been collected only in the river Esmeraldas drainage, but it might possibly occur in the adjacent river Santiago in northern Ecuador.


In its native habitat, A. blombergi feeds on small insects and other carnivorous material. In aquarium it should be given predominately carnivorous diet.


Adult male are rosy on chest and abdomen.
Flanks(sides) are iridescent blue with dark brown or maroon spot at base of exposed portion of each scale.
There are several iridescent blue lines on anterior portion of head.
Gill cover has several iridescent blue spots.
Fins are dark with blue spots on anal and caudal fin.
Dorsal-fin margin and posterior margin of caudal fin are white.
There are five brownish vertical bars across caudal peduncle and sides, and two short
bars or blotches on head, as per standard practice bars are numbered from Caudal or tail fin.

  • Bar 1 is placed distally on caudal peduncle.
  • Bar 2+ 3 are placed below posterior part of dorsal fin and cover anterior half of caudal peduncle.
  • Bar 4 + 5 is placed above anterior and middle part of anal fin base (below last two dorsal-fin
    spines and anterior to three soft dorsal-fin rays).
  • Bar 6 is placed across middle of side, anterior to anal fin.
  • Bar 7 is placed immediately posterior to vertical from pelvic-fin insertion.
  • Bar 8 is placed below anterior three dorsal-fin spines and forward across nape.
    It also incorporates predorsal blotch.

There is an indistinct dark blotch above eye, narrowly separated from Bar 7 by a lighter line.
Inter spaces which separate vertical bars are yellowish, and much narrower than bars, those bordering bar 6 particularly light.
Bars 4 + 5 are often incompletely merged, indistinctly separated by lighter bar dorsally our throughout.
Bar 6 incorporates a dark brown squarish blotch which is 3-4 scales wide.
The blotch covers upper half of E1 row scales, E2 row scales and all or lower half of scales in E 3 row.
Thus it extends slightly dorsal of upper lateral line or stops at lateral line.
Bar 7 appears with a dark blotch anterior to and less distinct than that in Bar 6.
A more distinct dark blotch appears on terminating bar 8 ventrally below the beginning of the lateral line.
In some specimens blotches in Bars 7 and 8 may be contiguous.

Depending on light conditions, scales below E2 row may show reflecting distal margin.
Scale pigmentation is often indistinct, but when pronounced, scale margins lighter than centers, and light overlapping margins creating a faint pattern of alternating lighter and darker horizontal stripes.

Dorsal and front part of snout is grayish.
Sides of head have 2 narrow brown lines from orbital margin across pre orbital to or almost to mouth;
There is another narrow brown line, often broken up into spots posteriorly, from little posterior to orbit slanting downwards towards of mouth.

There are small dark spots are scattered over gill cover.
There are 5-6 spots on opercle, 3 spots on sub opercle, 1 spot on inter opercle.
There is small dark spot at dorsal tip of opercle, immediately dorsal of origin of lateral line, and one or a few in region of beginning of lateral line.

Dorsal fin is brownish with white lappets and dark brown spot at base of each lappet; corresponding markings are also present anteriorly on soft dorsal fin.
Posterior part of soft dorsal fin has 2-3 transverse rows of indistinct lighter spots.

Anal fin is pale brownish with dark brown outer margin; posterior part of fin gradually lighter, with indistinct dark spots on posterior most inter radial membranes.

Pectoral fin is hyaline; there is a dark brown blotch across pectoral pedicel.
Pelvic fin anterior margin or lappet is whitish, rest of fin pale brownish.
Caudal fin is dark brown, short vertical bar across middle of base.
Rest of fin dusky with indistinct pattern of lighter or darker small spots.
Distal margin narrowly white.

Tank Size and setup:

Andinoacara blombergi are somewhat medium sized fish and should be kept in a aquarium of about 300 liters with good filtration.
In its native habitat A. blombergi is found in water having ph of about 8.5 and GH between 20- 30 dh.
These fish are very well adapted to very alkaline and mineral rich in dissolved minerals.

Tank Mates:

It is best kept in species only tank


Andinoacara blombergi are dimorphic.
Colors of female are somewhat similar to males, but their iridescent stripes are pale greenish, anterior flanks have yellowish cast.
Females have a a dark brown or blackish spot covering corner of preopercle and cheek.
Andinoacara blombergi is a monogamous substrate spawner and that both sexes share in all the duties of brood care.
The female, however, is usually the more active partner as long as the pair cares for eggs or larvae, while the male defends the spawning territory against intruders.
Like most other open brooders these cichlids deposit their eggs on a horizontal surface.
At 27 °C hatching occurs about two days post spawning, and the fry attempt swimming seven days thereafter.
The male and female fish practice long-term bi parental defense of their mobile fry.

Morphological differences with similar species.

A Blombergi is similar to A. rivulatus and A. stalsbergi in having 8-12 (usually 9-10) relatively small predorsal scales in a median row.
This is in contrast to other species of Andinoacara which have a median predorsal row of eight large scales.

Differences with A. rivulatus

It can be distinguished by A. rivulatus by smaller size, narrower head higher E1 scale count as given below:

  • A. blombergi is of smaller size with SL(standard length) of 4.5 " as compared to 5.5 " of A. rivulatus.
  • The scale count in E1 row, i.e the row just above lower lateral line in A. blombergi is higher at 25 compared to A. rivulatus which has 24 scales in E1 row.
  • A. blombergi has a narrow head compared to A. rivulatus.
    The head width of A. blombergi is 17.8 % of SL, compared to 22.0 % of A. rivulatus.
  • Inter orbital space or space between eyes is much narrow in A. blombergi compared to A. rivulatus.
    Inter orbital in A. blombergi is 10.9% of SL compared to 15.5% of SL in A. rivulatus.

Differences with A. stalsbergi

A. blombergi can be distinguished by A. stalsbergi by colour pattern.
Large males of A. blombergi have scales on side with light margin and dark spot at center, whereas A. stalsbergi has scales with light center and dark margin.

Scale Pattern A blombergi Scale Pattern A Stalebergi

Species Snapshot

Species Card

Particulars Details
Scientific Name Andinoacara blombergi
Common Name Andinoacara blombergi
Genus Andinoacara
Subfamily Cichlasomatinae
Geographical Origin Esmeraldas basin
Diet Carnivore
Gender Differences Dimorphic
Breeding Substrate Spawner
Temperament Mildly aggressive
Con Specific Temperament Mildly aggressive
Water hardness Hard Gh range 15-25 dh
Difficulty Level in Aquariums 3

Morphometric Data

Particulars Details
Total Length(inches) 6.00
Standard Length(inches) 4.50

Measurements as % of Total Length

Particulars Details
Body Depth 44.30 %
Head length 36.20 %
Pre Dorsal length  %
Pre Pectoral length  %
Pre Anal length  %
Pre Pelvic length  %
Caudal Peduncle Depth 16.30 %
Caudal Peduncle Length 16.00 %
Fork length  %
Length of Last Dorsal Fin Spine 14.20 %
Pectoral Fin Length 32.80 %
Pelvic Fin Length 30.60 %

Measurements as % of Head Length

Particulars Details
Head Width 17.80 %
Snout length 11.00 %
Eye diameter 29.35 %
Pre Orbital Length 30.72 %
Inter Orbital Width 10.90 %
Pre Orbital Depth 30.72 %

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