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Library > Cichlids > General Articles > Taxonomy of Cichlids >Sub Family cichlasomatiene > Genera Andinoacara > Andinoacara sapayensis
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Species Andinoacara sapaynensis  
Scientific classification
Image Credit : Alf Stalsberg
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Actinopterygii
Order : Perciformes
Suborder : Labroidei
Family : Cichlidae
Sub Family : Cichlasomatin
Genus : Andinoacara
Morphometric Data
Total Length (inches) 6.50
Standard Length (inches) 5.00
Measurements as a % of Standard Length
Fork _length
Pre_ anal _length
Pre dorsal_length
Pre_ pelvic_length
Body_ depth
Eye diameter
Snout_ length
Inter orbital_width
Pre orbital_depth
Caudal _peduncle_depth
Caudal _peduncle_length
Pectoral _fin_length
Pelvic_ fin_length
Length _of_last_ dorsal_ fin_spine
Scientific Name : Andinoacara sapayensis
Common Name : Gold Acara
Geo Origin : AMERICA, South America, South America: Pacific slope, in the Cayapas River drainage in northwestern Ecuador.
Diet : Carnivore
Gender Differences : Dimorphic
Breeding : Substrate Spawner
Temperament : Peaceful
Con specific Temperament : Mildly aggressive
Standard Length : 5.0 "
Total Length : 6.5"
Water Hardness: Soft to meduim, ph range: 6-8, dh Range: 1-15
Difficulty ; 2


Andinoacara sapayensis is a medium sized fish in the genus, it has a TL(Total length) of 6.5 ".

Andinoacara sapayensis is found in Pacific slope of Sapayo river which is a tributary of Cayapas River in northwestern Ecuador, South America.

(Click for details of Cichlid taxonomy)

Andinoacara sapayensis was first described by Regan in 1903 as Acara sapayensis.
It was afterwards placed in genus Aequidens, however 1n 2009 a new genus Andinoacara was described based on Molecular data.

Andinoacara genus is further spilt up-to into two clades, Andinoacara pulcher group and Andinoacara rivulatus group.

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 name sapayensis is derived from River Sapayo where it is found.

(Click for description of fish body parts)

Shape :-

Body shape is elongate , body depth is 42% of standard length.

Head length is 35 % of SL.

Mouth :-

Mouth is terminal.

Scales :-

There are eleven rows of scales obliquely cross the body at its greatest height.

The lateral line is interrupted as in all cichlids, the upper lateral runs through a row of 15-17 scales, while the lower lateral line is composed of 8-9 scales.

There are 3 scales between upper lateral line and dorsal fin base and 8 scales between lower lateral line and anal fin base.


Dorsal Fin :-

Dorsal fin is placed at distant three-tenths of the entire length of body from the snout.

There are 15 spines in dorsal fin and 10 soft rays.

Anal Fin :-

Anal fin commencing under the first soft ray of the dorsal.
Anal fin has 3 spines which is a characteristic feature of this genus, there are 8 soft rays.

Pectoral-fin : -

Pectoral fins occur in pair, they are asymmetric, with rounded dorsal tip.

Pelvic Fin: -

Pelvic fin is pointed and has 12 spines.

Caudal Fin :-

Caudal fin is rounded.


Coloration :-

The ground color of this species is beige to yellow.

A number of lines of sky-blue color, some of the lower of which are interrupted, obliquely cross the cheeks and pre-operculum in a posteriorly ascending direction.

There are five vertical bands on the sides and a barely recognizable spot on the caudal peduncle .


Distribution & Habitat:

Andinoacara sapayensis is found in Pacific slope of Sapayo river which is a tributary of Cayapas River in northwestern Ecuador, South America.


In its native habitat A. sapayensis feeds on small insects and other carnivorous material.

In aquarium it should be given predominately carnivorous diet.

Tank Size:

A. sapayensis are medium sized fish and should be kept in a aquarium of about 300 liters with good filtration.

Water Parameters:

In its native habitat A.sapayensis is found in soft to normal water.

Tank Mates:

It is an non aggressive species and can be kept with similar sized fish like Oscars etc.

Sexual Dimorphism:

There are no obvious external sex differences in fin length or intensity of colour pattern.


Andinoacara sapayensis is a monogamous substrate spawner and 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.







  Sandeep Raghuvanshi
Citations/Further Reading  

Theodore Gill:Annals of Lyceum of Natural History of New York Volume 6,1858,WILEY & HALSTED, 351 BROADWAY, ISBN :

Zunzana Musilova:Phylogeny of the Neotropical cichlid fish tribe Cichlasomatini (Teleostei: Cichlidae) based on morphological and molecular data, with the description of a new genus,2008,J Zool Syst Evol Res doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0469.2009.00528.x ISBN :