Monday,26 July 2021, 4 : 40 PM

Andinoacara sapayensis

A sapayensis
Andinoacara sapayensis
Image Credit: Alf Stalsberg


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


Shape :-

  • Body shape is elongate , body depth is 42% of standard length.
    Head length is 35 % of SL.
  • 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.
  • FINS
    • 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 commences 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 fins occur in pair, they are asymmetric, with rounded dorsal tip.
    • Pelvic fin is pointed and has 12 spines.
    • Caudal fin is rounded.

    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.


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 .

Tank Size and setup:

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

Tank Mates:

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


Andinoacara sapayensis is a monogamous substrate spawner and both sexes share in all the duties of brood care.
There are no obvious external sex differences in fin length or intensity of colour pattern.
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.

Species Snapshot

Species Card

Particulars Details
Scientific Name Andinoacara sapayensis
Common Name Gold Acara
Genus Andinoacara
Subfamily Cichlasomatinae
Geographical Origin South America: Pacific slope, in the Cayapas River drainage in northwestern Ecuador.
Diet Carnivore
Gender Differences Mono morphic
Breeding Substrate Spawner
Temperament Peaceful
Con Specific Temperament Mildly aggressive
Water hardness Soft to meduim, ph range: 6-8, dh Range: 1-15
Difficulty Level in Aquariums 2

Morphometric Data

Particulars Details
Total Length(inches) 6.50
Standard Length(inches) 5.00

Measurements as % of Total Length

Particulars Details
Body Depth 42.00 %
Head length 36.00 %
Pre Dorsal length  %
Pre Pectoral length  %
Pre Anal length  %
Pre Pelvic length  %
Caudal Peduncle Depth  %
Caudal Peduncle Length  %
Fork length  %
Length of Last Dorsal Fin Spine  %
Pectoral Fin Length  %
Pelvic Fin Length  %

Measurements as % of Head Length

Particulars Details
Head Width  %
Snout length 12.50 %
Eye diameter 30.03 %
Pre Orbital Length  %
Inter Orbital Width 12.60 %
Pre Orbital Depth  %

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