Sunday,26 September 2021, 7 : 37 AM

Andinoacara stalsbergi

A stalibergi
Andinoacara stalsbergi
Image Credit: Alf Stalsberg


Andinoacara stalsbergi is one of the larger size member of its genus, it has a TL(Total length) of 8 ".
Andinoacara stalsbergi is distributed in trans-andean rivers and lakes at the Peruvian Pacific coast.


(Click for details of Cichlid taxonomy)

Andinoacara stalsbergi Andinoacara stalsbergi was first described by Musilova et al in 2009.
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 fish is named in honour of ALF STALSBERG (Tjodalyng, Norway), the collector of the holotype (primary specimen used in describing of fish), in recognition of his longstanding commitment to increase the knowledge about cichlid fishes


Shape :-
Body shape of A. stalsbergi is moderately deep and laterally compressed.
The body is deeper than A. blombergi, body depth is 49 % of SL.
When viewed from front the head outline at the top portion(dorsal) is straight, curves on nape, the lower part of head is less curved.
The body forms a elliptic shape with rounded nape and chest.
Some males may have distinct nuchal hump.
Dorsal fin base is nearly straight.
Pre pelvic and abdomain outline is straight or slightly curved.

Head Region:-

  • Head is relatively short, and comparatively larger than A blombergi.
  • Snout is somewhat produced.
  • Eyes are placed on upper half middle of head.
    They are spaced wider, space between two eyes is 14 % of SL .
    Inter orbital space is flat or slightly convex, slightly narrower than mouth width.
  • Mouth is terminal.
    Upper jaw slightly projects 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 are interrupted in middle.
  • 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 9-10 rakers on the lower arm.
    The first two arches are free and the others are held up in the middle.
  • Teeth in both jaws are sharp and pointed, they are conical with tips curving backwards.
    Upper jaw has 15-22 teeth in outer row hemiseries, and 17-23 in lower jaw hemiseries.
    Like all cichlids A. stalsbergi 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.


  • There are 24- 25 scales in E1 row.
  • E1 series is the row of scales just above lower lateral line.
  • Scales on cheek, gill cover, anterior nape, chest and pre pelvic area are cycloid, remaining scales slightly ctenoid.
  • Cheek area has 3-4 scale rows.
  • 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- 17 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 8-10 scales, it continues by 1-2 tubed scales basally on caudal fin.
  • There are no scales in fins, except caudal fin which has small cycloid scales basally to almost middle.


  • Dorsal Fin :-
    Dorsal-fin spines increase in length to till 6th spine , from which sub equal in length, last two spines are slightly longer.
    Dorsal-fin spine count is between 13 to 14.
    Dorsal soft rays are branched and their number is between 11- 12.
  • Anal Fin :-
    First anal spine is inserted two spines before last dorsal fin spine (antepenultimate).
    5th ray is longest.
    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.
  • Pectoral-fin : -
    Pectoral fins occur in pair, they are asymmetric, with rounded dorsal tip.
    5th ray is longest, reaching to above vent.
    Pectoral-fin rays number between 13-14.
  • Pelvic Fin: -
    Pelvic fin is acuminate (pointed).
    First ray is longest and the fin might be prolonged, reaches almost to anal fin.
  • Caudal fin is sub truncate or slightly rounded.

Distribution & Habitat

Andinoacara stalsbergi is distributed in trans-andean rivers and lakes at the Peruvian Pacific coast.
The distribution of this species in the Pacific slope of western Peru between Río Chira (Depto. Piura) in the north and the Río Pisco (Depto. Ica) in the south is well documented.


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


Forehead, Nape and pre-dorsal part of upper body is uniformly greyish or light brown.
On the body sides each scale has iridescent or metallic green centre and contrasting dark brown marginal line. The dark scale margins form a fine reticulate pattern which is particularly prominent in adult specimens.
Cheeks have two to four narrow oblique opalescent green lines and several small buccal(cheek) dots of the same colour.
A dark cheek spot in the corner of the preopercle is usually visible only during brood care.
Lips, lower region of preopercle and gill cover are iridescent green.
Iris are golden.
There is no horizontal lateral band.
Midlateral spot is black, it can be squarish or rectangular, it cover 3/4 of El scales, all scales in E2 and E3 row.
There are narrow vertical white stripes in front and back of midlateral spot which fade towards dorsal and ventral.
Sometimes there are three ill-defined wide dark vertical bars and narrow light interspaces behind the midlateral spot.
Usually there is no caudal spot (if visible: it is small, extends vertically and is positioned on level of lower lateral line).

Dorsal fin is grey, with narrow dark submarginal band and white lappets forming a conspicuous white margin; soft part with iridescent streaks on the membranes.
This distinguishes it from A. rivulatus which have orange margins.
However there are specimens in A. rivulatus with white margin also, so this cannot be taken as sole identifying trait between the two species.

Anal fin is grey with blackish margin and small iridescent green dots and short lines.

Caudal fin is grey, with darker distal region, a conspicuous white posterior margin and a pattern of tiny greenish dots.

Pelvic fins are grey, darker along anterior margin, with green first interradial membrane and greenish dots or short streaks inwardly.

Pectoral fins are hyaline and colourless.

After spawning and during parental care both sexes develop a very dark, almost blackish colouration with two contrasting white vertical stripes anterior and posterior to midlateral spot.

There are 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 (caudal spot)is narrow, it is prominent, blackish, in the centre of the caudal-fin base, and does not reach ventral or dorsal edges of it.
Bar 2 is on caudal peduncle.
Bar 3 is on front part of caudal peduncle, it is placed between posterior rays of dorsal fin and anal fin, in smaller specimens (< 70 mm SL) it is often split into two parallel vertical bars.
Bar 4 and 5 are fused in adult specimens, but separate in smaller ones.
Bar 6 is darker than the other bars, straight, not vertically split, on both sides with contrasting narrow light margin.
Bar 7 and 8 indistinct, usually fused.

Tank Size and setup:

A. stalsbergi are large sized fish and should be kept in a aquarium of about 400 liters with good filtration.

Tank Mates:

it is an aggressive species and is better kept in a species only tank.


Andinoacara stalsbergi has are no obvious external sex differences in fin length or intensity of colour pattern.
However, observations under aquarium conditions revealed that there is a distinct size difference between males and females and that in addition dominant males develop a prominent nuchal hump.

It 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

It can be distinguished by A. blombergi by larger size, wider head, lower E1 scale count as given below:
A. stalsbergi is of larger size with SL(standard length) of 5.5 " as compared to 4.5 " of A. blombergi .
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. stalsbergi which has 24 scales in E1 row.
A. blombergi has a narrow head compared to A. stalsbergi.
The head width of A. blombergi is 17.8 % of SL, compared to 22.0 % of A. stalsbergi.
Inter orbital space or space between eyes is much narrow in A. blombergi compared to A. stalsbergi .
Inter orbital in A. blombergi is 10.9% of SL compared to 15.5% of SL in A. stalsbergi.

A. Stalsbergi

A. rivulatus can be distinguished by A. stalsbergi by looking at scale color pattern.
A. rivulatus 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 stalsbergi
Common Name Green terror
Genus Andinoacara
Subfamily Cichlasomatinae
Geographical Origin South America: trans-andean rivers and lakes at the Peruvian Pacific coast.
Diet Carnivore
Gender Differences Mono morphic
Breeding Substrate Spawner
Temperament Aggressive
Con Specific Temperament Highly aggressive
Water hardness Hard Gh range 15-25 dh
Difficulty Level in Aquariums 3

Morphometric Data

Particulars Details
Total Length(inches) 8.50
Standard Length(inches) 4.50

Measurements as % of Total Length

Particulars Details
Body Depth 48.90 %
Head length 36.00 %
Pre Dorsal length 47.10 %
Pre Pectoral length  %
Pre Anal length 73.20 %
Pre Pelvic length 45.30 %
Caudal Peduncle Depth 15.30 %
Caudal Peduncle Length 14.10 %
Fork length  %
Length of Last Dorsal Fin Spine  %
Pectoral Fin Length 30.40 %
Pelvic Fin Length  %

Measurements as % of Head Length

Particulars Details
Head Width  %
Snout length  %
Eye diameter 23.60 %
Pre Orbital Length 40.00 %
Inter Orbital Width 14.10 %
Pre Orbital Depth 40.00 %

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