fish Easy level

Aequidens metae Eigenmann 1922

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Yellow Acara

This freshwater cichlid lives in the Meta River – a major tributary of the Orinoco River, – its tributaries and surrounding floodplains in Colombia. The Yellow acara inhabits dark waters with plenty of tannin and nutrients.

Distribution: Orinoco River basin, Colombia.

Submitted by
Natasha Khardina
4.1360731, -72.9946823
Geographical region
South America
Drainage Basin
Rio Amazonas
River catchment
Rio Meta
Water body type
Water body name
Water body part
Water body course
Lower course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name
Type locality
Barrigón, Río Meta, Orinoco System, Colombia.
Conservation status/IUCN Red List
Not Evaluated (NE)


Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
24-29 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

Dissolved Oxygen


Standard length
15 cm
Water volume (min. aquarium)
240 l
Social behaviour
Group fish
Behaviour description

In the captivity Aequidens metae shows a typical South American chichlid behaviour and needs large open swimming space as well as hiding places formed out of bogwood and rocks to feel at home. This cichlid will appreciate some live plants preferably with strong roots and plenty of substrate as it is known to dig them up.

Yellow Acara is a rather peaceful fish. Only in breeding period there is some aggression against other inhabitants.

Aggression grade
Day active
Sexual dimorphism

Aequidens metae males are larger and more colorful than the females, but the female will grow thicker.

Nutrition in Nature

Aequidens metae is an omnivore cichlid that will eat both animal and plant sources of food. A lot of cichlids are omnivorous, although they may lean more one way or the other. They’ll eat just about anything edible that doesn’t eat them first.


Breeding tank set-up

Aequidens metae are substrate egg layers that practice brood care. Spawning can be induced by imitating the rainy season to the fish as they breed during this time in the nature. Lower the water level for a few days and then fill up the aquarium with fresh water and feed the fish with live foods.

Nutrition parents

Aequidens metae should be provided a variety of foods, such as frozen or freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, blackworms, flake food, and cichlid pellets. Yellow Acara also relish live food and should occasionally be provided with live brine shrimp, shrimp, worms, and crickets.

Mating type
Spawning behaviour

Aequidens metae males are very choosy for a partner. Best is to let them choose from a group.

The female will lay the eggs in a carefully cleaned and selected location – a flat substrate that can be  smooth stones, slate or flat rock. The eggs will hatch in 2-3 days and the fry should be swimming around within a week.

Breeding habits
Hatching period
2-3 days
Number of eggs in average
Parental care
Fry number
Nutrition fry

The newly hatched fry can be fed a diet of baby brine shrimp and then moved to other foods as they mature.

Notes on reproduction

Yellow Acara can show aggression, even more so during breeding, harassing smaller aquarium mates.