Acei Cichlid (Pseudotropheus Acei)
The Acei Cichlid, also known as the Yellow Tail Acei or Blue Acei, is a visually stunning species native to the northwestern coast of Lake Malawi in Zambia. Their slender deep blue bodies, accented by striking yellow fins, are a sight to behold. Upon closer inspection, you may notice subtle purple tones on their bodies, which become more apparent when the light hits them directly. They also feature soft white lines on their fins and black eyes. As adults, they can grow up to 5 inches in length, making them a medium-sized addition to your tank.
In terms of personality, Acei Cichlids are active and lively. They are known for their playful demeanor and are often seen darting around the tank. Despite their energetic nature, they are relatively peaceful but can show signs of aggression, especially during breeding periods. They prefer swimming in the middle to lower levels of the tank.
Caring for Acei Cichlids is relatively straightforward, making them a good choice for beginner cichlid enthusiasts. They are generally peaceful, although they can become more territorial as they mature.
When it comes to compatibility, Acei Cichlids are best paired with other semi-aggressive fish of similar size. Ideal tank mates include the Yellow Lab Cichlid and the Rusty Cichlid, as they can match the Acei's energy and temperament. However, avoid housing them with smaller, more passive species like the Neon Tetra or Guppy, as the Acei might bully them. Acei Cichlids are not schooling fish but prefer to be in groups, ideally of at least 6.
In terms of diet, Acei Cichlids are primarily herbivorous algae-eaters in the wild. In the aquarium, their diet should consist mainly of high-quality spirulina-based flakes. Include blanched vegetables like frozen peas, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and cucumber in their diet. Frozen Mysis shrimp, Daphnia, and brine shrimp can be provided once a week. Fastening them one day a week is suggested to keep these cichlids healthy.
Creating an ideal habitat for Acei Cichlids involves mimicking their natural environment. A darker substrate of sand or fine gravel is recommended to provide a sense of security and allow them to display their best colors. Include plenty of caves and cover, using rocks, African Driftwood, dragon stones, and broken terracotta pots or pipes.
Consider arranging stacks of rocks vertically to create structures that resemble towering caves. The rock structures should be built relatively high, as this species is known to frequent the upper half of the aquarium. But ensure to leave open spaces for swimming.
As Acei Cichlids are known to be diggers, care should be taken to ensure that the structures are sturdy and cannot collapse. While they can tolerate a variety of plant life, robust species like Anubias or Java Fern are recommended as they can withstand the Acei's active nature. Lighting should be moderate to highlight their vibrant colors.
As for water parameters and tank size, Acei Cichlids require a minimum of 55 gallons. However, 125 gallon or larger aquarium is ideal for a community setup. They prefer slightly alkaline water and mineral-rich water, mimicking the conditions of Lake Malawi, with a pH range of 7.5 to 8.5. The hardness should be within the range of 10-20 dGH. They thrive in warmer waters, with an ideal temperature range of 78-82°F (24-28°C).
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.