That's not a Green Terror!

Information and guides to the south American Cichlid genus Andinoacara

Andinoacara sapayensis (Regan, 1903)


Common Name

  • Gold Acara


  • Andinoacara sapayensis, Musilová et al, 2009, new combination
  • 'Aequidens' sapayensis, Stawikowski et al, 1998, provisional name
  • Aequidens sapayensis, Eigenmann, 1910, new combination
  • Acara coeruleopunctata, Regan, 1905, misidentification (part)
  • Acara rivulata, Pellegrin, 1904, senior synonym
  • Acara sapayensis, Regan, 1903, original combination

Type Locality

Río Sapayo, northwestern Ecuador.


sapayensis = from Rio Sapayo, in reference to the collection locality for the holotype.


Average adult size: 5-6"/13-15cm


As an omnivorous fish they are generally easy to feed. It is suggested to feed a good quality cichlid stick as staple, and supplement this with regular feeds of live and frozen foods such as earthworms, prawns, mussels, and other such foods.

Vegetable matter, including peas, spinach should also form a good proportion of the diet. High protein foods such as beefheart and other red meats are not advisable.

We feed our fish with Vitalis cichlid pellets, and live foods, including bloodworm, and meal worm.


Unless you are keeping this fish in a large tank (4 feet or more) then it is best they are kept as single fish, or as a mate pair. The older the fish the more aggressive and territorial they become, and will consume any fish small enough to fit in their mouths.

Unlike some of the related fish in the rivulatus complex, the pulcher complex is relatively docile and is more compatible with other fish and smaller aquarium setups.

Good tank mates for these fish are other medium cichlids, large characins, such as bleeding heart tetras, and catfish such as corydoras and ancistrus.

These fish are not suitable for a standard community tank.


This species is known only by name in the aquatics hobby, The species found in the hobby in the 1980's that was commonly thought to be A. sapayensis were in fact misidentified cichlids. Only one photograph of this species by Musilova has been confirmed as A. sapayensis showing it being kept in an aquarium.

The meristic data and visible physiology of this species, would indicate that it belongs in the pulcher complex, but the genetic data shows it is more closely related to Andinoacara biseriatus and therefore resides in the rivulatus complex.