Acarichthys heckelii

Acarichthys heckelii can reach a length of about 20 centimeters. This fish is related to the Geophagus.

Acarichthys heckelii

Acarichthys heckelii can reach a length of about 20 centimeters. This fish is related to the Geophagus. The colors on its body are yellow and brown, the flanks and caudal fin are speckled blue. At the top of the ends of the dorsal fin are threads that are colored deep red, the lower fins have a red glow.

This species was first described in 1849 by Müller and Troschel.

Synonyms: Acara heckelii, Geophagus thayeri, Acara subocularis.


This species inhabits a vast area in northern South America. They are found in Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Guyana. They inhabit the larger rivers there such as the Amazon, Rio Putumayo, Rio Trombetas, Rio Negro, Rio Xingu, Tocantins, Rio Capim, Rio Branco and Rio Essequibo.

The Aquarium

Acarichthys heckelii requires an aquarium of at least 1.80 meters. Decorate the aquarium with stones and driftwood so that caves are created as a shelter. The soil must consist of sand that they can dig in. Use hardy plants, which are usually left alone. To secure them firmly, you can anchor them in a flower pot in the substrate. With the use of floating plants, the lighting can be slightly dimmed, floating plants such as Ceratopteris thalictriodes will certainly be appreciated. It is advisable to change water regularly.

Water parameters

Temperature: 23-26 degrees Celsius.
PH: 6,5-7
GH: 5-8


Both live food and frozen food, such as shrimps, mussels and krill, can be given as food. They even appreciate a fatty earthworm. Dry food is hardly accepted.


It is a fairly calm fish in which the adult animals, like most other Eartheaters, are relatively tolerant of each other. Acarichthys heckelii can be kept together with other large peaceful cichlids, smaller fish are seen as food. They can form a large territory, it is a real construction worker and likes to dig in the soil.

Breeding Acarichthys heckelii

Breeding Acarichthys heckelii is quite easy. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a mouth brooder, but they deposit the eggs against the ceiling of a cave. If you want to breed with these fish then a cave is necessary, make sure that the entrance is so large that 1 fish can completely block the entrance. A good tip: use a glass jar and cover it with driftwood. The cave should not be completely dark.

Once the eggs have been deposited, the female remains in the burrow until the eggs hatch after 3 days. All the while, the male stands guard at the entrance. The first 3 days after hatching, the fry swim around in the cave. Another 3 days later they swim freely through the aquarium. As soon as they hatch, you can immediately feed them with freshly hatched brine shrimp, egg yolks and crushed flake food.



Coby – John de Lange

Copyright images

Gerry Verrier
John de Lange

Additional information








Acara heckelii, Acara subocularis, Geophagus thayeri

First described by

Franz Hermann Troschel, Johannes Peter Müller


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