Andinoacara biseriatus

Andinoacara biseriatus is not the largest or most colourful species within the genus. What they lack in bright colours and size, they more than make up for in behaviour.

Andinoacara biseriatus

Andinoacara biseriatus was first described in 1913 by Regan, then still as Cichlosoma (Aequidens) biseriatum. The genus name Andinoacara can be divided into two parts. “Andino” refers to the Andean Mountains where the habitat of this genus is located. “Acará” is the word for cichlids in the local language of the Tupí-Guaraní. The species name biseriatus can be divided into two parts. “bi” means “two”. “seriatus” means “rows”. This is not explained in the description but is probably a reference to dark longitudinal stripes or rows of spots on the scales of the flank.

This species has two synonyms: Aequidens biseriatus and Cichlasoma biseriatum.


The length of the Aninoacara biseriatus male and female are somewhat different. The male can reach a maximum total length of about 12 centimeters. The female remains slightly smaller with her 10 centimeters.

The male and female look almost identical in this species. The male is usually more intensely coloured than the female. The dorsal and anal fins are also somewhat more elongated in the male than in the female.

The color is dark with light spots on the scales. Two dark horizontal bands or rows of dark spots run along the flank. Sometimes they also have vertical dark bars.

The lips and pelvic fins are trimmed with a small iridescent blue border. The upper edge of the dorsal fin has a colored stripe that runs from white to orange, this edge continues into the upper edge of the caudal fin. In the dorsal fin, near the back, there is a black spot between the 10th and 12th fin ray. This is called an ocellus (eyespot). Sometimes a second spot is present, it can be located either in front of or behind the primary ocellus.

Rivulatus group

Andinoacara biseriatus is not very similar to the other species within the Andinoacara genus. However, they are closely related to Andinoacara rivulatus and Andinoacara stalsbergi. They are therefore placed in the Rivulatus group.


Andinoacara biseriatus is only found in Colombia. They inhabit the basin of the Rio Atrato, Rio Baudó, and Rio San Juan.


This is an omnivore. So they eat both meaty and vegetable food. The diet should therefore be adjusted accordingly.

Give them a variety of flake food or granulate for omnivorous fish. You can alternate this with, for example, peas and spinach as vegetable food. They also like to eat live or frozen food. Think of white and black mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, pieces of mussel, shrimp, worms and the like.

Don’t give the fish more than they can eat in a few minutes. Food left behind quickly pollutes the water!

The Aquarium

The special aquarium for a pair of Andinoacara biseriatus must be at least 120 centimeters long, but preferably a bit larger. As the fish get older, they tend to become more territorial. If you want to combine them with other fish species in the same water layer, an aquarium of 150 centimeters in length is recommended.

Set up the aquarium with gravel or sand on the bottom. Use wood and boulders to create shelters. Plants do occur on the banks in their biotope. You can also place these on the edge of the aquarium.

Water parameters

The water in which Andinoacara biseriatus occurs is a bit acidic and soft. Preferably keep the pH between 5.0 and 6.5. As mentioned, they like soft water with a GH below 5. The temperature may be a bit higher for this species, the optimum temperature lies between 24 to 29 degrees Celsius.

Which species can you combine Andinoacara biseriatus with?

When selecting tankmates for Andinoacara biseriatus, keep in mind that they are strong and territorial cichlids. It is best to combine them with, for example, the somewhat larger Characins. An example of this is the Bleeding Heart Tetra. You can keep some Corydoras on the bottom. Also, species of the family Loricariidae of sufficient size are well suited.

How old can Andinoacara biseriatus become?

With good care and the right water composition, Andinoacara biseriatus can reach an age of about five to six years.

Breeding Andinoacara biseriatus

Andinoacara biseriatus can reproduce from a length of about eight to nine centimeters. They form a monogamous couple.

They form their territory around a burrow or a flat rock. The couple completely cleans the rock. In the absence of a suitable rock or location, they also lay eggs on the gravel. Although there is little difference between the sexes, when the eggs are laid the female becomes very dark, almost black in color.

The female lays about 75 to 150 eggs that are fertilized directly by the male. The female takes care of the eggs until they hatch after two to three days. The male guards the area and chases all other fish away.

The newly hatched fish are constantly being moved so that they can feed on micro-organisms. After about seven days they can swim on their own. Both parents protect the fry for a long time.

You can feed the young Andinoacara biseriatus with crushed flake food and newly hatched brine shrimp.


Andinoacara biseriatus is not the largest or most colorful species within the genus. What they lack in bright colors and size, they more than make up for in behavior. They are interesting fish that are not too large or aggressive and can therefore be kept well in an aquarium. With a bit of luck, you can see how they raise their young!



John de Lange

Copyright images

Erik Bakker –


C. Tate Regan M.A. (1913) LVI.—The fishes of the San Juan river, Colombia, Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 12:71, 462-473, DOI: 10.1080/00222931308693424

Additional information









Aequidens biseriatus, Cichlasoma biseriatum

First described by

Charles Tate Regan


Social behaviour

Breeding behaviour


Min. aquarium length in cm







Minimum length


Length maximum


Temperature minimum
Temperature maximum


pH minimum


pH maximum


GH minimum


GH max



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