Acei Cichlid Care: Complete Guide for Beginners

The Acei Cichlid, also known as Yellow Tail Acei, is a vibrant, tropical freshwater fish. Scientifically, it’s referred to as Pseudotropheus Acei. This fascinating species originates from Zambia, offering a hint of African waters to your aquarium.

yellow tail acei cichlid

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Acei Cichlid Species Profile and Identification

The Acei Cichlid, also referred to as the Yellow Tail Acei, is a lake-dwelling fish identified under the scientific name Pseudotropheus Acei. This species hails from the waters of Zambia, known for the colorful population of cichlids.

In terms of size, the Acei Cichlid can grow quite impressive, reaching anywhere from 3.5 to 5.9 inches (8.9 to 15 centimeters) in length. Its lifespan is similarly respectable, averaging around 8-10 years. This is a moderately hardy fish, given the correct conditions.

Its appeal lies in the unique blue coloration of its body, contrasted with a vibrant yellow or yellow-orange tail. This contrast makes Acei Cichlid instantly recognizable and a visually striking addition to any aquarium.

The Acei Cichlid’s preferred temperature conditions range from 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 28 degrees Celsius), coupled with a water pH range of 7.7 to 8.6. This factor is crucial for maintaining their overall well-being within the tank environment.

Understanding these core aspects of the Acei Cichlid species is fundamental to the success of their care. These hardy cichlids can make an impressive and colorful addition to your cichlid tank.

Acei Cichlid Supplies

Caring for an Acei Cichlid certainly requires some essential supplies. It’s not as simple as just filling a fish tank with water and dropping the fish in it. As your new hobby begins, you will need to gather the right supplies to provide the optimal environment for your Acei Cichlid.

The first and foremost requirement is a suitable fish tank. Considering the size of a mature Acei Cichlid, which can range from 3.5 to 5.9 inches (8.9 to 15 cm), a minimum tank size of 55 gallons is required. Going bigger will certainly make your fish happier and healthier.

Your list of supplies should also include a temperature-controlled heater and an effective filter. The ideal temperature for an Acei Cichlid is between 73 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, or around 23 to 28 degrees Celsius. It’s essential to maintain this temperature range, hence, the need for a reliable heater.

Next, you’ll need substrate. Sand or fine gravel is recommended as these species often dig in search of food. In addition, you should also equip the tank with rocks for the cichlids to hide and spawn. You’ll also need appropriate lighting that doesn’t stress the fish, along with adequate water conditioning chemicals to maintain the pH between 7.7 and 8.6.

As for diet, the Acei Cichlid thrives on spirulina flake – its primary food. Furthermore, feeding tubes can be advantageous as these fish are bottom feeders.

Here are some supplies you’ll need:

  • 55-gallon fish tank (or larger)
  • Temperature-controlled water heater
  • Effective filtration system
  • Suitable substrate (fine gravel or sand)
  • Rocks for hiding and spawning
  • Appropriate lighting
  • Necessary water conditioning chemicals
  • Spirulina flake
  • Feeding tubes

Starting with the right supplies is a strong step towards providing excellent care for your Acei Cichlid. A correctly equipped tank could ensure a healthy and long life for your colorful companion.

Acei Cichlid Tank Setup

Setting up an ideal tank for your Acei Cichlid is crucial. For starters, your tank should be spacious, with a minimum size of 55 gallons (208 liters). More room encourages healthy fish growth and better social behavior.

Tank Decor

Cichlids are territorial, hence their environment should mimic their natural habitat. Include plenty of rocks and caves, as in the African Rift Valley lakes where they originate. Also, ensure the substrate is soft to make it easy for them to burrow.


Maintaining clear, clean water is essential for the health of your fish. Given the robust nature of cichlids, they produce more waste which demands a strong filter. A powerful canister filter does a brilliant job for an Acei Cichlid tank.


Standard aquarium lighting would suffice, as Acei Cichlids don’t have specific lighting requirements. However, a dimmer setting would recreate a more vivid, natural deep water setting.


Acei Cichlids thrive in temperatures between 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 28 degrees Celsius). Therefore, a reliable, adjustable heater is necessary to maintain this temperature range.

Remember, the goal is to simulate the natural environment of your Acei Cichlid as much as possible. With this guide, you’re now equipped to set up the perfect home for your finned friend.

Acei Cichlid Water Requirements

When keeping an Acei Cichlid, it’s important to note they come from the waters of Zambia, requiring certain water conditions to thrive.

Optimal water temperature for Acei Cichlids is between 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (22.8 to 27.8 degrees Celsius). Hence, having an adjustable aquarium heater becomes a valuable asset, allowing you to control the water temperature accurately.

  • Water pH: Acei Cichlids prefer water with a neutral to slightly basic pH level. The recommended water pH is between 7.7 and 8.6. You can easily manage this by using a digital pH meter or test kits available in the market. Regular monitoring of pH levels ensures the health of your fish and aids in preventing diseases.
  • Tank size: Considering the size of an adult Acei Cichlid, which can reach between 3.5-5.9 inches (9-15 cm), a minimum tank size of 55 gallons (208 liters) is required. This ample space allows for the fishes to swim and display natural behavior, contributing to their overall well-being.

Water quality is crucial for the survival of your Acei Cichlids. You need to ensure proper filtration to keep the tank clean from nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia. Regular water changes, preferably weekly, are advisable. Remember, ensuring proper water parameters not only contributes to the health of the fish but also promotes colorful and vibrant appearances.

Acei Cichlid Diet and Feeding

An essential aspect of caring for your Acei Cichlid is understanding their dietary needs. Mostly requiring spirulina flake, these creatures thrive on plant-based foods. This is not a preference but a biological requirement that helps with digestion. So, don’t neglect this critical trait when feeding them.

  • Prioritize Spirulina Flakes. This should be the core part of your Acei Cichlid’s diet. As they are primarily herbivores, these flakes offer the right nutrition.
  • Remember to include other Vegetables in their diet. You can incorporate boiled peas, spinach, or lettuce. This will provide them with essential vitamins for a robust immune system.
  • Lastly, feed them High-Quality Pellets as supplements occasionally, to offer a well-rounded diet.

When it comes to feeding frequency, you need to feed your Acei Cichlid 2-3 times per day. Their metabolism is relatively fast compared to other fish species. Ensure you are providing enough food, but avoid overfeeding as it can lead to health problems.

Don’t forget that their dietary preference is just as unique as them. Your Acei Cichlid will happily graze and scour their environment for food, a behavior you should encourage. Observing them can be a fantastic way to understand their eating habits better.

Acei Cichlid Care Schedule

Maintaining a care schedule is crucial when you’re taking care of an Acei Cichlid. Here’s what your day-to-day and weekly routine should look like:

  • Day-to-Day: The morning begins with feeding your cichlids their main diet of spirulina flakes. A well-fed fish is a happy fish, so aim to feed them once or twice a day, giving them enough food they can consume within a few minutes.
  • Weekly: This is when the real work kicks in. Your Acei Cichlids relish clean water. So, conduct a water change of about 20%-40% each week to keep the ammonia and nitrate levels in check.
  • Regularly: Cichlids are active swimmers. Check if the current water conditions match its preference: a temperature between 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (22.7-27.7 degrees Celsius), and a pH level between 7.7 and 8.6. The health of your fish relies heavily on these parameters.
  • Every 8-10 years: Your Acei Cichlid will be your companion for around 8-10 years. It is key to observe any changes or irregularities in their behavior and take prompt action

From feeding to water changes to health checks, raising an Acei Cichlid may seem overwhelming at first. Rest assured, it will become routine, especially as you see your vibrant cichlids thrive. Remember, consistency is key when it comes to the care schedule.

Acei Cichlid Health Problems

One of the first common health issues to look out for in Acei Cichlids is Ichthyophthirius, more commonly known as Ich. Ich is a parasitic infection that presents as small white spots on your fish’s skin. It’s easy to overlook; however, it can be deadly if untreated.

Another prevalent issue is bacterial infections. Symptoms include a swollen belly, inflamed gills, or even a layer of mucus covering the fish’s body. These are caused by poor water conditions so keep a keen eye on your tank’s cleanliness.

Moreover, Acei Cichlids are victims of Malawi Bloat. This is an ailment exclusive to African Cichlids. It causes the fish to be lethargic, lose appetite, and show an enlarged abdomen. Cause? A diet too rich in protein.

Lastly, keep an eye out for skin flukes and worms. These are parasitic diseases that manifest through your fish scratching against surfaces in the tank.

Health Problem Symptoms Causes
Ichthyophthirius (Ich) Small white spots on skin Parasitic infection
Bacterial Infections Swollen belly, inflamed gills, mucus layer covering body Poor water conditions
Malawi Bloat Lethargy, loss of appetite, enlarged abdomen High protein diet
Skin Flukes and Worms Fish scratching against surfaces Parasites

In essence, becoming familiar with these common health issues aids in identifying problems early. Swift action can then ensure your Acei Cichlids live a healthy, long life.

Acei Cichlid Tank Mates

Finding the right tank mates for your Acei Cichlid is a critical aspect of its care. These vibrant fish are compatible with a specific range of species.

Electric Yellow Cichlid should be your first choice. They’re peaceful yet active enough to coexist without conflict. The bright yellow contrasts well with Acei’s purple-blue hues.

Next, Rusty Cichlid is another option worth exploring. They share a similar size and enjoy the same water conditions, making them ideal mates.

Aceis can also share tanks with Red Top Hongi. Just ensure the tank is spacious enough for both species.

For a remarkable mix of colors, consider Pearl of Likoma or Cynotilapia zebroids. They’re attractive and won’t pose a threat to Aceis.

Amongst the various species, Aulonocara spp and Copadichromis spp also get along well with Acei Cichlids. Their peaceful behavior makes them excellent companions.

Remember, even within these suitable species, individual personalities vary, so observe their interaction. Ensure each fish has adequate space to retreat and that no aggressive behavior occurs. Balancing out your aquarium community creates a stress-less environment for Acei’s, encouraging a healthier, more vibrant life.

Acei Cichlid Breeding

Breeding Acei Cichlids is a unique and fascinating process. This species is classified as an Ovophile mouth brooder, a term that describes the parent, usually the female, who will carry the fertile eggs in her mouth until they hatch.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you understand this process better:

  1. Spawning: Once the female Acei Cichlid has accepted a male’s advances, she’ll lay her eggs on a flat rock.
  2. Fertilization: As soon as these eggs are laid, the male will fertilize them.
  3. Mouth Brooding: Post fertilization, the female picks up these eggs in her mouth, where they will be protected and nurtured until they hatch.

Kindly note, it’s important not to disturb the female during this period. She will not eat while her mouth brooding, and she may appear to be unwell. But don’t worry, this is part of her natural breeding process, and she’ll resume normal behavior after the juveniles are released from her mouth.

Acei Cichlids are maternal mouth brooders, meaning the females do all the brooding. This species has a hardy nature which helps them be successful breeders in both their natural habitat and in your aquarium. So, with good care and attention, you can raise a thriving community of these interesting cichlids.


Caring for an Acei Cichlid can be an enriching and rewarding experience, especially when you observe its unique characteristics and behavior. As you embark on this exciting adventure, remember to attentively fulfill their needs and create a conducive environment for them.

If you’re already a proud Acei Cichlid owner or planning to be one, feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below.

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