(Perciformes, Cichlidae, Cichlasomatinae)
Smiling acara, flag acara, flag
cichlid, curviceps, dwarf flag cichlid,
sheepshead acara, blunt-head
Type Locality: N/A
Range: Lower portions of
tributaries of the Amazon River
Basin in Brazil
MP. & C. Piednoir
Taxonomic Troubles: Originally described as Acara curviceps. Also known as Aequidens curviceps and
7–9 cm ( 2¾– 3½ inches), males larger than females.
Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical freshwater. Wild-caught specimens may require soft, acidic water
Difficulty: A good beginner’s cichlid.
Tank Setup: A planted tank is very good, but other hiding places (driftwood, PVC pipe, flowerpots,
ornaments) should be provided as well. Tankmates can include any small to medium fish that are too large
for the curviceps to eat and not large or nasty enough to harass the cichlids.
Feeding: Omnivorous, will take all regular foods. Live foods are always appreciated and are excellent for
Description: Highly variable, with several distinct geographical races, which have been blended in captive
stocks. These cichlids can change color and pattern very quickly. Some individuals show considerable color,
especially blue in the body and red in the fins. Breeding fish take on particularly intense coloration. A dark
spot in the middle of the dorsal fin is often present.
Breeding: Typical substrate spawning. Pairs form early and can be very stable over a long time. Eggs are
usually placed on a horizontal leaf or a flat stone. Parents care for the eggs, wrigglers, and free-swimming
fry. They occasionally raise a brood successfully in a community tank, but for best results, give them their
own spawning tank.
This dwarf cichlid was a regular in the early days of the hobby, but it fell out of favor during the African cichlid frenzy at
the end of the 20th century. Today, it and its congeners are enjoying a renewed popularity. It is a true dwarf cichlid in the
traditional sense: small, pretty, easy to breed, a generally good community fish, not destructive of plantings, etc. Telling the
fish in this genus apart is not always easy, and several are being imported. Aquarium care is the same for all of them, but
you should get as much collection and identification data as you can from your supplier.