Blue Lyretail Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: November 19, 2022

The blue lyretail is a stunning freshwater fish that is perfect for the intermediate aquarium keeper.

While they’re not the easiest fish to care for, they’re certainly not the hardest either. With a little bit of knowledge and preparation, you can successfully keep these fish healthy and happy.

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about blue lyretail care. From diet and tank size, to breeding and common problems. You’ll be an expert in no time!

Species overview

The Blue Lyretail (scientific name: Hemiancistrus subviridis) is a type of pleco that’s native to South America. They’re most commonly found in the Orinoco River basin in Venezuela and Colombia.

This species of pleco is known for its unique coloration. The body is a dark brown or black color with blue spots speckled all over. The fins also have a beautiful blue hue to them.

In the wild, these fish are found in slow-moving waters with a lot of vegetation. This is something you’ll want to replicate in their aquarium as well.

Blue lyretail plecos are a popular choice for many aquarium hobbyists because of their unique coloration. They’re also relatively peaceful fish, which makes them a good choice for community tanks.


Blue Lyretail

The Blue Lyretail is a very colorful fish that is sure to stand out in any aquarium. As their name suggests, these fish have a bright blue coloration that is most prominent on their fins and tail.

The body of the fish is a slightly lighter blue, with a few dark spots dotting their sides. These spots are usually more prominent in juveniles and fade as the fish gets older.

The fins on the Blue Lyretail are very long and flowing. The dorsal fin starts about two-thirds of the way back on their body and extends all the way to the end of their tail.

The anal fin is also very long and extends the entire length of their body. Both of these fins have a very ruffled appearance.

The caudal fin is forked and also very long. When the fish is swimming, this fin creates a beautiful flowing effect.

The pectoral and ventral fins are relatively small and don’t stand out too much.


The average lifespan for a blue lyretail is around 5 years. As with most fish, their lifespan can be affected by a variety of factors.

One of the biggest factors is their diet. If they’re not getting the right nutrients then their lifespan will be shorter.

The environment they’re in also plays a role. If the water is too cold or too hot, or if there’s not enough oxygen then that will also shorten their lifespan.


The Blue Lyretail Molly is a bit larger than your average Molly fish. They can grow to be about 4 inches long, with the males being larger than the females on average.


Tank Size

The minimum tank size for a blue lyretail molly is 10 gallons. If you’re looking to keep a school of these fish, you’ll need at least 30 gallons.

Mollies are social creatures and do best in groups. If you’re looking to keep a molly as a pet, we recommend you get at least 3 fish so they have company.

Water Parameters

The blue lyretail molly is a tropical fish, which means it needs warm water to thrive. The ideal temperature range for these fish is between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

pH levels are also important for blue lyretail mollies. The ideal range is between 7.5 and 8.5.

Water hardness is not as critical for blue lyretail mollies, but it is still important to maintain consistent levels. The ideal range is between 5 and 15 dGH.

Alkalinity levels are not as critical for blue lyretail mollies as they are for some other fish, but the ideal range is still between 4 and 8 dKH.

What To Put In Their Tank

The Blue Lyretail is a peaceful cichlid that does best in a community tank. They are not too picky when it comes to their tank mates, but we recommend sticking with other cichlids that are around the same size.

They are also not too particular when it comes to the substrate. A classic gravel substrate will work just fine.

As for decorations, these fish like to have plenty of hiding spots. This can be in the form of caves, rocks, or even driftwood.

Plants are a little trickier with these fish. They are known to nibble on vegetation, so you’ll want to choose something that can withstand a little bit of abuse (Java Fern, Hornwort, or Anubias are all good choices).

You should also avoid having too many plants in their tank. They like to have some open spaces to swim in.

Common Diseases

The blue lyretail is a relatively hardy fish, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get sick. There are a few diseases that you should be on the lookout for, the most common being ich.

Ich is a very common freshwater disease that is caused by a parasite. It’s easily recognizable, as it causes small white spots to form on the body of the fish.

If left untreated, ich can be fatal. However, it is fairly easy to treat if you catch it early.

The other disease you might see in your blue lyretail is hole-in-the-head disease. This is a bit less common, but it’s still something to be aware of.

This disease is caused by poor water quality and the presence of activated carbon in the tank. It presents itself as small holes in the head of the fish.

While it is possible to treat, it is often best to prevent it in the first place. The best way to do this is to maintain high water quality and to avoid using activated carbon in the tank.

Behavior & Temperament

The blue lyretail is a peaceful and easy-going fish that does well in most aquariums. They are known for being good community fish that get along with other tank mates.

One thing to keep in mind is that, like most fish, they can be a little shy at first. It’s not uncommon for them to hide when you first add them to your tank. But, once they feel comfortable and settle in, they should be out and about more often.

These fish are relatively active and enjoy swimming around the tank. They are also known to be good jumpers, so be sure to have a tight-fitting lid on your aquarium!

When it comes to temperament, blue lyretails are pretty mellow. They are not known to be aggressive or territorial. However, they may nip at the fins of longer-finned fish. So, if you’re keeping them with fish that have long fins, you may want to keep an eye on them.

Tank Mates

The Blue Lyretail is a semi-aggressive fish that can be kept with other semi-aggressive fish. They are known to be fin nippers so it’s best to avoid fish with long fins like bettas, angels, and gouramis.

Some compatible tank mates include:

  • Tetras
  • Rainbows
  • Danios
  • Livebearers
  • Certain Catfish
  • Certain Cichlids


The Blue Lyretail is a beautiful fish that can be difficult to breed in captivity. These fish need very specific conditions to be met before they will spawn.

First, you need to set up a breeding tank. It should be at least 30 gallons and have plenty of hiding places. You can use live plants to help create a more natural environment.

Next, you need to adjust the water parameters. The water should be soft with a pH between 6.8 and 7.2. The temperature should be between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

When you’re ready to add the fish, start with two females for every male. Once they’re in the tank, feed them plenty of live foods.

You should see the females start to swell with eggs after a few weeks. When this happens, the males will become more aggressive. They will also start to build bubble nests.

Once the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will do so in the male’s nest. The male will then fertilize them.

After the eggs have been fertilized, the male will guard them until they hatch. This usually takes about two weeks.

When the fry hatch, they will be very small and vulnerable. It’s important to remove the adults from the tank at this point. The fry will feed on microscopic organisms in the water. You can supplement their diet with baby brine shrimp.

As the fry grow, you can start to introduce them to live foods. When they are big enough, you can move them to a community tank.


The Blue Lyretail is a beautiful and unique fish that is perfect for the freshwater aquarium. They are very peaceful and get along well with other community fish.

Their striking blue coloration is sure to add some pizzazz to your tank and they are very easy to care for.

We highly recommend this fish to both beginner and experienced aquarists alike. They are sure to bring you years of enjoyment!