Zebra acara Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The zebra acara is a beautiful and popular freshwater fish that is perfect for beginner aquarists. They’re easy to care for, and can live in a wide range of water conditions.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about zebra acara care. You’ll learn about their diet, size, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

Zebra Acaras (Aequidens rivulatus) are a freshwater fish that’s native to South America. Their natural habitat includes the Amazon River basin in countries like Brazil, Peru, and Colombia.

They prefer slow-moving waters with a lot of vegetation, but they can also survive in fast-moving waters if necessary.

Zebra Acaras are a popular choice for aquariums because they’re relatively easy to care for and they’re very peaceful fish. They’re also one of the few freshwater fish that can tolerate brackish water, so they’re a good choice for people who want to keep a mix of fresh and saltwater fish.


Zebra acara

Zebra acaras are one of the more popular freshwater fish due to their unique and beautiful appearance. These fish have a black and white striped pattern that covers their entire body.

The stripes on their body are thick and relatively far apart. They start at the fish’s head and continue all the way down to the caudal peduncle.

Zebra acaras have a long and slender body shape that tapers off at the end. Their fins are all black and relatively small. The dorsal fin is located about two-thirds of the way back on the body and is slightly taller than the anal fin.

The caudal fin is forked and symmetrical.

Their eyes are large and protrude slightly from their head. They have a small mouth that is located at the end of a long snout.


Zebra acaras have an average lifespan of 5 to 8 years, but can live up to 10 years in captivity with proper care.

As with most fish, their lifespan will be shortened by poor water quality, stress, and a lack of nutrition.


Zebra acaras can grow up to about 4 inches in length, with males being slightly larger than females on average. When planning your tank setup, make sure you have enough space to accommodate their full size. They also prefer to have plenty of hiding spots and plants to feel comfortable and secure.


Tank Size

The minimum tank size for a zebra acara is 50 gallons. If you want to keep more than one fish, you should add at least 30 gallons for each additional fish.

Zebra acaras are semi-aggressive fish, so you need to make sure they have enough space to establish their own territory and to avoid aggression from other tank mates.

Water Parameters

The zebrafish is a freshwater species that is indigenous to parts of South Asia. In the wild, they inhabit slow-moving waters with plenty of vegetation.

This is a schooling fish, so you will need to provide them with at least 5 gallons per fish. If you have a smaller aquarium, you may need to re-home some of your fish.

Zebrafish are not fussy when it comes to water parameters. They will do well in a variety of conditions as long as the water is clean and well-oxygenated.

Here are some guidelines to help you create a zebrafish-friendly environment.

  • Water temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 4 to 20 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 2 to 12 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Zebra Acaras are one of the easiest fish to care for. They’re not picky eaters and they don’t need a ton of space to thrive.

When it comes to setting up their tank, we recommend going with a classic gravel substrate. This will be easy on their gills and it won’t get in the way if they decide to do a bit of digging.

As for decorations, these fish don’t need much. A few pieces of driftwood or some rocks will do the trick. Just make sure that any rocks you use are smooth (sharp edges can tear their fins).

Plants are always a nice addition to any freshwater aquarium, but they’re not required. If you do decide to go with plants then make sure they’re tough enough to handle a bit of nibbling. Zebra Acaras are known to munch on vegetation from time to time.

Java Fern, Hornwort, and Water Wisteria are all great choices.

Common Diseases

Zebra acaras are a pretty hearty fish, but they can still succumb to the usual diseases and infections that plague freshwater fish.

The most common one you’ll need to watch out for is ich. This is a parasitic infection that will present itself as white spots on the body of your fish.

If left untreated, ich can be fatal. However, it is curable if you catch it early enough. There are plenty of ich treatment guides online, so we won’t go into too much detail here.

The other disease you’ll need to keep an eye out for is hole-in-the-head disease. This is another infection that is caused by poor water quality.

It will present itself as one or two pits/holes in the skin of your fish’s head. While it’s almost always curable, it will usually leave some scarring on your poor fish!

As always, the best way to prevent these diseases is to maintain the quality of the water in your tank. A tank with clean and stable water conditions is always the best way to ensure the health of your fish.

Behavior & Temperament

The zebra acara is a semi-aggressive fish that is known to be territorial. They are not the most peaceful fish and may attack other fish that they see as a threat. It is best to keep them with fish that are of a similar size so that they are not bullied.

They are also known to be fin nippers, so it is best to avoid keeping them with fish that have long fins. The zebra acara is a predator and will eat smaller fish if given the chance.

While they can be aggressive, they are also known to be very curious fish. They are constantly exploring their environment and may even nibble on plants.

The zebra acara is a hardy fish that is easy to care for. They are a good choice for beginner aquarists.

Tank Mates

Zebra Acaras are social creatures that do best in groups. In the wild, these fish live in schools of 20 or more individuals.

While you might not be able to provide a home for that many fish, you should aim for a group of at least six.

The good news is that these fish are relatively easy to care for. As long as you provide them with the proper diet and water conditions, they will thrive in captivity.

When it comes to finding compatible tank mates, there are a few things to consider.

First, Zebra Acaras are semi-aggressive. They can hold their own against most fish, but they might bully smaller or weaker fish.

As a result, it’s best to avoid pairing them with fish that are easily intimidated.

Second, these fish come from slow-moving waters in the Amazon Basin. As a result, they’re not used to fish that swim quickly.

Fish that are too active might stress out Zebra Acaras.

With that being said, here are some compatible tank mates for Zebra Acaras:


Zebra Acaras are easy to breed in captivity. They are egg-layers and will lay their eggs in a spawning mop or on a leaf. A single female can lay up to 500 eggs at a time.

The eggs will hatch in 3-5 days and the fry will be free-swimming a week after that. You can feed the fry live food or crushed flakes.

To induce spawning, you can raise the water temperature to 82 degrees Fahrenheit and do partial water changes of 20 percent every other day.


The Zebra Acara is a great fish for anyone looking for a beautiful, easy to care for freshwater fish. They are perfect for community tanks and get along well with other fish. They are also very easy to care for, which is a big plus. If you are looking for a fish that is low maintenance and high reward, the Zebra Acara is a great choice!