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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bought these a while ago and they were sold as Keyhole cichlids, these picture are from when I first got them. They are now 3+ inches and a much darker brown color with stripes



 

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Port Acara.
It is one of the 13 species that are in the Cichlasoma genus. If you want to try to narrow it down, a start would be to count the anal spines. There are 6 species in the genus with 3 anal spines and 7 species with 4 or more anal spines. Then you would need to provide some better pictures, and using a key, POSSIBLY narrow it down further by it's markings.
Or may you'd be content to just use it's common name of Port Acara, or what is probably more common today, Port Cichlid.
 

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Ichthys said:
The Port Acara is one of those species, not all 13...

:)
No, it is a common name. It could refer to any of the 13 species in the genus. Common names often refer to many species (and that is typical through out the animal and plant kingdom; even more so for things like algae, bacteria ect.)
The Cichlasoma species are not easily distinguished, nor were many of the species even recognized when the name was coined.
What was in the hobby and called a Port Acara in the past was probably more often Cichlasoma dimerus rather then C. portalgrensis.
In the past, there was also the Black Acara in the hobby, Cichlasoma bimaculatum. It was distinguished because it had 4 or more anal spines though it could have very well have been any of the other 6 spieces with 4 anal spines. Some of these species were yet to be described while others were considered junior synonyms at the time. So I guess, yes, if it has 4 anal spines you could call it a Black Acara, though I really don't think that common name is in use today.
 

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Black Acara and Port Acara are still in use in the UK, and are used for the 'same fish' (portalegrensis), although, as you say, they weren't all portalegrensis... Anyway they're hardly ever seen in the UK these days so the name will no doubt peter out especially with them being so difficult to id.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here are some updated pictures (the tank is still dirty 8) )

one pair are guarding the whole they made in the substrat, there is a 3rd hanging out on the other side of the tank

Im guessing i probably should consider moving the rasbora and barbs out at some point
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Well, If you are really intent on narrowing it down to determine which particular species of Port Acara you have, like I have already mentioned, the first step is to determine the number of anal spines. At least then you are dealing with narrowing it down from 6 or 7 species, and not 13. A really good picture with the anal fin erect, would be the best way. These pictures certainly are not going to show that, as well as having the fin folded to the body rather then erect. With enough effort and observation, it certainly can be done in person---many decades ago, I was able to count spines (both dorsal and anal) when I was a 9-10 year old kid so it is not beyond the ability of the average aquarist though it may take some real time and effort to be able to see it clearly. Here is a previous ID thread from last may, with another unidentified port acara: https://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=441146 You may find some useful information there(??), particularily about anal spines. From the pictures I was able to count 4 anal spines, though I really couldn't be certain from those pictures. The aquarist confirms that there is 4 anal spines. IMO, the fish is very elongated for a port acara.....and there is only one port species that ever gets called elongated, as port acaras are really deep bodied fish. I believe the fish in question in this link is Cichlasoma taenia though I really am not certain.
This a key that might be helpful after the number of anal spines have been determined: https://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/threads/identifying-your-cichlasoma.366569/
Of course the real way to determine which species it is, is to know where the fish was originally collected from (or it's parents, grandparents ect). And with out that info, it is often more then difficult to determine with any certainty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I cleaned the glass a bit and tried to get a better shot.. camera phones are only so good...

First is probably the best shot i got on the anal spine, im guessing it ins C- Amazonarum?
The second is Mom and the kids :)

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creedo16 said:
First is probably the best shot i got on the anal spine,
Great picture of the anal fin! I can clearly count 5 spines so it is definitely in the 4 or more anal spine category. So now we have it narrowed down to 7 species: Cichlasoma amazonarium , C. bimaculatum, C. taenia , C. orientale, C. sanctifranscicence, C. orinocense or C. zarskei.
I guess the next thing to look at would be whether or not several rows of scales enter the dorsal and anal fin. According to the key developed by Mahlerfan (the link from MFK), the only 4 or more anal spine Port Acara with rows of scales entering the anal and dorsal fin is C. amazonarum. If it has this feature, that pretty much eliminates the other 6. I can't tell from the pictures ......though you may be able to see it in person (?). Or possibly more pictures might show it (?).
 

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creedo16 said:
Considering I'm not entirely sure what that means..
Well, they would be tiny scales, in rows, that go on top of the fin rays towards the back part of the anal and dorsal fin, starting at where these fins meet the body and continuing a little ways on to the fin. When I blow some of your pictures up, it certainly does appear to have this on both the dorsal and anal fin, though I am really not certain.
Your fish certainly does resemble pictures of C. amazonarum. Markings fit. Though I would be a little cautious about jumping to the conclusion that it is in fact this fish because of how similar some of these species can be. I'd look a little more closely at the back part of the anal and dorsal fin and see if you can see tiny scales, or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
20190109_195456.jpg
Looking closely i would say it does ...
I removed the 3rd one this afternoon and took it home and put it in my 150, in the few hrs hes been in there hes seems way less stressed, he was so grateful he came up to the glass and posed for this picture :D he was very dark like the others, and it has flushed out already, looking at it i would say yes to the scales...
 

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creedo16 said:
looking at it i would say yes to the scales...
Yup, the picture shows the scales on the fins. Good picture.
I think you could be reasonably sure that your fish is Cichlasoma amazonarum.
 
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