With their distinctive blueish coloration and striking banding as adults, the Azul or Piquiti Peacock Bass is among the most popular of the large predatory cichlids in the aquarium hobby. These fish are popular food and sports fish in their native range. Like all peacock bass, the Azul Peacock Bass requires very large aquariums and should only be kept by experienced hobbyists. This species, like all of its close relatives, are powerful predators and will eat any fish that they can fit in their large mouths. They are best kept in small groups with similarly sized cichlids although aggression and territoriality can become an issue as they reach maturity.
Azul Peacock Bass (Cichla piquiti) are native to the rivers and tributaries of northern South America in Colombia, Venezuela, Guianas & Brazil. They have also been introduced to areas outside of their native habitat including Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Singapore. Key characteristics to look for to positively ID Cichla piquiti include grayish brown body color, bluish coloration on fins, vertical dark bars throughout the length of the body, and yellow dots along with an eye spot on their tail fin.
Azul Peacock Bass are very fast growers, who will grow quickly to about 16 to 18 inches in length and then over time depending on the food source, water condition, and tank size, reach an eventual adult length of upwards of 29 inches. They are a very fast swimming and boisterous species that will hit prey items (even pellet foods) with an amazing force that can startle other tank mates and their human owners alike.
Despite the aggression they show towards their prey, they are not considered to be that aggressive towards other suitably sized tank mates. The reason size is so critical is that tank mates that are not at least half as large as the Azul Peacock Bass will usually be regarded as prey. So despite not being too aggressive towards tank mates, their sheer size and fast, burst ambush style feeding behavior make Azul Peacocks a poor choice to keep with timid fish species, who may find aquarium life with an Azul difficult.