Uaru Cichlid

The Uaru, also known as wedge-spotted cichlid, is very well known, but a rare sight in an aquarium. This is certainly not due to its beautiful appearance or its peaceful nature. The keeping of the Uaru is much more demanding and especially not suitable for beginners, furthermore it needs a large aquarium. Today we will have a look at all information about the wedge-spotted cichlid.

Uaru profile

Scientific name: Uaru amphiacanthoides
Species: Uaru amphiacanthoides and Uaru fernandezyepezi
Explorers: Uaru amphiacanthoides: Heckel 1840, Uaru fernandezyepezi 1989
German name: Wedge-spotted Cichlid
Origin: South America in the Amazon
Dissemination: Amazonas, Rio Negro, Rio Branco, Orinoco basin, lower reaches, tributaries
Dude: over 10 years
Size: 19 – 30 cm
pH value: 5,5 – 7,2
Water: clean, not too hard, clear water, black water
Water hardness: 2° to 15° dGH
Temperature: 24 – 28° C
Behavior: peaceful
Posture: small group, large, dark aquarium
Nutrition: mainly vegetable food, live food, frozen food
Diseases: in hard or alkaline environments very susceptible to disease
Aquarium size: 600 – 750 litres
Facility: Hiding places – stones and roots
Ground: fine gravel or sand
Swimming zone: lower area
Family: Cichlidae – Cichlids
Subfamily: Cichlinae
Tribus: Heroini
Genus: Uaru
Superordination: Cichlomorphae
Order: Cichliformes
Reproduction: Open Breeder
Breeding: demanding
Fin formula: D XV-XVI/14-16, A VIII/13-15
Scaly formula: mLR 40-42

The Uaru belongs to the heroine cichlids, which show as next relatives Uaru fernadezyepezi and U. amphiacanthoides. Further relatives as clade of high backed cichlids are from the genera Symphysodon (discus fish), Hoplarchus and Heros.

Uaru origin, species and way of life

In Brazilian Indian language Uaru means “toad”. The generic name is derived from the word Uarù-urà, which means bird toad. Heckel chose the species name inspired by the marine fish genus Amphiacanthus, which he found to be appropriate due to its physique. There are two species, which both belong to the cichlids:

  • U. amphiacanthoides
  • U. fernandezyepezi
]In aquaristics the not so long known Uaru fernandezyepezi is a rarity. In most cases the Uaru amphiacanthoides can be seen here.

In South America you can find this magnificent fish with large occurrences in different habitats. Both in the clear water and in the black water of the Amazon and its tributaries: Río Negro, Río Ucayali, Rio Solimões, Río Branco, Orinoco. Especially in riparian zones, marshy river mouths and in deep water the cichlid occurs in groups. Here it stays in places that offer it protection in the form of wood and roots as well as food. The type locality of the Uaru amphiacanthoides can be found above Airao in the Rio Negro.

Appearance and physique

Uaru Keilfleckbuntbarsch
Uaru cichlid - © borislav15

With a size of 19 to 30 cm the Uaru belongs to the larger ornamental fish. Seen from the front it is flattened on the sides and has an oval shape. The terminal mouth has small, flattened teeth, which are particularly pointed in young fish. The older the fish becomes, the more the teeth round off. The large, colourful head has two large red eyes.

The Uaru has very small scales, but the colour also differs with age. While the younger specimens still appear greyish-green and show a partly dark marbling, with age from a size of 10 cm the scales change to greyish brown, white-beige, orange-brown or a dirty yellow. In the right light the fish often have a metallic effect. On these body colours you can find a very distinct, dark, wedge-shaped spot and the typical cross-band, which is black. From the appearance one cannot distinguish the male and female Uarus. The soft rays of the anal and dorsal fins are transparent, while the tips of the anal and dorsal fins seem rather milky.

Uaru posture

Theoretically you can keep the Uaru in the Amazonas Aquarium, but here you should choose the right roommates. As a substrate fine gravel or sand is recommended. It is important that there are sufficiently large hiding places in the form of wood or roots. Stone hiding places are also gladly taken. Dark colours are best suited to imitate the natural home. But the hiding places must also offer darkened resting places. Those who put plants in the tank will not enjoy them for long, as the cichlid will regard them as food.

As described in the profile, you need a large aquarium and the Uaru does not like to be alone. Different sources disagree on whether the cichlid should be kept in large or small groups. Probably 6-8 animals are a good number for stocking. You have to be careful when reproduction starts, because then pairs form among the Uarus, which not only need a place to breed, but also enough space to rest. During the reproductive phase they form territories which they defend. This should be taken into account with the size of the aquarium. A large external filter is also very useful, because the Uarus leave a lot of excrements. It is especially urgent not only to clean the filter thoroughly, but also to change the water continuously. Depending on the volume you can change about 50% of the water every 1-2 weeks. The water must not be too hard. If the values are not kept, the Uaru is very susceptible to diseases. The correct water values and temperature can be found in the profile above.

Uaru food and feeding

The Uaru considers every water plant as food. Expensive and elaborate planting can thus be dispensed with. The main food consists of plants, which can be given in the form of dry fodder, tablets and green fodder with a minimum plant content of 60%. As a change to the normal diet, the cichlid also likes to take live food or frozen food. The following are suitable as fresh vegetables and plants for feeding:

  • Oatmeal
  • Carrots
  • Dandelion
  • Peas
  • Salad leaves
  • Courgette
  • Vallisnery
  • Mermaid
  • Hornwort
]After the meal the teeth are regularly grated, for this the Uaru needs soft wood. He uses the wood to stimulate his digestion. It should also be mentioned that apparently too many red mosquito larvae can lead to death. The aquarists argue whether the mosquito larvae are really responsible for this.

Uaru socialization

Before socializing the Uaru with other fish species, it is important that they find a group of their own species. Next, you should really only choose peaceful co-inhabitants and make sure that they do not depend on lush planting. Especially bad is the socialization with the more dominant Heros, as long as they are the same size.

Uaru breeding and reproduction

Before a pair can separate from the group for reproduction, male and female Uarus are naturally required. Unfortunately, at first glance it is not possible to distinguish them. A perfect assignment is made by checking the anal pill. If you want to breed this magnificent fish in a targeted way, the first step is to raise the temperature to 29° C and give it a particularly varied diet. The ph-value is regulated to 5.5 - 6.5.

The Uaru is a substrate spawner, which chooses plants and stones for the first oviposition. Before the oviposition begins, you can observe how the cichlid will thoroughly clean the spawning area. After only two days the hatching takes place and the female carries the small fish to a pit on the sandy bottom (also known as nest hollow). The mother chews the egg shells so that the little ones can hatch properly. Three to four days later they are already able to swim alone and free. For the first six days, the babies do not need any additional food, as they feed on the skin secretion of their parents. As soon as this food source is no longer sufficient, Artemia and dust food should be used. Even after hatching the parents partly defend their territory.

As usual we have also picked out two nice videos for you, which show you the Uarus a little bit closer.


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