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Species Name: Caquetaia Umbrifera (Umbee Cichlid, Turquoise Cichlid).


Juvenile male Umbee ~1.5" (Rio Magdalena colour variant)

Young male Umbee ~8 - 8.5" (Rio Magdalena colour variant)

Adult male, 15 - 16" (Rio Magdalena colour variant). There are also 'Gorillus Blue' and 'Gorillus Black' variants from Lake Guatape and San Rafael in Columbia.

Technically a South American Cichlid, the majority of Umbee populations are found in Columbia, specifically the Rio Atrato and Rio Magdalena river drainages and tributaries. They are also found in the
Darién province of Panama in Central America in the Tuíra and Chucunaque River drainages and surrounding areas (see Source 1)

Size: Male Umbees can be expected to reach up to 24" (TL), females can reach up to 14" (see
Source 1 and 4)

Tank requirements: A single adult male will need, as a bare minimum, a 180 gal tank (6x2x2), however realistically this sized tank will only be suitable for a female for life, with a male outgrowing it in size as he approaches 18", and outgrowing it in attitude much sooner. To keep a single adult male comfortable for life, a tank around 300 gal would be needed with at least 30" depth, but the bigger the better. For a cichlid this size you cannot have too large of a tank (see Source 2)

The Rio Magdalena and surrounding areas contain fairly soft, acidic water.
pH ranges from 6.2 - 7.1, GH 72ppm, KH 72ppm, temp 28 - 31 degrees celsius (82 - 88F) (see Source 3). Mine is kept in similar conditions to those found in the wild (pH 7.2, KH 54ppm, GH 90ppm, temp 82F).

Feeding habits: Umbees are predatory cichlids. In the wild they eat small fish (particularly of the species Astyanax) and crustaceans (source 1). In captivity, a high-protein pellet as a base, combined with supplements of freeze-dried krill soaked in vitamins is a good start. Other options include pieces of prawn or shrimp, thawed tilapia fillet (or similar white fleshed fish), and mealworms, crickets and so on make good treats. While carnivorous, like most cichlids they appreciate some fiber in their diet on occasion, whether it be through peas or rolling wet food in spirulina powder. Avoid live aquatic food as it can introduce parasites.

Temperament: While these fish are sometimes kept with other cichlids when they are small (source 4) they are highly aggressive so I don't recommend it. In my opinion they can only be a part of a community long term if they are housed in the very largest of tanks. They are even less tolerant of conspecifics than they are of other species.

Personal experience: My Umbee (Ganbie) is around 8 - 8.5" long (that's him in the first pic), and he's a little blue demon-fish from hell. Not because he's a massive glass-banger, but because he combines a fearless attitude, high intelligence and a ridiculous amount of strength for his size into one package. Too confident for his own good, he views everything in the room his tank is located in as his, and has recently taken to sizing up my Jag (who is in a tank opposite him on the other side of the room). He recently cracked a glass lid with his head when he leaped out of the water to chase a moth. For a fish, he is incredibly smart. Chases people around the tank, handfeeds, and is fascinated with novel objects inside (and outside) of his tank. A true 'wet pet' if there ever was one. One note about mine; one of his dorsal spines was bitten off by another juvenile Umbee when he was around 1" long. A good example of how aggressive these fish can be, even at such a small size.

2: "Giant Freshwater Fishes: Caveats and Comments"; Delbeek, Hemdal, and Terrell; Amazonas Magazine, November/December 2014 Edition, referred by user 'Rocksor' of another forum (if you ever read this, thank you for posting information about this Rocksor. You can find his post via googling this reference).
3: Tapley, B and Rymel Acosta-Galvis, A, "Distribution of Typhlonectes natans in Colombia, environmental parameters and implications for captive husbandry", (links directly to pdf).
4: Rapps, J, 2000, "Caquetaia Umbrifera: The unsung King of New World cichlids",


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