Synonyms: Acara amphiacanthoides, Uaru imperialis, U. obscurus
Physical description: An oval-shaped cichlid with a laterally compressed body. The fins are fairly erect and large, and the caudal fin is fan-shaped. Body color is usually slate gray to silver, and the belly and throat regions may be pinkish. A large black area on the lower-parts of the midsection is visible. Above this region is a fine dotted line which extends from the gill cover to the rear area of the body. A black spot at the caudal penuncle is characteristic of this species. The iris of the eye is amber-gold to red in color and the rear half the eye is surrounded by a black marking. The fins are slate gray in color. Juveniles have different coloring with gray upper-parts and dark gray lower parts. he body is marked with turquoise spots, as are the fins.
Size/Length: To 12" (30 cm)
Similar species: Severum ( Heros severus ), Parrot Cichlid ( Hoplarchus psittacus ), Discus ( Symphysodon ), Uaru fernandezyepezi of Venezuela and the Tocantins and Xingu rivers.
Habitat: Waroo are found in calm parts of small, blackwater rivers, lakes, and deep pools. They are usually found in small groups around submerged, fallen trees; decaying wood and vegetation; and aquatic grasses. Waroo tend to stay in shaded areas during the day. The water is usually very clean with little or no pollutants. The Waroo can be found in parts of the Amazon River in Guyana. The water in the natural habitat of the Waroo is acidic, around a pH of 5.7-6.5; and is soft, 0-6 dH. Waroo are found in warm water with a temperature of 79-86°F (26-30°C).
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A tank measuring 48" (122 cm) with a capacity of 70 gallons (265 L) is suggested. The tank should be arranged in dark colors and have a cover of floating pants. Driftwood and plant thickets should be provided for hiding places. A cave or rocky area should be provided for a possible spawning site. Use fine gravel or a sand bottom. The Waroo does best in peat filtered water.
Water chemistry: The Waroo requires warm water with a temperature between 79-86°F (26-30°C), a pH of 5.5-7.3 (6.7), and a water hardness of 0-12 dH (5).
Social behavior: A large, peaceful cichlid that can be kept in small groups. During the spawning season, pairs form a nuclear family. At this time, males often quarrel. The Waroo is found with Discus and Angelfish in nature. Combine with other peaceful fish.
Suggested companions: Catfish (Loricarids, Corydoras ), characins (tetras, hatchetfish, pencilfish), cichlids ( Apistogramma, Heros, Mesonauta, Discus, Angelfish).
FOOD: Vegetable foods, possibly flakes, Live; Tubifex, Artemia , glassworms, bloodworms, mosquito larvae; beef heart. The Waroo should have a well-balanced diet with lots of variety in food.
Sexual differences: Too difficult to distinguish outside of spawning. Just prior to spawning, the genital papilla of the male is pointed while the genital papilla of the female is blunt.
Breeding techniques: A difficult fish to breed. Breeding has been accomplished in water with a temperature of 82-86°F (28-30°C), a pH around 6.0, and a water hardness of 2-4 dH. The eggs, numbering about 300, are laid in a cave or other dark, hidden area. Both parents guard the eggs which hatch in 30-36 hours. The young - like Discus - feed on a milk-like secretion produced by the skin of both parents. After a period of 9-12 days, the fry should be removed so as not to "overfeed" on the parents' secretion. At that time, start feeding with small live foods (roftiers, small nauplii). The fry are very delicate and difficult to rear.
Breeding potential: 9. The Waroo is an extremely challenging fish to breed and even if one has a successful brood, the young are difficult to rear.
Remarks: Among widely available cichlids, the Waroo is arguably the most difficult cichlid to keep healthy. Frequent partial water changes are necessary for this fish to do well. The Waroo is very sensitive to water conditions and pollutants.
Difficulty of care: 8. The Waroo is a challenging and interesting addition to an expert aquariast's tank. A variety of live foods must be provided for this peaceful cichlid, which is also sensitive to water conditions.
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