The Umbee Cichlid Resource

Umbee Cichlid“Umbee Cichlid” is the common name for the Caquetaia Umbriferus species.

Adult size: 18-24 inches
Minimum tank size: 150 gallon
pH: 7.1-8.0
Temperature: 72-80°F (22-27°C)
Decor: Rocks, Driftwood, and Plants
Substrate: Sand
Lighting: 8-10 hrs/day
Diet: Carnivore

How To Keep Umbee Cichlids
How To Breed Umbee Cichlids
Other Information About Umbee Cichlids


How to Keep Umbee Cichlids


If you adopt Umbee Cichlids from a contaminated source, your aquarium may become infected. As a result, you need to ensure you only adopt ones that are kept in a healthy environment.

They can be adopted from:

Before adopting them, understand:

  • Umbee Cichlids have an average life expectancy of 6-10 years.
  • Umbee Cichlids may be identified under the common names of: Umbie Cichlid, Blue-freckled Monster and Blue-speckled Monster.

Tank Requirements

Tank Size & Population Density

If your Umbee Cichlids are in an aquarium that is overstocked, they will become stressed – weakening their immune systems – causing them to be more prone to diseases, and they won’t grow to their appropriate size. As a result, you need to follow the rule of one inch of fish per gallon of water, but keep in mind:

  • Umbee Cichlids must be kept in at least a 50 gallon aquarium when they are less than 8 months old.
  • Umbee Cichlids must be kept in at least a 150 gallon aquarium when they are more than 8 months old.
  • Male Umbee Cichlids eventually grow to be 24 inches long.
  • Female Umbee Cichlids eventually grow to be 18 inches long.

How do I setup my aquarium? (Opens new tab)
How do I determine the size of my aquarium? (Opens new tab)

Canopy & Lighting

The canopy of your aquarium ensures:

  • Your fish don’t jump out of your aquarium.
  • No contaminates enter your aquarium.

As a result, equip your aquarium with a canopy that completely covers it.

As far as lighting goes, if you want your Umbee Cichlids to be most comfortable, the amount of light they get needs to mimic the amount of sunlight they receive in their natural habitat. The amount of time you should leave their aquarium’s lights on to achieve this varies. If it’s in a room that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, you should turn their lights on during sunlight hours. However, if it’s is in a well-lit room, then 2-3 hours per day is all that is necessary.

Decor & Substrate

When keeping Umbee Cichlids, they will thrive if you decorate their aquarium with decor and substrate that mimics their natural habitat.

The natural decor for them consists mainly of rocks, so you should add plenty of them to their aquarium. In addition, you can also add decorative pieces such as driftwood and plants. When arranging these things though, you need to ensure you:

  • Place the decor so that it creates plenty of caves and hiding places.
  • Place the decor in a fashion that allows you to see them – don’t create a barrier for them to hide behind.

The natural substrate for them is sand so, you should fill their aquarium with it. With that being said though, gravel is still a suitable option for them. In either case, you need to ensure you:

  • Clean their substrate beforehand. Otherwise, the residue that is on it will make their aquarium cloudy.
  • Fill their aquarium with at least 2 inches of substrate.

Water Parameters

If the water in your Umbee Cichlids’ aquarium doesn’t reflect that of their natural habitat, they can become stressed – weakening their immune systems – causing them to be more prone to diseases. As a result, you need to ensure their aquarium has a pH level of 7.1-8.0 and a temperature of 72-80°F (22-27°C).

• pH
pH can be measured by using a Freshwater Master Test Kit. If you measure your water’s pH level and it needs to be altered: remove your fish, adjust the pH, then acclimate your fish back into your aquarium – since they are sensitive to drastic changes of pH.

• Temperature
To measure your aquarium’s water temperature, equip your aquarium with an aquarium thermometer.

Ammonia, Nitrites, & Nitrates

The subject of Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates tends to be very dry. In its simplest form, they are all a byproduct of fish waste (fish poop & uneaten food) and are toxic to Umbee Cichlids. As a result, you need to ensure their aquarium has:

  • An Ammonia concentration of 0-0.2 mg/L.
  • A Nitrite concentration of 0-0.2 mg/L.
  • A Nitrate concentration of 0-20 mg/L.

If you need to test these concentrations, use a Freshwater Master Test Kit.

If you need to reduce these concentrations, ensure proper:


Umbee Cichlids are carnivores, so their diet regimen should consist of plenty of meats.

When they are less than 6 inches, they should be fed twice per day – for a total of 14 feedings per week. But when they are more than 6 inches, they only require 1 feeding per day – for a total of 7 feedings per week. For a majority of the feedings, they should be fed a staple food consisting of either flakes or pellets. For the other feedings, they should be fed special foods.

During each feeding, they should be fed as much food as they can eat in 2-3 minutes. The exact foods they should be fed varies, depending on their size:

Of course, this is just our feeding method. You are more than welcome to design your own diet regimen for your Umbee Cichlids. In either case though, ensure you:

Health Issues

Umbee Cichlids are most-commonly infected by Ich, bacterial infections, and parasites.

Tank Mates

Past their first few months, male Umbee Cichlids should not be kept with other males. 1 male and 1 female can be put together, but the male will be very aggressive towards the female when he wants to reproduce. If you decide to pair the two together, you should insert a tank divider into their aquarium once in a while to give the female a break from the aggression of the male.

In regards to keeping Umbee Cichlids with other kinds of fish, they are extremely aggressive and need to be kept in solitary. As a matter of fact, they will eat or kill nearly every other type of fish. If you have an aquarium the size of 250 Gallons or larger, it is OK to pair them with some other large, aggressive fish, but the aquarium will need to have many hiding places or else they will fight a lot.

If you are ever unsure if they are compatible with another species, check this Compatibility Chart.


How to Breed Umbee Cichlids

Reproduction Process

Umbee Cichlids are monogamous breeders – they pair up in their early adulthood and mate for life. When they are ready to reproduce, the male and female will clear off a flat surface together. The female will then lay 100-2000 eggs and the male will fertilize them. After this point, both the male and female will become extremely aggressive.

Usually after the eggs have been fertilized, the female will stay close to the eggs while the male patrols the surrounding area. Then, after about 72 hours, the eggs will hatch free-swimming fry. After this happens, the female will continue to swim with, and support, the fry until they can support themselves.

Our Recommended Breeding Technique

Required Aquariums:

  • 150 gallon (breeder)
  • 20 gallon (grow-out)


  • Decorate the 150 gallon aquarium with several flat rocks. This will make it easier for them to breed.
  • Place a divider into the aquarium that is large enough for the female to swim through but not large enough for the male to swim through. This will allow the female to take a break from the males aggression
  • Place 1 male and 1 female into the aquarium and provide them with the appropriate aquarium setting.
  • After the reproduction process occurs, the fry will be free swimming within 72 hours. At this point, relocate the fry into a 20 gallon aquarium.
  • The 20 gallon aquarium should not have any decorations or substrate, this makes it easier for the baby fry to eat. It should also have a sponge filter so they don’t get sucked up.
  • In the early stages, it is best to feed the fry New Life Spectrum Small Fry Starter.


Other Information About Umbee Cichlids


Umbee Cichlids are a South American Cichlid. They can can typically be found in the Atrato and Magdalena rivers of Rio, but they have also been found throughout Central America in the drainage of the Tuira and Chucunaque rivers.

Umbee Cichlids first made their appearance in the fishkeeping hobby in 1975. Although, due to its aggressive nature, and large tnak requirements, they are not very popular. In fact, they have the reputation for being the most aggressive Cichlid in the world, and oftentimes, they are even referred to as “muscle with attitude”.

Conservation Status

Umbee Cichlids have not been evaluated by the IUCN, therefore their Conservation Status isn’t listed on the IUCN Red List.

Taxonomic Status

The Taxonomic Status of Umbee Cichlids of Umbee Cichlids is currently unknown.


Before you go: