Heros sp. Turquoise Lago Juá

3. May 2024

The genus Heros is in urgent need of scientific revision. The current five generally recognized species only represent a small part of the populations now known. It is often almost impossible to choose a reliable species name, which is why in many cases it is now simply omitted. They are called Heros sp. and an actual or assumed indication of origin is added.

This is also the case here. Lago do Juá is the mouth of the Rio Tapajós near the city of Santarem in the state of Pará in Brazil. Frank Warzel and fellow travelers brought animals from there to Germany back in the 1990s (which was completely legal at the time!) and also bred them. At that time they were called Heros sp. Tapajós. There have been several reports about these fish in the hobby press, the most recent of which appeared in DCG-Info 11/2022, pages 282-290 by Uwe Werner.

Turquoise (or blue) heros have also been known for a while, although their origin is not entirely clear. They are said to come from the Rio Madeira inlet. In both forms (i.e. the one from the Tapajós and the blue one) the males usually show a deep red worm pattern on the face, females usually have no markings there. 

We have now again received very beautifully colored heros, already colored in early youth as “Turquoise Lago Juá” from a European breeder. The animals photographed are 7-9 cm long, Heros species consistently reach 15-20 cm in length. We first received such fish from this breeder in April 2023. We do not know whether this is a selective breeding or a pure wild form; incidentally, two different forms of Heros have since been identified from the Rio Tapajós. What is striking, however, is that the males of the “Turquoise Lago Juá” have large red spots on their faces and no worm line pattern, as is the case with the two other Heros from the Tapajós and also with the “Blue Heros” from the Madeira.

Heros sp. Turquoise Lago Juá are in any case beautiful fish. Care and breeding are the same as for other Heros in the region, i.e. relatively high temperatures (28-32°C) and clear, very clean water, which should be soft and slightly acidic, at least for breeding. Heros need a high proportion of plant food in their diet, which is important to bear in mind. Heros species have been permanently represented as classics in the aquarium hobby for over 100 years, so there is plenty of good specialist literature on these fish.

For our customers: Heros sp. Turquoise Lago Juá has code 682988 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer