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November 30, 2011

 It was suggested by one of my readers to revisit one of my pervious notes. Back in August, I wrote about the Filamentosa barb group of India. Today, I would like to discuss a setup that can include some smaller fishes from this area that will thrive in your aquarium.

This week’s fish are not only elegant but also full of splendor. India’s pH is often neutral (7.0). And many of you are probably thinking that with a neutral pH, it will be easy to succeed in their husbandry. Although the pH may be easy to master, it doesn’t mean their habitats will be. One can find areas of overly vegetated forest pools to highly-oxygenated mountainous streams. The fish I mention below can come from either of these areas. Continue to read carefully to see what may be a great addition for your tank.

Labyrinth fish have really been catching my eye these last couple of weeks. I’ve been scanning the order sheets for different or oddball Gouramis and Betta species that I hope many of you will enjoy just as much as I do. At home, I have kept Sphaerichthys acrostoma “Sharpnose Chocolate Gouramiand Ctenops nobilis “Noble Gourami”. These fish would be the anchor for a deep love that I would develop for Labyrinths. Today, I find myself more and more drawn to a rather common gourami, the Trichogaster chuna “Honey Dwarf Gourami” (known until recently as Colisa chuna). They can be found in still moving swamps and ditches “spitting” water missiles at unexpecting insects. They are one of the smallest in their family, reaching a total length of no more than 2”. It is definitely the males that bring the attention to your eye. The natural wild forms are a brilliant orange with a black blaze running down the ventral side. Its turquoise cheeks compliment the brilliant yellow dorsal stripe quite well. Unfortunately, the female was not blessed with beauty. She is mainly a light brown to grey color. They are very peaceful and perfect for smaller tank mates. These would be an excellent choice for the beginning hobbyist trying to learn how to breed Labyrinth fish!

Trichogaster chuna

Now you’ll need something to keep these little fellas company. The Oreichthys crenuchoides “Drape Fin Barb” is often very shy. Therefore, by adding these fish with the little Honey Dwarf Gouramis you’ll be helping the two without them even knowing it. The smaller Drape Fin’s will appreciate having a “dither” fish above them and the gouramis will love having someone to hang out with. These fish are found in the famous Buxar Tiger Reserve in the state of West Bengal. Stocking the aquarium heavily with plants will keep the 1.5” males out and displaying the “sails” of their dorsal fins to the females. Though they will accept dried foods, I do not recommend this to be their only diet. Feeding live or frozen brine shrimp will not only bring up the fishes natural body weight, but will allow for their yellow coloration to become even more astonishing!

Oreichthys crenuchoides

Moving on to the faster flowing streams and rivers of Myanmar (close enough to India, right?), we come across a very popular fish among hobbyists. Garra flavatra “Panda Log Sucker” is found in the Rakhine Yoma and Arakan mountains. Here the vegetation is referred to as scarce with pebbles and stones comprising most of the area’s habitat. Due to its body structure and with the name of Panda Log Sucker, one may think it an algae eater. This is not true at all. In nature, they are actually found feeding on invertebrates. I have found this to be true in the home aquarium as well. Feeding frozen brine shrimp encourages a feeding frenzy among the group! This is the largest batch I have ever seen at 3” plus size!

Garra flavatra

The last fish I would like to mention this week is yet another first for us here at The Wet Spot. I will warn you here that though they may look cute and harmless, Aborichthys elongatus “Red Tail Squirrel Loach” can actually be rather destructive in an aquarium. They apparently are excellent diggers! Because of this excavating instinct, it is highly recommended to secure all decorations in the aquarium. You must be mindful about the fishes’ natural urge to want to get under objects. Outside of this possibly mildly annoying habit for all you planted tank owners, these fish are rather peaceful among other fish. Every once in a while you’ll see males disagreeing among each other only to find them cuddled up later in the same hole. Another great attribute of these little guys (they only grow to around 3”) is that they are easy to tell the males apart from the females. The males have less barring on the body with a red tail, while females are completely barred with the same red tail. Again, these fish love fast flowing streams, so keep the current up!

Aborichthys elongatus Male

Aborichthys elongatus Female

This will do it for the week. Hopefully, this inspired and educated you into possibly adding something new to your aquarium. Take a look at the products link provided at the bottom of the page for the current fish list. As always, be sure to ask any questions you may have. I would also like to take a moment and thank my new assistant, Jessica Supalla, for all the hard work she’s been doing. Jessica has taken over catching the fish and is helping with the packing. I continue to oversee the overall operation. Together, we have teamed up to get your orders out faster and more efficiently, without compromising quality. Thanks again Jessica!   Everyone have a great week!

Anthony Perry

Sales Manager