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December 14, 2011

 During the Holidays is a good time to reminisce….

I remember when I was about 12 years old or so, my mom, sister, and I were at a garage sale in the neighborhoods of Yakima in eastern Washington. There for sale was a 10-gallon aquarium with a little box filter and a heater. I begged my mother to let me get it. I promised to clean it once a week and to do my chores every Saturday. Because ever since I saw my dad’s aquarium, I had always wanted one of my own. He had a 125-gallon aquarium in his living room and I would spend hours watching his two 15” Silver Arowanas (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum) skimming the surface of the tank with ease. And on the bottom was a Pictus Cat (Pimelodus pictus), which swam up and down the sides of the aquarium. My dad encouraged my fish keeping interest by telling me the pictus cat was mine! So, with a little convincing my mother let me get the tank.

Little did I know the box filter was not the best filtration system – the box would always fill up with air and float to the surface. I tried to put rocks in it to keep it down, but that took away space from the filter pads. Doing the best I could, I finally got the filter stabile enough to where it didn’t keep floating to the top. And I was finally able to get my mother to take me to the local pet store. My first real experience with the pet store would not be the best. I told the salesman of my new purchase with the excitement of a kid in a candy store. He asked what I wanted to buy and fill the tank with immediately? I replied, “A Pictus Cat!” Of course! To this day, I don’t remember why or how, but I went home with my favorite catfish. The tank, obviously being new, would have an ammonia spike a few short days into the cycle and I would lose my whiskered friend to the toxin. It was a sad loss that quickly ended my fish keeping days until I would move out of my parents’ house.

Today, I know better about cycling a tank and what to put into a tank that will not outgrow it and have plenty of room to swim. I’m glad to say I have found a new kitty that comes from the Pyu stream of southern Myanmar and won’t need a tank the size of Manhattan. Reaching only 2” in length Akysis longifilis “Orange Marbled Cat” is perfect for smaller aquaria. What’s even better about their small stature? You can keep them with your micro fish! Who doesn’t love a catfish that won’t eat small fish?! The Orange Marbled Cat feed mainly on crustaceans and insect larvae in the wild. In an aquarium, they tend to avoid prepared foods. I was able to get my Ayksis types to munch on frozen bloodworms just fine. I also found they are actually more comfortable in cooler water conditions and will thrive around the low 70’s. In fact, one interesting fact I learned about its cousin, Akysis vespa “Burmese Bumblebee Cat” (which I kept for about a year), was that the fish was recorded spawning at 44° F! Now that’s cold!

Akysis longifilis

This next fish I know is sure to please many of you and would go perfect with the Orange Cat. Since, I’ve had several requests for Danio tinwini “Burmese Gold Ring Danios”, I jumped at the chance to order more for you Danio lovers out there. These are incredibly beautiful for being a small grey colored fish. The body of the Gold Ring Danio will grow to just over an inch and display blue colored spots that form into a solid line, while the stomach remains white. The fins are iridescent and also display the blue spots. The fish are found in the Mogaung stream and it is likely the Gold Ring Danio probably feeds on insects and their larvae. In an aquarium, they are much like most Danios and will happily feed on most prepared foods. Keep in mind, these are shoaling fish that should be kept in larger numbers to remain happy.

Danio tinwinii

I know the ever so popular Dario dario “Scarlet Badis” is loved by many of you, but I like to keep fish that no one else does. They may look like a brown boring fish when young, but when they grow, Badis ruber “Burmese Red Neon Badis”, to their 2.4” size, the males turn a gorgeous red color with blue spots running down the body. The Red Neon Badis are usually quite peaceful. I kept mine with a variety of fish without much problems of aggression. On occasion, I would notice the dominant male pushing the others away from his cave. Despite his small size he would constantly flash his tiny frame off at me, as if telling me he was ready to duel a giant. I would feed frozen bloodworms. But what I found they really enjoyed was frozen glassworms. They would go nuts for these things. The male would try to escort his females into the breeding caves every time I would feed the glassworms. Because of this, I feel that a note should be made here to not keep them with your Neocaridina or Caridina shrimps as they will most likely end up on the menu!

Badis ruber

I will certainly never forget my first experience with the 10-gallon aquarium. It’s what inspired me to do the planted aquarium you saw on the last newsletter. It just goes to show you that with a little work and lots of patience, you can turn something little into something big. What fish keeping experience comes to mind for you?

Be sure to check out the products link below for the current list. As always I’ll be here next week for another enlightening article for you to enjoy. Until next time!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager