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December 22, 2011

 Happy holidays from all of us here at The Wet Spot! 

One of my favorite rivers is the Rio Orinoco. It winds its way for over 1,300 miles through the countries of Colombia and Venezuela in South America. This long trip starts at what is called the Upper Orinoco. The first 150 mile long stretch begins at the mountainous rapids known as the Raudales de Guaharibos. From here, the river divides into two sections known as the Middle Orinoco. The next 300 miles follow along the Rio Atabapo and Rio Guaviare. After that, 170 miles of the river will turn northward to make the borders of the two countries and develop into a flood plain. The Lower Orinoco will travel through Venezuela for another 600 miles along a well-formed plain and spill into the Atures rapids. Finally, the last 120 miles is called the Delta Amacuro and the river will finish its journey into the Gulf of Paría.

 

The Orinoco is home to one of the most popular Hatchet fishes in the aquarium hobby. Carnigiella strigata “Marble Hatchetfish” spend most of their time living near the surface among densely planted biotopes. Marble Hatchets can be found feeding on insects that make the mistake of falling into the water column. In the aquarium, they are often fussy eaters and getting them to eat can be a little difficult at first. Luckily, for you, we’ve done all the work of conditioning them to getting used to a lifestyle fit for a king and are now happily feeding on flake. Just be sure not to put in heavy amounts all at once, for any food that drops below the surface will more than likely be ignored. I always suggest keeping these fish in large groups, as this will make the 1.5” fish feel like its back home in the Rio hidden under the canopy. Make sure to cover the aquarium well, as Hatchet fish are the only known species of fish to actually employ the power of flight by using a series of muscles and specially designed fins and frame - unlike its marine cousins who use a gliding technique. Just one more reason freshwater fish are cooler than marine!

Carnegiella strigata

 

Have no worries if some flakes fall into the water column because I’m sure Hyphessobrycon colombianus “Red and Blue Colombian Tetras” will quickly devour any thing that gets past the Hatchet Fish. Commonly found in the Rio Acandi drainage of slow moving creeks, the Red and Blue Colombian Tetra looks its best in a dark setting. The dim lighting will bring out the pale blue body to a near shine, and accent it with those marvelously colored red fins. It is often known as a fin nipper, but if you keep them in larger numbers they seem to do well and keep their bickering within their own group. Its 2.5” size can be intimidating to smaller fish such as Apistogrammas, therefore, I suggest housing them with our next tank mate…

Hyphessobrycon colombianus

 

Geophagus abalios! The divine colorations of reds, blues, and oranges are intense against the 8” of the green body. Even with this larger size, it’s incredible to know that these fish are benthophagus feeders – meaning they feed on microorganisms hidden in the substrate! G. abalios and the rest of Geophagini tribes pick up large amounts of sand and sift out the edible items. The rest of the sand is disbursed through their gills. This is why they are called “earth eaters”. It is highly recommended to have a sandy substrate because gravel can cause damage to the gills. I have kept these before and I feel that it is essential for the overall health of the fish to sift through the sand. I also believe they get needed nutrients not only from the pellets or bloodworms we feed them, but from the organisms they are able to find on their own.

Geophagus abalios

Geophagus abalios

 

Once again, another week has passed. Like always, be sure to see our products link for this week’s price list. As the year ends, it seems like the weeks are getting shorter. Maybe it’s just me, as I am a little spoiled around here with all the cool and unusual items I see on a daily basis. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday spent with the people you care about – Merry Fishmas to all and to all a good night.

 

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager