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February 28, 2014

Good day, friends. I am so excited for the new fish we received last week: there are so many unusual species I’ve never seen! Let’s get down to it and set up a nice aquarium for a few of these species: The rare Geophagus proximus, Hemiancistrus snethlageae “L141”, and Corydoras robustus.

Ideally, we’d use a very large tank with a footprint of about 6 feet by two feet for these species as they all enjoy having a bit of substrate space. Because of this, the height of the aquarium isn’t critical, though extra height could be used to house some sizeable tetras or larger hatchetfish that enjoy the same parameters – a neutral to slightly acidic pH value, soft clear water, and a temperature in the range of 75-80° Fahrenheit.

For this trio of fish, a sandy substrate is required, both for the Geophagus’ sand-sifting habits and to provide a soft medium for the Corydoras’ barbels as they search for food. Driftwood and rockwork will be greatly appreciated by all the inhabitants as well: Corydoras enjoy resting in the shadows cast by overhanging hardscaping, Geophagus species use angled flat rocks for spawning surfaces, while Hemiancistrus use driftwood as grazing surfaces. Aquatic plants don’t feature heavily in the habitats of these fish but may be included along the margins if desired.

Corydoras robustus “Robust Cory” is one of the largest species in the genus at up to 3¾” and isn’t seen all that often in the hobby. These fish have a base bronze sheen and are marked over their flanks by myriad small black spots, increasing in density towards their dorsal edge and continuing over the caudal and anal fins. Their dorsal fin is marked by a large black spot that continues onto their back, following the line of their foremost dorsal spine. This forward spine is brilliantly creamy-white, a lovely contrast, and in males will often develop a lovely extension. This lighter color continues over the top of the Robust Cory’s head and down over the gill plate. A typical black mask runs across C. robustus’ eyes and their elongated snout is beautifully chocolate brown. If you are only interested in the Robust Cory, they can handle somewhat cooler water than our other fish, enjoying temperatures down to about 72°F.     

Corydoras robustus            

Hemiancistrus snethlageae “L141” “Ghost Pleco” is very rarely seen in the hobby and little is clear about the species. Even its taxonomic classification is unclear – Some groups classify this fish as a Peckoltia sp., but we prefer the Hemiancistrus genus for this fish. These long and slender plecos are a lovely pale grey with large black spots over their bodies and heads with small black marks continuing along the rays of the dorsal, pectoral and ventral fins. The caudal fin of the fish does not show any black markings; instead, it is edged in brilliant, outstanding white.   These beautiful and rare plecos enjoy an omnivorous diet including algae, veggies, and worms.

Hemiancistrus snethlageae

We all know that Anthony is a big fan of the Eartheaters; I asked him what he thought was particularly amazing about Geophagus proximus. He hasn’t seen wild-caught G. proximus come through our store in three or four years, making it one of the most unusual Eartheaters in the hobby. The unique feature of this Geophagus that always catches his eye is the large spot on the flank – this spot is ovate and significantly larger than that seen on other Geophagus species. On a displaying adult male, this appears as a void in the iridescent scales along his flanks – a beautiful accent to go along with his extended red and blue fins. These are the fish of the trio that require the most space – the other two can be housed in a much smaller aquarium around three or four feet in length. With their eight inches or more of adult size and desire to be kept in a group of five to eight specimens, plenty of floor space is required for these fish. G. proximus should be fed a vegetable-rich diet and can be kept in warmer waters – they are comfortable in temperatures up to 84°F.

Geophagus proximus

Thanks for reading and, if you haven’t checked out our plethora of fish information available on our website, Facebook and Pinterest, consider taking a swim over there to see some of Anthony’s beautiful pictures.

Jessica Supalla