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January 04, 2013

Knock, knock! Hello again! Yes, I can see by the look on your face that you’re surprised to see me. Oh, good I see that you still have a bagged packed in case I showed up unexpected again. I hope you’re well rested, my friend, because the plane’s engine are already warmed up. As you might have guessed, our employee is seeking more rare and unusual fish for our shop. And he’s yet again enlisted our services to do so. Now let me see here… oh yes! Here it is. I knew you kept your passport close by. Now that we’ve got your passport, your bags, and, of course, you, what are we waiting for?! We’ve got a plane to catch!

Our flight is scheduled to leave in a few minutes, but I was able to make up an itinerary this time for you. We have a short layover in Amsterdam before we make our journey to India. Yes, that’s right; we’ll be heading to one of the world’s most populated countries. It may take some time to work our way through the overcrowded streets of New Delhi, but I think when we reach the Lotus temple it will all be worth it. This magnificent piece of architecture is not only breath taking, but, well hell it’s just breath taking. I mean are you looking at this thing?! Just wow. No wonder it’s won several architectural awards. I couldn’t think of a better way to begin our journey through the jungle than by spending a moment in pure serenity. After a few hours of “cleansing” our thoughts I think we’re ready to begin our journey.

Our guide brings us to North Bengal, better known as West Bengal, to search through the “Ponds of India” in search of one of my favorite catfish, Mystus tengara “Golden Soldier Cat”. The waters are stained a dark brown from all of the tannins caused by the fallen almond leaves, but the catfish should be no problem to spot. You see those shining bodies over there? That’s caused by reflective light and dark golden stripes that make up the color of these 3” Bagrid cats. The Golden Soldier Cat will do best when kept in schools of 4 or more as they are a sociable animal that prefers company of its own. They usually do not exhibit any aggression towards each other or other fish, and I always recommend them for community tanks. It looks like our nets have pulled up quite a few of these to take home. It looks like we can mark off the first fish off of our list. Let’s get ready to head down the river to collect another.

Mystus tengara

Here we follow the Kosi River downstream along the Himalayas. Our guide this time instructs us with great caution not to leave the group. After all, we’re in the land where the legendary Panthera tigris tigris calls home, or as you are more likely know them as- the Bengal Tiger. Sadly, these great hunters are still threatened here, but conservation acts like Project Tiger and The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 still make headway against poachers from causing these majestic animals completely extinct. If I were you I would not only keep a sharp eye out for tigers, but those that potentially hunt them as well. I have a feeling that neither would be happy to see us here. As long as we’re careful we should be just fine. Anyway let’s get on the boat and collect some fish!

This part of the river seems to have plenty of smooth stones, and the river looks like it’s got a pretty good current. We’ll need to be a careful, but I’d say this place looks good to get our nets wet. In fact, I’m pretty sure I spotted a few potential loaches that match the description to one more fish on our list, Schistura corica “Polka Dot Loach”. The Polka Dot Loach is another torpedo shaped loach that is light in color, and has several larger spots on the body. What really make this fish cool though are the enlarged pectoral fins. They almost look like angel wings in comparison to the size of the fish. I’m sure that the oversized fins more have a purpose of grasping onto rocks than looking angelic. Either way, the Polka Dot Loach is cool little fish and will go great in the display tank when we get back home.

Schistura corica

While we are heading back to our basecamp I think we should take an unscheduled stop from our itinerary to collect along this point of the Ganges River. I’ve been told of new form of the classic Tyre Track Eel that may inhabit these waters. I’ll let you take the first throw of the net. I think you’ve got the better arm for it anyway. Would you look at that? The new Mastacambelus cf. armatus “Indian Golden Tire Track Eel” does have a darker coloration and the pattern is more marbled to that of its cousins. This is certainly a great find, I’m sure there is someone out there who has been searching for something a little unusual. I’d be careful who you put these with though; I hear they can grow the size of your leg!

Mastacembelus cf. armatusIn order to collect our last fish we will need to hop on a plane in Kolkata if we want to make it there in a reasonable time. Our next destination is in the state of Kerala, located on the southernmost point in India. Here will be traveling from Tamil Nadu to Goa in search of a much underrated danio, Laubuca dadiburjori “Orange Hathetfish”. There appear to be two color morphs of this micro fish that coexist with one another in nature. From my findings, it seems that the difference is that one morph has spots under the lateral line, while the other morph is missing these spots. Both forms are very attractive fish that are peaceful, and fun to watch in their aquarium with their upturned pectoral fins like their South American cousins. I, personally, would like to see the Orange Hatchetfish make a permanent home among the fish hobby.

Laubuca dadiburjori

It looks like our list is complete, plus an extra. I think it’s time we headed back to New Delhi to make our connection flight home. You look about as excited as I am to get on another plane. Don’t worry; I’m sure it’ll go faster than we might think. I’ve already emailed the boss what we have collected. He’s already updated the fish list with our collections.

I’ll see you on the plane!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager