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April 4, 2014

Good day, friends. We’ve gotten so many new fish in recently that I’ve had a bit of trouble picking ones to write about! This being considered, I’ve attempted to pick a smattering of species across the world suitable for species or community aquaria. I do hope that everyone will find at least one of these species enjoyable to read about.

Described in 2012, Schistura aizawlensis “Glitter Loach” is a very new fish in the hobby. This minute Schistura species of India does not at first glance make a striking impact, with a beige body and chocolate brown vertical stripes. However, when this loach moves in the patterns of shadows and light, cast by aquarium décor, it really shines and sparkles– literally! The Glitter Loach’s lateral line is marked with reflective silvery patches, invisible until the light hits them, they dazzle as the loach darts about the aquarium searching for food. These patches are especially notable on the cheeks, running from below the eye to the back of the gill plate, and at the base of the pectoral fins. The tail carries a slight ruddy tone as well. These little loaches have been measured at a maximum size of two inches, but their recent arrival in the hobby precludes perfectly accurate numbers. This species occurs in hillstream habitats in the wild and will appreciate moderate currents and cooler temperatures, though temperatures from the high 60s to low 80s Fahrenheit will be tolerated with proper acclimation. This barbeled beauty is likely a micropredator and is best maintained on a staple diet of a combination of small-grained sinking food or crushed flake as well as live and frozen foods.

Schistura aizawlensis

For fans of Loricariids with small (15-20 gallon) aquariums, an excellent addition outside of the common Ancistrus or Otocinclus options could be the four inch Panaqolus maccus “Clown Pleco”, known by the L-numbers L104 and L162, as well as LDA022. This chocolate brown pleco is overlain with concentric caramel colored pin stripes over its body and fins as well as broken lines and spots over its face. Their caudal fins are slightly forked and occasionally show extended outer rays. This peaceful wood eater can be kept in groups in larger aquaria as well and are peaceful, not only with other fish, but with other members of their own species. Be sure to furnish them with driftwood or bogwood and supplement their diet with blanched veggies or a high-quality algae eater supplement. A neutral pH and a temperature from about 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit will suit the Clown Pleco.

Panaqolus maccus

As many of you know, I’m incredibly fond of wild Betta species, and Betta pugnax “Green Mask Betta” is no exception. These fish are also known as the Penang Betta or Forest Betta, though Green Mask is more descriptive for sure. This mouthbrooding species is relatively unique amongst the wild species – they are found in clear water. While they do prefer somewhat acidic water in the wild with pH values of 5-6, blackwater conditions are not necessary. That being said, they have acclimated well to a neutral pH value while in their care with us. These beautiful fish grow to about four inches in length, sometimes a bit more in males, and often show a black band across the eye and lip with brilliant flashes of blue-green coloration on the cheeks below the band, especially in males. Mature specimens will also show iridescent green scale markings along their bronze-toned flanks and, especially in males, long and graceful extensions from each fin. Their snouts are very pointed, notable for the genus, with the heads and mouths of males being significantly broader than those of the females. We have found that, when housing Green Mask Bettas, that they are prolific breeders with males carrying the eggs and fry for an average of fourteen days before releasing them. A pair of these fish could be kept in a ten gallon or larger aquarium with a 20 gallon being preferable. Plenty of plants such as Cryptocoryne and Anubias species will bring out the best behavior of this beautiful Betta.

Betta pugnax

We’ve had a few interesting Lampeye Killis in the past year, including Procatopus similis and P. abberans. We just got yet another species in -- the absolutely stunning Procatopus nototaenia “Edea” “Nototaenia Killi”. These killifish from Cameroon are translucent cream in color, but their entire body is overlain with brilliant iridescent green and yellow tones. Their dorsal edge is bright orange and the two and a half inch males’ fins are bedecked with amazing filamentous extensions and show yellow and red coloration with stripes adorning the dorsal and anal fins and the blue caudal fin displaying brilliant cherry red spots. The inch and a half females have much shorter fins that are nearly transparent, as with most other Killifish species, but their presence will greatly increase the displays of males. This is a schooling killifish so they are best kept in groups of six or more and enjoy cool water in the low to mid 70s with neutral pH and negligible hardness. A 20 gallon long aquarium would be perfect for a group of these gorgeous killis.

Procatopus nototaenia male

Procatapus nototaenia female

Thank you all for reading and remember to check out our Facebook for frequent updates on events and new products and fish!

Jessica Supalla