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January 18, 2013

Good morning to you! I hope that your mosquito net worked well for you during the night? Let’s get a cup of some fresh brewed coffee while we discuss our plans for the next few days. I had to make some changes to your itinerary as it appears our time in Nigeria is being cut short. Our guide informed me early this morning that the Nigerian government does not wish for us to collect here. I feel that it’s probably best to respect their wishes and move on. We’ve got about an hour before we need to get on the road. This should give you plenty of time to finish your breakfast and pack up. I’ll see you at the truck, my friend!

It looks like we’re off from here into the country of the Central African Republic. We will not be making any stops through here though as we need to make it to Lake No in South Sudan in a few days’ time. I’ve mapped out a few places on the lake where I hope to find a very rare catfish, Synodontis filamentosa “Filament Cat”. These catfish have an extremely long filament off there their dorsal fin. Though this extension looks like it is part of the bone of the dorsal it is actually incredibly soft. I’ve always been curious to know why these fish grow such long dorsal fins, but I guess Mother Nature likes to keep here secrets. It would be awesome to see some full grown 10” adults in the lake, but I have a feeling that the larger ones will be in deeper waters. How about you cast the net over there near that rock and see what you come up with? I knew it! You found three of them all around 3”. That’s prefect for what we need. With these in hand our employer will be more than happy. I’ll get these on some oxygen while you pack the vehicle. I think it’s time we headed south into the Congo.

Synodontis filamentosa

During the night, an email came in from our patron requesting we find Tetraodon miurus “Red/Brown Congo Puffer”. I think it is best we head to the town of Yangambi along the banks of the great Congo River. This would be a good place to start searching the surrounding tributaries. I think if we cross the bridge along road R401 we should be able to follow that along the Lomami River system. I think we will have better luck finding these ambush predators along this river. In nature they can grow up to 6”, but that’s probably a bit too large for us to want to bring back home. I think we should find something a little on the smaller side. The Red/Brown Congo Puffer likes to inhabit faster flowing waters. I’m going to try my luck near those rapids up there by those downed trees. How about you head down a little ways and see what that section might house? Be careful when picking them out of the net. I’ve had a couple of these nasty buggers bite me when fishing them out of the tanks. Who knows how one freshly collected out of the river would react? I managed to collect a good half dozen or so around 1.25”. What did you come up with? You got a few too from the looks of it. Well with our collections I’d say we’re good to go.

Tetraodon miurus

Our journey ends at the largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kinshasa. This part of the river was once a small fishing town, but now is home for more than 9 million people. We will be just a few kilometers up river searching the calmer pockets of the rapids for Steatocranus casuarius “Buffalohead Cichlid”. The males of these “dwarf” cichlids get their name from the nuchal hump on the forehead of adult fish. Males will typically grow to under 5”, while the females only grow to around 3”. One really neat thing about the Buffalohead Cichlids is that they form monogamous pairs that have such strong mating bonds that if one of the partners dies the other may never choose another partner. Talk about dedication! I would say collecting fish around 2” in size would be the best for our purposes. This area with large flat stones is a typical Buffalohead Cichlid environment. If you ever have anyone interested in keeping Buffalohead’s that they set up an aquarium similar to these conditions.

Steatocranus casuarius

Our nets are have hit the water and it looks like we managed to catch our targeted fish. Wait. What’s this? I’d say that these are very healthy specimens of Synodontis soloni. This catfish can be quite the trouble maker in an aquarium – even for a fish that only grows to around 5”. With this 3-4” size I’d suggest keeping them with either larger cichlids or Lake Malawi fish. Like most Synodontis catfish they are a bit reclusive by spending a lot of their time hiding. I’ve noticed that as the fish feels comfortable they start to explore their environment during the day more often. I would say this is a terrific by catch in our net. We’ll go ahead and send a few of this home with the rest of our fish.

Synodontis soloni

At last it looks like nightfall is setting in. We’re not scheduled to leave until the morning. Somehow we managed to not only collect all of our fish, but managed to do it a day early. How about we head to the quartier Matonge for a little nightlife before our flight home? I’d say we deserve it.

See you out on the town!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager