Wet Spot Tropical Fish Facebook link Wet Spot Tropical Fish Youtube link Wet Spot Tropical Fish Pinterest link

October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween, friends! I have a nice assortment of fish for you to learn about today – they may not be spooky for the season, but they are definitely unique and beautiful.

Hypancistrus sp. “Queen Arabesque” L260 is one stunning carnivorous Loricariid: its body is charcoal black in color and patterned with an interlocking, meandering maze of cream to white lines over every surface, with the exception of its white belly. Its fins are striped with fairly straight, regular black and white lines, running perpendicular to its fin rays. While a little territorial to others of its own species, it won’t predate tank mates and is perfectly happy with an assortment of live, frozen, and prepared sinking carnivore foods. Native to the lower Rio Tapajos of Brazil, this pleco only reaches 3.5" in length - making it ideal for moderately sized aquariums. Queen Arabesque Plecos prefer to be kept in temperatures between 74-82° Fahrenheit. Their natural pH range is between 6.4 and 7.6, though ours are acclimated to a pH of about 7.4. The common name comes from the white and black lines that are "broken" throughout the entirety of the body.


I would not keep your L260 with the strange Somileptes gongota "Moose Face Loach" due to preferred temperature discrepancies between the species. This odd-looking nocturnal loach is a mottled brown and beige color with a white underbelly. They are most noted for their tendency to traverse the bottom of aquaria by 'swimming' through sandy substrate. Their movements are marked by winding ridges and patterns left in the surface of the sand. Unfortunately, this is not a particularly easy species to keep - most of their feeding is accomplished by sifting through the substrate, so a mature aquarium with quite a bit of biomass in a sandy substrate is highly recommended for the Moose Face Loach. Well-acclimated S. gongota will sometimes accept small frozen foods such as daphnia or baby brine shrimp. They are a gregarious species, preferring a group of three or more. Soft sand substrate is required, preferably kept deep enough for the loaches to submerge themselves completely. Substrate-rooted plants are likely to be dislodged. Very soft, clean, slightly acidic water around 70-75°F is ideal. These loaches as well are known to jump if upset and require a secure lid. These loaches can be kept in a species tank or with very small, peaceful and calm species, such as Boraras urophthalmoides "Exclamation Point Rasbora" or Hyphessobrycon takasei "Coffee Bean Tetra", which can perhaps act as a dither for the Moose Face Loach.


While Hyphessobrycon takasei “Coffee Bean Tetra” was first introduced to the hobby in the 1960s, it remains a rare sight in the trade. Because of this, there’s only a moderate amount of information on this 1.5” fish. It is quite beautiful with a pale silver to orange body, orange caudal and ventral fins and a reddish anal fin. The dorsal is black with a marked orange spot at the forward base and a complimentary white spot at the tip. Their sides are marked with a large black oval spot just behind the pectoral fin, running above the lateral line to just shy of the fish’s ventral edge. A pH value of 5 to 8 is accepted by these fish, though ours are nicely acclimated to a neutral pH. Keep these tetras in waters between 72-79°F for their optimal comfort. If kept towards the upper range of their temperatures, they would complement the L260 well, while the cooler range will allow these fish to be kept over your Moose Face Loaches.


Finally, Corydoras caudimaculatus “Tail Spot Cory” would be a lovely addition to your Coffee Bean and Queen Arabesque tank, though their rooting through the sandy substrate for food may disturb the Moose Face Loaches. These two inch short nosed Corydoras are notable for a large, bold black spot on the caudal peduncle, with a peppering of pale spots over their dorsal side. Overall, they are pale with a bronze sheen to their bodies. These lovely fish, as with other Cories, are best kept in groups for their comfort and best behavior, should be provided with overhanging leaves or rockwork to shade themselves under and only housed over clean and soft substrates.


Thank you for reading, folks, and be sure to take care this Halloween night! Keep your black cats safely indoors and be sure to have the porch light on for any visitors you may have. One more time, I will be at the Chicago Aquatic Experience next weekend! Please stop by and visit me if you’re in the area.

Jessica Supalla