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March 27, 2015

Happy Friday, folks!  Those of you who have called or emailed in the last week will have noticed we have a new associate in our office – please help me in welcoming Quinn to the team!  You can reach him through our usual avenues of communication and he’ll help you out with your orders and technical questions.

I’m happy to announce we just got a new group of Ancistrus dolichopterus “Blue Seam Ancistrus”, L183, a gorgeous wild form of Ancistrus from Brazil.  These beautiful fish are charcoal black in color and sprinkled with brilliant white spots.  Their caudal and dorsal fins are edged in vivid blue-white, an absolutely striking feature for this lovely fish.  As the fish ages the white spots become smaller in proportion to the body and more are developed.  This stunning fish prefers soft, acidic black water conditions though ours are acclimated to fairly neutral water chemistry.  Ancistrus species are omnivorous and enjoy a varied diet of vegetables and proteins.  L183 reaches a maximum of four inches and a group of five or six could be housed perfectly in a 125 gallon planted aquarium.  But what should we put with this beautiful fish?

Ancistrus dolichopterus

Nematobrycon lacortei “Rainbow Emperor Tetra” is a moderately active and very colorful option for a midwater aquarium occupant.  N. lacortei is fairly similar as juveniles to N. palmeri “Emperor Tetra”; however, the Rainbow Emperor has red eyes as opposed to the Emperor’s blue and is often considered the more colorful of the two.  The two inch Rainbow Emperor is named for the stunning coloration that occurs above their black lateral line – they show the most amazing rainbow iridescent coloration, slightly mottled above the lateral line along their tail and most often seeming to fade from their red facial coloration through yellow and green to blue at their caudal edge.  Their anal fins are trimmed with yellow and black and their tails sport a black stripe through the center, continuing their dark lateral line.  This stripe becomes a lovely fin extension in male specimens.  As a shoaling species, large groups are recommended and will bring out the best appearance and behavior of this fish – I’ve chosen a sizeable group of twenty-five specimens for my 125 gallon tank.

Nematobrycon lacortei

Nannostomus eques “Brown Tailed Pencilfish” is a perfect choice to hover at the surface of my South American aquarium.  These amazing fish have very distinct checking of colors, making their stripes of brown, cream and burgundy red appear hashed onto their bodies.  While the upper lobe of their caudal fins are transparent, the lower is deep burgundy and gives rise to other common names for this fish, including Hockeystick or Diptail Pencilfish.  The anal fin is likewise colored with burgundy and their ventrals are tipped in bluish white. With a genus named for their tiny mouths, these fish are best fed on baby brine, Cyclops, micro-wafers, or well-crushed flake.  I think a group of eighteen of these fish will be a perfect complement to the other fish in my planted tank.

Nannostomus eques

I’d like one more group of schooling fish -- Hyphessobrycon sweglesi “Red Phantom Tetra”.  This is a lovely fish hailing from the Orinoco in Colombia.  H. sweglesi is a beautiful silvery-red color with brilliant red fins.  The dorsal fin is capped with black; it is extended in males and tipped with white in females.  A large black spot dominates the center of the body.  Their natural habitat is slow-moving and tannin-stained waters.  At maximum length, this lovely, full-bodied tetra reaches about 1.5”.  Red Phantom tetras are peaceful, non-competitive and prefer the presence of vegetation or driftwood for cover.  To bring out their best color, frozen and live foods are recommended.  

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi

Finally, I’d like an interesting centerpiece fish for my tank – even though each of these fish is striking and amazing in their own right, an active and personable cichlid would round out this aquarium perfectly.  In fact, I think Aequidens diadema “Twin Spot Flag Cichlid” would be absolutely perfect.  When not breeding, this is a wonderful, peaceful species of cichlid with fairly easy care.  They will readily accept live and frozen foods, though ours are very nicely trained to accept a combination of Cichlid Xtreme pellets and spirulina flake.  Their maximum size is likely to be around 5-6” and their care, in terms of water parameters, is quite easy.  Fairly soft water at a neutral pH and temperatures around 80°F will suit these fish quite well.  When breeding, the male will become very defensive of his fry – it is advisable to remove tankmates or a spawning pair to a different home during this time.  The male will take on the most gorgeous deep black and green coloration with hints of red around his two spots – one at mid-body and the other at the caudal peduncle.

Aequidens diadema

Bogwood, decorative rocks and a dark sandy substrate would be ideal in this theoretical aquarium.  An Eheim 2219 or Rena Filstar XP4 should do well on this tank, depending on your brand preference.  I am a fan of Eheim myself, but our maintenance guys swear by Rena.  Personally, I would be more than happy to equip this tank with a Current Satellite LED+ Pro fixture, but I’m a big fan of the incredibly customizable light system as well as storm and cloud effects. 

Thank you all for reading and, once again, welcome to the team, Quinn!  It’s wonderful to have you with us.

Jessica Supalla