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May 29th, 2015

Happy Friday, my friends!  I must say, I’m very glad to reach the end of a week – it’s a milestone of a job well done.  Without further ado, the fish!

Rasbora patrickyapi “Patrick’s Rasbora” is an absolutely beautiful large schooling fish.  Its body color is a pale rose color with a rusty brown coloration along its dorsal side.  It is bisected along its midline with a bold black line and its entire body, particularly over this midline, is incredibly iridescent.  Its fins are transparent and ruddy in coloration, with the exception of the anal fin and the lower lobe of the caudal fin, which are bright red.  This is one of the largest Rasboras we offer and is matched in size only by R. kalochroma.  These fish can be somewhat nippy and they are also quite quick.  They could be a fantastic occupant for a semi-aggressive community setup or cohabitating with particularly fast fish such as large Danios, particularly due to their beautiful colors.  It is best to keep these fish in as large of groups as possible to distribute nipping throughout the group, much like Puntius tetrazona.  I believe these fish would look fantastic over a black sand substrate with plenty of marginal and low-level planting.

WSRasbora patrickyapi 2

I’ve found myself staring in awe at our stock tanks of the large and beautiful Rasbora kalochroma “Clown Rasbora”. These four inch fish are in amazing health and so ready to be on display in your home.  With their amazing red coloration and black spotting that varies between each individual (though two spots are typical), the Clown Rasbora is definitely a looker.  R. kalochroma is a peaceful schooling fish that prefers somewhat acidic, tannin-stained water – dim lighting will bring out the best look of these fish without implementing blackwater conditions. This is a great companion for other Asian blackwater species such as large wild Betta specimens.

WSRasbora kalochroma

They’re not quite the large Betta that could be housed with the Clown Rasboras, but I’m a huge fan of all Labyrinth fish and Sphaerichthys vaillanti “Samurai Chocolate Gourami” or “Vaillant’s Chocolate Gourami” is no exception.  With their somewhat cryptic coloration and leaf-like shape, they’re perfectly suited for hovering quietly amongst root, fallen branches, aquatic plants and leaf litter.  Their silhouette is nearly almond-shaped with a fascinating elongate and upwardly pointed mouth.  While their resting color is a pleasant latte brown with a dark band running from their mouth to behind their eyes, this line is bordered along its top by brilliant silver-white, a coloration that also rims their ventral edge.  Males present white-bordered fins with a spangling of white spots, while females in brood dress will display gorgeous burgundy and green striping and coloration over their entire bodies.  It’s rare to find female fishes that are more colorful than their male counterparts – these fish are a beautiful example of this. I constantly find myself amazed by these gorgeous fish and wish that I had space at home for a group of them.

WSSphaerichthys vaillanti

Finally, at the request of some of you loyal readers, let’s talk about talking catfish.  These particular cats have two ways to communicate aurally with each other and, often, with us hobbyists while we are netting them.  Their first technique is to flex a muscle that runs from the back of their skull to their swim bladder, causing a resonation in the swim bladder and an accompanying deep hum.  Additionally, they can produce a second, higher-pitched sound via the locking of their pectoral fins into their sockets, followed by a quick motion to grind the pectoral spines against the bony socket, causing an audible buzz.  One of the more popular talking cats in the hobby is Platydoras armatulus “Striped Raphael Catfish”.  These peaceful and hardy catfish have broad, flat heads and alternating creamy white and black stripes running from their dorsal line to the end of their caudal fins.  While peaceful, the eight inch Striped Raphael Cat will eat bite-size fish, so tankmates should be moderately sized or better.  As another interesting aside specific to the species, juvenile P. armatulus are occasionally observed performing cleaning duties on larger fish, removing dead scales and parasites from their bodies.

WSPlatydoras armatulus

Thank you very much for reading and I hope you’ve found some interesting information this week.  Until next time!

Jessica Supalla