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February 13, 2013

Hello yet again! Well, my talk didn’t go as smoothly as I had planned. I caught a cold right before I left and that certainly took its toll on me. Regardless of how I think it went, the PCCA members were all very friendly and heartwarming people, and each was more than eager to tell me they had enjoyed it. I would like to say thank you all for enduring my “short” and nasally lecture. If you wish to bring me back I promise to be able to perform with 100% enthusiasm the next time. Either way I had a wonderful time in the bay area and can’t wait for my next visit.

As I am still a bit under the weather we will be staying here at home again this week. My energy is slowly returning to normal, but not quite there yet. Because of this I don’t foresee any jungle adventures through the great amazon until that happens. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, and I think it’s time that I taught you a little bit about some “gentle giants” that we have hanging around the shop…

Those of you who have been reading for a while know that I am a sucker for two things: catfish and mustaches. I mean are a lot of things I’m a sucker for, but these stand out for sure. While wondering up and down these aisles a certain catfish struck my eye with his magnificent mustache. Hemisynodontis membranaceus just looks like he should floating through the tank with a top hat on and a smoking pipe hanging loosely from his lip. I make a bet If this fish could speak he would have a fine British accent pouring from his mouth as he asks where to get the freshest Cyclopes to feed upon. What? You don’t think with that ‘stache he wasn’t asking his neighbors about a cup of tea in the garden later on? Maybe it’s just me than. Anyway, even though the “Mustache Cat” grows to almost 20”, he is a gentle giant in an aquarium. Yes, at one point you may need to replace your living room with a pond to house him, but on the bright side he won’t harm any of your mid-sized fish. You see they use their fleshy membrane whiskers, aka mustaches, to search for small foods like small brine or even dried flakes.

Hemisynodontis membranaceus

As the Asterophysus batrachus “Gulper Cat” paddles his oversized belly through the tank you wonder what fish would not be ingested by the gaping mouth that is so large that he can’t even close it. Not only does the Gulper Cat have an exceptionally wide mouth, but it can consume animals nearly twice its size with a stomach that stretches. You think anacondas are scary? I’d be worried about my hand getting picked off by this catfish that looks like he was taken directly out of the pages of some sci-fi movie. Luckily the Gulper Cat only grows to around 14”, otherwise he’d be a perfect candidate in a film about fish swallowing you whole. Now that you know this it is highly advisable to keep them either by themselves, or with fish that are at least 3-4” bigger than the Gulper Cat. Basically, if he thinks he can get it in there, he’s going to try.

Asterophysus batrachus

The face of the Auchenoglanis sp. “Volta Giraffe Cat” pokes his chubby cheeks out from under a piece of driftwood, and immediately I’m thinking of my friend’s mastiff hound, Fred. Even though Fred was 180 pounds he always thought he was a lap dog, and the Giraffe Cat completely reminds me of him when they come tumbling through the tank. They’re robust frames can be observed clumsily working their way over the other fish without a care in the world. Regrettably the Giraffe Cats from Volta are still new to the hobby and it’s still unknown how large they grow. The other 8 described species within the family Auchenoglanis all can grow anywhere from 10” to an incredible 32”. Now one might think with a fish of that magnitude it would gulp up anything it could fine. Unlike other catfish, Giraffe Cat mouths are more specialized for digging in the substrate in search of crustaceans or other items it may come upon. I’ve seen 12” long specimens being housed with larger gouramis and tetras without any problems.

Auchenoglanis sp. "Volta Giraffe Cat"

Hey, I think we found a few gentle giants hanging about the shop, didn’t we? I guess it’s time you set up that monster 500 gallon and buy a few? Come to think about it I am starting to feel better. I think we may have to take some where next week. I wouldn’t go wandering too far from my bags if I was you.

See you abroad!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager