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March 29, 2013

Welcome my friend! I trust your boat travels to the islands of Indonesia was more pleasurable than that time we got stuck in the mud along the Rio Negro? Yes, that was quite the trek back to the nearest village, wasn’t it? Anyway, I suppose you’re more than eager to hear what brings us to these islands. Well, recently I have had the pleasure to talk to some of my clients about the family Parosphromenus – more commonly known as “Licorice Gouramis”. I have always been intrigued by this genus, and we do our best to offer these fish that seem to be known as “rare” in most pet stores. This week our odyssey takes us into the mountains to find this extremely beautiful labyrinth fish.

Our expedition begins in the country of Malaysia. We’ll be traveling from the city of Kuching down along one of the main highways into the country of Borneo. Along the drive we have to take the ferry across the Kapuas River, which to me seems more like a lake than a river at this part. We have a few hours before the ferry leaves. How about we take a look around this swamp for some cool finds? That area where over there looks pretty good. The sun is barely shining through, and a lot of fish should be calling that small pool home. The water is only about a half meter deep here -perfect conditions to run a net through. Let’s see what we came up with. By the looks of that head I’d say we just found Betta krataois “Blue Damsel Betta” hiding out in one of its natural habitats. Let’s keep searching these pools for some more. We have a couple of hours to burn after all. That break turned out to be lots of fun, and highly rewarding. I think the ferry is ready to get underway. It’s time we keep moving through Central Kalimantan along the Jelai River basin in search of various species.

Betta krataios

Now that we’re back on the road, I’d say we should stop somewhere along here to see if we can’t find Parosphromenus opallios “Giant Red Sparkling Licorice Gourami”. The natural habitat to the “gemstone” of the licorice gourami family is almost completely destroyed from agriculture farmland. Get it? Opallios equals Gemstone?! Oh man, that’s good. You’re not laughing, and I am such a nerd for knowing that. Go ahead and laugh it up. Meanwhile it seems that the fish have been surviving in modified swamps that are more irrigation ditches than a river bed. We will do our best to collect some of these fish without further damaging the habitats. You take your cast net to that side of the bridge and I’ll try my luck using this hand net in that ditch over there. We managed to collect quite a few specimens from that little ditch, including some beautiful rasboras – Boraras merah “Phoenix Rasbora”. These dainty little Cyprinids make excellent dither fish for the rather bashful gouramis. We should bring home a bag of these with us.

Parosphromenus opallios

Boraras merah

After a few hour rests in the truck our driver has brought us to Banjarmasin in South Borneo. We will be searching the nearby rivers for another jewel in the family - Parosphromenus filamentosa “Filament Licorice Gourami”. Filament Licorice Gouramis are among one of the more attractive members of the family, and some experts believe them to be a good starting point if it’s your first time keeping licorice gouramis. As for me I just love the little extensions that the males grow off the tip of the caudal fin. The red and black border etched in a baby blue color is absolutely stunning in my opinion. Let’s see what you came up with? That looks like the right fish to me. I’d say the coolers are all but full. I think it’s time to head north to get these fish in proper conditions to ship back home.

Parosphromenus filamentosa

Like always I have had a wonderful time collecting fish in the field with you. The fish have already made their way to our facility and can be viewed on our website, www.wetspottropicalfish.com. For those of you who can’t get enough of us we have a new special treat coming up. We are bringing back our “monthly” newsletter. This other ad will feature new things like what’s going on around the store, new products, and a couple of fish highlights.

Anthony Perry

Sales Manager