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April 25, 2013

Hello, my friend! We have traveled far and wide over the last couple of years, and yet, our journey is far from over. Last week, we trekked through the coastal jungles of southern India. Today our adventure brings us further north to the city of Tezpur, located in the state of Assam. The city’s name has a lot of history behind it. You see, ‘Teza’ is the Sanskrit word for blood, and ‘Pura’ means city. Legend has it that the city of Tezpur was originally named when a fierce battle broke out between Krishna’s army and Banasura’s army in order to rescue the grandson of Lord Krishna. When the two armies collided there was so much bloodshed that the city itself was stained red. Don’t worry, my friend, that was years ago. There is nothing to worry about now. Now enough about these tales…

That great body of water you are overlooking is known as the Brahmaputra River in this part of the land. At its origin, the Angsi Glacier in the Himalayan Mountains of China, they call it the Yarlung Tsangpo. From there the 1800 mile river finds its course through the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India, winding its way to this land until it finds its end into the Padma River. Once these waters meet they find themselves emptying into the Bay of Bengal. We have come to this river to do some more “fishing” for our employer. I have a quick list of a few things that I think all the folks back at home are sure to enjoy. So let’s get down to the water!

Our tour guide has taken us up river near Dhalaibi. This area has some rapids that will be shallow enough to throw some cast nets. I’m ready whenever you are? Here we go then! Well that wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. So far I haven’t come up with much. Just a few barbs, but I don’t know what they are. The guide says that he knows this fish as Cyprinon semiplotum “Emperor Round Face Barb”. The locals call them the “Assamese Kingfish”, and it seems that these are only juveniles. These 3” fish will one day grow to a monstrous size of two feet. I‘m not very familiar with the fish, but my guess is that they’ll appreciate a swift current in a tank, and eventually will need a large aquaria in order to live out their long lives. I don’t want to overfish, so let’s keep moving up stream.

Cyprinon semiplotum

The water is getting a little shallower as we find our way up a side stream from the main river. Our guide has instructed us that this would be a good area to fish. He has collected several fish here before. When we pull our own nets up I am surprised to find a few Mastacembelus pancalus “Yellow Tail Spiny Eels” in them. These eels can grow to about 7 inches in length, and can vary in color from a pale yellow to olive-green. These eels will usually feed upon small insects in nature, but will accept a variety of prepared foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp in captivity. They are generally peaceful towards other fish. They make perfect tank-mates for medium to large sized tetras and rasboras. If we were a little further south in Bangladesh we may end up finding these on a food menu. I hear there they make an excellent delicatessen. Good thing we’re not here that!

Mastacembelus pancalus

It looks like you have something else in your net there. Some type of danio species? Let me have a better look. Yes, it looks like this is Devario assamensis “Assam Danio”. This Devario is not available very often in the trade. I think it’s because the fish prefers to shallower streams outside of the main river. Reports are not entirely positive of the full grown size of these Cyprinids, but it’s believed somewhere in the 3.5” mark. At home I would suggest keeping these with either mid to large sized rainbows, or fish that are swifter. They may also make good companions with less aggressive Central American cichlids due to their size and speed.

Devario assamensis

Do you see those small pools formed in through the tree line? We should dock the boat for a moment and take some nets to them. There’s got to be something kind of cool living in them. I knew I was right on this! I just pulled up a Badis type. My guess is these are Badis assamensis “Spotted Badis”. We are in the area where they call home after all. It looks like between the two of us we only got a handful. Hopefully there is a good mixture of sexes. Everything I read on them states a slow moving timid fish, but they will predate on small fish. They can grow very large for a Badis type too, reaching almost 3”. The males are very colorful with a red body that is covered in dark blue “honeycomb” shaped dots. Females are usually a little smaller, and not as colorful. They would make an excellent choice for slow mid-sized tetras and gouramis. Let’s bring home the few we just found.

Badis assamensis

Well the sun seems to be getting low. I’d say we had another full day here on the majestic Brahmaputra River. How about we call it a day and head back into Tezpur? Oh, come on. That was just a legend that happened almost a thousand years ago. The city won’t be covered in blood when we get there. Get back in the boat already.

I’ll see you all next week!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager