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July 27, 2011

This week The Wet Spot Tropical Fish would like to welcome you to the vast jungles of Myanmar…

Myanmar was known as Burma until 1989, when the country changed its title to “the Republic of the Union of Myanmar”. There is much debate as to what the country should be properly called – some governments and news organizations refer to it as “Burma”, others “Myanmar”. Here I will refer to the country as Burma, as there are several common names of fish that have that name in their title. Having settled that, let us begin on a journey of life and diversity…

Home to 26 national parks and rainforests under protection by the local governments, Burma gets almost 200 of inches of rainwater a year. This makes for some of the world’s most beautiful rainforests, but with the 1995 law allowing heavy logging, many of those forests are now under threat. Many animals, including tigers and leopards, are now sparse. In the North, the locals have tamed and bred animals such as Elephants for labor, especially in the lumber industry. Among all of this turbulence there are hundreds of plentiful species of freshwater fish, some of which are even used as a food source.

Let’s say you’ve just purchased yourself a brand new 8.6 gallon 24x12x8 inch Cube Garden 60-f from Aqua Design Amano (it’s a great rimless tank with plenty of space for small fish). Begin setting up the tank by adding ADA Malayan substrate in order to replicate the natural environment of Burma. It’s a good idea to cover this substrate with aquarium sand so that these micro-fish are able to feed off the bottom. Place some Amano Branch Wood in the corners and add a few lace rocks to grow some Flame Moss (Taxiphyllum sp.) on. In the corners you could place various types of Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) among the Branch Wood. For ground cover try the Cryptocoryne parva. The tannins will set in from the wood and you’re going to need to stabilize the pH at around 7.2 to help replicate the natural hardness of Burma. Make sure to cycle the aquarium well before you start releasing the fish listed! So grab the test kit and ditch the White Clouds - let’s add some better fish!

The “Naked Rummynose Rasbora” Sawbwa resplendens arrived large and lovely a couple of weeks ago. The males are already showing those bright red noses and tails! The fish gets its name from being one of the few scale-less cyprinids. However one of the most interesting things about S. resplendens is that it is not actually a rasbora – it is more closely related to a barb! Scientists have done studies and the species is currently in its own class, and it is likely to stay that way. In my opinion, the thing that really sets this fish apart from every other micro-fish is that males show a remarkable color difference from the females. Females are generally a brown to silver color with a black dot above the anal fin. Males on the other hand have red faces, a silver body, and two red dots on their tail. Males are also very competitive, and therefore should be kept with a heavy female ratio to reduce the aggression level. I personally kept S. resplendens, and let me tell you that there is nothing more rewarding than watching two males duel in the middle of a tank!

Sawbwa resplendens

In keeping with the theme of unique fish, we have the Yunnanilus sp. “Burmese Rosy Loach”. Originally described as "Tuberoschistura arakanensis", the small loach seems to show more similarities of the genus Yunnanilus, and therefore I will refer to it as such here. Though much is unknown about this amazing little creature, I believe it gets about two inches in length. Healthy males show an amazing reddish-orange color while females are a pale orange. Both have a black stripe running horizontal along the body. A regular diet of frozen daphnia, baby brine shrimp, and catfish pellets will keep your Burmese Rosy Loaches in great health. Like most loaches, these fish are sociable and should be kept in small schools. As if being rarely seen in the hobby wasn’t unique enough, this fish does something else that sets the genus apart from the rest - it swims at a 45 degree angle! I just know that once in your tank, these loaches will show some real character!

Yunnanilus sp. "Rosy"

The top of the tank may need a little action. Danio Choprae “Glowlight Danio” will do just the trick. D. choprae lives most of its life swimming in the middle of the aquarium in search of food. This fish, in my opinion, is extremely underrated in the hobby. There is nothing but color on these little fish! A yellow-gold color covers the body. A red stripe starts at the middle of the body and runs to the tail. There are 6 or 7 green vertical bars that also start in the middle of the body. If you want something active and eye-catching in the aquarium, then C. choprae is just the right fish!

Danio choprae

Of course there are the beautiful and ever so popular Danio margaritatus “Celestial Pearl Danios”, but we’re looking for more obscure fish for our Burmese biotope. There is a less-seen cousin that in my opinion is just as rad. Danio erythromicron “Emerald Dwarf Rasbora” looks like a little tiger with its silver stripes! The cheeks are a red color that goes well with their orange fins. This fish can be rather bashful, so it may take some time for them to start making a regular appearance in the tank. With the help of a dither fish like the D. choprae mentioned earlier, they’ll be darting around the foliage in no time. We only have a limited quantity of these fish, so act fast!

Danio margaritatus

Danio erythromicron

I’d say that would stock that ADA aquarium we were talking about at the beginning pretty well. Imagine the look on your friends faces when they see all the cool fish you’ve acquired. Before you know it they’ll be setting up their own Burmese biotopes, and you’ll be full of great pride knowing what you’ve inspired among your buddies! I hope this introduces you to some cool new fish that you never thought of keeping before. As always check out the products link for the current list. See you next week!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager