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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

April 19, 2013

Welcome to India, my friend! I know, I know. Three days at home really wasn’t much time to catch your breath, but we have work to get done. Trust me, there was nothing more than I wanted to do myself but to sit down and take a moment to relax. It’s been 7 years of me doing this now, and it gets tiring after a while. Yes, April 16th was my 7 year anniversary of working for the best fish store in the Pacific Northwest, The Wet Spot Tropical Fish! It seems like only yesterday I was scrubbing algae off the side of the tanks in the store. Originally, I had taken the job as part-time work. I was only looking for something that I could fill in my weekends with, and learn more about my new favorite hobby.

At any rate, we are in Barkur to make an attempt to collect Barilius canarensis “Royal Hill Trout” in its natural habitat. Our guide will be taking us along the Suti River in order for us to collect some specimens. With any luck, we’ll be pulling these “salmon-like” cyprinids in with our cast nets. It appears the lower portion of this river seem to be somewhat turbulent, and we both feel that the river should get a little more shallow the further up we go. So let me tell you a little bit about the Royal Hill Trouts. They are also imported under the trade names ‘Jerdon’s Baril’, ‘Mirror Fish’, or Blue Gold Mirror Fish’. The males of this Barilius can grow to around 5” well the females stay slightly smaller. You can sex the fish by the elongated anal fin found on the male. Typically, the males will display an orangish colored chest and are slightly smaller compared to the bulkier females. The Royal Hill Trout is an agile swimmer and vigorous when it comes to feeding time; because of this behavior, smaller or slow-moving tank-mates should be avoided.

Barilius canarensis

Well it looks like our guide says we should try this spot on the river. There appears to be a good school formed in that calm area right above this rock pile. I think that would provide us with a little bit of cover as we throw our cast nets. I’ll take the left, and you can take the right. Are you in position? Here we go! Ok, let’s see what our nets pulled in. Not only did we get a good cluster of some young Royal Hill Trouts, but there appears to be another cyprinid-like animal in these nets. Why, if it isn’t some juvenile Dawkinsia tambraparniei “Trade Arulius Barbs”!

Dawkinsia tambraparniei juvenile

These fish are often imported under the false name Dawkinia arulius, which is actually a completely different fish that is rarely exported from India. The “false” Arulius Barb will grow to be about as large as our Royal Hill Trout’s, reaching about 5”. Young fish show this “stripe” pattern you see here, but as the fish mature these bars turn into three vertical stripes that look like a black lightning bolt on the body. As the males hit maturity, the dorsal fin grows these incredible long extensions. The face becomes covered with all of these bumps called tubercules. The back half of the body becomes a red hue that fades into a blue to purple color covering the shoulder of the fish.

Dawkinsia tambraparniei male

I can tell age must be catching up with me. My bones are getting all but tired, and the sun is getting ready to set anyway. I’d say it’s time to get the generator going and set up camp. We can head further north in the morning. There are a few more things on our list that we need to acquire before the boss will give the word to come on home.

It’s hard to believe that after 7 years I would not only find myself still here, but starting to give fish talks to some of the clubs around the U.S. This last year as brought me so many great opportunities, and I could not be more thankful. I especially need to give Joe Middleton, president of our local Greater Portland Aquarium Society, a big thank you. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be offered other chances to teach fellow hobbyists about some of my favorite fish. Our local club was certainly hurting on attendance, and his will power to bring back the club is starting to make an impact. Myself, and all of us at The Spot, would like to encourage that if you’re in the area to please join us this Thursday for our annual plant auction. You can find the details on our website, and through Facebook. More importantly, I need to thank my managers for their growing and continuing support. Over the years they have become family to me. I look forward to another 7 years with them. Thank you all so much!

I’ll see you all back on the road!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

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

April 12, 2013

Buenos días, mi amigo! You’ll be happy to know the rays have arrived back at home safe and sound. All four made their trip without any issues and are already eating our store out of house and home. Didn’t you tell me your friend was looking at getting one? I think you should send him an email and let him know he had better act quickly if he wants to own a freshwater stingray. I have a feeling that on how nice this group of Potamotrygon motoro was that they won’t last much longer in our shop.

We have a long journey on the Río Marañón ahead of us. I have scheduled a stop for breakfast at this restaurant called Amazon Bistro. I’ve been told that this this is THE place to get a good cup of coffee. I always thought that the coffee in South America would blow what we have out of the water, but from what I’ve tasted so far I guess I’ve become quite the coffee snob living in Portland. Ah, here comes breakfast now. That tacacho looks really good covered with chirozo. Anyway going over our itinerary we will be boarding the boat for San Lorenzo in about an hour. I’d hate to rush us, but we’ve got a boat to catch!

In order to collect, we need to get pass the national park of Pacaya. I’m sure it’s completely illegal for us to collect in this region, and I don’t know what to end up on the wrong end of the law in a foreign country. We have a few hour journeys ahead of us, so I thought I would take a moment to tell you about one of our potential target fish, Nannostomus rubrocaudatus “Purple Pencil”. When first imported, they were labeled as Nannostomus sp. “Coral Red Form II”, and thought to be a variant of either N. mortenthaleri or N. marginatus – another inhabitant of Peru. At first, these fish were extremely rare - so rare that in five years of working for the company I only saw them once. The boss had kept a small group for one of our show tanks. His hopes were to one day he would be able to get a spawn from them. Unfortunately, our business was growing rapidly, and this was one of many side projects that kept getting pushed off. It’s been our experience that N. rubrocaudatus is more like N. marginatus as far as temperament goes. The fish seem to prefer schools, unlike the overly aggressive males of the N. mortenthaleri. They make much better community members because of this. The full grown length is about a 1.5”. This compact size with an extremely red/purple color makes this fish an ideal candidate for planted tanks. I know most literature states the opposite, but this has been my experience with the fish.

Nannostomus rubrocaudatus

Importers down here have luckily grown, and the fish are becoming available on a more regular basis. I thought it would be a great opportunity for us while we are here to collect some for ourselves. I think we’ll make a stop just ahead where the river forks into the Rio Huallaga. It looks like there is plenty of swamp land here to search around in. What’s that in your net there? Some type of cory? I’m not much of a cory expert, but that looks like very close to orphnopterus. I think we should label them Corydoras cf. orphnopterus until we can get a proper idea on them. We are certainly in the right area to be collecting these. I love how the dark markings that cover the body seem to form a line along the lateral. Did you know that that orphnos means ‘dark’, and pteron means ‘wing’? The author was referring to that spot on the dorsal. My guess is that these grow to typical cory size of around 2.5”. No luck getting the pencils though. Shall we keep heading along the Rio Marañón?

Corydoras cf. orphnopterus

This area looks to be moving pretty slowly, and the vegetation in the river is quite thick. This has got to be the place to find our Purple Pencils. I just know it. Wait, did you see that tiny black and white fish hugging that log? Look there’s even more of them. Quick grab your net! So how many Otocinclus cocama “Zebra Oto” did you bring in? I think I must have caught like 100 of them! Ok, ok. I might have over exaggerated that one a bit. It was certainly a lot though. Did you know that the Zebra Oto was named after the Cocama-Comamilla Indian tribes of Brazil? They may not be little warriors against other fish, but when it comes to fighting algae they’ll slay any diatom that comes at them. Well more like ‘that they go after,’ considering algae doesn’t really move. These nano-loricariids reach a maximum size of 2”. They are very peaceful, and would do best in a planted tank where the vegetation is thick. This allows the shy animals to feel more at home like here on the river.

Otocinclus cocama

Don’t put down your nets just yet. It looks like the current has swept us right above a school of the Purple Pencils! This trip wasn’t a waste after all. Now that our coolers of full of livestock I think it’s time we got these back home, and onto our list. You know you’ll want to visit www.wetspottropicalfish.com to see these, and a few more fish. Like always, you should “like” us on Facebook for even more fish and product updates.

 

Voy a ver a todos en la frontera!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

March 22, 2013

Good afternoon my fellow traveler! As promised, we have plenty left of our expedition that lays ahead here in Southeast Asia. You will be pleased to hear that I have been informed the 4 Tetraodon baileyi “Hairy Puffers” have arrived safe and sound that we shipped back home last week. It pleases me to know that one has already found a new home! It looks like our hard work here is paying off. How about we continue this success and move onto the country of Myanmar? We’ve traveled to this land before, but have never collected a few unique fish for ourselves. It’s time to change that, so let us make haste!

Myanmar (also known as Burma) is still undergoing economic growth as a country that has had several changes in government over the years. This leaves almost 49% of the country still covered in rich and lush forests that contain animals like Elephants, rhinoceros, and wild boar in northern Myanmar. Unfortunately, the 1995 forestry law that passed has begun to seriously reduce forest and wildlife acreage. It’s going to be up to hobbyists, and people like us, that can hopefully protect these very limited areas from being torn down all across the globe. Like I’ve mentioned before, we need to be very careful while we are here. We are not here to aid in the rainforests demise, but rather to “borrow” a few of Mother Nature’s wonders.

Speaking of Northern Myanmar it looks like our journey to the Irrawaddy River basin has finally approached. We will be making our way to a small stream by the village of Yuzana Myaing called Hpa Lap to collect one of my favorite new cyprinids, Oreichthys sp. “Myanmar Redfin Barb”. These barbs are still fairly new to the hobby, but have already begun to make a big impact with the males’ sail-fin-like rustic orange dorsal fins. It’s here in this slow-moving stream that we should be collect some juvenile specimens to bring home with us. I think it’s best to leave to older and more mature fish in order for them to repopulate the area once we are done collecting. After all, these fish only grow to be about 1.5” or so. So grabbing some that are about ¾ of an inch should be ideal for their travels back to the states. I would have to guess that feeding them small foods like frozen or live baby brine will encourage the males color to enhance in an aquarium. I don’t know about you, but I am very excited to see a couple of males displaying for one another over a female back home!

Oerichthys sp "Myanmar Red Fin" 

With a bagful of these in the truck our guide heads near the city of Myitkyina. The city borders the Ayeyarwady River where we will be collecting Parasphaerichthys ocellatus “Burmese Chocolate Gourami”, a dwarf “chocolate” type gourami that only grows to be about 1.5”. These peaceful labyrinth fish like to hang out in peaceful muddy streams near the major river. We should be able to find some along the roadside fairly easily. How about you take your net to that side of the road, and I’ll work my way up this side. We can meet at that bridge just south of here. I caught quite a few on my side of the road. What did you come up with?

Parasphaerichthys ocellatus 

Would you look at that?! It’s Dario hysginon “Flame Red Badis”! I have read that the collection point for these was Nan Kywe Chaung. We must be on the same road where the fish was originally described? This is remarkable! It is said that the males of these labyrinth fish reach a total length of just ¾”. The females are even smaller at only a half an inch! The color in the males is usually a peach red with a black stripe located at the front of the dorsal. Females are usually duller and appear to be well-rounded around the stomach. I think we should do our best to get as many of these fish we can collect. They are sure to be popular back at the shop!

Dario hysginon 

Dario hysginon

The driver says we should head south to Salween River. There is supposed to be some cool stuff there that I’m sure we’d really enjoy collecting, including an awesome loach now known as Petruichthys sp. “Burmese Rosy Loach”. These micro-loaches used to belong to the Yunnanilus, but an updated study by scientists have moved them to their new family. The Rosy Loach grows to be about 1” in nature, but most likely will grow slightly larger than this in an aquarium. I know that you’re going to ask if they are good snail eaters, so to answer your question they are not. They will eat up the eggs, but their tiny mouths are more designed to eat soft foods like baby shrimps or insect larvae. We’ll be searching the flooded grass plains for these and other fish while we are here.

Petruichthys sp. "Burmese Rosy Loach"

I’d say we did pretty well in this area, wouldn’t you? I think it’s time we moved on, so it’s back to the truck. For now go ahead and have a look at the list on our website and fellow us on Facebook for more species updates throughout the week.

Until next week!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

April 05, 2013

¡Hola! Amigo, y bienvenidos a Peru! Yes, welcome to the country of Peru! We really need to teach you some Spanish. We’re going to be visiting here a lot after all. There are many fish here and with several exporters based in Iquitos it’s simply easy to export fish back to us in good old Portland, Oregon. The trip from one end of the world to the other was quite exhausting, but we are adventurers, we can sleep later. I promise that maybe you can go home after this trip. Maybe… I have a little surprise for us when we get passed the city of Honda on highway 50. This journey is going to define the word “epic”. Here’s our driver now. Let’s go!

We have a few hour boat rides towards the village of Tamshiyacu, which means we’ll be arriving as the sun settles in the east. Plenty of time to suit up for a night dive. Yes, amigo, you heard me correctly. Tonight we will be getting a little dangerous with a night dive in the Río Amazonás. Now I know this is going to sound crazy, but come on, this is going to be awesome! No, you’re right. This is crazy. I have a huge suspicion that we’ll run into one of my favorite freshwater fish, well stingray really, Potamotrygon motoro “Ocelatte River Ray”. The Motoro ray is one of 17 species of freshwater stingrays that have evolved from their saltwater cousins, but spend their entire lives completely in freshwater. The name Potamotrygon derives from the two Latin words - ‘Potamos’ meaning ‘river’, and ‘trygon’ meaning ‘three angles’ which is a reference to the body shape.

Potamotrygon motoro

These fish have a very large natural range of several countries in South America including - Venezeula, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and the southern countries Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. Depending on the region they can grow to nearly 3 feet across. This, of course, usually only typical of wild fish and most aquarium specimens usually do not exceed 24”. That’s still nothing to take lightly though. If you are planning to keep these exceptional animals, then I suggest you have the tank space to house them.  To allow proper movement of the fish, the footprint of the aquarium should be at least three feet on the shortest side.

For those of you who were wondering, it is possible to sex them. Males have a pair of appendages known as “claspers” located right behind the pectoral fins. When the animals become three years of age (nearly impossible to know for wild caught individuals) they become sexually mature. Male Motoros are known to be very aggressive during the courtship. He will chase the potential female, often nipping at the edge of her disc, in an attempt to get under her. If he’s successful the pair’s bellies will be touching and he’ll use his claspers to inject his “milt”. Once he has impregnated a female she will give live birth to 1-8 “pups” about 3 months later. The pair will usually leave the pups alone, but it may be wise to remove them to ensure they grow up to be as big as their parents. If spawning does not take place fairly soon I would suggest separating the two to avoid injury to the female. You should know that this has only been accomplished in aquaria by experienced aquarists. I would not advice taking on this task unless you have the tank space and knowledge to attempt such a task.

Potamotrygon motoro

We will need to be extremely careful during this dive. Stingrays are the cause of more than 2000 injuries a year in Colombia. The locals of these countries fear these animals more than they do other potential predators in the water – including Piranhas. The river rays are among the top predators in these ecosystems, and usually hunt at night while the other fish are “sleeping”. I think I’ve all but exhausted my speech for now, and this looks like a great place to dive. This boat has several spot lights on it. We should be more than okay at this depth. The fish finder shows it’s only 8-9 meters deep here. The lights should be able to penetrate deep enough down for us. After a double check of our equipment I’d say it’s green for go time. Are you ready for this? Ese es el espíritu, amigo! Nos vemos en el fondo!

Now THAT was incredible! Did you see the size of that Piraíba (Brachyplatystoma filamentosum)? That thing must have been over 6’ long! But I think the best part was when you nearly landed on a Black Caiman. The look on both of your faces was priceless. I got a feeling that how quickly he got out of there meant you scared him more than he scared you. Hahaha. Oh man. I’m sorry to laugh about it, but it was kind of priceless. This trip was great, and not to mention how successful we were in collecting 4 perfect specimens of Motoros. This is going to be great when we get them back home! I think that was the best idea I’ve had yet. It’s got to be sometime after midnight by now. Let’s get them back to base for shipping home. We need to get some rest. I have a feeling we’re not quite done here yet.

Adiós,

y nos vemos en la próxima inmersión!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

March 15, 2013

 Knock! Knock! Hello my good friend!
 
Yes, yes, it’s so wonderful to see you as well. I trust you’re well rested today? Good, good. Pardon me a moment while I check to see… Yes! You did keep your bag so neatly packed and easily accessible as if you knew I would be back again to steal you away. Splendid! With that look on your face I can see that you know what’s coming next, so why don’t you go dust off that passport. Our entrepreneur and proprietor have once again enlisted us for our unparalleled abilities in fish collection. I’ve already called ahead and had the plane prepped for takeoff. It’s time for us to make hast to the airport without further delay. We are off to the breathtaking lands of Thailand where we will be navigating the colossal Mekong River!

As we travel into the land you can see the monstrous river from the plane’s petite window. Oh, my apologies. I forgot you choose the aisle seat. Well you should really see this view! It’s incredible! Did you know the Mekong River is the second largest in the world for bio-diversity? This body of water not only provides many great aquarium pets like fish and turtles, but makes up a good portion for what the natives eat for food. It’s estimated that over 2.5 million tons of inland fish are consumed every year. That’s quite a bit of a fish diet!

I’ll tell you it feels good to get off that plane. So what are we doing here you ask? Recent popularity of Tetraodon baileyi “Hairy Puffer” has provided reason for our patron to send us. He wants us to collect a few specimens to offer our clientele at home. The Hairy Puffer is easily recognizable with a brownish body, a mouth that is slightly pointed upward, and tiny reddish eyes that are located near the top of the head. The entire fish is covered in tufty epidermal growths. These “hairs” give the 5” puffer his common name, and is the most distinguished feature. The camouflaged body blends the Hairy Puffer into the substrate. This is a great way to prey upon unexpected fish. The puffer will sit among the substrate and wait for smaller fish to pass by above. The puffer then swoops up from below and takes down its prey that never knew he was there. This predator will feed upon small fish in an aquarium, and is highly aggressive to other animals. Therefore, they should be only kept by themselves in an aquarium.

Tetraodon baileyi

There is very little accurate information on Hairy Puffers, our best bet would be getting some information from the locals. Our driver will be escorting us by boat up the river. When we reach the fish markets we can try to get some intel there. It took a bit of prying, but it seems the fish like to reside in areas where the current is fairly strong. It seems the fish are not the best of swimmers, but like to hang out in the crevices of rocks waiting for the smaller fish to swim by. Our chaperone has told me that another local mentioned to him a place pretty close to here where his young boy has seen them. I suggest we head to this location to see if his insight is true.

 Tetraodon baileyi

After a short ride we’ve reached a part of the river that seems to me like the fisherman described. It looks like the water level is shallow enough to where we can depart and move ahead on foot. Be careful of your step, like I said this current is extremely quick. It’s not on my top agenda to chase you downstream. Be mindful of the Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis). These endangered animals can grow to almost 7 feet long, and weigh nearly 800 pounds. Siamese Crocodiles are highly endangered in the wild, but that doesn’t mean we can’t cross paths with these predators. 

I have a perfect idea of how to catch the Hairy Puffers we’re looking for. I think a technique that is used to catch Plecostomus from South America would work perfectly here. The idea is I’ll take this narrow stick and start poking through cracks and crevices around the rocks. When one comes out you have the cast net ready. This should prove perfect to catch our targeted fish. Are you ready? Ok! Let’s get to this! I knew that would work! It looks like this technique managed to pull up three beautiful specimens. Let’s get them back to the main boat. I’d like to have them back to the airport as quickly as possible. We have some other work to do here, but we can at least have these shipped back to the states so that they can find wonderful new homes.

As you might have guessed, these Hairy Puffers, as well a lot more fish, can be found on our website, www.wetspottropicalfish.com. I know you’re eager to get some for your tank, but we still have some work to do here. For those of you, who are ready, be sure to email or call me. I’ll make sure to be around just long enough to take your order.

See you back at the boat!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager