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January 18, 2013

Good morning to you! I hope that your mosquito net worked well for you during the night? Let’s get a cup of some fresh brewed coffee while we discuss our plans for the next few days. I had to make some changes to your itinerary as it appears our time in Nigeria is being cut short. Our guide informed me early this morning that the Nigerian government does not wish for us to collect here. I feel that it’s probably best to respect their wishes and move on. We’ve got about an hour before we need to get on the road. This should give you plenty of time to finish your breakfast and pack up. I’ll see you at the truck, my friend!

It looks like we’re off from here into the country of the Central African Republic. We will not be making any stops through here though as we need to make it to Lake No in South Sudan in a few days’ time. I’ve mapped out a few places on the lake where I hope to find a very rare catfish, Synodontis filamentosa “Filament Cat”. These catfish have an extremely long filament off there their dorsal fin. Though this extension looks like it is part of the bone of the dorsal it is actually incredibly soft. I’ve always been curious to know why these fish grow such long dorsal fins, but I guess Mother Nature likes to keep here secrets. It would be awesome to see some full grown 10” adults in the lake, but I have a feeling that the larger ones will be in deeper waters. How about you cast the net over there near that rock and see what you come up with? I knew it! You found three of them all around 3”. That’s prefect for what we need. With these in hand our employer will be more than happy. I’ll get these on some oxygen while you pack the vehicle. I think it’s time we headed south into the Congo.

Synodontis filamentosa

During the night, an email came in from our patron requesting we find Tetraodon miurus “Red/Brown Congo Puffer”. I think it is best we head to the town of Yangambi along the banks of the great Congo River. This would be a good place to start searching the surrounding tributaries. I think if we cross the bridge along road R401 we should be able to follow that along the Lomami River system. I think we will have better luck finding these ambush predators along this river. In nature they can grow up to 6”, but that’s probably a bit too large for us to want to bring back home. I think we should find something a little on the smaller side. The Red/Brown Congo Puffer likes to inhabit faster flowing waters. I’m going to try my luck near those rapids up there by those downed trees. How about you head down a little ways and see what that section might house? Be careful when picking them out of the net. I’ve had a couple of these nasty buggers bite me when fishing them out of the tanks. Who knows how one freshly collected out of the river would react? I managed to collect a good half dozen or so around 1.25”. What did you come up with? You got a few too from the looks of it. Well with our collections I’d say we’re good to go.

Tetraodon miurus

Our journey ends at the largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kinshasa. This part of the river was once a small fishing town, but now is home for more than 9 million people. We will be just a few kilometers up river searching the calmer pockets of the rapids for Steatocranus casuarius “Buffalohead Cichlid”. The males of these “dwarf” cichlids get their name from the nuchal hump on the forehead of adult fish. Males will typically grow to under 5”, while the females only grow to around 3”. One really neat thing about the Buffalohead Cichlids is that they form monogamous pairs that have such strong mating bonds that if one of the partners dies the other may never choose another partner. Talk about dedication! I would say collecting fish around 2” in size would be the best for our purposes. This area with large flat stones is a typical Buffalohead Cichlid environment. If you ever have anyone interested in keeping Buffalohead’s that they set up an aquarium similar to these conditions.

Steatocranus casuarius

Our nets are have hit the water and it looks like we managed to catch our targeted fish. Wait. What’s this? I’d say that these are very healthy specimens of Synodontis soloni. This catfish can be quite the trouble maker in an aquarium – even for a fish that only grows to around 5”. With this 3-4” size I’d suggest keeping them with either larger cichlids or Lake Malawi fish. Like most Synodontis catfish they are a bit reclusive by spending a lot of their time hiding. I’ve noticed that as the fish feels comfortable they start to explore their environment during the day more often. I would say this is a terrific by catch in our net. We’ll go ahead and send a few of this home with the rest of our fish.

Synodontis soloni

At last it looks like nightfall is setting in. We’re not scheduled to leave until the morning. Somehow we managed to not only collect all of our fish, but managed to do it a day early. How about we head to the quartier Matonge for a little nightlife before our flight home? I’d say we deserve it.

See you out on the town!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

January 11, 2013

Ah, there you are! I’ve been waiting on this plane to arrive for over an hour now. I trust your travels weren’t too exhausting? Once again you have my deepest apologies in advance that I was not able to meet you in Amsterdam as promised, but I had much preparation to do for our expedition ahead. After all, as your guide it takes a lot of time to plan these excursions that I put on for you. Well, now that you’re finally here I think we should get started right away. Oh, you have a question? Where are you? My! How silly of me? I never thought to tell you that you would be coming to Cameroon, did I? Welcome to the majestic land of Africa, my friend!

There will be no time for sightseeing today, my young entrepreneur. You’ll be getting plenty of that from the old Mercedes SUV that will be your home for the next couple of weeks. I’ve already had the gentlemen with the airline place your bags in the vehicle, so if you’ll follow me this way our driver should be ready by now. We are in the city of Douala, the country’s largest city. As you might have guessed we are not here for the Doual'art, but rather to the fact that this city is located at the mouth of the Wouri River drainage. This is the perfect place to begin our expedition because there happens to be my favorite dwarf cichlid living among this river. So what are we waiting for? Let’s go collect some fish!

It has taken us some time to get out of the city, but we are finally a few kilometers up the river. I think once we find a nice opening through this dense forest we should get into the water. We’ll be looking to collect Pelvicachromis taeniatus “Wouri” in its natural habitat. The males of these West African dwarf cichlids only grow to around 3”, and the females get about 2.5”. I’ve already owned and spawned a pair before myself at home, but I’ve always wanted to see them how they should be - right here in the river. Look! There they are. A pair is courting their fry along the shoreline. I don’t know if you know this, but taeniatus are a pair bonding fish that mates for life. The parents will care for this brood until they’re about a ¼” of an inch. Then they’ll leave them to be on their own, and start a whole new family. Another really cool thing about taeniatus is the females are the more brightly colored specimens. Depending on the region they are from the females belly can be a blood red color to an agate blue. As you can see here, females of the Wouri form are wonderful magenta color. I think we should leave these parents alone for now. We can find some other younger fish to bring home with us a little further upstream.

Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Wouri"

From this part of the Wouri system we will be traveling southeast to the Dja River system. It’s in this area that we should be able to collect the elusive Synodontis pardalis. I’ve been told that the best place to look is in the Libi River. The first collections of this “leopard” spotted catfish were near a waterfall, just a few kilometers from here. My reports tell me that these catfish can grow up to 10” in nature. I don’t really know what to expect to find, but something in the 5” range should be ideal for collection. As they are rather rare we will not be collecting more a then a few of these. We don’t want to overfish them after all. It’s our job as hobbyists to preserve wild specimens. I want you to be very careful while we are here in this refugee. It’s bad enough that deforestation happens among one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful lands. We do not need to add to it by tromping through the woods and destroying it any further than it is. I’ve ranted long enough. Let us move on and begin the fun part of our quest. How is it the fun part, you ask? Now we get to go back the way came. Our time in Cameroon is ending, and we have another country to explore from here.

Synodontis pardalis

After a day or so of traveling through the mighty jungle we make our way over into the Munaya River system in western Cameroon. We’ll be traveling outside these borders to the Cross River to collect one of the most unique cichlids that occur in West Africa - Gobiocichla ethelwynnae “Cross River Goby". The Cross River Goby finds its home along the shoreline living among large flat rocks where the current is still swift. The body is extremely elongated, and the head of the fish is rather rounded. The body is clearly designed to thrive in these conditions. We observe several of these wonderful cichlids hanging out in the crevices of rocks at first. Slowly, as they become accustomed to us, they start to make their way out. It’s such a sight to see them foraging for algae among the rocks. After a few attempts we collect enough to be able to bring home to our employer. I know he’ll be pleased with this fine.

Gobiocichla ethelwynnae

From there our driver brings us through a tour of the Cross River National Park over the border in Nigeria. The park itself has been poorly explored, and I feel that this needs to change. This will also give us a great chance to see things that many have never even seen before; including several hundred species of birds, and a remarkable record of over 600 species of butterflies. I guess the birds are here to enjoy a few snacks. Alright, I’ll quit while I’m ahead on the bad jokes. The path through the park was nothing less than miraculous, but it’s time to make our way to our lodge in Ugep. It’s a small town a few kilometers outside of the park. We’ll be staying the night here. I’ve already had our team send the fishes we collected back to the states, but you and I are far from done here in Africa. I’m going to prepare our itinerary for our next trip…

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

December 22, 2012

 Our trip through Southeast Asia was among some of the best times I’ve had in my life. Of course, this came with having some of the best company I could ask for on my travels – you! I want to say thank you for being such a great traveling companion. It truly means a lot to me that you’ve understood the car ride sing along’s, my obsession to take a million photos along the way, and braving the murky waters of the jungles. I wanted to do something nice for you for the holidays. I couldn’t think of a better way to show my appreciation to you than having you come along to South America with me! I know the holidays are just around the corner, but we’ll be back just in time for Christmas…

I know you weren’t looking forward to it, but after another long flight we’ve finally landed in the “heart of the Amazon”- the magnificent city of Manaus. As much as I would for us to play on the banks of Ponta Negra Beach, we’ve got work to do. After a night out on the town, we’ve arrived at one of the ports on the Rio Negro bright and early the following morning. Our captain has instructed us that we will be following this until we reach the Rio Solimoes. Our boat sets sail on the Rio Negro, and after a few miles of travel we have come to the “Meeting of the Waters”. This a spectacular sight where the brown waters of the Rio Solimoes meet the black waters of the Rio Negro for almost 6 miles. In my opinion, this is truly one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Many hours later our guide brings us to the Rio Parangá; in the upper Rio Negro basin. Here our fish collecting nets get wet for the first time to pull up some visually pleasing dark green bodies and strikingly orange fins. The fish appears to be Corydoras seussi. These rather large wild caught individuals are a rare treat in the hobby these days, with seldom imports out of the Amazon. When we get them back to the states we’ll want to be sure to keep them in a tank with a sand substrate. This will ensure that their delicate under sides do not get harmed. It will also allow them to dig their enlongated noses in the sand in search of buried worms. I’ve waited a long time to see these fish in nature, and now I can’t wait to see how they do when finally get home.

Corydoras seussi

These awesome cory’s weren’t the only thing our nets brought into us. There was plenty of bi-catch Tetras in the net. Most of the fish was nothing really exciting, but we managed to find a few of one of my favorite tetras- Hyphessobrycon pyrrhonotus “Flame Back Bleeding Heart”. Much like its cousin, Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma “Bleeding Heart”, these 2” fish exhibit a red spot located in the middle of the fish. Unlike the common Bleeding Heart though, the back half of the fish is a rosy red coloration. This elegant coloration is usually best displayed with the fish are kept in more acidic tanks. It looks like we only managed to bring in a few dozen, so I’m sure they’ll go quickly once we get them back into our tanks to show off these beauties of the Rio Negro.

Hyphessobrycon pyrrhonotus

Our guide instructs us that we’ll be heading back down river to meet up with the Rio Solimoes. He tells us that he has a special “fishing hole” near the Rio Ucayali that would interest us. As the boat travels downstream millions of birds flock through the Amazon rainforest, while below the Caiman Alligators wait patiently for the younger birds to make a mistake. Our boat has come to a lowland spot along the river. I think this would be a good area once again to get our nets into the water. What we didn’t expect was for them to pull up another dark green bodied armored catfish. To our surprise this other cory would appear to be Corydoras semiaquilus “Peru Black Cory”. Yes, I know the common name says that they come from Peru, but these 3” fish are actually widespread throughout Brazil and Peru. The long snouts of the marvelous cory are peppered with dark a green spot that blends into a bold green stripe along the fish’s side. They look to be in great shape here, but let’s get them back to shop to condition them. After all, we’re running out of time if we’re going to make it home for the holidays!

Corydoras semiaquilus

I’ve got a little Christmas surprise in store for us once we get back to Manaus, so our guide high tails it back to the great “City of the Forest”. I know it’s not the sandy beaches of Piranha infested waters, but the Amazonas Opera House should hopefully be a real treat. After all, the night is still young, and we can always sleep on the plane…

You guys really are some of the best traveling companions. I’ve had a great month traveling, seeing the world with you, and, of course, collecting some of the coolest freshwater fish in the world. I and the rest of The Wet Spot staff want to thank each and every one of you for a great year. With the holiday finally here we would like to say thank you all so much for your continuing support. Without you we would have no reason to be here. Well, other than to satisfy our own fish cravings. With this I would like to say Merry Christmas from our family to yours. We hope each of your days is full of joy.

Thanks for traveling with me again. I know it was a bit last moment, but isn’t that what makes this fun? I’ll see you all aboard the next boat!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

January 04, 2013

Knock, knock! Hello again! Yes, I can see by the look on your face that you’re surprised to see me. Oh, good I see that you still have a bagged packed in case I showed up unexpected again. I hope you’re well rested, my friend, because the plane’s engine are already warmed up. As you might have guessed, our employee is seeking more rare and unusual fish for our shop. And he’s yet again enlisted our services to do so. Now let me see here… oh yes! Here it is. I knew you kept your passport close by. Now that we’ve got your passport, your bags, and, of course, you, what are we waiting for?! We’ve got a plane to catch!

Our flight is scheduled to leave in a few minutes, but I was able to make up an itinerary this time for you. We have a short layover in Amsterdam before we make our journey to India. Yes, that’s right; we’ll be heading to one of the world’s most populated countries. It may take some time to work our way through the overcrowded streets of New Delhi, but I think when we reach the Lotus temple it will all be worth it. This magnificent piece of architecture is not only breath taking, but, well hell it’s just breath taking. I mean are you looking at this thing?! Just wow. No wonder it’s won several architectural awards. I couldn’t think of a better way to begin our journey through the jungle than by spending a moment in pure serenity. After a few hours of “cleansing” our thoughts I think we’re ready to begin our journey.

Our guide brings us to North Bengal, better known as West Bengal, to search through the “Ponds of India” in search of one of my favorite catfish, Mystus tengara “Golden Soldier Cat”. The waters are stained a dark brown from all of the tannins caused by the fallen almond leaves, but the catfish should be no problem to spot. You see those shining bodies over there? That’s caused by reflective light and dark golden stripes that make up the color of these 3” Bagrid cats. The Golden Soldier Cat will do best when kept in schools of 4 or more as they are a sociable animal that prefers company of its own. They usually do not exhibit any aggression towards each other or other fish, and I always recommend them for community tanks. It looks like our nets have pulled up quite a few of these to take home. It looks like we can mark off the first fish off of our list. Let’s get ready to head down the river to collect another.

Mystus tengara

Here we follow the Kosi River downstream along the Himalayas. Our guide this time instructs us with great caution not to leave the group. After all, we’re in the land where the legendary Panthera tigris tigris calls home, or as you are more likely know them as- the Bengal Tiger. Sadly, these great hunters are still threatened here, but conservation acts like Project Tiger and The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 still make headway against poachers from causing these majestic animals completely extinct. If I were you I would not only keep a sharp eye out for tigers, but those that potentially hunt them as well. I have a feeling that neither would be happy to see us here. As long as we’re careful we should be just fine. Anyway let’s get on the boat and collect some fish!

This part of the river seems to have plenty of smooth stones, and the river looks like it’s got a pretty good current. We’ll need to be a careful, but I’d say this place looks good to get our nets wet. In fact, I’m pretty sure I spotted a few potential loaches that match the description to one more fish on our list, Schistura corica “Polka Dot Loach”. The Polka Dot Loach is another torpedo shaped loach that is light in color, and has several larger spots on the body. What really make this fish cool though are the enlarged pectoral fins. They almost look like angel wings in comparison to the size of the fish. I’m sure that the oversized fins more have a purpose of grasping onto rocks than looking angelic. Either way, the Polka Dot Loach is cool little fish and will go great in the display tank when we get back home.

Schistura corica

While we are heading back to our basecamp I think we should take an unscheduled stop from our itinerary to collect along this point of the Ganges River. I’ve been told of new form of the classic Tyre Track Eel that may inhabit these waters. I’ll let you take the first throw of the net. I think you’ve got the better arm for it anyway. Would you look at that? The new Mastacambelus cf. armatus “Indian Golden Tire Track Eel” does have a darker coloration and the pattern is more marbled to that of its cousins. This is certainly a great find, I’m sure there is someone out there who has been searching for something a little unusual. I’d be careful who you put these with though; I hear they can grow the size of your leg!

Mastacembelus cf. armatusIn order to collect our last fish we will need to hop on a plane in Kolkata if we want to make it there in a reasonable time. Our next destination is in the state of Kerala, located on the southernmost point in India. Here will be traveling from Tamil Nadu to Goa in search of a much underrated danio, Laubuca dadiburjori “Orange Hathetfish”. There appear to be two color morphs of this micro fish that coexist with one another in nature. From my findings, it seems that the difference is that one morph has spots under the lateral line, while the other morph is missing these spots. Both forms are very attractive fish that are peaceful, and fun to watch in their aquarium with their upturned pectoral fins like their South American cousins. I, personally, would like to see the Orange Hatchetfish make a permanent home among the fish hobby.

Laubuca dadiburjori

It looks like our list is complete, plus an extra. I think it’s time we headed back to New Delhi to make our connection flight home. You look about as excited as I am to get on another plane. Don’t worry; I’m sure it’ll go faster than we might think. I’ve already emailed the boss what we have collected. He’s already updated the fish list with our collections.

I’ll see you on the plane!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

December 14, 2012

 

I have great news! We were so successful on our last collecting trip that we’ve been asked to track down two riverine loaches in two different countries! So where’s the catch you ask? Get it? Where’s the catch?! Oh man. OK, well I’ve had my laugh. Our employer has given us a timeline of just one week to procure the loaches. I know you were looking forward to some sleep, but you can grab a few hours on the plane - this is the trip of a lifetime! It is time to grab that passport once again, as we head back to the marvelous land of Myanmar.

Our journey begins in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar. I was surprised to learn that this city is relatively new; its construction began in late 2005 and is known as the “Royal City of the Sun.” While we do not have a lot time for sightseeing, I want to be able to provide a little bit of entertainment before we pile into this small vehicle to scourge the rivers. We have a few hours to spare on our journey, so let us stop and tour the spectacular Uppatasanti Pagoda shrine. This three hundred and twenty five foot tall building is a replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda that stands in the country’s original capital, Yangon. I’m glad we got to enjoy that lovely spiritual retreat, but we need to get on the road if we were going to collect all of our specimens in our short timeframe.

The engines are revving up and the vehicle is eagerly waiting to brave the elements of the Sittaung River. We will be following this four hundred and twenty mile river, south for quite a while. It is here that we hope to collect our first rarely imported loach, Homaloptera bilineata “Double Line Lizard Loach”. As we travel down the windy roads we spot an area that looks like a promising biotope for these peaceful loaches. Here along the river the waters are fairly shallow, but still seem to have a swift current. We will not need our diving gear in these waters. As soon as our feet touch the water we get a glimpse of several torpedo shaped bodies hanging out on the rocks. It looks like we hit the jackpot! The Double Line Lizard Loach is swarming in numbers, while they feed on the biofilm and insect invertebrates. If you look over there on that boulder you can see a 4” adult hanging out on a massive rock, just inches from the top of the water!

Homaloptera bilineata

Look what we found in our nets as a huge surprise! Hara filamentosa “Filament Moth Cats” are rarely seen this far up in the Sittaung River, but it appears that they do indeed exist in these waters. The specimens we netted were easily over 2”, and that’s pretty close to their 3” maximum size. The Filament Moth Cat is relatively peaceful and feeds mainly on insect larvae. I know that our primary goal was to catch loaches, but this is a catfish that we cannot pass up.

Hara filamentosa

It looks like we got what we came for in Myanmar. It’s time to pack up the gear and get back in the vehicle. We have a good two day drive ahead of us if we are going to get into Laos to collect Homaloptera confuzona “Red Lizard Loach” before our deadline. There are reports that this species does exist in Thailand as well, but I do not think that it is a good idea to risk trying to collect here with such a short time frame. Instead our vehicle makes its way to the Mekong River basin in southern Laos. We find a region along the Mekong that looks like a great spot to collect the Red Lizard Loach in the shallower parts. We pull up several Devario and Rasboras before we finally come across a section that seems to be home to these elegant loaches. They are not as big as they usually are, measuring in only around 2”, but I think this smaller size will ship better on their way home to the states. Once we get them in the tank, and on a proper diet of bloodworms and algae, we will get them up to their 3” size quickly.

Homaloptera confuzona

We have caught the two specimens we came for, plus a few extra. We better hurry and get these back to our employer if we want to meet our deadline. Hopefully, this expedition will provide us with the ability to be employed for future fish collecting endeavors. It is time to cram back into the vehicle and make the over twenty hour journey back to Naypyidaw. After a long and unpleasant two day drive we arrive back at our hotel. The fish appear to have traveled in great condition. Let’s load them up and get back to the states!

Upon arrival our employer was so pleased to see everything had come in so well that he decided to give us a little Holiday treat. He has offered a special shipping discount for those of you who would love to obtain what we were able to bring home and anything else that is on your shopping list. We know shipping costs can be overwhelming when it comes to the items that you have wanted to purchase. Our gift to you is through December 17th to December 19th we will be offering the following:

Spend $50 and receive $10 off overnight shipping

Spend $100 and receive $15 off overnight shipping

Spend $200 or more and receive $20 off overnight shipping

The more you buy the more you save!

(This offer does not apply to Saturday deliveries, is valid on UPS Next Day Air orders ONLY, and all orders must be paid for before 5pm on Wednesday night.)

At this point I bet you are getting eager for Monday to come around? Well until then you should view the list through the products link below, or visit www.wetspottropicalfish.com for this week’s pricelist. I’ll be here bright and early Monday morning waiting to you hear from you!

Thanks for another great trip!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

December 27, 2012

 We’ve traveled all over the country looking for new fish to bring home to our own aquariums. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit worn out from the last month of travels. How about we do something at home instead? I have the perfect idea… 

Our travels of fish collecting are only a small portion to what our business brings in. We have collectors all over the world out fishing the waters of the deep so that we can offer you a wide variety of fish for your home, office, or even public aquarium. Well we were out tromping the lagoons of Brazil one of our collectors from South America sent us a few boxes of fish a couple of weeks ago that are 100% healthy and ready to go. I’m sure there’s a few of you out there that may have received a new aquarium for the holiday, or looking to revamp your pervious one, so I thought it would be the perfect time to help you set up a South American biotope.

To begin, I would suggest laying down a base of substrate for the plants to take root in. I would recommend ADA Amazonia for this. It will provide the nutrients the plants need well providing a dark substrate to bring out the natural colors of the fish. Once this is down you can fill sand into the bottom to the level of your desire. Now that the substrate is in I would recommend placing the decorations you would like before filling the aquarium. I usually place a few pieces of drift wood in the corners and then plant my plants around these. Once everything looks like it’s in the right place I’ll take a pitcher and begin filling the tank by pouring water over the drift wood. This way the plants are not too disturbed by the water. After the water is about halfway up you can use the gravel-vac without problems. For the lighting I would recommend Aquaticlife’s T-5 HO fixtures. How many bulbs you go with really depends on what type of plants you have chosen to grow. After a few weeks of letting the tank cycle and the plants to take root I think we can head over the website, www.wetspottropicalfish.com, to see what new additions we can introduce into your tank. I’ve taken the liberty of picking out a few items that I think will make wonderful additions to the tank.

My first recommendation will add plenty of color to the aquarium as most of the Paracheirodon simulans “Green Neon Tetra” is imported in from Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil out the Rio Orinoco and Rio Negro. These wild fish exhibit a brilliant blue stripe down the side of the body, much like its popular cousin, Paracheirodon axelrodi “Cardinal Tetra”. Green Neons that come from different tributaries seem to show slight color varations. I’ve noticed that the specimens collected out of Colombia seem to display a touch of red on their side. Even though the fish only reach a maximum size of about an inch, this striking blue bar can be seen all the way across the room. Now I’m sure you’re a little worried about all the reports you’ve read about the fish coming from blackwater biotopes with a pH no greater than that of battery acid. Well we’ve conditioned all of our fish to tolerate a neutral pH so that you don’t have to worry about breaking out the RO unit. Unless you are planning on taking on what seems to be near impossible of breeding Green Neons I do not feel keeping them in such acidic conditions is as important as keeping them in clean water.

Paracheirodon simulans

Now that you have an incredible school of blue swimming around the mid to upper areas of the tank, let’s put something just as flashy under them. One of my favorite dwarf cichlids, Dicrossus filamentosa “Checkerboard Cichlid” came in from Brazil a few weeks ago. After a few feedings I would say they would be a perfect group to have hanging out with the Green Neons. Once they reach sexual maturity the males will display their pastel red, blue, and green colors on a “checkerboard” black and white body for one another in hopes of courting one of the ripe females. After a brief “battle” the male leads his prized female to an underside of a leaf (Anubius is usually the best for the spawning to occur). If the tank parameters are right a successful spawn may occur. From what I’ve read and experimented with myself, this usually only occurs if the water is very soft. I have never seen one get this large, but the males can grow up to 4” and the females will max out at about 3”. The males develop these elegant filament extensions on their caudal fin that is etched in an exquisite light red and blue that matches the dorsal and anal fin. The sight of two males in full display is a reward all on its own.

Dicrossus filamentosa

As often happens with importing fish it seems that our vendor has sent us another misidentified Corydoras species. What was supposed to be Corydoras axelrodi turned out to be Corydoras sp. “Decker” CW21. Given how close the two fish resemble each other it’s easy to see the mix up in this case. Basically Corydoras sp. CW21 has another faint black line under the bold stripe found running down the body which Corydoras axelrodi is missing. This is actually a pleasant surprise as CW21 is rarely imported into the states. This delightful little bottom dweller will be a wonderful addition to the other fish that now inhabit the aquarium. Plus, these guys will eat up any food that gets left behind from the tetras and cichlids.

Corydoras sp. "Deckeri"

The tank looks to be coming along nicely. In fact it looks like you’ve come across a small algae problem developing on the plants and decorations. It’s still at the “brown” algae stage, so I would recommend throwing in a group of Otocinclus affinis to take care of this before it gets out hand. These 2” fish will make short work of the weak stages of algae.

Otocinclus affinis

If it does get to the “green” stage of algae I would recommend also putting in one or two Chaetostoma milesi “Spotted Rubberlip” L444. The mouths of these bigger Loricariids are a lot more powerful and can chew the stronger algae with a little more ease. I’ve always kept at least one of the Spotted Rubberlip Plecos in my tank just to keep the algae down.

Chaetostoma milesi

With all the fish in place and doing their jobs I would say you’re just about at full capacity. Well what’s left else to do but to pull up the recliner, enjoy a nice cold beverage, and enjoy the last couple of weeks of work that we put into building an aquarium that would make even Mr. Amano proud?I know it’s an addiction, and you can’t help yourself. Go ahead and look at this week’s list. I’m sure there’s something you just got to have in your new tank!

Can’t wait to get you started on your next project!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

December 07, 2012

 

Our trip to Vietnam was certainly exhilarating, but we are far from over on our Southeast Asia excursion. This week you will need to pack your dry suits as the waters of China are a bit on the chilly side. I’ve been told by resources that there is a rare Cyprinid worth getting our feet wet for. Don’t forget to pack your respirators, make sure your oxygen tanks are secured, and pack a power bar or two. We’re off to the great land of China!

China, which covers almost six million miles of land in Asia, is home to two ecozones; the Palearctic and the Indomalaya. The Paleartic region supports life such as Camels, horses, and tapirs. Well the Indomalaya lands to the south are home to Leopards, treeshrews, and several monkey and ape species. There is also deer, wolves, and bear that can be found migrating between the two zones during the different seasons. Our stay will be in central and southern China as we explore the subtropical rainforests in search of Cyprinids and loaches.

Our adventure begins in the province of Yunnan; it is here where our collecting nets have brought us one of my favorite midsized barbs, Puntius semifasciolatus “Gold Barb”. These are unlike the domesticated animals you are used to seeing in your local pet stores over the years. Today, Gold Barbs are a bright orange color with a few black stripes along the body due to line breeding in Asia for “improved” color. The wild morph of these fish is easily, in my opinion, far more attractive than the tank raised strain. Their color is an incredible greenish tone with a gold sheen. Male wild Gold Barbs, when fully matured, display a remarkable red coloration on the underbelly. Now that you’ve seen some of the impressive 3” fish in their forested homeland, it’s time we moved on.

Puntius semifasciolatus

Our trip now takes us into the sky, or at least into the Huangshan mountain ranges in the province of Anhui, which is located in eastern China. These summits are known for their granite peaks and beautiful sunrises, but we are not here to gaze among the clouds that cover this mountainous range some 200 days of the year. Instead we have traveled to the Puxi stream to collect Acrossocheilus fasciatus “Railway Barb” right after their spawning season. Railway Barbs typically spawn from May to August once they reach two years of age. Our first dive in the shallow regions only found juveniles feeding on various algae and insect larvae. I decided that we should go into the depths to see if we could spot any of the adults on our next dive. My intuition paid off and we were able to find some 8” adults hiding under boulders.

Acrossocheilus fasciatus

Moving back inland, we have come to the Yangtze River in the province of Hunan. As our boat moves down the stream we are able to get a rare glimpse of the elusive and incredibly rare Giant Panda feeding on bamboo. After we snap a few hundred images onto our digital cameras - it’s time to depart this remarkable animal and prepare for our next collection. The water on this part of the river is very clear, and oxygen rich. This makes for perfect conditions to find the bashful Leptobotia taeniops “Honeycomb Loach”. After lifting a few rocks we can find these 6” loaches darting for more cover, even in these shallow waters. As fun as it was to capture a few here I think it’s best to put on our masks and take a dive a little further upstream. We managed to find a few in the turbid waters, but unfortunately visibility was very poor. After surfacing, we head back to the mainland to document our research and see how our fish are doing.

Leptobotia taeniops

It’s not easy collecting fish, but with the right guide, patience, and a little bit of luck, it seems our adventure has paid off. If you weren’t able to make the track with us you’ll certainly want to be sure to check the stock list this week for all these incredible fish that you can’t find anywhere else in the states. Like always, you can click the products link below, or visit www.wetspottropicalfish.com to find it.

See you all on our next trip!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager