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June 29, 2015

Welcome to the weekend, dear readers. 

For the final week of National Aquarium Month, we’ll talk about very large tanks and the so-called tankbusters.  Any of the fish from the last two weeks, of course, can be housed in larger aquaria, but it is not strictly necessary – therefore, no “small” fish will be mentioned this week.  These large aquaria, over 90 gallons, can be commonly seen in 125 or 210 gallon sizes, both of which are occasionally used for communities, goldfish, or specimens, but can range to homemade ponds housing goldfish or cichlids in areas such as Florida.  The limit to the size of an aquarium is mostly logistical, as well as structural.  Remembering that one gallon of water weighs about eight pounds, the consideration of force exerted both outwards and downwards by, say, a 500 gallon aquarium must be kept in mind when designing a large tank.

Unfortunately, for those curious about building these huge spaces, I’m not an engineer nor do I have any helpful hints on the matter – I would expect a sturdy structural frame at the corners of the aquarium would be required, in addition to very thick glass or plexiglass.  Most monster tanks need to be kept on concrete flooring, such as found in a garage or basement, to support their weight.

Some “Tankbuster” fish can be housed by a semi-average aquarist, but most are best reserved for professionals at aquariums and zoos.  Fish such as Gars, Pacu, Arapaima, Paroon Sharks and Channel cats should be entirely out of the question for the hobbyist’s home tank.  As much as one thinks they can house the fish until it grows, rehoming a fish of this size is likely to prove nigh impossible.  From experience, we often have hobbyists attempting to rehome Pacu through our store.  By policy, as a tankbuster of this size, we do not accept them as donations and refer any people looking to do so to our local zoo.  Unfortunately, our local zoo has accepted so many overgrown Pacu that they have no space to take any more – I dread to think of how these scenarios end, however, there is simply not enough housing out there for fish of this size.

Those that can and are occasionally housed by aquarists with the means include some of the following beautiful fish:

  • Tetraodon mbu “Giant/Mbu Puffer” - Full grown, these fish will reach 18-24 inches in length, excluding their caudal fin.  They are messy eaters and wasteful and, therefore, require weekly 50% water changes for optimal health.  They require a pricey diet including shelled foods such as mussels, clams and snails to keep their continually-growing teeth at a manageable size.  The minimum tank size considered for these fish should be 500 gallons, with 1,000 ideal.  A four foot deep tank with a width of four feet and length of eight feet seems that it would be a nice size for this fish, allowing ample swimming room and gallonage for their upkeep.  I’ve always thought this would be an excellent addition to the center of a basement library or bar.  Of course, the biggest draw of these fish are their amazing personalities – as they must be housed alone, one must be sure to spend plenty of time with the fish for the sake of socialization.  These beauties are known for learning the faces and voices of their owners, as well as interacting and, in the case of very tame specimens, accepting pets or belly rubs.

Tetraodon mbu

  • Potamotrygon magdalenae “Reticulated/Magdalena River Stingray” – These are a smaller species of ray but can still reach from 15 to 25 inches in width, depending on care and whom one asks.  I’ve found reports of specimens at 30 inches in width.  With their size alone, one can see that at least 30 inches of aquarium width and depth is required for the fish to turn comfortably, especially considering their long tail.  A similar tank to the one mentioned for the Mbu, about eight feet long and four feet wide, would work for a small stingray such as this, though depth is of much less concern as these fish spend most of their time at or under the substrate.  Rays are known to have an abnormally high bioload thanks to their unique osmoregulatory system (the system that allows them to process the minerals absorbed from the surrounding water and, therefore, need extra gallonage of water and very large, frequent water changes.  They are best kept alone as even the most peaceful fish can cause them to be skittish.  Stingrays are best kept as fascinating specimens and are definitely striking, but are not for the average hobbyist – they are often nocturnally oriented and can be quite sedate most of the day.  If you truly love rays, these fish are a real treat, but remember that a lot of space and work must be put into maintaining them.

Potamotrygon magdelanae

  • Osphronemus laticlaves “Red Giant Gourami” – For these two foot Giant Gouramis, your standard tank sizes simply will not work.  With such a long body, the comfort of the fish comes into question when it cannot simply turn around in the water column – imagine having to make a three point turn every time you wanted to go to the other side of your room!  Seriously Fish suggests an aquarium with bare minimum dimensions of six feet of length and two feet of both width and depth, allowing a full grown fish to just be able to turn in their home.  A greater width is definitely advised, though the length is appropriate.  Already we can see that, while not requiring quite the large tank of the Mbu or Ray, the Giant Gourami is still a very large and beautiful fish.  Like these other fish, these are high waste fish with messy eating habits and large water changes are a requirement for their continued health.  Again, as with the other fish, these guys can make excellent pets that will learn their owner’s face and voice and come to beg for food.  While fully capable of eating smaller fish, these are peaceful creatures capable of being housed in a large community, however, remember how much space you will need for any additional fish on top of these big beauties!

Osphronemus laticlavius

Now, with the fish out of the way, it’s the last segment in our National Rivers Month spotlight.  Our local rivers have seen their share of environmental trouble over the years, but we Oregonians have spent a lot of time and money attempting to repair our mistakes.  From fish spawning ladders to dam removal and volunteer watershed cleanup efforts, we’ve done our best, but sometimes it’s not enough.  In my previous newsletters, I’ve mentioned the vast numbers of hydroelectric dams on our waterways – I neglected to mention the effect they’ve had on our native fish populations.

These days, nearly all of our dams have some sort of fish ladder or other passage installed to allow our native populations of fish to migrate upriver.  Remarkably, over the short time they’ve been installed, many of our native fish populations have already evolved to compensate for the different travel methods.  As it stands, we’ve had remarkable luck with reintroduction of species and hatchery programs, though I am by no means an expert on the matter.  Of course, like all programs, there have been hiccups.  For example, when the Clackamas River’s Cazadero Dam was constructed and put into service in 1907, a program began to trap the Chinook for hatchery brood stock was implemented and continued until 1939.  In 1922, however, the Cazadero fish ladder failed and cut off the upper and lower portions of the river, entirely halting fish migration, until the ladder was repaired in 1939.  The remnant populations from the lower river returned up the fish ladder and repopulated the upper reaches. 


Alternately, the Sandy River has seen quite a bit of trouble lately.  With construction on a new highway bridge over the mouth of the river, the flow has been changed and the mouth has been rerouted.  It would seem that the native fish aren’t fond of the relocation of the entrance to their home and runs have drastically decreased since construction began.  As if to add insult to injury, a tanker truck accident occurred two days ago in which the semi jack-knifed and spilled a quantity of hot asphalt down the embankment into the river.   While the tanker held 14 tons of the material, it’s not clear how much spilled and how much of the spillage made it into a river.  Thankfully, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is already working on the scene to clean up the spill and assess the damage.


While it seems as though our recovery methods are occasionally for naught or offset by accidents such as this tanker spill, we have good news in our area – within the past couple years, we’ve seen post-spawn adult Coho salmon in a local waterway, Johnson’s Creek which winds through our lovely city.  Successful spawns have officially been recorded, with dozens upon dozens of tiny fry occupying the little creek’s pools and shaded areas.

1024px-Johnson Creek2

Finally, I wanted to mention that we just picked up some new T-shirts, a joint venture with Repashy Foods.  They’re $15 apiece and available in S, M, L and XL in heather grey.


Well, thanks again, and next week we’ll be back to our typical newsletter format – Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see!

Jessica Supalla

June 19, 2015

Happy Friday, folks! 

This week in Aquarium Month, we’re going to talk about the most common and basic aquarium sizes in the hobby – from about 20 gallons to 75 gallons.  These are what I would consider standard sizes as well as beginner sizes.

While the fish listed last week can do well in a well-planned and well-maintained nano aquarium, in fishkeeping, bigger is always better for the fish.  Keep in mind that the fish listed last week can be kept in larger aquariums and the fish will be perfectly happy doing so, but the fish listed this week should not be kept in smaller aquaria.  Using a larger aquarium means that you can have more fish safely and more freedom in decoration, or keep larger or messier fish.  Remember as well, nano aquaria are by no means a beginner’s venture and care should always be taken in researching your fish before starting a nano tank.  It’s much easier to maintain a larger tank, even if that maintenance takes longer. 

There are several general schemes for the standard aquarium sizes – one can keep communities with several species, semi-aggressive or aggressive groups, biotopes or single specimen tanks.  Aquariums can be planted or simply hardscaped and larger plants such as swords and onion plants can be maintained.  I’ll be listing a few ideas for aquarium set-ups in these size ranges, but rest assured, there are so many more options available that I couldn’t even begin to list them all.

Let’s start with a community aquarium – possibly the most common aquarium style in the hobby.  These are generally larger tanks with a centerpiece fish and various schooling fish to complement them, as well as a “clean-up crew”, such as a single or group of algae cleaners and bottom feeders.  Please note that we here at the Wet Spot don’t agree with “clean-up crews” as fish to be relied upon to solely clean up – even the most algae-ridden tank should still have supplemental food such as wafers or Repashy gel provided to its algae eaters, while bottom feeders often will not get enough food if left to only clean up after what the fish in the water column above them leave behind.  Always feed your fish, no matter what the common role they are assigned may be, invest in an algae scrubber, and remember to vacuum your substrate regularly.  This will not only keep your tank looking nice, but help keep your water in top condition.

For our community setup, I’ve chosen Discus as the centerpiece – they’re popular for their gorgeous looks and color, as well as peaceful personality.  The discus, Symphysodon aequifasciatus and S. discus or S. heckeli, was introduced into the hobby in the 1930s. Since then it has remained a favorite with hobbyists everywhere. These fish grow to 6 inches in length and height and the round appearance of their profile not only makes them fascinating in appearance but gives rise to their common name. While four distinct natural colorations – brown, blue, green and Heckel – exist, it wasn’t until the 1970s that ornamental color strains such as the Turquoise, Cobalt and Red Turquoise discus appeared in the hobby. Further colors became available in the late 1980s and on.  Most keepers like to have a group of different colors, though some are interested in wild forms – rarely seen, but incredibly beautiful fish.

Tank Parameters


55 gallons minimum, preferably 75 gallons or larger


6.5-7.5, stability is more important than value




0-10 dGH


Driftwood, plants, dark sand and background

Potential Tankmates

Cardinal Tetra

Paracheirodon axelrodi

Mid-level schooling

Rummynose Tetra

Hemigrammus bleheri

Mid-level schooling

Red Line Tetra

Hyphessobrycon amapaensis

Mid-level schooling

Brown Tailed Pencilfish

Nannostomus eques

Top-level schooling

Silver Hatchet Fish

Gasteropelecus sternicla

Top-level schooling

Reticulated Julii Cory

Corydoras trilineatus

Bottom shoaling

Sterbai Cory

Corydoras sterbai

Bottom shoaling

Blue Seam Ancistrus

Ancistrus dolichopterus L183

Algae grazing pleco

Galaxy Pleco

Panaqolus albomaculatus LDA31

Carnivorous pleco









I’m going to forego the semi-aggressive or aggressive tank and speak on another style of aquarium that takes the same level of research and dedication before choosing tankmates – the Fancy Goldfish (Casuarius auratus) aquarium.  Goldfish are large fish. The fancy varieties – any with long fins, round bodies, bubble eyes or other body shape differences from the common Comet or Shubunkin goldfish – grow to eight inches in length, depending on the variety. Straighter-bodied fish will grow larger than the rounder varieties. Common Comet and Shubunkin goldfish (Shubunkins are long-finned Comets) typically reach around a foot in length, however, the largest recorded specimens include a fish in the Netherlands at 19 inches, a British fish named Goldie at 15 inches, and an unknown specimen caught in a pond at 16 inches – likely abandoned there after outgrowing a home aquarium.

Fancy goldfish require three feet of aquarium width and 20 gallons for one fish, with an additional ten gallons of water for each additional fish. Common goldfish require four feet of length for comfort and thirty or more gallons, with ten to twelve gallons per additional fish. As such large fish, Comet and Shubunkin goldfish are better suited to large outdoor ponds than they are to home aquaria. 

Weekly 50% water changes will help keep your goldfish happy and healthy and will be aided by a sink-to-tank siphon system. An adjustable heater is a good idea to keep on hand – this should be rated strong enough for your full aquarium and be adjustable down to 68 or 70° Fahrenheit,– while goldfish enjoy cooler temperatures from 66-74° Fahrenheit, in the case of cold winter temperatures or power outages, a rapid temperature swing can stress your goldfish and promote illness. Likewise, it is best not to let your goldfish’s home become warmer than 76° Fahrenheit, as this once again will stress the fish and encourage illnesses. Chillers are available in the hobby for the summer months if you don’t keep your house so cool.

Tank Parameters



30 gallons for first fish, 10 gallons per additional fish


7-8, stability is more important than value




2-12 dGH


Sand, Rock, fake plants, bubble bars/walls/shells/stones

Potential Tankmates

Sailfin Pleco

Pterygoplichthys spp.

Grows very large.  Eats algae but requires large portion of bioload.







Next up is the biotope tank.  These are a favorite of keepers trying to breed “difficult” fish or keep wild caught fish such as West African Cichlid, wild Betta species, other anabantoides and South American Dwarf Cichlids.  Those keeping fish that thrive in clear water tend away from biotopes that come from blackwater habitats – those stained orange or brown by wood and leaf tannins.  They definitely create a lovely, natural feel and can bring out the best in the fish.  They are also a way to challenge one’s aquascaping and waterkeeping talents – to keep a low pH blackwater tank decorated with twigs, roots and leaf litter lookinggood and staying stable is definitely a challenge.  The rewards, however, are beyond measure.

My favorite resource for Biotope information is Mongabay – they list 26 unique biotope types across five continents with appropriate plant, fish, and decorations for each, as well as basic parameter levels and locations these biotopes are found in nature.  In fact, their West or Central African River Biotope is nearly perfect for our new Microctenopoma ansorgii “Red” or “Red Form Ornate Ctenopoma”.  There’s not a lot of information on this color form, so we’ve decided to treat it as the normal Ornate Ctenopoma – a shore-area dweller of Stanley Pool/Pool Malebo in Zaire.  I’ve chosen the West or Central African River biotope as the closest on Mongabay.  Be sure that of the fish listed, none are chosen that could eat your little Red Form Ornate Ctenopoma – it would likely be best to keep them with a small, sedate school of tetras such as the Jelly Bean Tetra or Green Fire Tetra, if any dither fish are provided at all.  A small biotope could be set up in a 30 gallon aquarium – I would choose a 33 gallon Long or a 40 breeder to allow plenty of horizontal swimming space for these 3” fish.

Tank Parameters


30 gallons or more


6.5-7.5, stability is more important than value




3-18 dGH


Sand or mud, root wood, leaf litter, Anubias, Bolbitis fern, Vallisneria

Potential Tankmates

Jellybean Tetra

Ladigesia roloffi

Dither/Schooling fish

Green Fire Tetra

Aphyocharax rathbuni

Dither/Schooling fish


Finally, we reach the last type of aquarium I’d like to focus on – the specimen aquarium.  This is a home for a single fish, either because of its size, personality, diet, or care requirements.  Many people keep a single Oscar in a 55 gallon as a specimen.  They are personable enough to learn their owners and beg for food, while also being aggressive enough to take out any tankmates you may consider.  Rest assured, these fish are perfectly happy being alone and would rather have the company of their owner than of other fish.

Specifically, I wanted to mention our Mastacembelus shiranus “Malawi Yellow Eel”, a beautiful species reaching about ten to twelve inches in length. Some specimens can be shy, especially in aquariums with other fish, so keeping a single fish in its own home will help it be more personable and learn to trust you.  Well cared for eels are known to take food from their owners’ hands and enjoy the occasional pets.  They are meat eaters by nature and a varied diet of worms, prawns, and other wholesome foods is advised.  Feed your eel well but keep an eye on its weight – eels are prone to being underweight and malnourished (they can eat more than they look as though they can and compete very poorly for food) as well as being obese (typically due to not enough activity – provide enrichment with areas to explore and varied feeding locations).  This particular eel is from Lake Malawi and is one of either one or two species, depending on if you consider Mastacembelus sp. “Rosette” to be a unique species or the same species with varied coloration.  Because of this, the parameters for its home should be akin to any Lake Malawi tank.

Tank Parameters


30 gallons or more


6.5-7.5, stability is more important than value




3-18 dGH


Sand or mud, root wood, hardy plants on wood (Anubias, Java fern), hides and secure rocks


There are plenty of other fish suitable as single specimens – In fact, any fish that is not by nature schooling or shoaling can be kept as a single specimen.  I’ve listed some below, though this is by no means an exhaustive list.  Be sure, however, to research their care before bringing them home!

Other Specimen Fish

Common Name

Scientific Name

Minimum Tank Size

Oscar Fish

Astronotus ocellatus

55 gallons

Hairy Puffer

Tetraodon baileyi

20 gallons

Dolphin Mormyrid

Mormyrus longirostris

55 gallons

African Arowana

Heterotis niloticus

90 gallons

Nile/Fahaka Puffer

Tetraodon lineatus

90 gallons

Wolf Cichlid

Parachromis dovii

55 gallons


Now, as it’s also National Rivers Month, time to talk about some of our local waterways!  For those that aren’t aware, Portland is bordered on the North by the Columbia River (as is most of the state), the east by the Sandy River, and in the South by the Tualatin River on the West side and the Clackamas River on the East.  What divides our lovely waterlogged city into East and West is the Willamette River (Will-AM-et), the second largest of the five.  This is also one of the largest tributaries of the Columbia River, accounting for up to 15% of its total flow and ranking nineteenth in the nation’s top rivers by volume. 


The Willamette and its tributaries (including the Tualatin and Clackamas rivers) have carved and defined the Willamette valley, some of the best growing land in the United States and the end target of the Oregon Trail.  We can grow just about anything here.  Most of the soil is significantly silty and quite rich, carried down from Canada and Montana by the Missoula Floods.  As such, this region has been populated for at least 10,000 years by a variety of indigenous peoples.


The river boasts over 20 hydroelectric dams and approximately fifty crossings, eleven of the latter are in Portland proper.  One of the oldest and most remarkable is our Steel Bridge, holding two levels and lines of rail. 


Thirty-one native species of fish call the Willamette Basin home, as well as eighteen species of amphibian, our state critter the Beaver, and the absolutely adorable river otter.  Over one hundred and fifty birds frequent the waterway, including the Bald Eagle.  I had the pleasure of seeing one nesting in the wetlands near my childhood home about a year ago.


Thank you for reading once more; we’ll see you back here next week with an article on tankbuster fish and a little information about one or more of the Sandy, Clackamas or Tualatin rivers.

Jessica Supalla


May 22, 2015

Hello, folks, and welcome to Memorial Day Weekend. Once again, we’re open Memorial Day to answer phone calls and emails, but there will be no shipments. Tuesday is rapidly filling up for shipping slots, however, so be sure to get your orders in promptly on Monday! Last week I spoke about some lovely West African fish and this week I’d like to continue, starting with another dwarf cichlid.

Nanochromis splendens is a beautiful little fish native to DR Congo. They are the most slender of their genus with highly elongated bodies. Males will grow to just under three inches in length with females notably smaller but only slightly more rotund. They are noted for their olive-brown coloration with yellow and orange cheeks and a red spot above their eyes. The males in particular present dorsal and upper caudal fins longitudinally striped with yellow and brown; the lower half of the caudal fin and anal fins striped in white and red. Females are overall yellow and orange in coloration with a typical dark violet belly when ripe. Both sexes exhibit a bit of a green shimmer over their shoulder regions and brilliant white lips.

WSNannochromis splendens

A new Distichodus was described from the area in 2008 – the tiny D. teugelsi “Dwarf Green Distichodus”. These fish purportedly grow to only two inches in length (perhaps three in the home aquarium), a very large contrast to many of the other members of their genus. Their coloration is also very unique with a deep green band dividing their body into an olive green dorsal edge and creamy colored ventral side. The upper edge of this band is marked with tiny vertical black tick marks; their square dorsal fin sports a deep black spot at the base, as does their heart-shaped caudal fin. Their entire body, in the proper semi-diffused light, shows a lovely spangling of shining blue-green spots. While these fish come from a pH of around 4.5 in the wild, they are well-adapted to our typical level of 7.2-7.4 and thriving happily.

WSDistichodus teugelsi

I haven’t seen Bathyaethiops breuseghemi “Red Cap Moon Tetra” in over three years. These are amazing characins, 2.5-3” in total adult length, with shining silver bodies and eyes. Their body is marked below the adipose fin and before the caudal peduncle by an immense black spot, running nearly from dorsal to ventral edge. Each fin is rimmed in bright white and their lateral line is marked with faint steel-grey chevrons pointing forwards towards the tiny black mark behind their eye. Finally, their dorsal edge sports a brilliant blood red mark. This mark can extend all the way from the back of their head and extending onto the leading rays of their dorsal fin.

WSBathyaethiops breuseghemi

Finally, we got a very special fish Phenacogrammus aurantiacus “Lamp Eye Congo Tetra” from the Lali and Lefini Rivers in Congo. These gorgeous fish show an absolutely stunning yellow coloration over dark lateral banding and bright, shining sky blue eyes. Their maximum length is around four inches. There is little information to be found on them, but their care should be quite similar to their close cousins, P. interruptus “Congo Tetra”.

WSPhenacogrammus aurantiacus

Thank you for reading and I do hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about these new and beautiful fish. I know I enjoyed learning about them myself!

Jessica Supalla

June 12, 2015

Happy weekend, friends!  


In case you haven't heard, June is National Zoo and Aquarium Month.  While we aren't exactly a public aquarium, I thought it might be fun to do a series of newsletters themed around aquaria.  This week, I'll cover the humble nano tanks up to ten gallons, with larger aquaria to come throughout the month.


I am defining a nano freshwater tank as those ten gallons or under or an aquarium with at least one dimension at eight inches or less - in Marine keeping these are defined as 35 gallons or less, but as ten and twenty gallon aquaria are very prevalent in the freshwater hobby, it seems a reasonable place to draw a divide.


Nano tanks are known as advanced tanks due to their small size - it is much harder to keep a small volume of water chemically stable.  I find it helpful to think of it like cooking:  If I'm cooking soup in a quart saucepan, just enough for one person, and I add an extra half a tablespoon of salt, it's going to be noticeable, quite untasty, and not exactly fixable without a lot of dilution.  On the other hand, if I'm cooking up a giant, several-gallon kettle of soup and I add an extra half a tablespoon of salt, it's not likely to taste that much saltier - not a real big deal. 


The same is true for an aquarium.  If you add an extra bit of buffer to your 55 gallon aquarium, it's not a big deal, but if you add the same amount to your 5 gallon nano tank, your pH and hardness will change dramatically, necessitating a rapid series of water changes to bring the aquarium's chemistry back to acceptable levels.  This applies, of course, to any aquarium additives, including fertilizers for plants, extra fish food, medications and algae treatments.  Therefore, I think it's important to know your dosages and to exercise caution whenever working with a nano tank.


Nano tanks are very popular as planted tanks and for good reason - a little bit of work and a small investment can get you a stunning aquarium.  The general short depth of the tank makes it easy to grow a carpet of high-light plants and only a few pots are needed to cover the aquarium's substrate.  Good plants include any known for being "foreground" plants such as Glosso or Micro Sword, small-leaved or creeping stem plants like needle leaf Ludwigia or Cardamine lyrata, and dwarf varieties and species such as Rotala sp. Bonsai, Anubias barteri var. nana "Petite" and "Bonsai". The variety of colorful, plant-friendly nano fish also helps with this popularity.  Dedicated shrimp tanks are also a popular nano aquarium style, and with a size of up to ten gallons, one can even keep a small group of Tanganyikans.


A non-exhaustive list of fish suitable for Nano aquaria is below - click on the common name to be taken an image of the fish!



Some Centerpiece Fish for the Nano Aquarium


Common Name

Scientific Name


Dwarf Freshwater Shrimp

Caridina spp., Neocaridinaspp.

2 gallons, lightly heated.

Small tankmates.

Fancy Male Betta

Betta splendens

2.5 gallons, heated.

No tankmates.

Blue Paradise Fish

Macropodus opercularis

2.5 gallons, unheated.

No tankmates.

Cherry Betta,

Strawberry Betta

Betta channoides,

Betta albimarginata

5 gallons for pair.

10 gallons for group.

Flame Red Badis,

Flame Jewel Badis

Dario hysginon,

Dario kajal

5 gallons for group.

Quiet tankmates.

Dwarf Pea Puffer

Carinotetraodon travancoricus

5 gallons for first puffer.

2.5 gallons per add'l. 

No tankmates.

Sparkling Gourami

Trichopsis pumila

2.5 gallons for few.

6 gallons for ten.


Lamprologus multifasciatus

10 gallons for a pair.

No tankmates.

Crocodile Toothpick Fish

Indostomus crocodylus

10 gallons for a group.

No tankmates.


Caridina cf. cantonensis var.


Betta albimarginata  Trichopsis pumila


Some Schooling Fish for the 5-10 Gallon Nano Aquarium


Common Name

Scientific Name

Adonis Tetra

Lepidarchus adonis

Ruby Tetra

Axelrodia riesei

Ember Tetra

Hyphessobrycon amandae

Dwarf Pencilfish

Nannostomus marginatus

Dwarf Amber Barb

Barboides gracilis

Spotted Danio

Brachydanio nigrofasciatus

Celestial Pearl Danio

Celestichthys margaritatus

Emerald Dwarf Rasbora

Celestichthys erythromicron

Chili Rasbora

Boraras brigittae

Exclamation Point Rasbora

Boraras urophthalmoides

Pygmy Spotted Rasbora

Boraras maculatus

Phoenix Rasbora

Boraras merah

Strawberry Rasbora

Boraras naevus

Green Rasbora

Microdevario kubotai

Neon Rasbora "Axelrodi" Blue

Sundadanio goblinus

Neon Rasbora "Axelrodi" Green

Sundadanio margarition

Neon Rasbora "Axelrodi" Red

Sundadanio rubellus

Dwarf Scissortail Rasbora

Rasbosoma spilocerca

Norman's Lampeye Killi

Aplocheilichthys normani

Clown Killi

Pseudepiplatys annulatus

Spotted Blue Eye Rainbow

Pseudomugil gertrudae

Aru IV Spotted Blue Eye Rainbow

Pseudomugil gertrudae "Aru IV"


Dwarf Scissortail Rasbora


Celestichthys erythromicron Pseudomugil gertrudae "Aru IV"


Some Specialty Fish for the 5-10 Gallon Nano Aquarium


Common Name

Scientific Name


Pygmy Cory

Corydoras pygmaeus

Bottom dweller

Burmese Mini Bumblebee Goby

Brachygobius xanthomelas

Bottom dweller

Filament Moth Cat

Hara filamentosa

Bottom dweller

Dwarf Anchor Cat

Hara jerdoni

Bottom dweller

Burmese Rosy Loach

Petruichthys sp.

Bottom dweller

Panda Loach

Yaoshania pachychilus

Algae eater; 

Bottom dweller

Common Oto

Otocinclus arnoldi

Algae eater

Sun Snail

Neritina sp.

Algae eater

Zebra Nerite Snail

Neritina natalensis

Algae eater

African Dwarf Frog

Hymenochirus boettgeri


Assassin Snail

Clea helena

Pest snail control


Hymenochirus boettgeri


Petruichthys sp. Rosy  Hara jerdoni


There are a surprising number of options for the humble 5 gallon aquarium, and these tiny aquariums are light enough to place on a table, desk or even a nightstand.  Their ease of relocation and upkeep time make nano tanks a very popular option, especially in an office.  Don't let the tiny size fool you - these little tanks pack a lot of punch wherever they're seen.


In addition to being National Aquarium Month, it's also National Rivers Month!  As such, I'd like to tell you about a few of our nearby rivers - this week, the mighty Columbia River.  It is, by far, the largest river in the Northwest and fourth largest river in the United States.  The river measures about 1,243 miles from its headwaters to the ocean and originates in British Columbia.  



Its heavy flow has made it a prime place for the building of hydroelectric dams and it currently sports fourteen of these massive monsters - the Columbia and its tributaries are the greatest producers of hydroelectric power in the States.  I'm sure those of you who have played the Oregon Trail in the  late 80s and early 90s remember floating down this river - I guarantee you it's not that straight, and the building of the dams have all but eliminated mid-river rocks and rapids. 



Of course, these dams have caused many issues with the river's fish and we here in the Pacific Northwest have put a lot of time and effort into improving the migratory options for native salmon, sturgeon and other migratory fish.  Native fish include such tasty fish as Bull, Cutthroat, Steelhead and Rainbow Trout, Chinook (King), Coho and Sockeye Salmon.  Not so tasty native fish include several species of Catostomus suckers, minnows and daces, over five species of sculpins, two lampreys, and the absolutely amazing White Sturgeon, the largest freshwater fish in North America.  We rarely see them at this size any more, but the maximum size of this fish is twenty feet in length. It's no surprise that the Columbia is a prime sport fishing location in our area, even for our famous Anthony.


Anthony Perry on the Columbia


Well, thank you for reading and we'll see you back here next week!


Jessica Supalla

May 15, 2015

Welcome to the weekend, my friends! It’s been quite a week for us here with several new fish coming in! I’d like to highlight a couple of them, but first, a couple of announcements:

-          We are officially resuming USPS Priority shipping. Please keep note of the requirements for USPS Priority mail, found on our Online Sales Website and all of our online listings, and keep in mind that we reserve the right to deny USPS Priority shipping methods if we do not feel the fish will reach you in excellent condition. We want your fish shipping experience to be successful!

-          Memorial Day is a full shipping holiday. We will not be able to ship fish on Monday, May 25th, but will resume regular shipping the next day!

Without further ado, the fish! Congochromis sabinae or Congochromis sp. "Green Comma" was described in 2005 and is native to Congo, Gabon and DR Congo. These fish are in the same style as Nanochromis and Pelvicachromis – a beautiful, large and lean male will pair with a smaller, rounder female with vivid coloration. The males grow to about two and a half inches and sport beautiful red-orange bellies and fins. This color is reflected in the male’s extended dorsal fin and the upper half of their caudal fin. Brilliant red lips and intricate wihite and black fin ticking and edging completes their stunning appearance. Females won’t grow to over two inches in size and show an echo of the fin coloration of the male, matching cherry red lips, and the typical pink belly of these West African genera. These beautiful little cichlids feed mainly on decaying leaf litter on the substrate, so a sparing diet of spirulina-rich food is advised. A small school of peaceful, upper-level dither fish can help a pair of C. sabinae feel secure in their home – excellent options are some of the small African tetras such as Ladigesia roloffi “Jellybean Tetra” and Lepidarchus adonis “Adonis Tetra”. While C. sabinae occurs in areas with pH values as low as 4, reports of successful keeping and spawning are prolific at more manageable levels form 6-7. Ours are, as usual, acclimated to around 7.2-7.4 pH.

WSNanochromis sabinae

Synodontis alberti comes to us from the same area – Congo, DR Congo, and Cameroon. While S. alberti won’t bother your Congochromis sabinae, a full grown specimen of this species will consider any fish smaller than one inch to be food, so I would be quite hesitant to house them together if you plan to breed C. sabinae. Nevertheless, S. alberti is a beautiful fish – even for a Synodontis, its fins are especially long, its eyes quite large for its head, and it has the longest barbels of any Synodontis species. These fish feature a gold-colored head and silvery body marked with bronze spots. While they can grow to eight inches in the wild, the typical size in the home aquarium is around six to six and a half inches. These fish will be happiest in neutral pH with dense planting and a slightly cooler temperature, around 75°F. While peaceful with most other species of fish, it’s advised to avoid keeping this particular Syno with any others, as they can be territorial with other cats for prime hiding places.

WSSynodontis alberti

Thank you all for reading! Keep in mind our announcements above and be sure to take a peek at our new fish this week – we got some really special specimens!

Jessica Supalla

May 29th, 2015

Happy Friday, my friends!  I must say, I’m very glad to reach the end of a week – it’s a milestone of a job well done.  Without further ado, the fish!

Rasbora patrickyapi “Patrick’s Rasbora” is an absolutely beautiful large schooling fish.  Its body color is a pale rose color with a rusty brown coloration along its dorsal side.  It is bisected along its midline with a bold black line and its entire body, particularly over this midline, is incredibly iridescent.  Its fins are transparent and ruddy in coloration, with the exception of the anal fin and the lower lobe of the caudal fin, which are bright red.  This is one of the largest Rasboras we offer and is matched in size only by R. kalochroma.  These fish can be somewhat nippy and they are also quite quick.  They could be a fantastic occupant for a semi-aggressive community setup or cohabitating with particularly fast fish such as large Danios, particularly due to their beautiful colors.  It is best to keep these fish in as large of groups as possible to distribute nipping throughout the group, much like Puntius tetrazona.  I believe these fish would look fantastic over a black sand substrate with plenty of marginal and low-level planting.

WSRasbora patrickyapi 2

I’ve found myself staring in awe at our stock tanks of the large and beautiful Rasbora kalochroma “Clown Rasbora”. These four inch fish are in amazing health and so ready to be on display in your home.  With their amazing red coloration and black spotting that varies between each individual (though two spots are typical), the Clown Rasbora is definitely a looker.  R. kalochroma is a peaceful schooling fish that prefers somewhat acidic, tannin-stained water – dim lighting will bring out the best look of these fish without implementing blackwater conditions. This is a great companion for other Asian blackwater species such as large wild Betta specimens.

WSRasbora kalochroma

They’re not quite the large Betta that could be housed with the Clown Rasboras, but I’m a huge fan of all Labyrinth fish and Sphaerichthys vaillanti “Samurai Chocolate Gourami” or “Vaillant’s Chocolate Gourami” is no exception.  With their somewhat cryptic coloration and leaf-like shape, they’re perfectly suited for hovering quietly amongst root, fallen branches, aquatic plants and leaf litter.  Their silhouette is nearly almond-shaped with a fascinating elongate and upwardly pointed mouth.  While their resting color is a pleasant latte brown with a dark band running from their mouth to behind their eyes, this line is bordered along its top by brilliant silver-white, a coloration that also rims their ventral edge.  Males present white-bordered fins with a spangling of white spots, while females in brood dress will display gorgeous burgundy and green striping and coloration over their entire bodies.  It’s rare to find female fishes that are more colorful than their male counterparts – these fish are a beautiful example of this. I constantly find myself amazed by these gorgeous fish and wish that I had space at home for a group of them.

WSSphaerichthys vaillanti

Finally, at the request of some of you loyal readers, let’s talk about talking catfish.  These particular cats have two ways to communicate aurally with each other and, often, with us hobbyists while we are netting them.  Their first technique is to flex a muscle that runs from the back of their skull to their swim bladder, causing a resonation in the swim bladder and an accompanying deep hum.  Additionally, they can produce a second, higher-pitched sound via the locking of their pectoral fins into their sockets, followed by a quick motion to grind the pectoral spines against the bony socket, causing an audible buzz.  One of the more popular talking cats in the hobby is Platydoras armatulus “Striped Raphael Catfish”.  These peaceful and hardy catfish have broad, flat heads and alternating creamy white and black stripes running from their dorsal line to the end of their caudal fins.  While peaceful, the eight inch Striped Raphael Cat will eat bite-size fish, so tankmates should be moderately sized or better.  As another interesting aside specific to the species, juvenile P. armatulus are occasionally observed performing cleaning duties on larger fish, removing dead scales and parasites from their bodies.

WSPlatydoras armatulus

Thank you very much for reading and I hope you’ve found some interesting information this week.  Until next time!

Jessica Supalla

May 8, 2015

Welcome to the weekend, beloved readers. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that even one person reads this – I’ve said before it’s the highlight of my week to write this and it’s all because you are here reading it. Thank you.

Anyways, it’s week three of our wild Malawi newsletters and will finish off the three types of cichlid in the lake with the Peacocks – the Aulonocara genus. Aulonocara species are notable for their extreme lateral line system – a mostly linear arrangement of pressure- and electrically-sensitive organs. These are much larger and more developed than other fish, in particular over the face and lower part of the head. This enhanced system is not used to sense predators or school as with many other fish, but instead is used to detect the movement of small invertebrates beneath the sandy substrate – the preferred food of Aulonocara in the wild. In the home aquarium, one will rarely see this feeding method as they are readily accepting of any prepared food – a high quality cichlid flake or pellet is perfect for these fish. Feed this fish sparingly, however, as they are comparatively sedentary and have a propensity towards obesity if fed large amounts. One feeding that can be consumed within two minutes is ideal for these fish.

If you’d like to learn more about the lateral line systems of fish, check it out on Wikipedia – Wikipedia, as a crowd-sourced encyclopedia, is not the most reliable source, but fairly readable. If you’d like more scholarly information, a quick web search will find quite a few research papers and even more interesting information.

Both Aulonocara stuartgranti “Chilumba” and Aulonocara sp. “Usisya” “Flavescent” reside at the boundary of the rocky and sandy areas between fifteen and fifty feet of depth. Females and juveniles can be found singly or in small groups feeding from patches of sand between rocks. Breeding males will excavate holes between rocks to form spawning caves. The mouthbrooding females will rear their fry on their own.



Aulonocara maylandi “Sulfurhead” is notable for its different teeth – unlike the other types of Aulonocara, A. maylandi has larger teeth, used for crushing snail shells while the other species tend to eat only soft or shell free invertebrates. These fish also differ from the Stuartgranti types mentioned above as their spawns are particularly large, consisting of smaller fry numbering to about one hundred tiny fish.


I’ve also found a very nice video of a pair of A. maylandi spawning, as well as the male foraging for food in his chosen spawning site.

We did get some nice specimens of A. kandeense, however, they’re much smaller and not showing very much color. Rest assured, they will grow and color up as they do so. As a plus, I did find an additional video of A. kandeense courtship, showing a breeding male’s lovely colors, as well as the sand pit he has dug to entice his partner.

Thank you again for reading; it’s been wonderful once again. I can’t say I’m an expert in Malawi cichlids – in fact, most of you know I know little about them when compared with many of my colleagues. I hope, however, this has appeased your desire for information on some of our lovely Peacocks!

Jessica Supalla