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April 20, 2012

 Living among the fishes of the Borneo flooded aquascapes of the Kapuas River basin there is a fish that has a beauty I cannot adequately describe. Its body is a pinkish/reddish color, but if you look closely you'll see green and purple hues shining across the elongated body of Rasbora kalochroma "Clown Rasbora". It isn't florescent blue or visually striking from across the room, it's just a pinkish/reddish fish with 3 spots on its side, but I have seen what these fish are capable of being. They feed like a pack of hungry White Tip Reef Sharks! Growing to nearly 4", it is a gem for any hobbyist who knows about them. The fry of the Clown Rasboras were first believed to be Boraras maculata "Pygmy Rasbora". They spend most of their time in the upper regions of the tank, and they are overly excited to see any bits of food that may be floating on the surface. They are a great, active fish whose behavior is bound to make you smile.

Rasbora kalachroma

September of 2007 marked a day that would make a fascinating discovery for researcher Dr. Tan Heok Hui. While he was at a local fish exporter’s facility collecting some Rasbora kalochroma “Clown Rasbora” for research, another Cyprinid was found. After a few field trips, Rasbora patrickyapi “Patrick’s Rasbora” would be discovered living next to R. kalochroma in shallow slow-flowing swamp areas of the Katingan and Kahayan river basins in Kalimantan, Borneo. There is still little known about these wonderful rasboras as they are rarely (if ever!) exported from Borneo. My search would not find a maximum size, but I would guess somewhere around the 3-4” range. If I were you, I would not let these swim by!

Rasbora patrickyapi

Moving down the Belayan River drainage of the lower Mahakam River in Kalimantan Timur, Borneo you will find Rasbora lacrimula “Red Cherry Rasbora” in the small streams near palm oil plantations. These waters are generally shallow being only a meter deep, and are very clean due to they flow slowly through sand and mud. The Red Cherry Rasbora is still a fairly new import having been introduced to the hobby in 2010. Even with its limited appearance, the Cyprinid is finding its way around aquarium stores across the globe because of its elegant red coloration and small stature growing to just over an inch!

Rasbora lacrimula

Known only from the island of Sumatra, Mystus bimaculatus “Sumatran Two-Spot Cat” is a perfect companion for many mid-size to larger Cyprinids. Reaching to around 3.5” the Sumatran Two-Spot Cat is found in the peat swamps throughout the island. It searches for small crustaceans, but in the aquarium it is very unfussy like most cats. Feeding a wide range of pellets to bloodworms will ensure a healthy cat. I love to watch them fumble their way through my tank with their reddish brown bodies and the big black spot on the side and the spot in front of the tail. Their long barbells sniff everything in hopes of finding a pellet or two left over from the morning feeding. I know you'll enjoy watching them play with one another as much as I do!

Mystus bimaculatus

That will do it for this week. As always be sure to swing by our website for the current list, or just click on the products link below. I would like to encourage any and all questions you may have by reaching out through email or by phone. I hope to see you all back here. Thanks again!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

March 30, 2012

 

The genus Herichthys has a distribution from northeastern Mexico all the way up to southern Texas. It was created in 1854 by Baird and Girard to classify the North and Central American cichlids with a “compressed body and sub-conical teeth”. Regan would abandon this classification in 1905 and the fish would be placed into the catch-all genus Cichlasoma until Kullander reestablished the genus and restricted Cichlasoma fishes to South America in 1996. Today, there are currently nine described species within the Herichthys genus and three potentially un-described species. In this week’s newsletter I would like to talk to you about three of these unique cichlids from the country of Mexico…

Stretching over 300 miles, the Rio Pánuco begins its journey as a water-drainage for Mexico City. From here the passage becomes the borders for the states of Hidalgo and Querétaro as it begins its journey to San Luis Potosí. The river doesn’t take the name Rio Pánuco until it reaches Veracruz where it will empty its body into the Gulf at Tampico and Ciudad Madero.

Here, among the rock and sand, you’ll find pairs of Herichthys pantostictus digging out caves to raise their fry. During this courtship, males are often very aggressive, not only to the female, but also to the other fish. I would recommend keeping these in a tank no less than 90 gallons with ample hiding places for the female to find cover in. When old enough they should be fed a variety of food such as high quality pellets and frozen foods like bloodworms and krill. I could not find any information as what their full size is but I would say a male can grow somewhere in the 8-10” range with females staying slightly smaller. It was Taylor and Miller that first found this fish in the Rio Pánuco and since their discovery they have been found in several other river systems. Our variants are known as the “yellow” form and are F1 generations from the Rio Coy.

Herichthys pantostictus

Along the Rio Gallinas, in the Mexican state of San Luis Pótosi, near the town of Tamasopo, Juan Miguel Artigas Azas would discover Herichthys tamasopoensis in 1993. These 5-7” cichlids were found swimming around large boulders, limestone sediment, and pieces of driftwood that occur near the town of a “Place where the water leaks”, which is the translation for the word Tamasopo. Unlike most of the Herichthys genus, H. tamasopoensis seems to be mainly a herbivore and is found “scraping” the algae off of rocks much like that of Malawi’s mbuna cichlids. Therefore, I would recommend a diet consisting of spirulina flakes or pellets with minimum protein content. That being said, H. tamasopoensis is an opportunistic feeder and can accept small amounts of bloodworms or pellets.

Herichthys tamasopoensis

Moving to highlands of the Rio Verde Valley, you'll find another visually pleasing cichlid. Herichthys bartoni is generally a brown or green color with a black stripe running horizontally across the body, but when this fish starts to breed, both the male and female turn black with a white blaze running down their back. They are found in the Media Luna Lagoon, which has a high alkaline pH of almost 8.0. Males of the species can reach up to 7" and the females 4.5". Though they are a larger cichlid that feed opportunistically, H. bartoni favors a diet of algae. They are known to be extremely aggressive towards other fish and should only be kept in larger tanks with appropriately sized fish. Watching a pair guarding their fry will please any hobbyist, despite what skill level you may be!

Herichthys bartoni

This brings our newsletter to one more conclusion. If you interested in housing these wonderful fishes I would suggest keeping the pH around 7.6-8, moderately warm, with a temperature around 76°, and exactly how I described their natural habitats. Please be sure to check out the products link below, or visit our website for this week’s price list. As always, please do not hesitate to call or email me with any questions or suggestions you may have. I would like to thank Juan Miguel Artigas Azas for his help and website, www.cichlidae.com, this week. I hope to see you all back here next week!

Herichthys beani

Herichthys carpintis "Escondido"

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

March 02, 2012

 

In last week’s newsletter, I discussed with you a very common fish we have all come to love. We learned that it was the kids in the country of Thailand who started the competitions for these “brawling” fishes back in the late 19th century and that these bouts still go on today often having high wagers on the line. What we didn’t know is that it was the King of Siam who saw the popularity of these fights and decided to license and collect these fish for a commercialized sport. In 1840, he gave some of these fish to Dr. Theodor Cantor, a medical scientist. Nine years later Dr. Cantor would write an article and give them the name Macropodus pugnax. What the good doctor didn’t know was that this name was already in use. Tate Regan realized this in 1909 and renamed the fish to its current Betta splendens.

 

Many Americans often mispronounce the common name “Betta”. We often think that it is derived from the Greek letter “beta”, and is often misspelled with only one “t” because of this. But it’s believed that Regan actually named the Siamese fighting fish in honor of a warrior-like tribe called “Bettah”, which is pronounced “bet-tuh”. Now here’s where I get a little confused. In the same article they write that the word “betta” was derived from the Malay word ikan betah. This translates into English meaning “persistent fish”. Does this mean the tribe was named after these fish? Perhaps further studying into this word will tell…

 

Betta pugnax “Green Mask Betta” is endemic throughout much of the Peninsular Malaysia and has also been known to exist in Singapore, the Indonesian Riau Islands, and in Sumatra. In my research I have come to have my doubts of whether or not we have the right species. According to www.seriouslyfish.com the Green Mask Betta is part of the B. pugnax complex and the group itself contains 12 species. It is likely that they will reach around 4-6” in an aquarium, which is still an impressive length for a Betta. The same website claims that B. raja and B. fusca have both been exported under the trade name B. pugnax. It is my belief that this last batch we received is more likely to be Betta raja then B. pugnax. Regardless of what we have, I know that you’ll come to love these gentle giants as much as all of us have!

Betta pugnax

Betta pugnax

 

In the upper Kapuas and the Danau Sentarum National Park in Borneo lives Betta dimidiata “Blue Firefly Betta”. The swamps and pools are often very heavily shaded from the sun and are only a few centimeters deep. It’s here in this tea colored waters that you’ll find the Blue Firefly Betta feeding on insects and other invertebrates to reach its 2” small stature. Unlike most other Bettas, the Blue Firefly Betta seems to do better in a tank of mixed sexes.

Betta dimidiata

 

It is extremely saddening to think about one of the best colored Bettas is under the protection of the IUCN Red List of Threatened species, Betta macrostoma “Brunei Beauty”. The Brunei Beauty comes from the Brunei Darussalum in Borneo and the northern tip of the state of Sarawak. It appears that the Sultan of Brunei has banned the species from the state and it’s likely that our specimens have been coming out of Sarawak near the Labi rainforest. As a hobbyist I am torn to know that the fish have been added to this list as a vulnerable species. However, the habitat of Sarawak now has plans to become an oil palm plantation. When this happens the 4.5” blood red Brunei Beauty will be lost forever within the state. It is my belief that hobbyists like you and I will be the only way to keep these amazing Labyrinths thriving.

Betta macrostoma Female

Betta macrostoma Male

 

There are so many arguments that man uproots and destroys the homes of the fish we all love, but this is not always the case. As populations increase in these areas the native people need more food or resources. This often leads to deforestation to make way for farmland or oil plants. The local governments and the World Wildlife Fund have been fighting to protect these lands, and since 2005 it looks like steps have been put into place to protect East Kalimentan from further destruction and foster expansion of the forest with results seeming to show improvement.

 

I hope all of you found this informative and enjoyable to read. If there is any species of Bettas, or other fish for that matter, that you are looking for please feel to ask about them. We love to bring in new fish or fulfill your dreams of owning that one fish that no one else has. Make sure you visit our website, www.wetspottropicalfish.com, for our current availability list. Until next week!

 

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

March 22, 2012

Panama (officially the Republic of Panama) is best known for the great Panama Canal that was finished by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. The 51-mile canal began construction in 1880 and is now composed of a series of locks that allow vessels to shortcut their way through the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Over the years, ownership has changed a few times and now it is finally under Panamanian control. Nearly 500 rivers weave their way around a country that is no bigger than the state of South Carolina. So what does this have to do with fish you may be asking yourself?

When most of us think of Geophagus cichlids we automatically think of the Amazon River. These earth-eating fishes can be found grazing in the substrate along the shorelines from the Rio Tapajós all the way to the Rio Orinoco. I’m sure there is a fair share of you who are familiar with the “Red Hump Cichlid” known as Geophagus steindachneri, but what you probably didn’t know is the fish is from the north. Geophagus crassilabris does indeed exist in the eastern waterways of Panama where the water can be both alkaline and acidic. This makes G. crassilabris relatively easy to keep and breed in an aquarium. I have found this to be true right here in our tanks as we just got our first brood from our recently imported colony. The male is actually rather peaceful to the females and does not seem to chase them around as much. The blue lips of the males will certainly draw your eye into the aquarium. Remember to add a sandy substrate for them to dig through!

Geophagus crassilabris

Speaking of a sandy substrate, I’ve always liked to have some sort of bottom feeder for all of my “South American” theme tanks, and Corydoras axelrodi have always caught my eye. The fish is originally found in the Rio Meta in Colombia so keeping it around a neutral pH will be more than fine with the Geo’s and the Bleeding Hearts. Plus, with this bottom dwelling catfish it will help keep any leftover food from collecting on the sand. However, they too need to be fed food other than what does not get eaten. Be sure to drop in some sinking wafers for the corys to enjoy

With a big red dot right in the middle of its body, it's easy to see where the Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma "Bleeding Heart Tetra" got the name. The fish has been in the aquarium trade for many years now and was first described by Fowler in 1943. While it can get up to 3" in the wild, in an aquarium the standard size seems to be 2.5". They can live as long as 5 years. This fish is a very un-fussy eater and accepts regular flake foods. In my experience, feeding frozen bloodworms will help bring out the true colors of the Bleeding Heart. Their body is a beautiful light red that gets darker with age. They have a dark red line that runs from the middle of their body down to the tail. Males grow long extensions to their dorsal fins that are black with a white tip. The anal fin also grows an extension that is white in color. Females typically have smaller fins and do not grow quite as big as the males. The Bleeding Heart is a very peaceful fish, which is why it has become so popular and is my choice for a Tetra in this tank!

Hyphessobrycon reythrostigma

If you have not kept any of these fish before than I suggest checking out the fish list link above to find them. If there is a fish or product you’ve been looking for please be sure to ask. I would like to encourage all of you try fish that you normally wouldn’t keep. You never know what kind of experience you’ll have with them!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

February 23, 2012

I am sure almost every one of us is familiar with the Common Betta, Betta splendens. We’ve all come to love their long draping fins, exquisite colors, and flashy appearance. But this is not what the people of Siam (now Thailand) had in mind before the 1800’s. You see, back then, the Common Betta was a rather drab fish with a greenish brown color and shorter fins. All in all, the males were a small fish with a bad attitude. In nature these matches usually only lasted a few minutes with the weaker fish fleeing from battle. Young children would spend the better part of an hour catching almost 50 fish from the rice paddy fields. The children would then hold village matches for their “Pla Kats”, the Siam word for “biting fish”. When the debris and fins finally settled and a victor emerged the child would then be named champion of the village for his or her “Siamese Fighting Fish” until their Betta heals up and is ready for the next opponent.

These fights of the commercially bred “fighting” strain still happen today in Southeast Asia, and produce some of the highest revenue from the Common Betta, with wagers as high as placing one’s own home on the line! The other bred form, known as the “Display Strain”, is what many Americans have come to love as childhood pets. Our past time is a little different than those of the east. Instead of holding fighting bouts we’ve come to hold conventions that allow the competitors to judge each other’s fish. Of course with the best looking fish taking home the trophy and your own personal bragging rights.

Now many of you know that I’m not really one for “domesticated” animals. The fishes that have been bred to have better colors or longer fins just aren’t appealing to me. I like the natural look of what the fish should be, not what we wish it was. I also never owned a Common Betta when I was young. I was too busy playing with Oscars, Arowanas, and Pictus Cats to have the time for fish bowl pets. It wasn’t until I was 26 years old that I even owned a Common Betta. I will admit that I wasn’t the best owner either. I neglected his water changes and eventually my girlfriend at the time gave him away to one of her friends, embarrassed that I worked for a fish store, but that I wouldn’t even take care of the Betta. I had eight tanks going at that time, and I always forgot that he was there. I wasn’t use to looking at the coffee table for one more to clean. It just goes to show how strong these animals are even in the worst conditions.

Moving forward into the present and my obsession for Labyrinth fish is amazingly still relatively fresh and the world of Bettas is still very untouched by me. However I feel that my experience with Southeast Asian fish is very similar to the conditions that these animals prefer. Pretty much all of the wild type Bettas, such as Betta rutilans “Fire Betta”, prefer soft acidic water that is stained with tannins much like the swamps from Mempawah and Kepayang that they are collected from in Borneo. The Fire Betta is one of the smaller members of the genus by reaching less than 1.4”. When mature, and in the right settings, the Fire Betta males are exactly like their common name, a fire red color!

In Thailand, the 2” Betta imbellis “Peacock Betta” is bred to fight in organized ‘bouts’ much like it’s similar yet more popular cousin, Betta splendens. The Peacock Betta has the widest range within its complex and can be found in Malaysia, Southern Thailand, Vietnam, Sumatra, and was also introduced into Singapore. The different locations can display different colors, but sadly distributors rarely give out their locations in order to preserve their own fish collection points.

Betta imbellis

In streams and pools that are often shaded from the sun and thick in leaf litter in Kalimantan Tengah (Western Borneo) you’ll find one of my favorite Bettas of the B. mandor complex, Betta strohi “Golden Ninja Betta”. The common name to me makes little sense. The male, that reaches about 3”, is a dark blue color with two red or gold bars on the cheeks. The female stays a little smaller and is typically a brown coloration with yellow to orange bars on her cheeks. There is so much decomposing materials typically found in their habitats that the water is very soft and typically very warm (around 75-82°). This is very crucial if you wish to breed the Golden Ninja Betta. Unlike the Common Betta, the Golden Ninja Betta is a mouthbrooder with the males actually holding the eggs. From all of my research it sounds like as long as you have the right conditions, and a well-covered tank to keep the fish from jumping out (and the humidity in) it isn’t too difficult to get these marvelous aquatic attractions to spawn.

Betta strohi

Now we love to make our collectors take short drives in order to collect a particular Betta. And by short I really mean 26 hour drives to remote locations in the jungle in order for us to offer you Betta albimarginata “Strawberry Betta” directly from Eastern Borneo. These 2” mouthbrooding Labyrinth males are rich in a “strawberry” red color with a white seam around the ventral, anal, and caudal fin. This is etched with an inner black border. The female is often a brown coloration that may exhibit a little bit of white in the fins. In my opinion, this is one of the best looking Bettas being currently offered in the trade.

Betta albimarginata

Many of these Bettas in nature feed on small insects and zooplankton. Unless you’re willing to go pick Gnats out of spider webs I think an easier method would be to feed frozen bloodworms, daphnia or Betta pellets. This high protein diet will ensure to bring out the Bettas best colors, but Bettas have a bad reputation of not knowing when to say when. You’ll want to limit the amount of food they ingest. I recommend small meals about once a day. You will also not need to keep them in battery acid like they are in nature. You do want to keep the tank relatively soft, but if I was keeping them I would aim for a pH between 6-6.5. It would be a great idea to do some research on www.seriouslyfish.com or www.smp.ibcbettas.org on the species you wish to keep before making the dive into Labyrinths. I found both of the websites were very helpful in getting to know and understand all of these species and I hope you will too.

Well it looks like I’m out of time and could continue on about the world of Bettas. You’ll just have to come back next week for part two of this section. We have new shipments of all these Bettas plus more this week. If any of you have any questions please contact me by email or by phone. Hope to see you all back here next week!

Anthony Perry

Sales Manager

March 09, 2012

For many of us, setting up a new tank can be just as challenging as it is rewarding. I have a 12-gallon long seamless tank from one of our distributors that has been sitting in my home now for a few months. I’ve put much thought into what I would like to do with it. The idea was originally for Red Pygmy Licorice Gouramis (Parosphronemus parvulus) with a nice school of Blue Neon Axelrodi (Sundadanio axelrodi), but now I’m thinking more of a South American biotope. The real problem I have with my decision is that we get so many cool fish here that I can’t make up my mind!

Well, regardless of I decide to put in there I’m certainly going to need substrate and some decorations before putting any fish in. For the base, I have chosen ADA Amazonia soil. The reason for this is that not only is it dark (which will help bring out some of the true colors of my fish), but it will also help keep the pH a little lower. The Amazon basin is often very acidic and by replicating the waters the best we can, this should not only keep the fish happy, but healthier over all. For this set up I’m going to aim for a pH in the low 6’s.

Now that the base has been laid down it’s time to start adding the décor. I found some great pieces of ADA’s branch wood and placed one piece in each corner. The tank is uncovered, so it allows them to stick out of the water kind of representing the way you would find them fallen down along the shore lines of the Rio Guamá. From there, I have rooted down some New Christmas Tree Moss onto the wood. Then I placed some Rotala indica into the corners and along the back. My foreground cover is Cryptocoryne parva. The parva will fill in nicely with the help of some new T-5 lighting. I prefer the “simple is better” when it comes to my tanks. Instead of flooding it with the “Dutch” style, I like to have just a couple species of plants.

Now that the aquarium has cycled and the plants have started to fill in, I decided to add my first group of fish. I wanted something small, colorful, and peaceful. I walked up and down our rows for about 15 minutes when I stumbled across a much-underrated tetra in North America. In Europe, Hyphessobrycon roseus “Yellow Phantom Tetra” is a very popular aquarium fish that comes from sluggish waters off of the Rio Maroni in the French Guiana. I spent a moment observing their behavior and noticed exactly just how peaceful they are. The entire group was swimming near the front of the tank, and never did I notice a single fin nip from any of them. Like most of the Characin family, I recommend feeding high quality flakes and frozen daphnia to help them grow to their 1.2” size.

Hyphessobrycon roseus

In the upper parts of the Rio Orinoco, you will find one of my favorite plecos, Hypancistrus sp. “Orinoco Angel Pleco” L201. I’ve had one of these Loricariids at home for a few years now. Originally, I had purchased a pair in hopes they may spawn on their own accord in my community tank. I wanted to breed plecos, but wasn’t ready to commit to a tank just for them back then. I purchased pleco caves and placed them near each other in the tank. The male chose one and the female the other. When it came time to feeding I gave them a variety of frozen daphnia and bloodworms. I found they really enjoyed Sera Catfish Chips and would recommend these to any hobbyist keeping any type of catfish. About a year or so later, I lost the male from unknown reasons. Today, the female is full grown and is one of the most stunning fish I own. I’ve always considered a treat to see her 5” yellow polka dotted body appear from behind the wood. She has always been peaceful to my other Loricariids and has done well in any of my tanks from the 20 gallon long all the way to the 125.

Hypancistrus sp. L201

Over the years, the Apistogramma family has fascinated me, as I’m sure it has fascinated many of you. These “dwarf” cichlids occur throughout the Amazon basin and there are around 70 species within the family. Many seem to exist in two or more color forms and could eventually end up being described as their own species in the future. When I was much younger, I played around with A. cacatuoides without much luck in keeping them alive for very long. I don’t think it was anything I was doing wrong, but rather the water in Vancouver, Washington which is much harder than that of Portland. The fishes didn’t seem to tolerate the alkalinity and after a few months would perish. It’s my recommendation that, if you wish to keep Apistogramma species, you do your best to keep them in softer water that is fairly warm. A diet of frozen bloodworms, daphnia, or other meatier foods should be supplemented into their diet to replicate their natural food source. Apistogramma agassizi come in many colors, but the one that I wanted to point out to you this week is the “Netz/Tefe Pearl Blue” form. The Tefes will grow to around 2” in length and develop a spade-like tail that is bordered with a white seam. The head is yellow and the body is a blue tone. It would make a fine addition to my 12-gallon aquarium!

Apistogramma agassizi Tefe Pearl Blue

That’s it for this week. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me by phone or email. Thank you all for your continuing support with this newsletter, and I’ll see you all back here next week!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

February 17, 2012

As a hobbyist, I continue to learn new information on aquarium pets almost every day. After all, it is my job. However, this is not why I’m constantly reading books or browsing false information on the web and chopping at the boss’s brain like a zombie for any information he may have. For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to freshwater fish. With a human body, it confounds me how a creature can extract oxygen from under the surface of water without dying. Many animals, at some point in their life, have gills but fish have perfected these gills and they are still part of their anatomy. So, how do they breathe? I, of course, know this is done by water flowing over their gills and exchanging carbon dioxide and oxygen simultaneously. Gills are so highly developed that they can extract up to 85% of the available oxygen form the water! But, what is the answer to my question: where does my love for these fishy friends come from? Is it my inability to swim well that pulls me towards these strange creatures? Or is it the fear of drowning that keeps my mind in battle with this unbeatable foe?

All of these questions linger in the back of mind nearly every day. I may never know the answer for many of them, but until then, my addiction to the earth’s freshwaters will always have my heart. And I will always be waiting for new discoveries that may be hidden under the surface of our streams, rivers, and lakes. Who knows, maybe one day, I’ll make my own freshwater discovery and classification for science to set into their boxes so that man can put a label on it, and say, it was he who found it. Until then, I’d like to continue to educate and help you discover new fish through this newsletter…

After months of waiting, over 700 different species of fish were counted and observed to find out if it was safe to begin recollecting and exporting these fishes. I am willing to bet that at least 80% of the fish hobbyists don’t know there are several species of Gobys that occur naturally in the Amazon waters. I am sure the few that are familiar with the Awaous species will be happy to know they are no longer on Brazil’s “blacklist” of fish that were illegal to export.

Among them is rare treat for aquarium keepers, Awaous strigatus “Candy Stripe Goby”. The males of these bottom dwelling oddballs spend their time digging out caves to attract females into their territory. You can easily replicate the natural home of the Candy Stripe Goby by burying pieces of ceramic caves or PVC pipes. In these structures, the females will lay tiny adhesive eggs to the ceiling. In my research, I found that after 12 hours the eggs hatch and an estimated 10,000 microscopic fry begin to drift in the open water. Even though the 4” adults live in completely fresh water, the fry need to be kept in saltwater if you wish to raise any of them. When the Candy Stripe Goby finally takes on its form, you will find them digging in the substrate for microorganisms they can eat. Because of this behavior, I recommend a sandy substrate for this incredible goby to thrive.

Awaous strigatus

C.H. Eigenmann erected the genus name, Nematobrycon, in 1911 from the Greek word for “Brycon with threads”. It is clear this is in reference to the long filament extension off the male’s caudal fin. There are two species currently in the genus, Nematobrycon palmeri “Emperor Tetra” and the Nematobrycon lacortei “Blue Emperor Tetra”. Both of these fish occur in the water systems of the Rio San Juan and the Rio Atarto in Colombia. They are very close in appearance and often get confused with one another in the trade. The easiest way to identify these exceptionally gorgeous characins is by the color of the eye. In N. palmeri, the eye is bright blue, while the eye of N. lacortei is a brilliant red. Both of these fish will feed readily on any prepared foods. If you wish to see their best coloration, I highly recommend placing them into a planted aquarium. Here, with the lighting subdued a bit, the magnificent reds, purples, and blues of their 2” body shine against the greenery. Spectacular!

Nematobrycon palmeri

Nematobrycon lacortei

The Rio Nanay, in Peru, houses one of the reddest fish in the hobby, Nannostomus mortenthaleri “Red Arc/Coral Red Pencilfish”. These rad little characins were first collected in 2000 near the town of Alvarenga. Originally, it was believed to be a color morph of Nannostomus marginatus “Dwarf Pencilfish”, but after further examination by Weitzman in 2001, it was clear the Red Arc was its own species. Unlike the Red Arc’s pencilfish cousins, which can be collected by the thousands in one netting, these graceful characins are found in single numbers hiding among twigs. Because of this collecting method, these bright red 1.5” fish maintain a high price. Males are often more intensely colored and tend to fight with one another. I’ve kept this species before, and I highly recommend a larger tank and schools of these marvelous creatures to keep them from causing harm to one another.

Nannostomus mortenthaleri

An ideal set-up for all of these fish would be a 40 breeder or larger. The Candy Stripe Gobys are fairly peaceful to one another, but still must have their own territories in order to thrive. Males of both the Red Arc Pencils and Emperor Tetras will quarrel with one another. The bigger the tank the better it will be for them to be able to get away from one another. I would recommend a good-sized canister filter, like one from the Eheim series. It would be a good idea to try and limit the flow of pressure from the filter. Remember, most of these fish come from slower moving waters. The aquarium should be decorated with root wood or twigs for the pencils to feel secure. It would also be a good idea to add some floating plants. The rest is up to you!

That’s it for this week. If you have any questions about the fish in this article, please feel free to contact me by email or by phone. Look for all of these fish and more at the best fish store in the U.S., The Wet Spot!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager