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November 03, 2011

  Greetings and welcome to another addition of The Wet Spot Tropical Fish newsletter!  

This week we go the Indonesian Islands. The Greater Sunda Islands are located inside the Malay Archipelago. This large group of islands makes up most of the Indonesian island groups known as Java and Sumatra. Part of this group also includes the islands of Borneo, Malaysia, Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), and Papua. These last two make up the larger portions of the area.

 

Sumatra, or Sumatera, is the sixth largest island in the world and has a massive population of over 50,000,000 people in a 170,000-mile radius! That’s an astonishing number for such a small island! I, for one, cannot function without this very important product and it also happens to be my favorite choice of beans. Sumatra is the largest producer of Indonesian coffee. You’ll find Arabica beans (Coffee Arabica) in the highlands and Robusta beans (Coffee canephora) in the low lands of the 1,100-mile long island. The island is home to 10 National Parks including Berbak National Park that has one of the largest untouched swamp forests in Southeast Asia.

 

This week I’ll discuss one of my favorite Cyprinids, the Eirmotus octozona “False Eight Banded Barb”. It was originally thought to come from a lake in Thailand called Bueng Boraphet but after extensive collecting there it could not be found. The actual location of its origin are unclear. Today, it is believed they are found near a town in the Johor state in Malaysia. These adorable little creatures grow to just about 1.5” and are best fed live foods like daphnia or baby brine shrimp. I’ve often found the False Eight Banded Barb does best in a planted aquarium where it can be found grazing among the leaf litter and can seek refuge when needed. These delicate fish are extremely peaceful and are best kept in larger groups of themselves!

Eirmotus octozona

 

Inhabiting the black water streams of the Greater Sunda Islands is the elegant Trigonopoma pauciperforatum “Red Line Rasbora” (Formerly Rasbora pauciperforata).   In my experience, the “red” line can range from more of a dark orange to a gold color. They are a completely peaceful and schooling fish and quite enjoyable to watch given their small stature of around 3”. The Red line Rasbora will eagerly feed on frozen or prepared foods. Even with their subtle colors, watching these fish swim in a planted aquarium proves just how elegant these fish can be.

Trigonopoma pauciperforatum

 

For many years, the Betta rubra “Red Flame Betta” was rarely imported due to violence in the area, better known as the Free Sumatra Movement. Finally, in 2005, the Movement reached a peace agreement with the government and since 2007 we have started seeing more of these Bettas being introduced back into the trade. This is an amazingly attractive Betta that is very sought after with its small size of 2” and with amazing color. And like many Bettas, the Red Flame Betta loves to feed on live black worms or other live foods. You’ll be amazed when a pair starts to court in your tank!

Betta rubra

 

This concludes this week’s notes. Be sure to check the products link below for the current retail list. If you have any questions on our livestock please feel free to call or email me. I hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween!

 

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

October 28, 2011

Welcome to this week’s Wet Spot Tropical Fish’s newsletter!

The genus Corydoras belongs to the large family of Callichthyidae, which translates from the Greek words kallis, meaning beautiful, and ichthys, meaning fish. Corydoras, or more commonly known as Cory’s, are known as armored catfishes due to the two rows of bony plates (called scutes) running down the length of the body. They have become one of the most popular of all the tropical fish being imported from South America. They account for 7% of all the catfish found in the world. The subfamily Corydoradinae make up about 90% of the Callichthyidae family and have over 180 species known to science with many more not yet identified; these are labeled with a C number. Corydoras come from the Greek words kory, meaning helmet, and doras meaning skin. So now that we know more of their background, let’s discuss a few species we have imported just for your tank!

Imported directly from the Rio Meta basin in Colombia, Corydoras melanotaenia “Green/Gold Cory” reaches a max size of 2.4” and Corydoras metae “Bandit Cory” grows to only about 2”. They inhabit small creeks, flooded forests and sand banks. Like all other Corys, these are very peaceful fish and prefer to be in larger schools.

Corydoras melanotaenia

Unlike most other South American fish, the Green/GoldCory and the Bandit Cory like the water temperatures in the low 70’s. They will feed on pretty much anything that makes its way to the bottom. Don’t let either of these great cats pass you by!

Corydoras metae

Moving onto the “dwarf” corys we come across three different fish that all share big stature in appearance. First, the Corydoras pygmaeus “Pygmy Cory” is endemic to the Rio Madeira in Brazil. This is probably one of the smallest members of the family and is probably the most sold in the trade. The body is a light grey with a black stripe running down the lateral line. It is found in large numbers in small pools and creeks seeking shelter in the thick vegetation and tree roots. This means keeping them in large schools will keep them happier in your tank!

Corydoras pygmaeus

Second is the Corydoras habrosus “Dwarf Cory” is from the Rio Salinas, which is part of the Rio Orinoco river drainage in Colombia and Venezuela. These fish are the larger of the three reaching just about 1.4”. The Dwarf Cory is very common throughout the Orinoco and is frequently imported into the states. They prefer soft water with a pH value of 6.2 to 7.2 and like the water temperature in the mid 70’s.

Corydoras habrosus

The third of the dwarf types is the Corydoras hastatus “Tail Spot Pygmy Cory” from the Villa Bella in Brazil. The Tail Spot Pygmy Cory can be differentiated from the common Pygmy Cory by a lack of the black lateral line. Instead, it has a black spot at the base of the tail fin and two white spots on either side of it. These Corydoras like their pH a little higher, anywhere from 6.8 to 7.6. The Tail Spot Pygmy Cory is also the oldest known of the three corys being described as early as 1888 by Eigenmann & Eigenmann. All three of these fish prefer to feed on small foods like frozen daphnia or chopped up bloodworms. Whatever fish you decide to place in your tank they will surely make you happy!

Corydoras hastatus

Hailing from the rivers near Manaus in Brazil lives Dianema urostriatum “Flagtail Porthole Cat”. Reaching nearly 5” in length these fish are very adaptable to any water condition. They love a warm tank around 77-82 degrees. You’ll want to keep the Flagtail Porthole Cat in smaller groups, which will keep them swimming out and about. Like most catfish, these are rather unfussy eaters and will readily feed on just about anything. The body is a light brown with dark spots covering its body. Then, of course, there are the black and white stripes on the tail fin from which the common name is derived from. Once in your tank you’ll love how these cats coming hobbling through!

Dianema urostriatum

That wraps up the wonderfully amazing Corydoras species we are offering this week. Well, that, and one of its closely related cousin, the Flagtail Porthole Cat. If you like Corys, you’ll also love Corydoras arcuatus “Skunk Cory” and Corydoras duplicarius “Duplicate Cory” which have been in our care for some time now and are ready to be added into your home or office aquarium. Be sure to check the products link at the bottom of the page for the current list. Thanks again and until next week!

Corydoras arcuatus

Corydoras duplicareus

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

October 06, 2011

Hello once again from all of us here at The Wet Spot Tropical fish.

This week brings a new shipment directly from Singapore and with that comes all sorts of new fish. This week’s setup will have something for everyone.

I’m sure many of us have had or currently own a 55-gallon tank. It’s big enough to house some larger fish without filling up your living room with one giant tank. I actually have a 55-gallon setup in my apartment. Though I do yearn for a bigger aquarium, I’ve had this tank for years now and can never seem to be able to part with it. So, with this being said, here are my thoughts on what you may want to consider for yours!

To keep things short, as you know I like to ramble, I’m going to talk about a basic set up for lighting, substrate, and décor. Let’s pick up an AquaticLife T-5 HO dual lamp fixture. This is a great choice for any of the tanks mentioned in this article. The lights are relatively inexpensive, use low wattage, and provide ample lighting for most plants that you may decide to place in your aquarium. It also gives you an opportunity to make adjustments to plant species without purchasing other lighting equipment or bulbs.

After the light has been placed, I recommend the ADA Amazonia soil to keep the tank a little darker as well as providing a great fertilizer. Beyond this you may place ADA branch woods or rocks in the spots where you feel are more suitably appropriate as well any plants you may love. Be sure to test all the water parameters of the aquarium before placing any of these fish in your aquarium.

This week’s notes are going to be a little different. If I were to set this tank up I would have my show fish (Betta dimidiata) and one group of rasboras above them. I do not recommend putting all of these fish in the same tank. Now onto the fish for the week…

…My tank would have to include Betta dimidiata “Blue Firefly Betta”. B. dimidiata which grow to around 2” and feed on a variety of foods including frozen bloodworms and prepared foods. However, take care not to overfeed as most Bettas are prone to obesity. In nature B. dimidiata can be found living the small shallow streams and pools of the Kapaus River basin in Borneo. These water systems have a very low pH (around 3!), but dimidiata are very adaptable and can be cared for in almost any pH. Clean and well-filtered water will keep the fishes thriving and in good health. B. dimidiate are generally a reddish brown color. The males will typically have a beautiful blue belt that runs along the anal and tail fins. A pair of these would do just fine in a smaller tank. But if you wish to do a small group, I would recommend a larger tank. The Blue Firefly Betta is certainly one reason to be keeping fish!

Betta dimidiata

One very interesting rasbora that is rarely imported (even though it looks similar to its cousin, R. borapetensis “Brilliant Rasbora”) is the Rasbora rubrodorsalis “Cherry Spot Rasbora”. These beautiful little fish grow to around 1” and can be found near the lower Mekong River basin in Northeastern Thailand. In the Nong Khai province, it can be found living in the clear waters of the Kud Ting with Rasbora spilocerca “Dwarf Scissortail Rasbora” and Boraras micros “Yellow Polka Dot Rasbora”. Cherry Spot Rasboras have a white to grey body and a black line running horizontally. The Dorsal and Caudal fin are colored a striking red. Like most small fish, Cherry Spot Rasboras will readily accept any prepared foods but feeding frozen daphnia or Cyclop-eeze will enhance their colors. Keeping a group of these will surely add contrast to the Bettas!

Rasbora rubrodorsalis

Endemic to only a few river systems including the Kalu, Bentota, Gin and Nilwala basins, the Rasbora vaterifloris is available in thre forms, the “Red Fire Rasbora”, "Green Fire Rasbora" and “Blue Fire Rasbora”. Both of these fish are the exact same color. The R. vaterifloris can reach a maximum size of 1.6” and again should be fed high quality flakes and bloodworms to ensure the best color. The habitats they are from are generally slow moving streams or ponds. Thus, a tank with minimal current would more than likely be ideal for these fascinating little animals.

Rasbora vaterifloris "Red Fire"

Rasbora vaterifloris "Green Fire"

Inhabiting the ancient peat swamps of the Kapuas River Basin in Borneo, Cyclocheilichthys janthochir “Red Fin Silver Shark” is much like its cousin the common “Bala Shark” (Balantiocheilus melanopterus). However, the Red Fin Silver Shark does not grow nearly as large. It only reaches about 8” and in my opinion is a much better looking fish. The body is a gold color with a black stripe along the side and all of the fins are red. The tip of the dorsal fin is etched and black. Feeding heavier protein foods, such as bloodworms or high quality pellets, will bring out the bright reds as they mature. The Red Fin Silver Shark is a very peaceful fish and is better kept in small groups. I observe mine at home to be very friendly and eager to see you when you come around. I highly suggest trying some for your tank!

Cyclocheilichthys janthochir

All right, enough about small fish, we just received one amazing catfish that has to be mentioned! A new species of Bagrichthys has just become available and boy is it hot! Bagrichthys (Bagroides) melapterus “Harlequin Lancer Cat” is a brown or black color and has marbled yellow along the sides and is as bright as a banana! These cats grow to around 12”, but here’s the best part, for a larger fish they can’t eat smaller fish due to their small and narrow mouths. The Harlequin Lancer Cat mainly looks like its diet would be worms and therefore should be fed a variety of frozen bloodworms and high quality pellets. The Harlequin Lancer Cat can be found swimming in the rivers and streams of Borneo and can tolerate a pH value of 6-7. These cats are rarely imported into the states and I’m sure they won’t last long!

Bagroides melapterus

 

Among the swift currents downstream of the Klone waterfalls, part of the Mekong River basin, the Homaloptera confuzona “Red Lizard Loach” can be seen feeding on small crustaceans and invertebrates. In the aquarium, these beautifully elongated loaches adapt extremely well to feeding on frozen bloodworms and high quality pellet foods. The body is a red-brown color that has “saddle” like red colored patterns across it. The Red Lizard Loach reaches a maximum length of 3” in the aquarium, and at their size of 2” now you’ll have plenty of time to watch them grow. When looking directly at the face of the loach it almost appears to look like a viper!

Homaloptera confuzona

 

That’s it for this week’s notes. As always be sure to check out the products link for the current stock list. Here at The Wet Spot we love to hear if there are certain items you are looking for so that we may best accommodate your needs. Please feel free to make any inquires. I hope this may have given you some ideas for your next pet(s)!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

October 21, 2011

Loaches are classified in the order of ray-finned fish Cypriniformes. Also in that order are carps, barbs, rasboras and minnows, which are closely related to loaches. Cypriniformes are completely absent from Australia and both of the Americas, and are most widespread and diverse in Asia. New species of loaches are found or described every few months and even new genera are being discovered regularly. Some families have adapted to living in the open waters of lakes, while others have flattened out their bodies to live in the fast flowing streams of mountainous highland regions.

Loaches have been divided into three families: Balitoridae, which includes the hillstreams types, Cobitidae which includes the Botias, and Gyrinocheilidae which includes the sucker loaches. In 2004, Dr. Maurice Kottelat divided the Botia genus into four different but related generas. Botia loaches are one of the most popular loaches among hobbyists today. The Botia family does not possess teeth in their mouths, but instead have what are known as pharyngeal teeth, which they use to extract snails from their shells. While cichlids use their pharyngeal teeth on both their upper and lower jaws to eat, loaches grind their foods against a chewing pad located in the back of the jaw. One special and distinctive characteristic of Botia species is that they sometimes make a “clicking” noise with those pharyngeal teeth. There are now upwards of 13 species in the Botia family, including the first loach being featured this week…

Although no definitive information has been found, Botia kubotai “Burmese Border Loach” is believed to coexist with Botia histrionica “Golden Zebra Loach” in the Ataran River in Myanmar. Juveniles of these fish are very similar in appearance with gold and brown stripes. As B. kubotai grows to maturity the stripes form together to show “polka-dots” on the side of the body.

Botia kubotai - juvenile

 

B. histrionica develops five sub regular shapes that each contains a small round spot in the lateral line and the ridge of the back. Both of these species are very undemanding once adapted to a home aquarium and will readily accept any prepared or live food. Their pH should be kept around neutral (7.0) to ensure their best health. The Burma Border Loach will reach a total length of 7” and the Golden Zebra Loach will max out at about 5”. I have personally kept the Burma Border Loach and know firsthand how exciting it is to watch these fish go through a metamorphosis with the pattern changing into its dots!

 Botia histrionica - juvenile

Kottelat named the next genus in honor of the Japanese collector and researcher Dr. Yasuhiko Taki in 2004. However, further studies may even place Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki “Dwarf Chain Loach” and Y. nigrolineata “Laos Linear Loach” into their own genus.

Named after Area Sidthimunk, who was a researcher at the Department of Fishes, the Dwarf Chain Loach was discovered in 1959 by Sukaram and Lekaree. Original descriptions for Y. sidthimunki were believed to be from the Yom River in northern Thailand, but this is incorrect and only true for Y. nigrolineata. The real location for the Dwarf Chain Loach was actually the Mae Klong River basin in western Thailand. Sadly, these fish were driven to near extinction by over fishing and farming of the lands. Today, fishermen rediscovered these elegant loaches in the Sangkhla Buri system in western Thailand. But for over 30 years, fish farmers have been breeding these loaches in captivity. The amazing Dwarf Chain Loach does better in groups of 5 or more and will eagerly feed on prepared foods. The aquarium should be maintained regularly and the pH should be between 6 and 7.5. One of the smallest members of the family, the Dwarf Chain Loach only grows to just over 2” at maturity. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a large group of these swim through an aquarium!

 Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki

Y. nigrolineata has been recorded from parts of the Mekong river drainage in northern Thailand and also the Nan River, which is a tributary of the Chao Phraya of Laos. Although the Linear Loach looks very similar to its cousin, the Dwarf Chain Loach, it is rarely imported into the hobby. Even as juveniles the two can be differentiated by the solid stripes on the side of the body that the Linear Loach has. Size is certainly much larger in this case as the Linear Loach grows to nearly 4” in length. However do not let the larger size fool you. The Linear Loach is just as peaceful as the Dwarf Chain Loach and is also best kept in large groups. Either one of these loaches is sure to add character to your tank!

 Yasuhikotakia nigrolineata

The family known as the Hillstream Loaches contains more than 600 species in 60 different genera with the family Balitoridae and Nemacheilinae being the main subfamilies. They primarily inhabit swift, high-oxygenated, and very clear waters. Often their fins have adapted to “clinging” onto rocks or fallen logs. This means that in the home aquarium the tank should be kept clean and well filtered. The use of a powerhead will aid in the wellbeing of this truly unique group.

The Serpenticobitis octozona “Serpent Loach” is collected from the Sekong River basin in southern Laos and The Wet Spot Tropical Fish was one of the first to offer these marvelous creatures on a regular basis into the states. Here the Serpent Loach is restricted to shallow, and fast flowing riffles of broken up pools. The fish are omnivorous but given the natural habitat Serpent Loaches probably feed on small insects and crustaceans, therefore, the diet should consist of frozen bloodworms and high quality prepared foods. The Serpent Loach grows to about 2.5” in the aquarium and is ideal with tank mates such as Microdevario kubotai “Green Rasbora” or Sawbwa resplendens “Naked Rummynose Rasbora”. Like most loaches, the Serpent Loach prefers to be in groups and should be kept as such. You’ll love how these terrific fish prop themselves up onto tank decorations!

 Serpenticobitis octozona

This wraps up one more edition of my weekly newsletter. This week we received many new fish so be sure to look for all the new items highlighted in bold. There are plenty of new loaches available including the extremely rare Protomyzon pachychilus “Panda Loach” and Botia dario “Queen Loach”. I did not have enough time in my notes this week but I still want to mention we still have a beautiful batch of Schistura balteata “Sumo Loach”. You’ll find the list attached to the products link below. Thanks again and I hope you all have a great week!

Protomyzon pacychilus

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

September 28, 2011

Hello and welcome to another Southeast Asian themed newsletter!

Yes, yes I do love the fish of the east. At home, you’ll find my tank full of brown fish that are “boring” to most. To me, however, these plain-looking fish are everything that I dream of. I’ve spent the last few years pestering my boss to import most of these fish. It’s great to know that I work for someone who loves this stuff as much as I do. It doesn’t take much effort to get him to bring in the fish of my dreams once they are available. Just knowing that someone took the time to collect and classify these species so that I can enjoy them in my home aquarium makes me proud to be a fish keeper. I often find myself day-dreaming of a fish collecting adventure of my own. Perhaps one day I’ll make it to the Borneo rainforests. For now I’ll just keep giving ideas for new tank setups…

It seems to me that the craze for Bow Front tanks has passed. With nano tanks all the rage, these bigger tanks have taken the back seat for the time being. I’ve always been drawn to the Bow Fronts though, and don’t want them to be forgotten. Thus I have chosen the 72 Bow Front for this week’s tank. With its 48x18x22 dimensions, it will make a great tank to work with for this week’s project. The fish of choice are a little bashful so lighting is not going to be as crucial this time around. I recommend an AquaticLife 48” T-5 HO dual lamp just to get a decent amount of light to the plants on the bottom. Begin by laying down some ADA Malayan substrate to keep the plants well fertilized for a while. Next add some ADA branch wood in the corners. I would stack several to replicate a downed branch in a rainforest pool. I do not recommend boiling the tannins out as Southeast Asian fish love blackwater. They’ll actually do better and show off their true color this way. Once the tank is full of water, I would filter it with the Eheim Classic 2217. Place Java Ferns or Java Mosses onto the wood, and plant various Cryptocorynes for foreground plants. After these plants have taken root, let some Water Lettuce (Pistia Stratiotes) take over the top of the aquarium. Once the water tests are done and everything checks out, it’s time to ditch the Zebra Danios and go with something a little more exotic…

Puntius pentazona “Five Banded Barb” is as elegant as they are beautiful, and can be found in various locations in Borneo, Peninsular Malaysia, and Sumatra. There was much confusion originally as to where these fish is found and reports of them being found in Cambodia and Vietnam turned out to be incorrect. The small streams and drainage ditches that they are found in are very acidic and can have a pH value of as low as 3! However P. pentazona is a very undemanding fish once adapted to an aquarium. They’ll readily accept most prepared foods but feeding frozen foods such as bloodworms or daphnia will bring out their true orange and red coloration on the body. The fish is marked with 5 black stripes that give it its common name. These fish are very peaceful and make excellent additions to any home aquarium!

Puntius pentazona

Inhabiting peat swamps and other blackwater streams of the river systems Kapuas, Kepayang, Barito, and the Kahajan lives one of my personal favorite barbs- Puntius rhomboocellatus “Rhombo Barb”. I often believe that the Rhombo Barb, or Snakeskin Barb, is severely overlooked in aquarium shops. They are often a dull tan color that appears washed out. Don’t let this fool you! Once they are taken home and placed in a good home, the Rhombo Barb quickly colors up and looks amazing. Here the dull tan color turns into an autumn orange. The slanted bars shine a beautiful green color that has hints of purple. Every fin the fish uses for mobility darkens to an amazing reddish color. Just like the Five Banded Barb, Rhombo Barbs only grow to 2.5”. Feeding them bloodworms or daphnia makes their colors even more vibrant. So imagine a school of 15 of these guys swimming with their chubby little bodies around the center of the tank!

Puntius rhomboocellatus

Just to show you how much I really love brown and boring fish I am going to feature my favorite gourami of all time. I have kept and spawned Sphaerichthys acrostoma “Sharp Nose Chocolate Gourami” (though I was not successful in keeping the fry), and I can tell you that there is no other Labyrinth fish like them. The River Mentaya where they are found is rich in tannins, yet is very clear and appears to have a fairly swift current. Living in the shallow pools near flooded jungles, the Sharp Nose Chocolate Gourami can be found feeding on various insect larvae and micro-plankton. The males I have at home have reached a max length of over 3” while the females seem to only grow to 2.5”. The females can easily be distinguished by a marble patterning on their stomach as well as a horizontal white line running down the side of the body. Unlike its cousin, the common Chocolate Gourami (Sphaerichthys osphromenoides, also available right now), these fish are not shy. I find mine often hanging out near the front waiting for me to come by with the food container. I love it when my small group of 8 comes “running” up to me – they seem so happy to see me, even though I know they just want my food!

Sphaerichthys acrostoma

 

Living among the fishes of the Borneo flooded aquascapes of the Kapuas River basin there is a fish that has a beauty that I cannot adequately describe. Its body is a light brown color, but if you look closely you’ll see green and purple hues shining across the elongated body of Rasbora kalachroma “Clown Rasbora”. It isn’t florescent blue or visually striking from across the living room, it’s just a brown fish with 3 spots on its side, but I have seen just what these fish are capable of. 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

Swimming among the densely planted streams of Sumatra and Borneo, Trigonostigma hengeli “Narrow Wedge Rasbora” feeds on small insects and crustaceans, but in a home aquarium will readily accept any prepared foods. The genus name Trigonostigma comes from the Greek word trigonon, meaning triangle or hatchet, and stigma, meaning spot or brand. This genus was erected very recently - in 1999 - in order to begin separating these fish from the catch-all genus, Rasbora. The markings on the side of the body reflect their genus name, with a copper base that is accented with a black hockey stick stripe. The rest of their body is a flat grey color. The Narrow Wedge Rasbora is a small schooling fish (just over an inch) that is found by the hundreds swimming through the river beds. Keep this in mind when stocking the 72 Bow Front - keeping a big group of them will fill the tank with activity!

Trigonostigma hengeli

Do you love for catfish as much as I do? Are you tired of buying specimens only to have to give them away a year later because they’ve overgrown your tank?! There is a solution to this problem that I bugged my boss for months to get (as I often do with the fish that I want or know I can sell). Mystus bimaculatus “Two Spot Sumatran Cat” only grows to just over 3”. Here’s the best part- it doesn’t eat small fish! I have 5 of them at home and they have never bothered my Narrow Wedge Rasboras! I love to watch them fumble their way through my tank with their reddish brown bodies with 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 that you’ll enjoy watching them play with one another as much as I do!

Mystus bimaculatus

Finally we come to one of the most popular fish in the trade: the Chromobotia macracanthus “Clown Loach”. Without question there are few fish that make such an impression, regardless if you have been keeping fish for your whole life or if you are just starting out. They were affected by the earthquake that hit Japan recently. Suddenly the fish just disappeared. The breeding season had been cut short, and no one could find them. It seems that the fish was so stressed by the earth’s tectonic plates shifting that they went into hiding. It has taken some time for the fish to recover, but they are finally starting to be seen again. Clown Loaches can grow to nearly 16” in length, but it takes years for this happen. Clown Loaches, like most loaches, are scavengers and will accept any food that hits the bottom. “Meaty” foods seem to be the most appreciated by our scaleless friends. Also, if you have a snail infestation these guys will make short work of it. It should be noted that these fish require a great deal of husbandry as they can have a life span of over 20 years! It has now become illegal for fisherman to collect large specimens for sale in the aquarium trade. This is to keep the fish active and to keep natural populations healthy. This week we are proud to offer some nice 2.5” fish that have been here for quite some time now. These fish are fat, happy, and ready to find their way into your tank!

Chromobotia macracanthus

That will wrap up this week’s newsletter. Once again I found myself talking about Borneo fish. Hopefully one day I’ll make it there! Until then I’ll just continue to encourage you to get the fish I love for your home or office aquarium. Hopefully this opens you up to the idea that an aquarium doesn’t need to focus on color - having cool and unusual fish can be just as satisfying and beautiful. You’ll find the retail list under our products link as always. If you would like to hear about a certain fish or a themed tank, please do not hesitate to ask. Until next week my scaled deep wonders of friends!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

October 14, 2011

This week I would love to discuss with the world of Ricefishes from Asia…

There are now 29 known species of Ricefish. Out of these, 13 are endemic to the very small island of Sulawesi, which is located between Borneo and the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. Many of these species can be found living among rice paddies and that is where they get their common names. Their maximum sizes range from small as less than ¾” to as large as almost 8”. These fish have several interesting things about them, including an unusual bone jaw structure and even an extra bone in the tail! Most of these fish should be housed in tanks that are 10 gallons or larger. So let’s enter the world of the family Adrianichthyidae.

A global sensation swept across the hobby this year as a new species was introduced, Oryzias woworae “Daisy’s Ricefish”. They were found in a stream named Mata air Fotuno located in the Parigi district on Muna island of Sulawesi which is mostly covered by forest and that has a substrate that is a mixture of mud and sand. The woworae were found schooling with a new species of Nomorhamphus that were eventually imported under the trade name “Fire Halfbeak”. The pH was recorded between 6 and 7 and the fish will do well with these ranges in a home aquarium. Daisy’s Ricefish is a rather unfussy when it comes to food, but feeding foods that are either crushed or of small size and of high quality will bring out those bright red fins on their hourglass shaped body. Though it is not the smallest in the genus, as they reach a maximum size of just over an inch, it certainly is one of the most attractive. One thing that even I did not know about these remarkable fish (which goes for most of the genus and I shall discuss shortly) is that the fish attach their eggs to the outside of the female’s abdomen. I noticed this first hand one morning when we came in and were doing our daily observations. What a wonderful fish to be kept!

Oryzias woworae

Originally described from the mouth of the Hooghly River that lies south of Kolkata, West Bengal state, of eastern India comes the beautiful Oryzias dancena “Indian Feather Fin Ricefish”. Today research suggests that it may be found much more widely-distributed across South India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Indian Feather Fin Ricefish seems to inhabit coastal waters that tend to be strongly brackish, but also have been collected in freshwater forest streams and major river basins. Though they may tend to come from brackish waters, our batch has been collected from the freshwater regions and is easily adapted into a pH of 6.5-8.5. The Indian Feather Fin Ricefish is a micropredator that feeds on small insects and zooplankton in nature. In the aquarium small prepared foods such as frozen daphnia or chopped up frozen bloodworms will ensure prolonged life and the best colors these 1” fish will offer. The feather fin name comes from the long, filament-like extensions that the typically grow from the males’ anal fin. Just wait until a male is defending against another male in your tank!

Oryzias dancena

Though it has been described since 1986, Oryzias mekongensis “Mekong Red Fin Lampeye”, little information is available on these remarkably small fishes. Growing to just over a half an inch, the Mekong Red Fin Lampeye ricefish has a silver to white body and a bright red tail fin. As the common name suggests these fish are endemic the Mekong River basin in various tributaries of Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. The only bit of research I could find was that in 1996 Rainboth said it occurred in ditches, ponds, and canals that are densely overgrown with fine-leaved aquatic plants. As the fish is extremely small it should be fed artemia or frozen daphnia. Feeding live baby brine shrimp might get these nano-fishes to breed more readily!

Oryzias mekongensis

If you are looking at breeding some of the Ricefish, it seems quite easy from what I have read. Females are capable of producing eggs every few days, or if they are in great condition, daily! Setting up a tank just for these fishes will ensure that the fry will be raised. Use sand or a fine substrate that is planted with small leafed plants such as Rotala, Cambomba, or Taxiphylum species – that will be the best breeding grounds for all three of the interesting fish listed above. You can even use little spawning mops if you have some available. Spawning normally occurs in the morning. The male will darken in color and begin fending off other males in attempts to court ripening females into the small spawning grounds of his choosing. Adhesive eggs are typically expelled in a single mass and fertilized by the chosen male, after which they continue to “clump” on the genital pore of the female before being deposited onto fine leaves of plants.

After the eggs have been placed the whole incubation period will take about 1-3 weeks depending on temperature. The adults will generally leave the eggs alone, however care should be given to the free swimming fry. It may be best to remove the parents from the aquarium. Feeding small micro foods like daphnia will help the quickly growing young to reach their adulthood!

This concludes The Wet Spot’s newsletter for the week. Perhaps you’ll set up a 10 gallon just to see the morning activities of some of these very cool fish that come from the East. As always be sure to check the products link for more exciting fish. Be sure to contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have. Thank you and see you next week!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

September 21, 2011

Welcome back to this week’s newsletter for The Wet Spot Tropical Fish!

This week we continue our South America theme, moving on to the bigger counterparts of the aquarium trade. The Amazon Rainforest, also known as Floresta Amazônica in Portuguese or Selva Amazónica in Spanish, covers 1.7 billion acres of land sprawling across Brazil, Peru, and small parts of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and the French Guiana. The word Amazon is believed to be derived from a war Francisco de Orellana fought with a tribe known as the Tapuyas. The Tapuyas women fought next to their men, so the region was named after the Amazon women of Greek Myth. There is an estimated 2.5 million species of insects, and 40,000 species of plant discovered so far. The 2,000 birds and mammals feed off the 2,200 species of freshwater fish living among all the river systems. Here you’ll find everything from the gorgeous Dourada Zebra Shovelnose Catfish (Brachyplatystoma tigrinum) to the ever-popular Black Neon Tetra (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi). Both of these fish are available right now!

Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi

With “big” thoughts in mind, the 125 gallon home aquarium has got to be the dream tank of most hobbyists looking to upsize from that 55. It’s large enough to house some of the bigger cichlids while still providing space for a group of tetras. Start by laying down some Amazonia substrate by ADA and mix it with your basic aquarium sand. Placing various root woods in the tank will provide shelter and release some tannins into the tank to help replicate an Amazonian pool. I like to keep things simple so my only choice for a background plant would be Cabomba pulcherrima “Purple Cabomba”. This plant is very beautiful once it gets established, all dark greens that shine with a purple hue. For the corners I would choose to plant Echinodorus Vesuvius “Spiral Sword” to keep that whimsical feel to the aquarium. It’s a big tank so I recommend filtering with two Ehiem Pro III’s to keep the tank flowing and well maintained, and to keep the maintenance low. Aquatic Life makes an excellent 60” T-5 HO four-lamp fixture that will provide plenty of lumens to reach the lower levels of the tank while still keeping your power bill down. Be sure to test all the tank levels, and then you’ll be able to add these fish!

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 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 erythrostigma

There isn’t much of a better choice for a pleco than the Leporacanthicus joselimai "Grey Leporacanthicus" L264. Also known as the Sultan Pleco, the L264 grows to just 6”, unlike some of its cousins. The male Sultan Pleco is a beautiful grey color that is covered in black spots with white tips on all of the fins. Females when mature are generally a brown to grey color with the same markings. Unlike the common Ancistrus the L264 has teeth that it uses to tear away at snails and freshwater prawns. Therefore the diet should consist of frozen bloodworms, live black worms, and pleco pellets (Sera offers Catfish Chips that work great and which we carry). You’ll be impressed when feeding time comes and a group of these emerges from the shadows!

Leporacanthicus joselimai

Hanging out underneath the school of Bleeding Hearts is the Laetacara thayeri, an underrated fish in the aquarium trade. Most species under the name Laetacara were originally placed under the genus Aequidens until a 1986 review of the latter. The word Laetacara is derived from the word “laetus” which means “happy”. The genus was named this because of the “smile” that the mouths of these fish seem to have. L. thayeri can reach a max size of nearly 8”, but 6” is more common. Some wild specimens can take a while to start eating prepared foods, but they will accept a wide variety of foods from flakes to frozen bloodworms when they settle in. These fish are typically light brown in color with a stripe that leads from the mouth and moves upwards into their dorsal fin. Males will grow longer filaments from the dorsal fin that are orange or red color while females have shorter fins. There is no other cichlid quite like these sought after guys!

Laetacara thayeri

Latacar thayeri

Growing to nearly 4” in length the Brochis multiradiatus “Hognose Cat” seems to fumble its massive (for a member of the Callichthyidae family) body through the aquarium. It’s easy to see where the common name comes from with those gigantic barbels combing their way through the substrate, digging for insect larvae and crustaceans to nibble on throughout the Rio Napo. Due to this the Hognose Cat seems to be a little picky at first about what it will eat in an aquarium. I recommend feeding live black worms or frozen bloodworms before weaning them onto flakes and other prepared foods. This rarely imported armored cat can be very shy and patience is needed when they are first put in the tank, but once settled in they will surely give their owner every reward as they come out more and more often!

Brochis multiradiatus

As clearly I am a catfish nut, we have one last cat to add to our South American biotope before moving on to our showcase fish. Hassar orestis “Black Top Mouse Catfish” (formally known as Hassar notospilus) will eventually grow to over 7”, but even with its large size it is still a reclusive fish. There is a way to keep them coming out - by adding larger groups the fish will be more active. Like the Hognose Cat they can be fussy at first in terms of feeding. Therefore they should be fed live or frozen foods before moving on to prepared ones. Though it occurs all over South America and was even described in 1875 by Steindachner, the Black Top Mouse Catfish is still rarely imported into the aquarium trade. In my opinion every aquarium hobbyist should have a group of these swimming around!

Hassar orestis

Angelfish are probably one of the most commonly known freshwater fish out there. The genus Pterophyllum actually means “winged leaf” in Latin. In nature there is no doubt to why the genus was named such as they are found hiding amongst plants and tree branches along the river banks of the Amazon, and were first talked about by Lichtenstein as far back as 1824. There are now several species that have been domesticated for the trade, and they range from a solid black color all the way to calico. If you ask me however there is nothing more beautiful than a wild Angelfish living in a fully planted tank. Pterophyllum scalare “Red Spot Angelfish” from Guyana is a true beauty with its black and silver bars. There are a series of red dots all along the forehead of the fish. The dorsal, anal and caudal fin displays are red-brown colors that stand out against any greenery. The tail fin grows long extensions known as filaments. The nose is flattened, which gives it another common name: the Long-Nosed Angelfish. Angelfish are not picky when it comes to feeding, but a diet of live or frozen worms would be ideal for coloration and overall fish health. There is (arguably) no greater centerpiece fish than a large group of wild Angels!

Pterophyllum scalare "Red Spot"

This concludes our ideal 125 gallon setup for a South American biotope based around one of the greatest species of fish, the Angelfish! As always be sure to check our products link for the current retail list for the week. Orders have been coming in at a rapid rate, so ordering as early as possible is highly recommended. Be sure to inquire by phone or email if you have any questions.

Until next week, my fishy friends!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager