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September 15, 2011

“Keep it simple” is this week’s theme at The Wet Spot Tropical Fish.

There are many species of tetras that occur in South America. Each varies in its own shape and size. From the bright blues and reds of the common Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) to the unique mouth of the Flagtail Prochilodus (Semaprochilodus taeniurus). We pride ourselves here at the Wet Spot as having a wide range of those rare and unusual species of fish, this week I decided to discuss some more interesting fish. Once again let’s build another tank around the fish that keep our hobby growing strong.

The first tank that I personally owned was the Aqueon 20 long. This 30x12x12 tank has a great layout for keeping several species of fish greatly happy. With plenty of space for them to be able to swim in a more natural school, it also allows for a nice planted tank to play with. We offer AquaticLife fixtures that are already set up for freshwater tanks. The 30” dual lamp T-5 HO fixture will make an excellent choice for this small set up. Adding a CO2 system will greatly increase your plant growth and overall health if you really want to make it stand out in your home. First lay down some Amazonia soil from ADA. Next you can add various branch woods or rocks for mosses or Java Ferns to grow off of. As this will be a peaceful tank with fish that should not harm plants you can plant various Rotala, Ludwigia, and Cabomba species to add reds and greens to the aquarium. Planting Dwarf Hairgrass (Eleocharis parvula) will create a nice green layer along the bottom of the tank. By adding a few caves you will create a few homes for some of the species that will need it to breed. Now that it all has taken root and the tests have come out fine, it’s time to add the fish.

One of the most unique fish in the family Lebiasinidae, the Nannostomus eques “Brown Tailed Pencilfish” grows to just over an inch and a half. First described by Steindachner in 1876 this beautiful characin is often overlooked in most local pet stores as being just a small brown fish that swims funny. But take a closer look you’ll see a marbled pattern along the back that actually accents the scales. The underside is colored brown that goes from the nose all the way to the base of the tail. The middle of the body has a tan colored line that also runs from the nose to the tail. The name Nannostomus itself translates into “small mouth” and it’s easy to see why the some 20 different species were given the name. Due to this feeding smaller foods like daphnia or Cyclops is highly recommend not only to keep them healthy, but to bring out the colors. These fish are very shy unless kept in larger groups and you won’t be disappointed to see a large swarm of them coming cruising through the aquarium!

Nannostomus eques

First described by Gery in 1963 when the doctor constructed the genus Paracheirodon, the “Green Neon Tetra” Paracheirodon simulans has quickly become a favorite for many hobbyists. It was in 1962 when P. simulans was found in a group of its closely related cousin, the Cardinal Tetra. Dr. Gery had named it Hyphessobrycon simulans for being very similar to the Cardinal Tetra. Eventually in 1977 both fish would be moved into the same genus and have since found to share almost the exact same DNA. The Green Neon is visually amazing with its broad and bright blue-green stripe that runs from its face all the way to the tail. There is a very faint red line that starts about half way through the body. There is no doubt why this fish has become popular among planted tank enthusiasts, it’s just beautiful. It’s very un-picky when it comes to eating. Simple flakes or frozen foods will do the job. However the tank should be well maintained to keep the overall health up. The small size of rarely exceeding an inch, they also make ideal small tanks for other species we’ve introduced!

Paracheirodon simulans

The Araguaia River basin in Brazil proved to be home to one of the more very vibrant colored characins. Discovered by Heiko Bleher in 1986, the Hyphessobrycon amandae “Ember Tetra” would later be described by Bleher, Gery and Uj in 1987 in honor of the explorer’s mother. Though it only grows to just ¾ of an inch the Ember Tetra is a brilliant orange color. Like the previously described species feeding is just the same. The genus name Hyphessobrycon translates into “slightly smaller to bite” and with the small size of this remarkable fish it’s easy to understand why. Therefore smaller foods like frozen daphnia or baby brine shrimp is encouraged. Just adding some of these is sure to set a gem amongst all the vegetation!

Hyphessobrycon amandae

Apistogramma hongsloi was originally imported in from the eastern parts of Colombia and described by Kullander in 1979. Today the domesticated forms have been bred to enhance the reds and yellows that the wild forms lack. The head and the first half of the body are a gorgeous yellow. Under the lateral line is a stunning red well above the lateral is white to grey. The dorsal and anal fin comes to an extension passing beyond the tail fin. Females are a solid yellow to gold color and have a black stripe running through the eye. Apistogramma types are not much for flake foods, so a variety of daphnia and frozen bloodworms would be ideal. These fish grow to just over 2 inches and is best kept in pairs. A. hongsloi is very striking fish that could easily be the show piece for any size aquarium!

Apistogramma hongsloi

Of course you can’t have a South American themed tank without some Corydoras species. Corydoras arcuatus “Skunk Cory” is certainly not an animal that sprays you and runs off. No, no the common name is derived from the pattern on the back that looks much like that of a skunk stripe. Described by Elwin in 1939 the body is a white or grey color that has a black “arch” starting from the eye and leading all the way to the tail. As these are bottom feeders any leftover foods will quickly be cleaned up. Like all cory’s they prefer to be in groups, so pick up six of these today!

Corydoras arcuatus

Lastly, a pleco is always a great idea to add for a South American biotope. As this is only a 20 gallon tank and you’re tired of seeing those oversized common plecos, but a little bored with the basic Ancistrus. You went over our list and found something a little less common. Collected out of the Rio San Alejandro and the surrounding tributaries the Panaqolus sp. “Pinstripe Panaque” L204 feeds on dead wood branches in nature. In an aquarium it will feed regular on a variety of prepared foods from algae tabs to zucchini (remember to warm the sliced zucchini before feeding to the fish) and grows to just over 5”. The body is a black coloration with a number of tans to brown lines. The fins also display this beautiful pattern. Just another reason why to keep freshwater fish!

Panaqolus sp. L204

That concludes one more week with us here at The Wet Spot. I would like to thank you all for your patience these last couple of weeks. As the season turns from our beautiful summer into the even more beautiful reds and yellows of fall, the busy season seems to be approaching us fast. It may take some time to get to your questions or concerns, but I will promptly get to all of them as fast as I can. Be sure to check out the retail list this week. We received a new order from Colombia as well as some Lake Tanganyikans. You’ll also find a wide range of cichlids from both South and Central America. As always feel free to call or email with questions or concerns. Until next week when we discuss some Asian fish!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

September 08, 2011

Welcome back to the second half of our Rainbowfish edition newsletter!

Last week I covered the main family of Rainbowfish which included Melanotaenia boesemani “Boeseman’s Rainbowfish”, Glossolepis pseudoincisus “Millennium Rainbowfish”, Melanotaenia lacustris “Turquoise Rainbowfish, and Melanotaenia trifasciata “Goyder River Rainbowfish”. This week’s adventure continues through Australia, New Guinea, and the Indonesian islands with the sub-family Blue Eye Rainbowfish. These brightly colored fish are another great addition to smaller aquaria. They do not harm plants, are peaceful, and are full of energy that will make you smile every time you look into your tank. Like always, let’s begin by setting up an aquarium based around these terrific animals!

One of my favorite aquarium setups has always been longer tanks. One of the best to set up has got to be the Aqueon 33 gallon long aquarium. Measuring 48x13x12 inches, this tank is beautiful when done right! Laying down some ADA Amazonia substrate and mixing it with basic aquarium sand I would recommend placing Amano branch wood throughout to replicate fallen down sticks along a river side. You should add a few caves under all the wood for our last fish to feel at home. After this you can place various Cryptocoryne species among all the corners and background to draw the fish to the center of the tank. After adding an Aquaticlife T-5 HO dual lamp fixture and getting the CO2 system bubbling a layer of Baby Tears (Micranthemum umbrosum) can be placed among the bottom. For the very back of the aquarium I would recommend planting Rotala wallichii to gain some nice reds. Planting Christmas Tree Moss (Vesicularia montagnei) all along the branch wood will provide more cover and spawning sites for the Blue Eyes. I would filter this aquarium with the Eheim Classic 2215 to give a little extra filtration. All of these plants and products are available through our store so feel free to inquiry about them. The tank has been running for a month and the bacteria has taken hold. All the tests have come out perfect-time to add some fish!

First described in 1911 by Weber, the Pseudomugil gertrudae “Spotted Blue Eye Rainbowfish” was found at the Aru Islands of eastern Indonesia by the Dutch. Reaching just about 1.5”, the body is colored white and has an intricate pattern of narrow dark scale outlines. The fins are yellow and covered with small black dots. Males have elongated dorsal and pelvic fins that they will display to each other in hopes of attracting ripening females for courtship. The natural habitats can be anywhere from densely shaded rainforest streams to lily lagoons. P. gerturdae can tolerate a pH value of anywhere from 5.2 to 6.7 in the natural environment. In a home aquarium I would recommend a neutral pH value. Feeding should be small foods like daphnia or baby brine shrimp well supplementing with high quality flake to ensure overall health. A small group of these would be a great first addition to the aquarium!

Pseudomugil gertrudae

One of the most popular Blue Eye Rainbowfish was collected in 1953 by Van Deusen near a village in Pumani in Papua New Guinea. Pseudomugil furcata “Forktail Blue Eye Rainbowfish” would then take another three decades before being found again in Safia. P. furcatus does have a max size of 2.4”, but normally does not obtain this size in a tank. Most fishes will reach just under 2” in a home aquarium. Males of the species display bright yellow edges on all of the fins with a clear to white body well females are typically less colored than males. Like the previously mentioned Pseudomugil, feeding is just the same. However, these fish prefer more alkaline waters and the pH should not fall below 7. One more group for the 33 long to brighten it all up!

Pseudomugil furcata

Though these are not part of the Blue Eye Family, but rather the Rainbowfish family, its small sized makes for a perfect addition to the biotope. Discovered in an irrigation ditch in Western New Guinea, Iriatherina werneri “Threadfin Rainbowfish” was described by Meinken in 1974 and then was entered into the European trade. Back then only males were offered in order to keep the value of the fish up. Today both males and females are available in the hobby as Asian and European fish farms have made the species regular available. The Threadfin Rainbowfish grows to around 1.5” and the body is brown with silver reflections. Populations that are found in New Guinea appear somewhat darker than those of the Australian fishes. Males grow thread-like filaments where the fish gets its common name. The dorsal and the caudal fins on the boys are red to yellow well females typically will have no color with shorter fins. Feeding and keeping this fish is the same as above. Gathering a few pairs of these will certainly make for some beautiful colors in the tank!

Iriatherina werneri

Living under all of these beautiful Blue Eyes and Rainbowfish is Tateurndina ocellicauda “Peacock Gudgeon”. Originally from Papua New Guinea these fish can be found living in rainforests where they form loose shoals. Males can reach up to 3” in length well females stay just slightly smaller. There isn’t much in sexual dimorphism other than males will grow a “hump” on their forehead. T. ocellicauda shows striking coloration with its blue body that has red lines running vertically and the fins have red and orange fringes. The face is covered in red lines and dots and there is an eye spot just in front of the caudal fin. These fishes are generally peaceful among themselves. However take care during spawning as males can become territorial against other males. They will accept a variety of foods, but feeding live or frozen foods will really bring out their color. Try a group of these for that 33 long and you won’t be disappointed!

Tateurnida ocellicauda

That concludes both parts of the Rainbowfish and Blue Eyes for this week’s newsletter. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me. If any of you would like to learn or hear about certain fish please don’t hesitate to ask! As always be sure to check out the products link for the current master list. I would also like all of you to know that next Wednesday, the 14th, The Wet Spot will not be shipping fish. I ask that all of you can please order around this day. Thanks again and until next week’s adventure!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

August 18, 2011

Welcome to the conclusion of our West/Central Africa 75 gallon aquarium!

The history of the Congo River is as turbulent as the flow itself. The Congo area is known for pygmies, cannibals, mythical beasts, and deadly plagues. The River begins at the base of Lake Tanganyika, one of two rift lakes in eastern Africa. The River enters a section known as the “Gates of Hell”, a 75-mile stretch of deadly white water rapids that eventually level back out into the rainforest of Lualaba, this area is also known as the Upper Congo. After a 60-mile stretch of rapids the River comes to the Stanley Falls. After the falls, the river flows 1000 miles through what is known as the Middle Congo and in some parts is as wide as 9 miles. Here you find the city of Kinsangani, known for its violence since the Belgian colonial days. As the river flows onward it suddenly seems to come to a standstill for nearly 20 miles, this section known as Malebo or Stanley Pool can be as wide as 15 miles. The tranquility of the pool is suddenly disrupted by Livingstone Falls. The falls contain 220 miles of rapids and cataracts of which 32 of those have more power than all the falls and rivers in the U.S. From there, the river makes its last 100-mile journey into the Atlantic Ocean. An interesting fact is when the river starts it has a high alkaline pH, but as it nears its end into the Atlantic Ocean, the pH drops into very acidic waters.

The Pelvicachromis signatus have settled in well. The female is constantly dancing in front of the male in an attempt to breed. The Orange Flash Congo Tetra males are flashing in front of one another, each trying to show off for the females. Those little barbs are getting fat and happy. The nitrogen tests have come out perfect, so let’s add our next batch of fish!

Coming from the fast flowing Cross River in western Cameroon, Gobiocichla ethelwynnae is a unique goby like fish that grows to almost 5”. The fish lives its life hidden among cracks in rocks and small caves that are found along the riverbanks.

 Gobiocichla ethelwynnae

A second species, Gobiocichla wonderi, is very similar to G. ethelwynnae . Both G. ethelwynnae and G.wonderi (also offered this week) live in high pH, but can easily adapt to lower pH levels. These are very similar in appearance, however, what sets the two apart are the breeding colors of G. wonderi. This goby turns a dark grey to black when spawning. They are very sociable in an aquarium and really only show aggression during these spawning times. As the body suggests, G. ethelwynnae and G. wonderi are algae eaters, but will accept any prepared foods. A trio would be perfect to watch their awesome behavior!

 Gobiocichla wonderi

As dusk approaches and the lights are dimmed, an unusual species appears. Gnathonemus petersii “Elephantnose Fish” have an amazing ability. They use an electrical field not only to find their way around, but also to “talk” to one another in search of a mate! A specially adapted muscle tissue near the tail does this. This is extremely useful for a fish that spends its life in almost total darkness! As if seeing in the dark wasn’t enough G. petersii also has a large brain that would be much like a human one in terms of size. All these factors guide the Elephantnose to find its mate in total darkness. Growing to almost 9” in an aquarium, these fish are very shy when it comes to bright lights, so dimming the lights near the end of the day would be a good suggestion. This would be the best time to feed the necessary diet of bloodworms. It will give you a glimpse of these truly unique fish!

As I’m sure many of you have come to know, The Wet Spot prides itself in stocking those rare and unusual items. This week is no different. Benitochromis finleyi “Mungo Blue” may rarely be seen among today’s hobbyists, which is why we jumped on the chance to order these gorgeous Chromidotilapine. Reaching up to 4”, these fish are best fed a variety of small pellets as they are sand sifters by nature. Though more of a subtle beauty, the fish display an amazing color of blue on the shoulders. The body is brown that leads into a pink belly. The mouth has bright yellow lips and the fins shine a beautiful white. These fish are typically peaceful among larger tetras and barbs and other cichlids of similar size. However, during spawning they can become rather aggressive defending their territory and caution is advised for other tank mates.

 Benitochromis finleyi

The tank is looking just a little empty of swimmers. Barbus walkeri “Walker’s Barb” seem very appealing with a wide body. True, it may be just another brown fish, but’s it’s just so cool looking with those three big spots on the side! And the behavior is just phenomenal with its husky size maneuvering around all the décor. It certainly brought the other barbs and the likes out. And with those big lines bordering the scales it totally accents the tank!

One last barb to add for some nice color is Barbus fasciolatus “African Fire Barb”. The male fish turn a bright orange color when extremely happy. Foods like frozen bloodworms will help them not only get their color but keep it as well. B. fasciolatus is often referred to as the “Blue Banded Barb” or “Angola Barb” from where the fish was originally found. Though it is now tank raised in parts of Asia, the African Fire Barb is still rarely imported. These fish form large groups in nature, but they are actually a shoaling fish. They are typically found in bays of shallow lakes and flooded rivers where the water is slow moving, full of vegetation, and high in oxygen. A big group of these would make a terrific addition to your biotope!

 Barbus fasciolatus

Lastly, there is nothing more rewarding than to see a group of shoaling catfish making their way around the tank. Eutropiellus buffei “Three Striped African Glass Cat” (correctly known as Pareutropius buffei) love to swim freely around the tank much like tetras. Growing to around 3”, these fish accept just about anything they can get their mouths on. The Three Striped African Glass Cats are frequently incorrectly imported in as P. debauwi, and have been mislabeled the common name “Debauwi Cat”. There are defining characteristics of P. buffei that easily set it apart from its cousin. P. buffei has three lines down its body where as P. debauwi has only one. The tail fin has two black spots which P. debauwi lacks these altogether. These fish are an excellent choice for the tank, but they are going quickly so you better act fast!

Pareutropius buffei

That finishes out the 75 gallon West/Central African themed aquarium. Now it’s just a matter of time before those cichlids are coaxing around their little fry! As always be sure to check the products link for this week’s price list. Please feel free to call or email me if you have any questions or are looking for a particular item. Until next week, keep that algae clean!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

September 01, 2011

This week The Wet Spot Tropical Fish is bringing you to the land down under…

Well actually, both Australia and the small islands to the east that make up Indonesia. This week I had a special request to write about Rainbowfish. These colorful and often small fishes have become very popular among hobbyists. They have become easy to breed, are mostly peaceful, and jammed packed with impressive colors that will make any saltwater fan ever doubt that a freshwater fish would have. These and their “blue eye” cousins can make remarkable pets in a home. So let us begin with what will be needed to ensure long living specimens.

Most Rainbowfish come from neutral pH to alkaline waters (including values up to 9!). You’ll find them living among densely planted areas to fast flowing streams filled with rocky habitats. This week I will be giving ideas on how to build a 90 gallon biotope based around these beautiful fishes. So to begin we once again lay down some ADA Amazonia substrate and mix it with some Tahitian Moon sand to provide a nice dark substrate. This should allow for some excellent colors to emerge from the fish. You can decorate with both rocks and root woods however you please and by adding Java Ferns (Microsorum pteropus) you can add a little bit of greenery to the landscape. Various stem plants such as Cabomba, Ludwigia, and Hygrophilia species will all be fine choices for this aquarium. There is an abundance of of water lilies and these would also make great plants to add to the aquarium. Like always, I’m recommending the Aquaticlife 48” T-5 HO fixture to keep the plants thriving and growing well. Everything is in place and the water tests have checked out. Time to begin adding fish!

Of course there is the ever-so-popular Melanotaenia boesemani “Boeseman’s Rainbow”. Males of these rainbows grow to nearly 4.5”. The boys of M. boesemani are colored with silver to blue body in the front half and a striking orange color on the back half. Females are typically the silver to blue color and smaller than the males. Feeding a variety of flakes and frozen foods will ensure the best coloration of these energetic fish. M. boesemani can be a skittish fish and is best kept in groups of itself to keep them happy and active. In nature, these fish have become rare to find in the three lakes that they occur in and has been added to the IUCN red list of endangered animals. When you are lucky enough to come across them in Lake Ajamaru, Hain, and Aitinjo you find them swimming in densely planted shorelines that are clear water. See why every Rainbowfish hobbyist keeps these in their tanks!

Melanotaenia boesemani

First discovered between 1954 and 1955 by Marinus Boeseman in an oxbow lake of the Tami River, Glossolepis pseudoincisus “Millennium Rainbowfish” was lost for another 50 years until a second unknown location was found in Lake Ifaten, an isolated crater lake near Lake Sentani in West Papua. The common name Millennium Rainbow only seemed fitting for the 2001 discovery of the species once again. Males are very similar colored to its cousin, Glossolepis incisus “Irian Red Rainbow”, with a red body that is speckled with silver and gold markings on the body. Females however of G. pseudoincisus are differently colored however. They have a zigzagging yellow stripe color across the body. They are also a lot smaller than the males and only grow to around 2.5” well males can reach up to 3.5”. Feeding is typical of flakes and frozen foods. A small school of these will keep the activity up in the tank for sure!

Glossolepis pseudoincisus

After being formed by debris blocked off a valley, Lake Kutubu in Papua New Guinea became home to Melanotaenia lacustris “Turquoise Rainbowfish” and was first discovered in 1955, but it wasn’t collected again until 1983 when Allen, Crockford, and Paska would make another trip back to the lake. The water is very clear and full of aquatic plants. There is a phenomenon occurring every couple of years known as “the turning of the water” where dark water from the bottom rises. This water is oxygen-deficient and often causes massive fish death in the few days. Males are much more intensely colored than females. Dominant males will often display a yellow line from the face to the middle of the back. A blue to green top half of the body is separated by silver to white underbody. Like the other two rainbows, feeding is the same. Males of M. lacustris can reach up to 5” well females are generally smaller. Grab some of these up to add some real color to the tank!

Melanotaenia lacustris

Needing a little bit of red in the tank? Melanotaenia trifasciata “Goyder River” would be a prefect specimen. Goyder River is found in Northern Australia and because it flows into the Timor Sea, can often be filled with the Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) where the baby crocs will feed on M. trifasciata. These beautiful rainbows can have vibrant red with black borders on the fins. The body has red lines that are accented by silver to blue stripes. There is a black stripe that runs down the horizontal line. Females are typically less colorful than the males. These amazing rainbows could just the highlight of the tank!

Melanotaenia trifasciata

Lastly I’d like to recommend Stiphodon elegans “Elegant Algae Eating Goby”. These fish occur in South East Asia and make excellent tank mates for Rainbowfish. They are a bottom dwelling fish that in nature feeds on Aufwuchs (biofilm comprised of algae and microorganisms) and insects. Growing to around 2”, these fish are very peaceful and enjoy being in groups. Males are colored with red fins and speckled with brown on the body. The front dorsal comes to a point that can be colored black. Blue to green is found on the cheeks. Females are more of a drab grey color with two lines that run horizontally down the sides of the body. Just adding these is sure to bring some attention to your tank!

Stiphodon elegans

That concludes this week’s notes. Next week I’ll cover the “Blue Eye” rainbows for those of you who like the dwarf species. As always be sure to check out the products link for our current price and availability list. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me. Until next week!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

August 11, 2011

Welcome back to another edition of The Wet Spot Tropical Fish newsletter!

The jungles of west and central Africa provide shelter for many species of plants and animals. The most famous of this region would have to be the Congo River (also known as the Zaire River between 1971 and 1997). The river separates the countries of the “Democratic Republic of the Congo” and the “Republic of the Congo”. The Congo River is the world’s deepest river with depths measuring over 750 feet deep and stretching over 2900 miles long! The Congo River drainage basin, covers over 1,550,000 miles of land, making this giant mass of water to create many tributaries, which in turn are ideal for a vast number of freshwater fish. Though many of the fish I will discuss may not come from the river itself, it shall be our basis for our next tank. There are so many fish that come from there that this week’s will newsletter will actually have to be in two parts. So let us begin with our newly purchased 75 gallon…

As many of these water systems are covered in tannin, strong lighting will be crucial for this tank to keep the bottom plants growing strong. I would suggest a 48” Aquaticlife 4 lamp T-5 HO (which The Wet Spot Tropical Fish is proud to offer in stock) to keep the Dwarf Hairgrass (Eleocharis acicularis) and the various Anubias species growing strong. African Water Ferns (Bolbitis heudelotii) are another great addition to attach on the woods you’ll be choosing. The basis can again be Amazonia substrate from ADA. This darker base should help to get some of those flashy colors out of the fishes. I would suggest mixing this with either coarse or fine sand for the bottom dwelling fish. Placing African root woods or the ADA branch woods would be the ideal set up for décor. A couple of Red Tiger Lotus (Nymphaea sp.) and Onion Plants (Crinum thaianum) species can be placed in the corners to bring the fish to the center of the aquarium. A few ceramic caves should be placed around the wood for our dwarf cichlid species to be able to seek shelter or possibly even breed in. Once again, the tank is cycled and ready for fish. So let’s get to work on our new biotope!

Pelvicachromis signatus is surely a beauty of the Kolente Forest region of Guinea. Males are easily distinguished from females by their pelvic fins. On the male, the fin is straight, but on the female the fin comes to an L-shape. Females are also much more intensely colored during spawning. They develop beautiful purple and gold colors on the stomach; well the male has a yellow belly. Males typically reach about 4 inches well females grow to only to around 3-3.5”. P. signatus is best fed frozen daphnia, brine shrimp, and flake foods. The most amazing thing however about P. signatus is that these fish are pair bonding fish that will mate for life. This is why the ceramic caves are important to have. Not only does this provide breeding grounds, but shelter from one another as well as they can be a little aggressive to one another. Once a breeding cave has been chosen, the female will begin to court the male by “flashing” her beautiful belly at the male. Once the fry are big enough to “swim”, both parents will guide their young around the aquarium. It’s such a sight to see how great parents they are!

 Pelvicachromis signatus

 Pelvicachromis signatus

However, P. signatus are very bashful fish. Therefore you will need some “dithers” to help to bring these gorgeous fish out of their hiding places. Alestopetersius cf. ansorgii “Orange Flash Congo Tetra” would be an excellent choice. These “schooling” fish prefer to be in small groups and will mainly inhabit the upper regions of the tank, making it an ideal candidate for our dwarf cichlids. They too show differences between male and female when sexually maturing. Males develop orange fins. The tip of the dorsal gets a long white filament with age well the body is deep silver with a dark bar just in front of the pectoral fins. The females, however, will show no color on their fins and are rather doll. The fishes grow to around 3 inches and feed regular on any aquarium foods. However I would recommend protein based foods to increase their coloration. With a group of these you’ll quickly understand why they call them the Orange Flash Congo Tetra!

To keep the tetra’s company I would also suggest Clypeobarbus congicus “Congo Barb”. These fish grow to around 2.5” and our relatively peaceful for a barb. Although it occurs all over both countries that lay between the Congo River, C. congicus is rarely imported into the trade. Males appear to be a more red color than females, well both exhibit “borders” on their scales. Like all barb species, it should be kept in small groups to be kept in best health. Another that I would recommend to keep with this biotope would be Barbus stigmatopygus “Speckled Barb”. Little is known about this species due to the rarity of its exportation. Full size is unknown, but it is guess that this fish will reach almost 4” in length. The fish is elongated in shape, silver in color, and has a black line that goes from the nose all the way to the tail. It may not be flashy, but its “darter-like” behavior surely makes it an interesting fish to care for! Either one of these unique barbs would make an excellent addition to your aquarium!

 Clypeobarbus congicus

Barbus stigmatopygus

What would a West African Theme tank be without a Synodontis cat? Probably my all-time favorite would have to be Synodontis flavitaeniatus “Pyjama Cat”. This cat has reports of growing up to 8”, but rarely exceeds 5” in a home aquarium. Like all cats, it will readily accept most prepared foods, and water quality should be kept well maintained for best health. The “lined” pattern on S. flaviateniata can vary considerably, making each fish unique among its family. In fact, flavitateniata actually translates into “yellow stripes”. Hailing from the Democratic of the Republic of the Congo, this makes yet another addition to our Congo biotope.

Synodontis flavitaeniatus

Lastly, we have something in stock that most have never seen. Many of you I’m sure are unaware that Plecostomus like fish do not occur other than on the continent of South America. There is however, a distant cousin that is very similar in shape and function of its Latin American counterpart. Although there are almost 50 species of Chiloglanis known to science, most are rarely imported. It is with great pleasure that we are able to bring you Chiloglanis polypogon “African Suckermouth Cat”, whichactually belongs in the same family as the Synodontis, Mochokidae. Unlike the typical catfish, these fish have adapted “sucker” like mouths that are designed for grabbing hold of rocks in a strong current in order to get to their food source. Plenty of algae therefore should be provided. These little guys only grow to about 2”, and are another excellent addition for the tank!

 Chiloglanis sp.

That concludes part 1 of our West/Central African themed biotope. We shall finish the project next week in the second half of the newsletter. Remember, keeping fish must require patients when adding new fish. Adding a few fish at a time will allow the aquarium to keep cycling properly. As always be sure to check the products link for our new list. I can also now be reached by phone at 503.719.7003. Please feel free to call if you have any questions. Until next week!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

August 25, 2011

This week The Wet Spot Tropical Fish travels to the great land of China…

Today we will be adventuring through the land of one of the world’s oldest civilizations – China.   China is a huge country -- it has a diverse terrain and a greatly varying climate. The Mekong River originates in China amongst its mountains and plateaus and travels down through the lowlands and out to where it meets the ocean. The river is rich in biodiversity and estimated to contain 850 fish species. No other river is known to contain so many large fish, including the Mekong Freshwater Stingray (Himantura chaophraya), the Siamese Giant Carp (Catlocarpio siamensis), and the Mekong Giant Catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) - all of which can grow nearly 10 feet in length. This week The Wet Spot offers you a giant…

Elopichthys bambusa “Giant Chinese Freshwater Barracuda” can grow to nearly 6 feet long and weigh as much as 90 pounds. It is the only known carp species to have teeth. These massive fish are also known as “Yellowcheek”, and can be found as far north as Russia. Yellowcheek are considered a sport fish to most, and are very popular among fly fishermen in Eastern Asia. We don’t know much about keeping the fish in an aquarium, but a pH of 7-7.5 should be ideal. Amazingly these small fry are accepting live black worms. This Barracuda will certainly not be a fish for everyone, and caution is advised when keeping this rare import. Large tanks with slow moving large fish are highly recommended. Here’s your chance to own a very unique predator.

Elopichthys bambusa

Moving on to something a little easier to keep in a five gallon, the Oryzias mekongensis “Mekong Red Fin Lampeye” spends its life living in standing waters of ditches, canals, and ponds. Unlike the gigantic Barracuda, the Red Fin Lampeye is a Ricefish that grows to just over an inch and spends its time swimming through the leaves in densely planted aquariums. This fish prefers small foods such as frozen daphnia or live baby brine. Water quality is important to the well-being of these fish, so frequent water changes are advised. Try a group of these in your nano tank today!

Oryzias mekongensis

A rarely seen loach in the hobby, Traccatichthys pulcher “Rainbow Loach” grows to 4.5” and will accept a variety of food. Hailing from the Guangdong Province and the Hainan Island drainage this loach prefers fast flowing waters with sand or gravel bottoms. Therefore, the aquarium should be well filtered and contain the proper substrate to allow the fish to dig. T. pulcher will make a great companion to any barb or tetra tank.

Traccatichthys pulcher

One of the larger species of loaches, Leptobotia elongata “Giant Chinese Royal Loach” comes from the middle and upper regions of the Yangtze River. There’s a reason why they call it the Giant Royal Loach - it reaches up to 20 inches! They live in subtropical fast flowing streams, and the tank should be set up to mimic this. Be careful with this fish, as its mouth is large enough to suck in feeder goldfish with ease, and it has been known to eat small tankmates. L. elongata happily feeds on frozen foods and even sliced fish when big enough. A pH between 7 and 8 and temperatures in the low 70’s will keep this monster extremely happy. We have just a few on hand, so you’d better net them up quickly!

Leptobotia elongata

The best is always kept for last. But why only talk about one fish? This week we’re proud to offer you not one, but two Rhinogobius species! Rhinogobius duospilus “Chinese Flame Faced Goby” (which may also be known as Rhinogobius wui or White Cheek/Flame Cheek Goby) is a very interesting mountain fish that have fused pelvic fins that allow it to form a “suction cup”. This comes in very handy for allowing the fish to cling to rocks in the turbulent water that they spend their lives in. As this is a mountain fish they prefer cooler waters and a heater may not be needed.

Rhinogobius duospilus

The same is true for Rhinogobius leavelii “Chinese Yellow Fin Goby”. R. duospilus and R. leavelii both reach a max length of 2”, and both like to feed on foods such as frozen bloodworms. Setting up a small ten gallon for either of these fish would make a great addition to any home or office!

Rhinogobius leavelii

That wraps up this week’s newsletter. As always be sure to check out the products link for our new list. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. We always want to know if there is any item you are looking for in particular. Well, until next week!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager

August 03, 2011

Welcome to this week’s newsletter for The Wet Spot Tropical Fish. The Burma biotope from last week was quite a success, so let’s move a little to the west and do an all India display tank.

India (officially known as the Republic of India) is the world’s second most populated country with over 1.2 billion people. It shares its border with Pakistan to the west, China and Nepal to the northeast, and Bangladesh and Burma to the east. The Indian Ocean surrounds the south. India is home to 11.7% of the world’s fish, and almost 12% of its landmass is covered by dense forest. For a country overrun with people there is still so much vegetation and wildlife, but this was not always the case. By 1935 the growing population was significantly impacting India’s animal & plant life, and in that year the country created a system of national parks and protected areas. In 1972 it was substantially expanded with the India Wildlife Protection Act and Project Tiger to help conserve India’s famous Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris). In addition, the 1980’s Forest Conservation Act helped to ensure that the more than 500 wildlife sanctuaries and the 13 different biosphere reserves would still be here for the next generation.

Now to our tank! Let’s say you ordered an Aqueon 150 gallon tank from the store, which arrived a few days after you ordered it. Then let’s put an Aquatic Life 72” 8 lamp T-5 HO Light Fixture on top (which we also can get for you). This time the set up will be based around various barbs and a type of loach. Like last time, begin by adding ADA Amazonia substrate. Go with the Amazonia this time to help darken the tank a little. This should hopefully bring out some better colors of the fishes. This should be mixed with coarse sand to help replicate the bottom of the river systems they originated in. The tank should be filled with various root woods throughout the tank as well as smooth rocks. You can place Narrow Leaf Java Ferns and Christmas Tree Moss (Taxiphyllum sp.) among all the roots to help create a forest land scape. The ground cover can either be various Cryptocoryne species or, even though it’s South American, Micro Swords (Lilaeopsis brasiliensis). Since the Aquatic Life fixture on top is so great, let’s put in some plants that are fantastic, but not from Southeast Asia. Some nice Ludwigia peruensis, Cyperus helferi, and Wisteria would look great in the new habitat. With everything set up, cycled, and running great, let’s get to work on adding some exciting new fish!

Puntius (Dawkinsia) arulius “Arulius Barb” will certainly add some nice red coloration to the habitat. With maturity, P. arulius grows long “filaments” from its dorsal fin that are a dark coloration. The body has three black stripes and also shows various greens and oranges, depending on light. Their diet can consist of some plant matter, so be warned that they might nibble on some of the plants you put in the aquarium. Other than that, they are like all barbs in that they are not picky when it comes to their food. In an aquarium expect them to reach at least 4”. I would say a group of 8 of these would be a great addition!

Dawkinsia arulius

Inhabiting both brackish and freshwater floodplains of rivers, estuaries, coastal marshes, and reservoirs, Puntius (Dawkinsia) filamentosa “Filament Barb” is another beautiful cyprinid that grows long “filaments” from the dorsal fin. The body is silver to green color with a large black spot just before the caudal fin. The tail has two red and black stripes on the top and the bottom of the fin.

Dawkinsia filamentosa

P. filamentosa closely resembles Puntius (Dawkinsia) assimilis “Mascara Barb”. There are some subtle differences between the two species - P. assimilis generally shows more red in the dorsal and can also have a reddish colored stomach. P. filamentosa grows to around 6”, while P. assimilis reaches just over 4”. Both of these barbs are schooling species by nature and should be kept in groups. Either one of these would make a fine addition to the biotope!

Dawkinsia assimilis

Dawkinsia assimilis

There is another very interesting barb that I feel doesn’t get enough attention in the trade. Puntius (Hauldaria) fasciatus “Red Panda Barb”, often called the “Melon Barb”, can actually display 5 different variants of the species. Depending on the location it was collected from, P. fasciatus can have anywhere from 5 numbered and positioned bars, to none at all. The color can range from an orange in the northern sections, to purple or red in the south. In my opinion, I believe we have the form from Karnataka, which is in the southern part of India. The fish we have are, I believe, a red form of the barb with the 4 positioned bars. There is much debate as to whether or not these are all different color morphs of the same fish, or rather a complex of closely related subspecies…

Haludaria fasciata

Of course you can’t have a Southeast Asian tank without a loach species. Lepidocephalichthys cf. annandalei “Peacock Loach” grows to just around 2.5” and prefers a neutral pH level. Feeding is the typical frozen bloodworms or flake foods for L. cf. annandalei. Like most loaches, they should be kept in small groups to feel more comfortable in their surroundings. L. cf. annandalei is an elongated fish that is mottled brown in color, and has an eye spot in the tail that has a white border. Although it is uncertain whether or not it is from India, this fish will definitely be a real treat to add to this tank!

Lepidocephalichthys cf. annandalei

I’m sure all of you are familiar with Puntius denisonii “Roseline Shark” (aka “Red Line Torpedo Barb”). This strikingly beautiful cyprinid was first described in 1865, but didn’t get introduced into the hobby until 1996. It is the most exported fish from India. Locals call it “Miss Kerala” and “Chorai Kanni”, which literally translates into “bleeding eyes”. The original location to what was believed to be P. denisonii was from a waterfall in the River Chalakkuddy, but the fish turned out to be the false Puntius chalakkudiensis. The second discovery was that of the smaller and real P. denisonii in 2001. The true Roseline Sharks will eventually reach a length of 6”. The body is silver with a black line running horizontal from nose to tail. Two black and yellow spots are on the top and bottom of the caudal fin. There is no doubt to why the locals call it “bleeding eyes”. There is a red stripe that runs from the top of the nose all the way into the middle of the back. This species can show some aggression towards one another, and therefore is best kept in small groups. P. denisonii is sure to be the showcase fish in any aquarium large enough to house them!

Puntius denisoni

It’s taken some work to complete this (mostly) Indian tank, but all the effort is worth the reward of sitting down in front of this aquarium and watching all the activity! Be sure to check out the products link below for this week’s pricelist. We also now have drop checkers available from Cal Aqua! You can look at pictures and find more info about them here:  http://www.calaqualabs.com/CO2checkers.html . You can inquire for shipping info or stop by the store to see them for yourself!

Until next week,

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager