February 27, 2015
Mormyrus longirostris “Dolphin Mormyrid” or “Eastern Bottlenose Mormyrid” is a fish on many people’s wish lists. Despite its large potential size of 30 inches and particular care requirements, its intelligence and personality have earned it a place in many a dream aquarium. Their large size and relative abundance have made them important food fish in their native habitats, as well as sport fish for anglers. The record weight and length of an angled fish was 22 lbs and about 33 inches according to http://www.fishing-worldrecords.com/, which is consistent with the maximum size and weight listed on Fishbase. These fish have been found in South African rock paintings, attesting to their historical significance as a food source.
In nature these fish are nocturnal shoalers, found in loose aggregates amongst muddy-bottomed areas with cave-like structures and aquatic plants. They’re true omnivores, feeding opportunistically on weeds, insects and other invertebrates, and fish eggs and fry. Breeding occurs during the rainy season and migrations are intermittent and irregular. Anglers frequently report feeling mild shocks if handling these fish with bare, wet hands – though this is not dangerous. As aquarium occupants, the Dolphin Mormyrid are intelligent and personable fish – they can be trained to perform adorable tricks, as evidenced in the highly amusing video below.
In home aquaria, these are known as somewhat temperamental with tankmates – many people successfully keep these fish in carefully chosen and researched community aquaria, but it is highly advised that, if one is to attempt this, backup housing for possible conflicts is easily attainable. Common reports of compatibility issues tend to revolve around bottom-dwelling fish such as loaches and catfish, though plecos are often left alone. Most reports of intolerance, however, involve other species of mormyrid and other weakly electrical fish. It is believed by some keepers that the conflicting electrical signals of the various species will irritate each other until one or more of the fish jump from the tank to escape. We’ve found no scholarly articles supporting this. In contrast, there is documentation that this is an expression of territorialism against similarly shaped fish rather than a reaction to another fish’s electrical signals. For example, the closely-related Mormyrus kannume and Gnathonemus petersii are incredibly territorial, solitary fish and will not tolerate conspecific or similarly-shaped tankmates. One will likely have better luck keeping a group of M. longirostris as they are known shoaling fish – given enough space to each establish its territory, they should be tolerant of conspecifics. They should absolutely not be housed with M. kannume, G. petersii, or any other solitary mormyrid species.
If you are considering housing your Dolphin Mormyrid with tankmates, we’d suggest a larger, robust schooling or shoaling fish that stays in the middle to upper levels of the water column. A decent choice could be Puntius lateristriga “Spanner T Barb”. These 5-6 inch fish are brass colored beauties with distinct black banding – Two vertical black stripes run from the middle of the body and the front of the dorsal fin. A thick black band marks the lateral line from the caudal peduncle to the rear of the dorsal fin, and a circular black dot can be found on the ventral edge of the fish, just above the anal fin. The fish’s bodies deepen and darken as they age, giving the adults an egg-shaped profile with a brown to bronze head and shimmering brass-colored dorsal side. These fish are tolerant of quite a variety of water conditions as long as they are kept warm. Be sure to provide a large home for these fish as they are a shoaling species.
Thank you for reading and I look forward to writing for you again next week!
February 20, 2015
Good afternoon, folks. I’m sure plenty of you have noticed the winter storm and chilly weather over much of the US – because of the inclement weather in Louisville KY, UPS has been suffering delays on all shipments outside of local ground networks. We have a moratorium on shipping to any locations east of the Rocky Mountains at this time – we are hoping to be able to resume regular shipping soon. Please note that we are NOT ACCEPTING NEW ORDERS for customers we cannot ship to and CANNOT HOLD FISH. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Please keep in mind our Live Arrival Guarantee parameters: Overnight lows in Portland, OR and Louisville, KY must both be over 20°F, as well as the overnight lows at the destination. We may ship in lower temperatures, but this is at our discretion and will not include our Live Arrival Guarantee. We will only ship at lower temperatures if we feel the fish have a good chance of survival and there are no listed UPS delays. We truly care about the wellbeing of the fish and also want your experience to be successful as well and appreciate your understanding in this matter.
Now, on to the fish – hopefully they will bring a little sunshine to those of you buried under snow.
It’s been a while since we’ve had Pipefish on hand, and we’ve received some interesting ones! The Pipefish are closely related to the seahorses of the marine world and rather look as though someone has taken a seahorse and straightened it out. They float sedately through the water column, camouflaging themselves as fallen sticks, branches and stems. Doryichthys martensii “Malayan Freshwater Pipefish” isn’t exactly new to us, but it’s always amazing to see in person. These particular fish have bronze backs and silver to orange-cream bellies. The sides of their heavily armored bodies are marked with vertical stripes and bands in white, chocolate brown and cream. At adulthood, the largest of these fish will be about six inches in length. When these fascinating fish breed, the males will hold the bright red fertilized eggs in a specialized pouch on their underbelly until they hatch. Our Malayan Freshwater Pipefish are currently feeding on fresh hatched baby brine and acclimated to a pleasant, neutral pH of 7.4 and relatively low hardness.
New to us, is the closely related Microphis brachyurus “Long Nose Freshwater Pipefish” or “Redline Pipefish”, a slightly larger species with an adult size of six to eight inches or more. They have quite an assortment of common names, also occasionally being called the Opossum Pipefish or Short Tailed Pipefish. They are much less frequently found in the hobby. When settled into the aquarium, they show a bright red line down the side of their bodies and beautiful chocolate brown and creamy white spotting over their extended snouts. These particular fish are known to be anadromous – adults are almost always found in freshwater, but juveniles and subadults may be found downstream in slightly brackish estuary conditions. Our specimens are acclimated to pure freshwater and doing fine with a neutral pH and a diet of live blackworms.
While freshwater pipefish are easy to keep in terms of water chemistry, being unfussy as long as their water is near to neutral and they are properly acclimated, they require specialized feeding – some specimens can be trained to frozen foods, but most will never accept anything but live feed. Keep in mind that, in order to keep them safely and successfully, it is recommended to secure a reliable source of live food, whether you are culturing it yourself or purchasing it from a local supplier.
Thank you for reading and we’ll see you next week!
January 30, 2015
I know it’s a couple days early, but Happy February! This is National Cherry Month (strange, since cherries aren’t in season) and we don’t take that very seriously here in Oregon. Nevertheless, a couple interesting tidbits: Oregon is one of the five top cherry producing states in the US, along with our West Coast neighbors Washington and California. Of course, Oregon is most known for growing Queen Anne cherries, the type used predominantly in maraschino cherry manufacture. It is not particularly surprising, then, that a horticulture professor from Oregon State University by the name of Wiegand pioneered the modern brining method used to create maraschino cherries since the States’ Prohibition era. One can occasionally find repurposed maraschino cherry vats in the hills outside of Portland – often large enough to be converted into small cottages.
Anyways, we’re not here to talk about cherries, but rather about fish. Of course, there’s a few fish named for the fruit, the most well-known of which is likely Puntius titteya, the “Cherry Barb.” The popularity of this fish is due in part to the males’ brilliant maraschino cherry red coloration and likewise to their diminutive adult size of two inches and peaceful, community-friendly nature. A group of ten or more including several males and females makes a stunning display as the males vie for the attention of the females by putting on their best brilliant red coloration and attempting to establish dominance over their other male rivals by being prettier than them. Females are much less colorful than the males, but they still display red in their finnage and bring out the best of the males. These tank-raised fish are undemanding in regards to water quality and feeding and are incredibly adaptable to any researched community aquarium.
If one were so inclined as to have an entire tank of Cherry fish, the lovely Rasbora lacrimula “Red Cherry Rasbora” could house quite well with your Cherry Barbs. These fish reach a maximum of about one and a quarter inches and prefer somewhat acidic water. The body of this Rasbora is gold to silver with an elongated teardrop-shaped (hence the species name, ‘lacrimula’) black marking running along their midline, with the “drop” end of the shape at the caudal peduncle. This is overlain by an iridescent blue sheen and bordered above by a faint pink line, adding interest to their beauty. Their fins, particularly in male specimens, are bright red.
Rasbora rubrodorsalis “Cherry Spot Rasbora” of Northeastern Thailand could be housed right with these two – it is equal in size to the Red Cherry Rasbora with even more vivid red coloration in its fins. The brilliant red, however, is confined to the base of the caudal and dorsal fins. Cherry Spot Rasboras have a silvery body with a dual black and gold lateral line. Unlike R. lacrimula, the Cherry Spot Rasbora enjoys neutral water, but is still an adaptable fish.
We only have two fish remaining, but the perfect centerpiece fish for these tanks would be Betta channoides, the “Red Cherry Betta”. Males feature brilliant fruit-red bodies and especially rosy gill plates over their black heads. With the exception of their transparent pectorals, each fin carries the cherry color of their bodies, followed by a bold black strip of color and are finally tipped in brilliant white, with the exception of the dorsal fin - the Red Cherry Betta does not have a black stripe in their dorsal fin and their red coloration continues until the fine white line at the upper edge of the fin. The species are stunning and friendly and, with a maximum size of just over an inch, make amazing centerpiece fish for small aquaria.
Finally, you could have a crew of Neocaridina davidi var. red “Cherry Shrimp” beneath your cherry rasboras or barbs but, and I speak from personal experience, Red Cherry Bettas love to nibble on Cherry Shrimp. If you choose to leave out the Bettas, however, the Cherry Shrimp is a fantastic aquarium occupant. Their diminutive size of one and a half inches at maximum, extremely low bioload and ease of breeding and feeding make dwarf freshwater shrimp a popular choice for nano aquaria and hobbyists with limited space. Be aware at all times that they are a tasty snack and be sure to provide them with foodstuffs in adition to the algae in your tank – they will graze on this, but they prefer a varied diet including some meaty feed and vegetable matter. They will breed readily with females carrying the orange eggs beneath her tail until hatching.
All of your cherry red fish will benefit from a varied diet, of course, and the occasional feeding of Cyclop-eeze and other frozen foods will definitely help enhance their red coloration in your home aquarium, bringing out the best of the cherry fish. And a bonus for reading our newsletter: All of these fish mentioned will be 20% off for the next two weeks for all orders purchased and shipped by February 13th! All of these fish, with the exception of the Red Cherry Bettas, are available in minimum purchase of six individuals or more. Thank you for reading; I’m going to go have a cherry soda!
February 13, 2015
Good afternoon! We’re still slowly releasing fish from quarantine and adding them to our list after last week’s heyday. These Rainbowfish have already been on our list, but they’re so fabulous that I felt they deserved their own newsletter. Last week was all about the little Blue Eye types; this week, we’re going big!
Melanotaenia irianjaya “Irian Jaya Rainbow” is known only from the Bintuni Bay area of Irian Jaya/West Papua, Indonesia and, unlike many other rainbowfish, is known from biotopes nearly devoid of aquatic plants. Instead, these slightly skittish fish shelter under submerged branches and logs. Adult males will reach a maximum size of less than five inches and will exhibit gorgeous coloration – their backs are pale blue, bellies red, and tails are yellow with red striping. Keep a group of these beauties in slightly alkaline water with a temperature between 73° and 79°F and feed them occasional live food treats to bring out their best color.
Melanotaenia goldiei “Goldie River Rainbow” is one of the most widely distributed Rainbowfish of Southern New Guinea. Unfortunately, we don’t know the collection point of this particular group -- the original collection point occurred at the Laloki River, a major tributary of the Goldie River, and the scientific name and derivative common name are obviously nods to the river system itself. Nevertheless, this fish is found in habitats from rivers to swamps and lakes, usually finding a home in deep pools formed by log jams. Given their wide range and the seasonal variance in water chemistry and parameters, these are incredibly adaptable fish, though parameters similar to that of the Irian Jaya are recommended. Males may reach an adult size of four inches and will likely feature a broken lateral line and red and blue-green striped appearance, though their exact color balance at adulthood is unknown – they are currently only showing a bit of color, including red fins and a powder blue sheen.
I’ve found references stating that Melanotaenia sp. “Dekai” “Golden Rainbow” may in fact be another example of M. goldiei collected from near the Dekai Village, but I suspect that it is more likely to be a member of the Maccullochi family with an adult size of three inches or less – they definitely look similar to the juvenile M. maccullochi that we see. They are currently a pale yellow with a bit of red striping over their tails and their fins show a hint of pink – we expect the adults to feature brilliant yellow bodies with red stripes running nearly to their pectoral fins and a blue forehead and first dorsal fin.
Even more in question is our Melanotaenia senckenbergianus “Aru Rainbow” – occasionally referred to as M. sp. “Aru IV” “senckenbergianus”. It would seem that the original M. senckenbergianus collected in the Aru Islands were later examined and found to be another morph of M. goldiei. Many hobbyists and experts consider this fish to be of uncertain taxonomic standing – of course, which means we’re a little unsure ourselves. What we can say for sure is that this is an absolutely beautiful little Rainbowfish, even in its juvenile coloration – their bodies show bright blue iridescence with just a hint of red along the lateral line, their caudal fins are red and the rest of their fins are blue with red edges. One can expect the adult male to show a golden forehead and scale edges, a pink belly, and a dark, thick lateral line. Their fins will fade from red at the outer edges to yellow and green as they reach the body. The first dorsal fin should retain the blue coloration we’re seeing in the juveniles and the caudal fin should become brilliant cherry red.
Thank you all for reading! Stay tuned; we have some special newsletters planned for you all in the near future!
January 23, 2015
Happy Friday, friends!
We’ve got a beautiful batch of Hypancistrus debilittera “L129” “Colombian Zebra Pleco” just waiting for your aquarium! These plecos are a beautiful cocoa brown with intricate, sharp patterns of white or cream colored stripes running vertically over their bodies. The striping is carried into the caudal fin and as horizontal banding on the dorsal. With a full grown standard length of only about four inches, the Colombian Zebra is suitable for fairly small tanks such as thirty gallons and up. With enough space and hiding places, a group of these can happily cohabitate. Cramped settings, however, can lead to territoriality between the L129 and other bottom dwellers. The Colombian Zebra Pleco is not an algae-eater and prefers meaty foods like sinking catfish pellets or bloodworms, though a supplement of vegetables into the diet of juveniles is recommended.
Our lovely Hypancistrus sp. “L340” “Mega Clown Pleco” is very similarly patterned to the Colombian Zebra. In contrast, however, this species only grows to three inches in standard length and has an orange tone to their body as opposed to the white or cream of L129. With a smaller size, one of these fish could be housed in a 20 gallon aquarium with ease and a small group in 30 gallons or more.
If high-contrast Hypancistrus aren’t your style, you might consider Chaetostoma formosae “L444” “Rubberlip Pleco” instead. These adorable fish have olive toned bodies with deep brown spots over their head and faces and brown scale edges – as an armored cat, these scale edges can create complex patterns along their bodies and tails. These fish have dished faces and wide, vertically compressed mouths that are quite unlike the more round shaped mouths of most loricariids. With a standard length of four inches, keep your Rubberlips in 20 gallons or a larger aquarium for a group. Neutral water is best for the L444, as is an omnivorous diet.
Chaetostoma aff. milesi “L445” “Spotted Rubberlip Pleco” is set apart from C. formosae by its pale, buff base color and dark spots over its entire body. It grows slightly larger than its cousin with a maximum standard length of 4.75”, but its care and feeding are nearly identical. Both species prefer large, rounded river rocks over sand for décor and care little for driftwood or bogwood.
Thank you once again for reading; it’s the last week to enter pictures for January’s Hobby Month contest! Next week, we’ll begin a celebration of National Cherry Month – I think I’ll start with some cherry pie.
February 6, 2015
Happy Friday! It’s been a busy week for us – we’ve just received a large shipment with a whole slew of new fish and shrimps. Some of the new fish from last week are just hitting our list now and you can expect a whole lot more next week as well.
Having P. gertrudae is not unusual for us, but a rare treat has just arrived - Pseudomugil gertrudae "Aru IV Gertrudae Rainbow". This fascinating little fish reaches between 1.25 and 1.5 inches. P. gertrudae is typically a yellow fish with black scale rims as well as a somewhat bolder black stripe along their midline. The Aru IV form, however, has a brilliant yellow belly and silvery blue body. Their fins are translucent yellow to white and patterned with intricate black dots. Their upturned pectorals and ventral fins are tipped in bright yellow, as are the tips of their caudal fin lobes. The first dorsal and anal fins have filamentous extensions. The Aru IV Gertrudae's gill plates show slight pink coloration and their eyes are a brilliant, shining blue. This is an easily sexed species, with females sporting much shorter fins and somewhat yellower bodies. In nature, P. gertrudae is found in wide varieties of water conditions with localities measuring pH values between 4 and 9 and hardness from negligible to 300 ppm. These fish are, therefore, highly adaptable given proper acclimation.
Pseudomugil cf. paskai “Irian Red Neon Rainbow” is one of the most stunning little blue eyes I’ve seen and is finally back in stock. This fish is very similar to P. gertrudae in body shape, patterning and size. Their typical length is about an inch, though they sometimes grow slightly larger. A gorgeous fiery red body is accented with a brilliant blue stripe along their dorsal edge, bright blue eyes and fine dark scale outlines. Their fins are spotted with black over bright red and make for a stunning breeding display. Females have shorter fins and a lighter coloration, though they are still a beautiful pumpkin orange. As with other Pseudomugil species, this is a peaceful fish with a tiny mouth – fine food is required and very boisterous species such as danios should not be included in an aquarium with these fish as they are likely to outcompete the little blue eyes for food. P. cf. paskai prefers neutral water conditions with low to moderate hardness.
Now, to say we’ve gotten a few new species this week is an understatement. Amongst them are several fascinating Gobies, including Schismatogobius ampluvinculus “Tiger Goby” or “Dwarf Dragon Goby”. With a one inch maximum size, these fish are known for changing their coloration to blend with their surroundings. They can be slightly territorial to each other, so be sure to provide plenty of hiding places. Keep these guys in neutral to slightly alkaline water in cooler temperatures between 64-75°F. With such cool water preferences, these adorable little guys are highly recommended for housing with dwarf shrimps (including all our new Neocaridina shrimps hitting the list this evening) and cool water schoolers such as White Cloud Mountain Minnows and various Danios. Feed these little fellows a variety of small-sized frozen, live and prepared meaty foods.
Don’t forget – our Cherry sale goes on for another week! I’m looking forward to another special newsletter next week as well. Thanks for reading!
January 16, 2015
Welcome to the weekend, dear readers! The weather continues to be slightly unpredictable but appears to finally be warming up after the big cold snap. We’ve gotten a couple fish new to us in this week, but let’s start with a long time favorite.
One of my very favorite cool water species of Corydoras hails from the upper Rio Negro in Brazil: Corydoras duplicareus "Duplicate Cory". The Duplicate Cory looks very similar to Corydoras adolfoi, featuring the same black caudal edge stripe and facial mask as well as a brilliant orange head cap just before the caudal fin; the greatest difference between the two is that Adolfo's Cory has a thinner black stripe along its caudal edge than the Duplicate Cory. This species grows to a length of 2.2", enjoys 70-77°F soft acidic water between pH 6.4 and pH 7.4, and has a preference for blackwater conditions, though the latter is not necessary. The Duplicate Cory enjoys dense planting around the edges of its aquarium home and soft, sandy substrate that will not damage their delicate barbels which are primarily used to scavenge for sunken food particles.
Corydoras imitator, the “Imitator Cory”, occurs alongside the Duplicate Cory in the upper Negro. Its black caudal edge stripe is slimmer than C. duplicareus and its orange cap is significantly less intense – it almost appears as a pale peach blush on the fish’s head. Their gill plates are highlighted by a small pink spot and, unlike the Duplicate Cory, the Imitator Cory is a long-nosed variety with a dished face and long barbels. The Imitator prefers similar water and housing to the Duplicate Cory but will grow slightly larger, with an adult size of 2.6”. Both species are easily fed on insect larvae, both live and frozen, as well as prepared sinking catfish pellets and wafers.
Moving far away from Brazil and around the world to Southeast Asia, last week we added Sicyopus jonklaasi “Lipstick Goby” to our list. However, once they were settled into their new aquarium, they began to show distinct coloration that caused us to question their identification. As it turns out, what was sent to us as a group of Lipstick Gobies is in fact Sicyopus zosterophorus “Flaming Arrow Goby”. Unlike the pale-bodied S. jonklaasi, the Flaming Arrow Goby has a deep blue-black body with dark vertical bands irregularly spaced over its brilliant fire-red tail. Its first dorsal is dark and edged in white, while the second dorsal is rich orange with a yellow edge. When in breeding condition, the 1.75” male’s dark body will lighten to powder blue while the dark vertical banding remains, creating striking contrast. In nature, the Flaming Arrow Goby occurs alongside various species of Stiphodon such as S. semoni “Cobalt Blue Goby” and S. elegans “Elegant Algae Eating Goby”, as well as populations of freshwater shrimp. Keep S. zosterophorus in clean, well-oxygenated water with a pH value around 6-7.5, low to moderate hardness and warm water between 72-78°F.
Thank you all for reading; it’s always a pleasure to write about beautiful fish such as these and to know that so many people read these every week warms my heart.