November 14, 2014
Happy Friday, friends! I’ve returned from Chicago safe and sound. I do believe the weather followed me here – we had a day of freezing rain yesterday that was thoroughly unpleasant. Thankfully, we still got plenty of new fish in and all our orders out the door. Please note, however, that if you’re planning an order for the next couple weeks, our minimum overnight temperature for shipping is 20° Fahrenheit – if the temperature at our facility, your location, or at the UPS hub in Louisville is below 20° Fahrenheit, we will delay shipping until conditions improve. Now, on to the highlight of our Friday, the fish!
Tucanoichthys tucano, aptly named the “Tucano Tetra,” is probably one of the most exciting nano fish I’ve seen in over a year. These amazing little fish look a bit like tiny N. palmeri Emperor tetras with a bold black lateral line extending downwards towards their underside and the rest of their body is a beautiful translucent amber coloration. The Tucano Tetras sport brilliant red chins and fins. Tiny white tips adorn their unpaired fins. A tiny hint of blue is visible on the upper edge of their iris. With a maximum size of less than one inch, tiny food such as baby brine or prepared crumbles are ideal and avoid any large tankmates that may strike this little tetra as a predator. These fish can handle temperatures from just below 70°F to just above 80°F and prefers acidic water between 5.0 and 6.0. Mind you, we’ve acclimated them to our usual 78°F and neutral pH with no ill effects. The Tucano Tetra would make an absolutely striking dither fish for an Apistogramma pair.
In fact, an ideal species would be Apistogramma pantalone, a lyretailed Panduro-type described in 2006. Males are a beautiful cream color with beautiful fins - their dorsal is trimmed in red, their anal fin brilliant blue, and each fin is tipped in sunflower yellow or, in some specimens, bright orange. Their caudal fins feature brilliant extensions at their outermost rays, setting them far apart from their round tailed cousins. When resting, the males show bold black spots at the caudal peduncle and mid-body, as well as a diagonal black tear line across their eye and gill plate. Females are sunflower yellow from snout to tail with thicker black spots and tear lines, as well as blatant black patches at the front of both their dorsal and ventral fins. The female's caudal fin is also lyre-shaped, though not to the extent of the male, and she shows a very faint rim of orange along the edge of her dorsal fin. A. pantalone, as its cousins, will likely grow to two to three inches with males the larger of the sexes.
Of course, if you’re not concerned about geographic origin and creating a biotope, Rasbosoma spilocerca “Dwarf Scissortail Rasbora” would be a decent alternative to the Tucano Tetra. These tiny little schooling fish have silvery bodies with slight black and gold lateral lines, a deeply forked caudal fin with black and yellow banding, and a dark line at the base of the anal fin. They may not be as brightly colored as the Tucano, but their likewise diminutive size and slightly more agreeable native water conditions definitely make them a contender. A more neutral pH is suitable for this Southeast Asian fish and its temperature range is closer to traditional tropical parameters, falling between 73°F and 79°F.
Thank you for reading, folks, and for all of you whom stopped by our booth at the Aquatic Experience, it was lovely to meet you face to face. If you were there and you have any feedback for our presentation, please, let us know.
November 7, 2014
Hurray for Friday! Everyone needs time on the weekend to do proper water changes, don’t they? Especially now that our weather is turning cold and the days are so short. Now that I don’t want to be outside in the sun, my home aquaria are getting a lot more attention. I hope yours are too!
Arowanas are pretty amazing. They are so big and yet graceful, sinuously swimming just under the water’s surface. They are intelligent as well, constantly aware of what is going on around them and quickly recognizing their owners. We have two different types of arowana at The Wet Spot currently, both wild imports from Colombia, the more common but flashy Silver Arowana, Osteoglossum bicirrhosum, and the lovely Black Arowana, Osteoglossum ferreirai. Fans of Arowanas know that you need a large tank as they grow up to 4’ long, but it is a rewarding experience keeping such a grand pet if you are prepared to do it correctly. The Black Arowana looks much like the Silver Arowana, though its fins are blue, that transitions to a dark black further from the body, and these fins are edged in a beautiful yellow border. They are stunning.
Plecos really are one of the best parts of the hobby. They always are a joy. A species of pleco I haven’t seen often enough recently came in. It is the Leopard Frog Pleco L134, Peckoltia compta. Usually imported from the Rio Tapajós in Brazil, this pleco is one of the smaller species, only growing to 6” or so. It is so cute, being starkly black and white. Younger specimens have a background color that is more yellow than white, and some of ours are young enough to still show tinges of yellow. Mature males have odontodes on their pectoral fins and along the rear half of their body, making it easy to pick the girls from the boys. As this is a species that can be bred in the aquarium, this can be important as it lets you make sure you have both genders, the first step to successful breeding of any species. Not all plecos are dedicated algae eaters, and this one is one of those. While it does love vegetable treats, it really needs a bit of meat in its diet and should be giving feedings of black worms, or frozen bloodworms along with its vegetables.
Thank you for reading! Enjoy your winter evenings, and give your aquariums some love!
October 17, 2014
Happy Friday! I thought that this week I would focus on just one genus of fish – the absolutely beautiful Nimbochromis of Lake Malawi. As a group, they are known as “sleeper” cichlids for their ambush style of hunting.
N. linni and N. venustus are found in the deeper regions of the lake. Nimbochromis linni spends its time in the deep rocky depths seeking juvenile cichlids hiding within the various crevices. When one is spotted, N. linni will lie down upon a rock with its mouth just above the crevice. Its brown mottled patterning helps it blend seamlessly with the sediment-glazed rocks and it will wait up to several minutes for its prey to come towards it. When in range, N. linni extends its highly protrusible mouth and suctions the juvenile cichlid from its hiding place. While resting or feeding, these fish are highly camouflaged, but when in breeding condition the male will take on beautiful deep blue coloration over his body, with borders of red, orange and yellow in his fins.
Nimbochromis venustus prefers open depths with sandy bottoms, devoid of the rocks favored by N. linni. Instead of resting itself upon rocks while awaiting its prey, when N. venustus spots a flock of juvenile cichlids, it ploughs its body into the sandy substrate and waits motionlessly for the fish to come within striking distance. It is thought that the adult coloration of pale yellow flanks with brown camouflage spots attracts young cichlids of many other species, drawing its prey near. Males are quite a bit brighter than females with bolder yellow coloration and brilliant blue cheeks. An especially bright yellow blaze runs from just above his lips to the start of his dorsal fin. Each of his fins is yellow and blue with bright white edges. When in breeding conditions, the spots of the males will be completely overlain with brilliant yellow, though in some populations they appear much bluer in the flanks – almost the color of Otopharynx lithobates “Yellow Blaze”.
N. livingstoni and N. polystigma, on the other hand, prefer the shallows of the lake. Nimbochromis livingstoni occupies open, muddy areas of Lake Malawi. It has the most extreme “sleeper” tactics of any of the Nimbochromis – it will lay prone on its side, perhaps shuffling slightly into the sand or mud to obscure its outline, and waits for prey whilst ‘playing dead’ for up to three minutes. Its brown spots over a pale whitish body aid in breaking up the outline of the fish, not to mention white coloration is also an excellent attractant for young cichlids. When a curious juvenile approaches the interesting white object on the sand, N. livingstoni executes a quick sideways strike to catch its prey. Much like the other Nimbochromis species, breeding males attain a bright blue coloration over their body with a red anal fin and white-rimmed dorsal fin.
Nimbochromis polystigma prefers a vegetated substrate in the wild and will often congregate in large groups of anywhere from 20 to 500 subadult to adult fish, cruising their habitat and consuming any small fish they come across. Their spotted and speckled pattern, resembling both the large blotches of N. livingstoni and the tiny spots of N. linni, functions as camouflage amongst the aquatic grasses while they swim singly. In a lone state, the fish will rest upon the substrate to ambush its prey, though it does not lie on its side as N. livingstoni nor will it bury itself like N. venustus. Breeding males take on a lovely light blue coloration with apple-red anal fins.Thank you for your time and I hope you learned a bit about these Kaligonos, or sleeper predators, of Lake Malawi.
October 31, 2014
Happy Halloween, friends! I have a nice assortment of fish for you to learn about today – they may not be spooky for the season, but they are definitely unique and beautiful.
Hypancistrus sp. “Queen Arabesque” L260 is one stunning carnivorous Loricariid: its body is charcoal black in color and patterned with an interlocking, meandering maze of cream to white lines over every surface, with the exception of its white belly. Its fins are striped with fairly straight, regular black and white lines, running perpendicular to its fin rays. While a little territorial to others of its own species, it won’t predate tank mates and is perfectly happy with an assortment of live, frozen, and prepared sinking carnivore foods. Native to the lower Rio Tapajos of Brazil, this pleco only reaches 3.5" in length - making it ideal for moderately sized aquariums. Queen Arabesque Plecos prefer to be kept in temperatures between 74-82° Fahrenheit. Their natural pH range is between 6.4 and 7.6, though ours are acclimated to a pH of about 7.4. The common name comes from the white and black lines that are "broken" throughout the entirety of the body.
I would not keep your L260 with the strange Somileptes gongota "Moose Face Loach" due to preferred temperature discrepancies between the species. This odd-looking nocturnal loach is a mottled brown and beige color with a white underbelly. They are most noted for their tendency to traverse the bottom of aquaria by 'swimming' through sandy substrate. Their movements are marked by winding ridges and patterns left in the surface of the sand. Unfortunately, this is not a particularly easy species to keep - most of their feeding is accomplished by sifting through the substrate, so a mature aquarium with quite a bit of biomass in a sandy substrate is highly recommended for the Moose Face Loach. Well-acclimated S. gongota will sometimes accept small frozen foods such as daphnia or baby brine shrimp. They are a gregarious species, preferring a group of three or more. Soft sand substrate is required, preferably kept deep enough for the loaches to submerge themselves completely. Substrate-rooted plants are likely to be dislodged. Very soft, clean, slightly acidic water around 70-75°F is ideal. These loaches as well are known to jump if upset and require a secure lid. These loaches can be kept in a species tank or with very small, peaceful and calm species, such as Boraras urophthalmoides "Exclamation Point Rasbora" or Hyphessobrycon takasei "Coffee Bean Tetra", which can perhaps act as a dither for the Moose Face Loach.
While Hyphessobrycon takasei “Coffee Bean Tetra” was first introduced to the hobby in the 1960s, it remains a rare sight in the trade. Because of this, there’s only a moderate amount of information on this 1.5” fish. It is quite beautiful with a pale silver to orange body, orange caudal and ventral fins and a reddish anal fin. The dorsal is black with a marked orange spot at the forward base and a complimentary white spot at the tip. Their sides are marked with a large black oval spot just behind the pectoral fin, running above the lateral line to just shy of the fish’s ventral edge. A pH value of 5 to 8 is accepted by these fish, though ours are nicely acclimated to a neutral pH. Keep these tetras in waters between 72-79°F for their optimal comfort. If kept towards the upper range of their temperatures, they would complement the L260 well, while the cooler range will allow these fish to be kept over your Moose Face Loaches.
Finally, Corydoras caudimaculatus “Tail Spot Cory” would be a lovely addition to your Coffee Bean and Queen Arabesque tank, though their rooting through the sandy substrate for food may disturb the Moose Face Loaches. These two inch short nosed Corydoras are notable for a large, bold black spot on the caudal peduncle, with a peppering of pale spots over their dorsal side. Overall, they are pale with a bronze sheen to their bodies. These lovely fish, as with other Cories, are best kept in groups for their comfort and best behavior, should be provided with overhanging leaves or rockwork to shade themselves under and only housed over clean and soft substrates.
Thank you for reading, folks, and be sure to take care this Halloween night! Keep your black cats safely indoors and be sure to have the porch light on for any visitors you may have. One more time, I will be at the Chicago Aquatic Experience next weekend! Please stop by and visit me if you’re in the area.
October 10, 2014
Happy Anniversary, folks! This week is finally our anniversary and, unfortunately, that means the end to our sales. Fortunately, we’ve been approved to extend our shipping discount – we will continue offering 20% off all UPS Next Day Air shipments for the next four weeks!
Uaru amphicanthoides, known as the “Triangle Cichlid” or “Chocolate Uaru”, is a truly gorgeous mid-sized Brazilian cichlid. These peaceful cichlids have an ovoid profile and are beautifully colored with caramel and pink tones over their bodies. On their flanks, they display a tear-shaped or triangular black mark just below their lateral line, tapering from thick to thin as it runs from the start of their anal fin to their caudal peduncle. Their pointed ventral and anal fins are likewise deep black. This omnivorous 11-inch cichlid is best kept in a large aquarium with a minimum footprint of four feet by one and a half feet to allow it to swim and turn comfortably. A neutral or slightly acidic pH with soft and warm water from 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit will keep the Triangle Uaru in good condition, especially when kept in a small group with rootwood décor.
Sicyopus jonklaasi, the “Lipstick Goby”, is definitely a pretty little fish! Their long bodies are silvery with fiery red tails and upper lips, especially in displaying males. Females are drab in comparison but, as with many other fish, their presence will help bring out the best coloration in the males. Lipstick Gobies grow to just under two inches in length and are suitable for most hillstream-style aquaria. Our sources state that this carnivorous goby can be adapted to brackish and nearly marine conditions – some suggest that the fry are washed to sea and become residents of freshwater hillstreams as they grow and migrate upstream. Ours are thriving in freshwater so this may be a personal preference.
Finally, we’ve received a wide array of freshwater snails for your aquaria! Several varieties of Nerite snail have come in, including Tiger, Zebra and Batik (Neritina natalensis). Nerite snails are excellent algae-eaters and will not reproduce in a freshwater aquarium – brackish conditions are required for the eggs of this snail to hatch. No population explosions here! We’ve had Clithon corona “Spiral Horn Snail” before, but this particular batch is known as a “Sun Snail.” It has an amazing sun-like pattern on its shell – definitely attractive. Much like Nerite types, the Sun Snail can’t reproduce in freshwater, avoiding those pesky snail infestations typical of pond snails or Malaysian Trumpet snails. Tylomelania towetensis “Towuti Snail”, on the other hand, is a rabbit snail with a beautiful black body spotted with white. Their shells are spiraled outwards like the aforementioned Trumpet Snail but on a grand scale – ours are easily over an inch long and will grow larger. If you do happen to get an infestation of pond or Malaysian trumpet snails and would like to rid yourself of them with a minimal amount of effort, Clea Helena “Assassin Snail” will do that job very efficiently. Only a few are needed to clean an entire mid-sized tank in a relatively quick period. You will end up with a large number of Assassin snails, but these are slower breeding than the “pest” snails mentioned before.
Thank you for reading once again, and thank you so very much for the 15 amazing years our store has been serving you. We’re proud to be here, supplying you all with the healthiest and highest quality fish available.
October 24, 2014
Good afternoon and welcome to the weekend! It’s been a calm week, comparatively, here at the Wet Spot and we’ve been taking some time to clean up our website and prepare for the upcoming Aquatic Experience in Chicago. I’ll be there with our Chief Operations Manager, Cameo, manning our corner booth on the show floor. It’s going to be quite a show! I’m definitely looking forward to some of the talks on West African fish and biotopes, checking out the Aquascaping competition, and maybe learning a bit about the saltwater side of the hobby. Nevertheless, if you are already planning a trip out or decide to come visit for a day, please be sure to stop by and say hi!
Fall is in full swing here in Portland and with it we see the slow return of seasonal South American fish. While we’ve been blessed with a plethora of Peruvian fish this summer, we’ve just received both Colombian and Brazilian fish!
I must say, our entire team is quite taken by the very adorable Asterophysus batracchus “Gulper Cat”. This definitely isn’t a fish you want to include in your standard community aquarium – its name comes from the immense size of its mouth and its ability to eat (or attempt to eat) things up to nearly twice its size. With a full grown length of almost one foot, this will severely limit your aquarium cohabitants if you’re not looking to keep them in a very large enclosure. In nature, the Gulper or Ogre Catfish is a nocturnal blackwater species, though they will do just fine in neutral parameters. Keep their temperature around eighty Fahrenheit and feed liberally while they are young. As the fish ages and its growth slows, their feeding schedule can be reduced over time to once a week for adult specimens – the fish will be more active during the day if not recently fed.
Stepping away from the large-mouthed predatory catfish, we do have plenty of new community fish from South America as well. For example, a beautiful Brazilian Loricariid, Leporacanthicus cf. galaxias “L007” “Galaxy Pleco”, has just arrived. Of course, we are all thrilled with its coincidental L-number, but what makes this Galaxy Pleco so special when compared to its namesake L. galaxias is its brilliant patterning of larger spots. In addition, its snout is somewhat shorter and dorsal fin somewhat longer than L. galaxias. The L007 Galaxy Pleco grows to about ten inches and, as with other Leporacanthicus, is an omnivore and will happily dine on both vegetables and meaty foods. Bogwood and dark rocks are favored furniture with arching caves a favorite highly coveted. Temperatures in the mid-70s and oxygen-rich waters are suitable for this species. While this Galaxy Pleco can be a bit territorial with other large bottom dwellers, a group of active Corydoras should be left to themselves.
A nice candidate for the discerning Corydoras keeper may be some of our new Corydoras sp. “CW012” “Long-Nosed Reynoldsi” wild-caught from Colombia. This is a lovely, cream colored Corydoras with black blotchy stripes running down the body from the fish’s eye, leading dorsal ray and the front of the adipose fin. The long nose of the species is perfect for rooting through a soft sandy substrate for food particles and buried invertebrates. A slight blue sheen graces their cheeks, adding a glimmer beneath their highly placed eyes. A group of CW012 would be perfectly at home with your L007, perhaps beneath a school of our beautiful new tetra species.
Hyphessobrycon amapaensis “Red Line Tetra” of Brazil is here! These beautiful little fish are an amalgamation of the brilliant red lateral line of Hemigrammus erythrozonus “Glowlight Tetra”, set above the black and gold lines of H. herbertaxelrodi “Black Neon Tetra”. The Red Line Tetra will grow to no more than two inches in the home aquarium and, like the L007 and CW012, prefers a sandy substrate with rootwood and rockwork more than a planted aquarium. H. amapaensis has only a small range in Brazil that it calls home, lending to its unusual status in the hobby.
Thank you all for reading and remember – if you’re going to be in Chicago for the Aquatic Experience show, please stop by to say hi!
October 3, 2014
Welcome to the weekend, folks! We’re heading into the very last week before the 15th Anniversary of the Wet Spot Tropical Fish and it’s time to talk loaches and Loricariids.
Many hobbyists, myself included, are big fans of hillstream loaches. It’s important to house these guys in the proper environment for their health and happiness. First, the aquarium needs to be set up to replicate the hillstream habitat. A long tank is far better for this than any standard, taller sizes - a 20 gallon long aquarium would suit a small community, while the four foot 33 gallon long model could house quite a few more or larger fish. While not necessary, a canister filter with excess capacity is ideal - the spray bars included in these types of filter are an excellent way to get a fair unidirectional current. Currents can be further enhanced by the addition of powerheads at the sides of the tank, enhancing the flow from the filter. Most hillstreams are a bit on the cool side - 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit is typically suitable, though be sure to research your chosen species to be sure they're not going to get too chilly in your hillstream habitat.
Aquascaping a hillstream biotope is quite simple - use plenty of smooth, water-worn rocks such as river rocks or tumbled pebbles, perhaps with a bit of sand if desired or required for any occupants. Grade the aquarium's substrate if you like to provide greater viewing in the front of the aquarium and imitate the slope of a stream towards the bank, though this is not required for the comfort of your fish. This hardscaping is not particularly conducive to plants, however, a piece or two of wood can be used to emulate fallen branches or overhanging roots and, if desired, java ferns or Anubias can be rooted to this to add a bit of greenery. Centering this planting along the back wall at the top of the gradient can further enhance the appearance of the bank edges of a stream as well.
Our first two species to speak of are Sewellia sp. “SEW03” “Vietnam Saddled Hillstream Loach” and S. sp. “SEW04” “Vietnam Spotted Hillstream Loach”. These two typical hillstream loaches are caught and shipped together, typically with one or the other considered a “contaminant” of the group. Their suspected origin is the Hue province of Vietnam, though this is unconfirmed. Both of these fish grow up to two inches in length and are best kept in groups of six or more in order to view their most interesting behaviors. Soft, neutral water is suitable for these algae grazers and mature soft algae growth is the best food, though supplements of high quality sinking algae pellet or gel food such as Repashy’s Soilent Green will keep them well fed.
S. sp. “SEW03” shows similar markings to the ever-popular S. lineolata “Reticulated Hillstream Loach” over its head and the lower part of its body, however, its back shows a snakeskin like pattern of “saddling”. This is a light region over the dorsal side from the back of the head to the tail marked by dark ovals over the dorsal edge. This species is occasionally also known as “SEW02” – few people consider these separate species but the general consensus is that they are simply geographical variants of the same fish.
S. sp. “SEW04” on the other hand features much more contrasted markings – their olive base color is lighter and their markings darker and feature patterns of small dark dots and dashes, somewhere between the reticulations of S. lineolata and spots of S. sp. “SEW01”. Their patterning varies greatly between individuals and each is uniquely beautiful.
I did promise you a Loricariid and here it is – Panaque bathyphilus “Papa Pleco” “L090”. Panaque species feature spoon shaped teeth and specialized digestive systems developed to scrape and digest wood - this demands the presence of bog or root wood in the aquarium. This particular species of Panaque grows to fifteen inches in adulthood, excluding its long, delicate filaments at the outer rays of the caudal fin. These extensions and the base of its caudal fins are pale pink, orange, red or white with a dark central edge on the fin. Their body patterning varies between collection points and individuals, often featuring reticulation of chocolate brown and olive green that grows more complex as the fish ages. Provide, in addition to driftwood snacks, a diet of greens and veggies for the best condition of this beautiful and unusual fish.
Thank you for reading and have a great weekend – if you’re local or planning a trip to Portland, we will be celebrating our anniversary in store next weekend with raffles, goodies, sales, and more!