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April 25, 2014

Hello friends! I’m excited to tell you about some of our freshly-arrived Corydoras species today, as well as a new species of labyrinth fish – one of my favorites!

Corydoras sp. CW51

Corydoras sp. CW51

We’ve only had the honor of housing Corydoras sp. "New Panda", also known as CW 51, once before – nearly two years ago in September of 2012. This fish is still fairly new to the hobby with most references only reaching back to 2010. These cute little fish reach approximately 2" (males) to 2.25" (females) and enjoy water in the standard 77°F range. Their exact origin is unknown at this time, however, they are exported from a location near the borders of Brazil, Colombia and Peru. These pale, somewhat peachy-beige Corys are quite similar to Corydoras panda but, in contrast, feature only the typical black mask and a very large rounded black blotch beneath their dorsal fin, whilst the final black marking at the caudal edge of the Panda Cory is absent. I truly adore these Corys – they are striking and unique and second only to Corydoras adolfoi and C. duplicareus, in my personal Cory ranking. I really wanted to obtain a group last time we had these fish available and wasn’t able to, so if you purchase a couple, please send me pictures of them happily perusing the sandy substrate in their new home!

Corydoras ambiacus

Corydoras ambiacus

I’m not sure we’ve ever had Corydoras ambiacus before (we definitely haven’t in the time I’ve been here) and it’s always a treat to see a species in person for the first time. C. ambiacus features a beautiful straw color to its body and innumerable black spots along the entirety of its flanks and forehead. The dorsal fin is marked by a large black spot on the leading edge, which blends gently into the top of the fish’s body, and a brilliant pattern of stripes and spots on its caudal fin. Their cheeks reflect a lovely faint blue color and, in just the right light, the same blue graces their lateral line. They are only a slightly larger species of Cory than most, with a maximum length of just over two and a half inches, and feature a somewhat longer snout than the majority of Corydoras in the hobby. Their preferred water temperature ranges, between 78 degrees for the upper range of comfort but the lower range is all the way down to 70 degrees – perfect for your subtropical danio aquarium!

Betta siamorientalis

This new Betta species, formally described in 2012, has been making quite the splash in the wild Betta hobby circles – Betta siamorientalis “Kabinburi Betta” or “Black Imbellis”. This beautiful fish is a member of the Splendens complex – grouped together with B. imbellis, the wild form of B. splendens, and the popular but difficult to obtain B. mahachaiensis. These Bettas are quite similar to B. imbellis, however, their bodies are much darker. A dark brown to black body shows small iridescent green scale markings with brilliant green and red fins. Their gill plates are marked with two vertical red opercula bars. As a bubble nester, the Kabinburi male will construct a nest in a tube or cylinder or along the underside of a leaf. After spawning the male places his eggs in the nest and will guard it diligently, picking up any fallen fry and returning them to the nest, until the young have used up their yolk sacs and must venture forth for food. Keep the Kabinburi Betta in the upper 70s Fahrenheit, in fairly stagnant water, preferably slightly towards the acidic pH ranges is best.

Thank you all for reading once again. Be sure to check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages for your fish fix over the coming week!

Jessica Supalla

April 18, 2014

Good day, friends! While I know cichlids don’t intrigue everyone, we just received a wide array of Tanganyikan cichlids – if you’ve been following us for a while, you’ve probably noticed that it’s been hard for us to get new Tangs lately, so this is a rare treat and I wanted to make sure to highlight some of our most interesting fish, both wild and tank raised specimens, as well as two species of Tanganyikan catfish.

While not particularly unusual, the fact that we’ve gotten wild specimens of Altolamprologus calvus “Black” is absolutely remarkable. The Altolamprologus genus contains only a handful of species but numerous color morphs exist of each, much like with other Rift Lake cichlids. The most common species are A. calvus and A. compressiceps. A. calvus has a slow, gentle slope in its face with a highly pointed snout and a deep, very narrow body for slipping between rocks. Most common Altolamprologus species are peaceful and non-territorial dwellers of rocky outcrops. The fish form pairs while breeding and will care for their young in an empty snail shell or sea shell, but return to their solitary nature between spawns. Altolamprologus species are comparatively shy and wary of large predators but have amazing defense – their flank scales are particularly strong and thick and, when threatened, they will curve their sides towards the threat, protecting their head and tail. Care is similar to other Tanganyikans – provide many rocks for hiding places and safe areas, preferably over a rocky substrate, and a handful of shells if you wish to spawn these species. These are absolutely stunning wild-caught fish– they’ve come in large, healthy, and plump.

Altolamprologus calvus Black

Another of our wild offerings is Spathodus erythrodon “Burundi”, a goby-like algae eating cichlid. These fish are a beautiful dark chocolate brown to black with a regular patterning of brilliant blue dots. Their underslung mouths house cylindrically-shaped teeth designed to scrape algae from rocks. S. erythrodon is a bit unique amongst fish as it is a biparental mouthbrooder – for the first ten or so days of incubation, the female broods the eggs. She passes the eggs to the male for the second half of the spawning cycle. Established pairs tend to stay together even when not spawning. These are really awesome, unusual-looking fish and worthy of a place in the home of any Tanganyikan fan.

Spathodus erythrodon

While not wild, our new beautiful Callochromis pleurospilus “Flame Rainbow” are just as worthy of being mentioned in this list. These gorgeous little sand-sifting cichlids have elongate bodies and large heads with very prominent eyes – this aligns with their preference for shallow waters with resulting good visibility. The males are brilliantly colored with red and white striped dorsal fins and white striped caudal fins and yellow rimmed anal and ventral fins. Their flanks shimmer with rainbow iridescence creating a brilliant show. Females are vivid silver with little to none of the rainbow coloration of the males. One fascinating fact to me is that this species builds wonderful sand-castle nests that the males form to attract their mates – a round, raised platform of sand is constructed to attract the attention of the female who, after spawning, broods their fry in her mouth. Meaty foods such as insect larvae, small snails and other invertebrates sifted from the sand will keep C. pleurospilus in excellent condition.

Callochromis pleurospilus

Now, we received one very, very, very interesting fish this week. There is little to no information available on this beautiful and unusual fish aside from its freshwater habitat in Thailand and Indonesia and a maximum length of about eleven inches and the fact it is considered to be a predatory fish. However, take a peek at our beautiful Polynemus multifilis “Paradise Threadfin” – I’ve rarely seen a fish that looks this unusually gorgeous.

Polynemus multifilis

Thanks for reading, folks, and I’ll see you back here next week.

Jessica Supalla

March 28, 2014

Hello, friends! We have some real delights for you this week: Three unusual Loricariid catfish, a beautiful pike, and one tiny and rare schooling fish.

Let’s begin with one of the stranger Loricariids out there, Hemiodontichthys acipenserinus “Pinocchio Whiptail Cat”. These odd-looking cats, as viewed from above, are shaped something like an elongated kite – the front of their faces tapers inward at about a 30 degree angle and is capped by a knobby protrusion at the end of their ‘nose’. From their widest point at the rear of their gill plates, their bodies and tails taper away, nearly four times as long as their greatest width. Observing from the side of the fish, we can see an incredibly dished face with very large lips and mouthparts (the males have more substantial mouthparts than females at maturity) and a very compressed body. The fish’s caudal fins have a long, filamentous extension from the uppermost ray, lending the ‘whiptail’ moniker to the species. The overall color pattern of the fish is sandy brown – useful for H. acipenserinus’ camouflage technique of partly burying itself in sandy substrates. This shy and quiet five inch fish is rather peaceful with any tankmates, including their own species, though their sedate mannerisms mean they may be outcompeted for food – be sure these fish get their fair share of omnivorous foods. Warm water in the upper 70s Fahrenheit with neutral or slightly acidic pH values will suit the Pinocchio Whiptail Cat perfectly.

 Hemiodontichthys acipenserinus

If you are a fan of cichlids, monster fish, or both, Crenicichla cincta is a perfect specimen. When full grown, these pikes reach up to 18 inches, and are renowned for their aggression. The adult color seems to vary based on their collection location and the fish may show marked red, green or blue coloration. Typical patterns seem to be brilliant red cheeks below an inky black horizontal line (this runs from the rear of the eye to just behind the pectoral fins and may extend further in stress coloration), vertical black barring and a pale belly. Females show distinct rosy coloration over their belly region as well. The caudal peduncle of the fish is marked with one black eyespot ringed in gold – a good mirror of their eyes. White spangling over the caudal fin is common, as is a general blue color to the fish’s unpaired fins. Our specimens of C. cichla are barely over an inch and look remarkably different from the adults – they are currently pale little pikes with a bold black lateral line and a noticeable black eye spot just behind the gill plate. The caudal peduncle ocellata is quite visible and a bit of blue coloration can be seen in the fins.   These lovely pikes are excellent for specimen set-ups as any potential tankmates must be chosen with great care due to their aggression. Neutral pH values and a temperature in the high 70s Fahrenheit are ideal for this Crenicichla species.

Crenicichla cincta

The common Otocinclus is a popular fish for smaller aquaria – it is a very efficient consumer of brown algae with a small size. A little group is perfect for a 10-20 gallon aquarium where even an Ancistrus is too large. It is really refreshing to see different types of Oto available in the hobby, giving us all a choice of what type of tiny Loricariid we want in our small tanks. At about the same size and care requirements as the common Oto, Nannoptopoma sp. “Vampire Oto” is a wonderful alternative if one wants something different for their aquatic habitat. Adult size for these fish is a mere inch and a quarter. Warm, high 70s Fahrenheit temperatures, will keep them comfortable. However, unlike the common Oto, the Vampire Oto features a wider head and a dished facial profile – their little upturned noses are quite cute. Their bodies are heavily armored and dark grey in tone. Each specimen appears to have a V-shaped light grey to white marking running from their nose to the center of their forehead and other light markings over the body seem to vary between individuals, though they seem to follow scale edges. For best results, take your time acclimating any Otocinclus type species and supplement their diet with algae wafers or blanched vegetables – while these fish are fantastic at eating brown algae and awfwuchs, their rough-textured lips are not typically strong enough to remove hard or hairy green algae from surfaces and they seem to have a distaste for black beard algae.

Nannoptopoma sp. Vampire

With care similar to the above Vampire Oto, the tiny Parotocinclus sp. “Peru Bumblebee Oto” is about half its size and suitable for even smaller aquaria. A five gallon nano setup could easily house a group of these striking little catfish. These fish appear black and white with pale spangles visible on the dark regions. Some specimens have a brown tint to their dark regions while others appear nearly blue-black. Notable markings include a dark band around the midsection at the dorsal fin and black face markings over the cheeks and behind the eye – when viewed from above, this creates something of an arrow pattern, pointing from snout to tail, over the fish’s head. Common Otos enjoy bubble bars and currents to frolic in – I would not be surprised if both the Bumblebee and Vampire otos enjoy the same.

Parotocinclus sp. "Peru"

Finally, an unusual and tiny fish from Nigeria that would be perfect displayed with your Peru Bumblebee Otos (if, of course, you are not concerned about origin) – Neolebias powelli “Domino Neolebias”. Unlike its cousin, N. ansorgii, this is a tiny fish with a maximum length of barely over half an inch. This Characin is not imported very often and thus there is little information available on it, but I feel comfortable saying this is one amazing little fish. Its pale body has a rosy cast and is marked by three dark spots – one just behind the pectoral fins, another below their square dorsal fin, and a final, larger black spot at the caudal peduncle. Each of these appears blue at most angles thanks to a wonderful iridescent sheen over their bodies. A bit of red coloration is visible behind the caudal peduncle’s spot as well as the upper edge of the eye. Keep these beautiful fish in sizeable groups to provide them a sense of security. Neutral pH values and warm, upper 70s temperatures seem to work well for the Domino Neolebias.

Neolebias powelli

That’s all for now and I look forward to writing for you again next week. In the meantime, be sure to check out our Facebook page and Pinterest for pictures and information!

Jessica Supalla

April 11, 2014

Good day, friends! We’ve finally gotten some Spring weather here in Oregon and I must say it’s nice to see the sun again. Lia and I are working hard to make our Online department even better and with Anthony catching and bagging all your fish, we’re able to ship out your orders all the faster! We’ve gotten so many beautiful fish the past two weeks that I had trouble narrowing down what I’d like to tell you about.

Since we obtained so many awesome Synodontis catfish recently, I felt I should narrow it down to just one and, with such an adorable picture available, it just had to be Synodontis pleurops, the “Bug Eyed Syno” of Zaire. These adorable fish are pretty unique amongst Synodontis with huge eyes set out from their heads that give them a downright startled appearance and a dainty, rounded snout and mouth. Their caudal fins are long and deeply forked, bordered at their outer edges with jet black. Their pale, silvery bodies are overlain with reticulations of chocolate brown to black. Specimens' markings vary anywhere between a spotted pattern, while others are nearly striped.

Synodontis pleurops

These are fairly peaceful Synodontis and are best kept without other species of their genus as many more aggressive members may outcompete them for food – They like a bit of meat with a main diet of algae and greens. I’m a sucker for anything with a sucker and these can often be seen clinging to the aquarium glass, making them a lovely sight to behold. A nicely planted aquarium featuring some tall driftwood with water temperatures in the upper 70s and a neutral pH value will keep these adorable cats happy and healthy in your home aquarium.

Synodontis pleurops

A more unusual nano fish for your tiny community setups is Barboides gracilis “Dwarf Amber Barb”. Unlike the wonderful and popular Boraras species that tend towards red and black patterning, the Dwarf Amber Barb is beautifully yellowish orange in color, brightest at their tail and fading to translucency over their bodies and heads. A bold black spot marks their caudal peduncle. The largest recorded specimen of these fish was only about 18 millimeters from snout to tail – that’s 7/10ths of an inch! These little schooling fish prefer well-aquascaped homes with a preference for pH values slightly on the acidic side (though, as always, our specimens have been nicely acclimated to about 7.5 pH) and are happy in temperatures between 70 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit – middling temperatures in the upper 70s will likely be ideal. Feeding may be more challenging with such tiny mouths – they will likely appreciate a varied diet of baby brine shrimp, finely crushed flake and maybe the tiniest micropellets one can get their hands on.

Barboides gracilis

While we nearly always have Nematobrycon palmeri “Emperor Tetra” in stock, it’s pretty unusual to find Nematobrycon amphiloxus “Black Emperor Tetra”. Most, if not all, experts actually consider this fish to be a color morph of N. palmeri. These fish are black from the back of their gill plate to the end of their caudal fin, from their ventral side to just shy of their dorsal edge. This black coloration will often show a faint sheen of purple or blue, while their uppermost edge displays the same blue iridescence as the usual Emperor Tetra. Likewise, these fish develop black central extensions and hints of yellow in their forked caudal fins and brilliant yellow and black edges on their anal fins. Keep these one and three quarters inch Black Emperor Tetras as you would N. palmeri – A nice school in neutral to slightly acidic pH and warm 70s Fahrenheit will compliment many community aquaria quite well.

Nematobrycon amphiloxus

Aplocheilichthys normani “Normani Killi” has long been popular in the hobby for its intense blue-green eye, but its dull silver body leaves something to be desired. Its cousin, Aplocheilichthys luxophthalmus “Luxophthalmus Killi” or “Emerald Green Lampeye” definitely has that extra something to make them really special. While in adverse lighting conditions this fish appears nearly as dull and grey as its cousin, when the light hits them properly their sides flash and gleam – a vivid stripe of iridescent blue-green- marks their entire lateral line and is mirrored along their ventral edge.   Midway between these lines they sport a small series of matching dots. Their fins, especially those of the male, are slightly extended and bright yellow rimmed in white. These stunning Lampeyes, preferring mid-70s Fahrenheit water and neutral pH values, grow to about one and a half inches.

Aplocheilichthys luxophthalmus

That’s all for the week, folks. Thank you all for reading and also thank you to all of you who came by our booth at the NEC Convention the weekend before last!

Jessica Supalla

March 21, 2014

Good day, friends!

It’s been quite some time since we’ve had Boraras naevus "Strawberry Rasbora" in stock. This little fish is a pleasing orange-red marked with both delicate and bold black spots. Small black ocellata occur at the base of the anal fin as well as the caudal peduncle with one large black spot, larger than its eye, at mid-body. Behind this large black spot the fish displays its brightest coloration – a brilliant strawberry red region that fades towards the caudal fin. The dorsal, anal, and ventral fins are each marked with matching bright red spots and led by black foremost rays. The Strawberry Rasbora tops out at a mere three-quarters of an inch, thrives in water between 75°F and 82°F, and prefers slightly acidic water (6.0-7.0 pH) at a low hardness (0-10 degrees).

Boraras naevus

I’m quite happy to mention our fresh batch of Poecilocharax weitzmani “Black Darter Tetra”. This is a fantastic fish of about 2 inches in length. They are named for a broad black lateral stripe marked with dots of white – this is the reflection of light off their scales, but has a lovely glitter effect. Above this broad black line is a thin band of cream, followed by brilliant red, and a chocolate brown dorsal side. Their bellies below the black lateral line are paler, ranging from a red sheen, to a pleasant cream. Each unpaired fin is marked at its outer rays with bright cherry red. This species is best kept in acidic water and can tolerate temperatures anywhere in the 70s Fahrenheit. The more colorful males of P. weitzmani can be territorial so, if possible, it is best to keep more females than males.

Poeciliocharax weitzmani "Black Darter Tetra"

Corydoras are considered facultative air breathers -- they do not need to breathe air from the surface of the water to survive, but are able to do so if the dissolved oxygen content in their water is too low for them to obtain the oxygen they need from their gills. Their method for atmospheric respiration is via a modified intestinal structure featuring extraordinarily high vascularization to allow gaseous exchange after swallowing air from the surface. Neat! While on the subject of these fascinating bottom-dwelling catfish, Corydoras delphax “False Blochi Cory” just arrived from Colombia a week ago and are happy and plump. They are slightly larger Corydoras than average, with a maximum length of just under three inches. Their spotted bodies are marked with bold black at the base of the dorsal fin and over the face with a honey gold sheen behind their eyes and over the gill plates. What sets this Cory cat apart from the very similar and namesake C. blochi is C. delphax’s short and rounded snout, in contrast to the elongate ‘hog nose’ of C. blochi. The False Blochi Cory prefers cooler water, between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with neutral to slightly acidic pH value.

Corydoras delphax

There is a lot of variation between individuals of Baryancistrus beggini “L239” “Blue Fin Panaque”, but every fish is beautiful. Described as a Baryancistrus species in 2009, this classification is tenuous – the dorsal and adipose fins of Baryancistrus species are connected by a membrane, a feature not seen in other Loricarrids, but B. beggini’s dorsal and adipose fins are fully fused together. This interesting and unique feature indicates that L239 may actually belong to a new and undescribed genus. These are absolutely gorgeous, heavy-looking fish with thick, armor-like scales. The darkest specimens appear charcoal black with a blue tint, typically lighter over the finnage, while the lighter individuals appear a midtoned grey with bright blue fins. Despite the common name of Panaque, this fish is not known as a wood-eating species -- it appears to be fully herbivorous but would likely enjoy the presence of driftwood to rest and graze upon. As this is a peaceful species, with an adult size of just over three inches, it is suitable for many community aquaria with water temperatures from 75 or 83 degrees Fahrenheit and acidic to neutral pH values.

Baryancistrus beggini

I’d like to thank you once again for reading as well as for your feedback on last week’s experimental layout!

Jessica Supalla


April 4, 2014

Good day, friends. We’ve gotten so many new fish in recently that I’ve had a bit of trouble picking ones to write about! This being considered, I’ve attempted to pick a smattering of species across the world suitable for species or community aquaria. I do hope that everyone will find at least one of these species enjoyable to read about.

Described in 2012, Schistura aizawlensis “Glitter Loach” is a very new fish in the hobby. This minute Schistura species of India does not at first glance make a striking impact, with a beige body and chocolate brown vertical stripes. However, when this loach moves in the patterns of shadows and light, cast by aquarium décor, it really shines and sparkles– literally! The Glitter Loach’s lateral line is marked with reflective silvery patches, invisible until the light hits them, they dazzle as the loach darts about the aquarium searching for food. These patches are especially notable on the cheeks, running from below the eye to the back of the gill plate, and at the base of the pectoral fins. The tail carries a slight ruddy tone as well. These little loaches have been measured at a maximum size of two inches, but their recent arrival in the hobby precludes perfectly accurate numbers. This species occurs in hillstream habitats in the wild and will appreciate moderate currents and cooler temperatures, though temperatures from the high 60s to low 80s Fahrenheit will be tolerated with proper acclimation. This barbeled beauty is likely a micropredator and is best maintained on a staple diet of a combination of small-grained sinking food or crushed flake as well as live and frozen foods.

Schistura aizawlensis

For fans of Loricariids with small (15-20 gallon) aquariums, an excellent addition outside of the common Ancistrus or Otocinclus options could be the four inch Panaqolus maccus “Clown Pleco”, known by the L-numbers L104 and L162, as well as LDA022. This chocolate brown pleco is overlain with concentric caramel colored pin stripes over its body and fins as well as broken lines and spots over its face. Their caudal fins are slightly forked and occasionally show extended outer rays. This peaceful wood eater can be kept in groups in larger aquaria as well and are peaceful, not only with other fish, but with other members of their own species. Be sure to furnish them with driftwood or bogwood and supplement their diet with blanched veggies or a high-quality algae eater supplement. A neutral pH and a temperature from about 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit will suit the Clown Pleco.

Panaqolus maccus

As many of you know, I’m incredibly fond of wild Betta species, and Betta pugnax “Green Mask Betta” is no exception. These fish are also known as the Penang Betta or Forest Betta, though Green Mask is more descriptive for sure. This mouthbrooding species is relatively unique amongst the wild species – they are found in clear water. While they do prefer somewhat acidic water in the wild with pH values of 5-6, blackwater conditions are not necessary. That being said, they have acclimated well to a neutral pH value while in their care with us. These beautiful fish grow to about four inches in length, sometimes a bit more in males, and often show a black band across the eye and lip with brilliant flashes of blue-green coloration on the cheeks below the band, especially in males. Mature specimens will also show iridescent green scale markings along their bronze-toned flanks and, especially in males, long and graceful extensions from each fin. Their snouts are very pointed, notable for the genus, with the heads and mouths of males being significantly broader than those of the females. We have found that, when housing Green Mask Bettas, that they are prolific breeders with males carrying the eggs and fry for an average of fourteen days before releasing them. A pair of these fish could be kept in a ten gallon or larger aquarium with a 20 gallon being preferable. Plenty of plants such as Cryptocoryne and Anubias species will bring out the best behavior of this beautiful Betta.

Betta pugnax

We’ve had a few interesting Lampeye Killis in the past year, including Procatopus similis and P. abberans. We just got yet another species in -- the absolutely stunning Procatopus nototaenia “Edea” “Nototaenia Killi”. These killifish from Cameroon are translucent cream in color, but their entire body is overlain with brilliant iridescent green and yellow tones. Their dorsal edge is bright orange and the two and a half inch males’ fins are bedecked with amazing filamentous extensions and show yellow and red coloration with stripes adorning the dorsal and anal fins and the blue caudal fin displaying brilliant cherry red spots. The inch and a half females have much shorter fins that are nearly transparent, as with most other Killifish species, but their presence will greatly increase the displays of males. This is a schooling killifish so they are best kept in groups of six or more and enjoy cool water in the low to mid 70s with neutral pH and negligible hardness. A 20 gallon long aquarium would be perfect for a group of these gorgeous killis.

Procatopus nototaenia male

Procatapus nototaenia female

Thank you all for reading and remember to check out our Facebook for frequent updates on events and new products and fish!

Jessica Supalla

March 14, 2014

We’ve just received a brand new catfish for us – Anaspidoglanis macrostoma “Dwarf Giraffe Cat”. Its genus has been in flux recently and you may find it listed as Parauchenoglanis or Notoglanidium. Unlike the beautiful, but prohibitively large, Auchenoglanis sp. “Volta Giraffe Cat” that grows up to three feet, the Dwarf Giraffe cat grows to ten inches in length, though seven to eight inches is more common in the home aquarium. Their smaller size makes these beautiful, spotted catfish much more suitable for home aquaria. Their bodies are pale tan and elongate with flat, broad mouths protruding forward from their bodies at a low angle. Six thick whiskers surround their mouths. Their form is marked by numerous dark spots, mostly concentrated in vertical bands over slightly darker pigmentation, as well as running across their fins, perpendicular to the rays. While the Dwarf Giraffe is fairly tolerant of temperatures anywhere between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and pH values from about 6.5 to 8, they prefer somewhat more acidic pH values. Be aware, that even though this species is comparatively small, specimens may predate small fish and some individuals might become incredibly territorial to other members of their own species. Provide this cat with plenty of hiding places such as caves and plants to make them comfortable and bring out their best behavior.

Anaspidoglanis macrostoma

Two species of Mormyrid have just come in – strange-looking, weakly electrical fish that are incredibly unique aquarium inhabitants. Mormyrid type fish have electrical organs in their caudal peduncle, the slender area of their tail behind their dorsal and anal fins, and electrical receptors over their bodies which appear as pale or white spots over the generally dark body color of the fish. The wavelength and form of the electrical signals put out by these fish have features unique to each different species including different periods (the time it takes to send a pulse and between two pulses) and different intensities. Compounding this is subtle differences between individuals which seem to allow other members of their species to identify them and determine their relative age and sex.

The larger of our two species, Brienomyrus brachyistius “Baby Whale Mormyrid”, reaches about five inches in length and is largely carnivorous. It has an elongated, nearly tubular body and stubby blunt face the result from evolving to pick small crustaceans and zooplankton from the substrate. In contrast, Pollimyrus isidori “Round Nose Whale Mormyrid” will top out between three and four inches in length and has a much more vertically extended body – they are far less tubular than the Baby Whale and appear even stubbier as a result. Unlike the fairly brown Baby Whale, the Round Nose Whale is quite silvery in color, with deep black tones over its dorsal fin and caudal peduncle. P. isidori mainly feed on vegetable matter, though they are also likely to enjoy the occasional meaty snack.   Both of these fish are renowned for being a bit nippy and territorial, so choose tankmates with care, and if you wish to house these fish in groups, be sure to allow plenty of area for each specimen to claim as well as plants and décor to break up lines of sight.

Brienomyrus brachyistius

Pollimyrus isidori

Finally, the Hemichromis Jewel Cichlids are such beautiful fish that they are never overlooked. The two undescribed species from Guinea, Hemichromis sp. “Guinea I” “Kolente Forest Jewel” and Hemichromis sp. “Guinea II” “Simbala Silver Jewel”, are deeper-bodied than many of the formally described Hemichromis species with steeper foreheads. The Kolente Forest Jewel is, as the name implies, known only from the Kolente region of Guinea. With a four inch maximum size, this variety of Hemichromis shows a beautiful deep red coloration over its body. The centers of its body scales are lighter than the edges, giving a lovely crosshatched appearance to the fish. Its fins are brilliant yellow with the upper edges of the caudal and dorsal fins rimmed in red and white. Iridescent blue reticulation covers its gill plates and chin. The back edge of the gill plate and the caudal peduncle are marked with bold black spots. A third spot is present midway down the fish’s body along the lateral line on juveniles but will disappear as the fish ages. However, unique to the Guinea I is a dark region at the midpoint of the dorsal fin.

Hemichromis sp. "Guinea I"

Hemichromis sp. "Guinea II"

In contrast, Hemichromis sp. “Guinea II” “Simbala Silver Jewel” sports a pale bronze body with silvery iridescent scale centers. Its fins are likewise yellow or slightly brown and the cheek reticulation is the most beautiful metallic bronze – a very unique coloration for a very unique fish! The Simbala Silver Jewel has no black spots on its caudal peduncle or fins and a fine yellow-white outline on its caudal and pointed dorsal fins. Both the Guinea I and Guinea II are fairly shy fish in their own right and should be provided with plenty of hardscaping as well as plants to help them feel secure. However, don’t mistake this shyness for passivity – these can be incredibly territorial and aggressive fish! As with the Mormyrids and catfish mentioned above, choose tankmates with care or keep them in a species setup.

Thank you for reading and, if you are in the area, we’d love to see you at our upcoming beer and cider event next week!

Jessica Supalla