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January 17, 2014

Good morning! It’s another week of the newsletter according to Jess – I know I told everybody that Anthony would be back to writing this week but it appears I was mistaken. At the very least, he’s chosen the subjects of this week’s newsletter. While my writing may lack Anthony’s particular storytelling flair, I do hope you can still enjoy reading about these amazing and somewhat unusual fish.

We have a small group of the rare and beautiful “Striped Silver Dollar”, Metynnis fasciatus. These gorgeous, diamond-shaped silver characins are graced with unique vertical dark grey bars. Each specimen appears to have a unique and variable pattern that grows more complex with age. The bars run from the fish’s slightly ruddy dorsal edge and have variable lengths – some reach nearly to the ventral side of the fish while others stop well before the lateral line. Some stripes grow together and apart, creating a sense of snakelike reticulation. Each fish is marked by a bolder, darker spot behind and above the eye and a slight orange to red coloration in the anal fin. Unlike the more common M. agrenteus, with a length of at least six inches, the Striped Silver Dollar grows to five inches in length and dines upon an omnivorous diet with a preference for vegetable matter. Some specimens are avid plant eaters so, while the fish will enjoy and benefit from a planted aquarium, even hardy plants will need replacing. While most of us here at the Wet Spot prefer live plants, fake plastic or silk plants may be a better option if you happen to house a plant-eating Metynnis specimen. Care of these unusual beauties is considered to be fairly easy and straightforward – A school of five or more fish kept in neutral to slightly acidic water with a water temperature in the high 70s to very low 80s is advised, much like with the more common Silver Dollar.

Metynnis fasciatus

With such a beautiful school of Striped Silver Dollars occupying the upper levels of your aquarium, a compatible centerpiece fish should be likewise unusual and gorgeous. A great option could be the fairly unusual Heros notatus “Spotted Severum”, a beautiful wild type Brazilian cichlid. Unlike the highly line-bred Heros severum color morphs often available in the hobby such as gold or super red, the Spotted Severum features a complex and beautiful natural coloration. A greenish gold body is accented by brilliant red-orange finnage, deeper olive coloration over the forehead and behind the gill plate, and stunning orange to red coloration at the edge of the gill plate. This is all overlain by a bold black stripe at the rear of the body, just before the caudal peduncle followed by a series of short and thick vertical black stripes regularly spaced along the ventral edge of the fish. The entire body of the fish is marked by patterns of black dots – the origin of the species’ common name. Females sport very similar coloration to the males albeit, as usual, slightly less brilliantly. To top all this off with a brilliant cherry red eye is just icing on the beautiful Spotted Severum cake – but please don’t eat your Severum, it isn’t actually cake. Size reports vary; most sources state a maximum length of about eight inches and, in a home aquarium, I think this is likely. With a fondness for driftwood and plants, water temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit and a neutral to slightly acidic pH value, these peaceful cichlids make a perfect complement to the Striped Silver Dollar. Feeding is quite similar as well – an omnivorous diet with both meaty and vegetable-rich foods is perfect for the Spotted Severum.

Heros notatus

The Venezuelan Leporacanthicus triactis “L91” would make a perfect companion to both M. fasciatus and H. notatus and, as a bonus, is the one of the most gorgeous loricariids I’ve ever seen. This ten inch Pleco is deep black in coloration; its amazing beauty is due to the brilliant poppy orange markings on the leading edges of its dorsal, adipose, and caudal fins. The origin of its common name of “Three Beacon Pleco” is obvious when one observes the brilliant orange markings on three distinct fin edges. This is an omnivorous loricariid and should be provided with a varied diet including such foods as algae wafers, cucumbers or zucchini, bloodworms, krill, and perhaps the occasional mollusk or crustacean as a treat. This beauty is suitable for community aquariums with neutral pH values and high 70s Fahrenheit water temperatures as long as cohabitating bottom dwellers are limited as L. triactis can be somewhat territorial of its floor space.

L91 Leporacanthicus triactis

If, however, you are looking for a smaller sucker mouth cat companion for your fish, Panaqolus albivermis “L204” “Pinstripe Panaque” is a great alternative. A little background on Panaques: The Latin name of Panaque is derived from the local common name for these fish with Panaqolus translating to, essentially, “small Panaque.” Panaques feature spoon shaped teeth and specialized digestive systems developed to scrape and digest wood – this not only demands the presence of bog or root wood in the aquarium, but also leads to another common name of “Canoe Eater” for their tendency to occasionally chew holes in moored wooden canoes. With a tolerance for slightly warmer water up to the mid-80s Fahrenheit and at half the size of L91, this Peruvian loricariid from the Rio Alejandro will put a bit less strain on your bioload if this is a concern. The Pinstripe Panaque was formally described about seven months ago and given the species name of albivermis. The general translation for this is ‘white worm’, referring to the fine pin striping of yellow or cream over the fish’s dark brown to black body. As juveniles, this pattern consists of solid cream stripes wrapped vertically over the fish’s body, continuing gracefully into the fish’s fins. As they age, the stripes retain their boldness but grow even more delicate, occasionally broken into short line segments or spots. Mature specimens grow delicate filaments at the outer rays of the caudal fin. Provide, in addition to driftwood snacks, a diet of greens and veggies.

Panaqolus albivermis L204

I suppose I could have written all this as a fish-catching outing to South America, but I suspect that my ending wherein our canoe is sunk by a ravenous shoal of L204s might have been a little too silly. I will leave the adventures to Anthony. Thank you all for reading – We’ll see you back next week with more fish and new information and, as usual, don’t forget to visit our Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ pages for pretty pictures, information, and events!

Jessica Supalla

January 10, 2014

Good morning, friends! It’s always a pleasure to be able to write for you in Anthony’s stead, though I know you all miss his wonderful newsletters when I’m writing. With the holiday, we haven’t had a lot of new fish coming through, however, we just got a treat in for all you monster fish enthusiasts – Scleropages leichardti.

Scleropages leichardti

The older official common name for this fish as recognized by the Queensland Fisheries Service is the Spotted Barramundi; a term still used both in fishing and aquarium hobbies. The term ‘Barramundi’ is the Australian aboriginal term for “large scaled (river) fish” and is applied not only to the two Australian Arowanas, S. leichardtii and S. jardini, but additionally the Queensland Lungfish, Neoceratodus forsteri. Approximately 30 years ago, the Queensland Fisheries Service officially changed the name of S. leichardti from the Barramundi to the Southern Saratoga, thought to be derived from a mispronunciation and misapplication of the Lungfish’s common name, Ceratodus. Of course, aside from these official monikers, S. leichardtii has plenty of other common names such as Spotted Australian Arowana, Spotted Bonytongue, and Red Pearl Arowana.

Scleropages leichardti

So what sets the Southern Saratoga apart from its Northern counterpart, S. jardini? While very similar in body shape and habits, S. leichardti is said to grow slightly smaller than the Jardini arowana and, unlike the peachy red crescents of color at the trailing edge of the Jardini’s scales, the Leichardti features a single peachy red spot at the center of each scale. The silver-colored Jardini’s cheeks carry a bit of patterning and coloration, while those of the bronze-toned Leichardti are quite plain.

Scleropages leichardtii

In the wild, the Southern Saratoga is endemic to the Fitzroy River system near the Eastern coast of Australia. These fish have been introduced to other waterways of Queensland as a sport fish -- I personally don’t fish, however, it is apparently quite a delight to catch and release these fish. They are renowned for their acrobatics and leaping when hooked – of course, they can also jump quite well in an aquarium, so a well-fitting and heavy lid is required on their home. Said lid must be heavy enough to prevent a full grown Saratoga at a potential three feet (though just under two feet is more common in an aquarium) of pure muscle from knocking it off the tank when startled.

With such a large potential adult size and active nature, a large aquarium is also required for these beautiful fish. A single specimen should be provided with an aquarium footprint of at least six foot by two foot with a depth of about two feet. Unless kept in a group of six to ten specimens to disperse territorial aggression, the Southern Saratoga is best kept singly – given the immense housing requirements for a group of fish this large, keeping a shoal of these fish in a single home aquarium is absolutely not advised. It is often said that S. leichardti can be calm enough to be kept in a well-selected community aquarium with other large fish such as catfish, sizeable characins and cyprinids, knifefish, and some cichlids such as the larger Geophaginae of South and Central America. Of course, as temperaments can vary between individual fish, this should be attempted only on a case by case basis with the Spotted Barramundi the last fish added and a high amount of attention paid to the dynamics of the group as the arowana grows.

These wonderful fish do their best growing while under twelve inches in length – they will grow quite quickly with several feedings a day of varied foods such as earthworms, mealworms, frozen or dried prawn, mussels, and pellets. After twelve inches of length has been attained, the Southern Saratoga’s growth rate decreases greatly and feedings should be restricted to once per day. While some owners enjoy providing feeder goldfish to their Barramundi, these fish often carry internal or external parasites (especially ich) and greatly increase the probability of disease introduction.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about this uncommon and gorgeous monster fish; we’ve quite a few specimens in but they’re sure to sell fast. Be sure to check us out on Facebook, Pinterest and Google+!

Jessica Supalla

 

December 20, 2013

Over the years, I’ve seen a number of catfish come in our shop in all shapes and sizes - from the horrific “goonch” (Bagarius yarrelli) to the petite “Orange Marble Cat” (Ayksis longifillis). Needless to say my appetite for cats gets wetted, about as often as it rains in Oregon, and this week is no different. We’ve been on the lookout for Brachysynodontis batensoda “Upside Down Squeaker Cat” for almost five years now. Our patience and virtue has finally paid off when we received some extremely cute (the only time you’ll hear me say this about a fish) specimens straight from the rivers of western Africa.

Brachysynodontis batensoda

There has been an ongoing debate about this species, along with Hemisynodontis membranaceus “Moustache Cat”, of whether or not they should both be included in the genus Synodontis. There are a few characteristics that seem to define these fish into each of their own monotypic genus. One of these characteristics is the size and shape of the adipose fin. Unlike most Synodontis, B. batensoda and H. membranaceus lack the gap between this fin and the dorsal fin. The adipose is also overly enlarged. The theory is that this fin has adapted to help keep the fish in place when swimming upside down – which they do quite often. Another unique characteristic is the number of gill rakers that these fish have - between a numbers of 39-65 opposed to 7-33 on most Synodontis. This is because, unlike its cousin who feeds primarily on invertebrates and snails, these two fish feed on plankton. The higher number of gill rakers allows for the fish to catch more plankton. It’s my belief that Bleeker was right in removing both species from this genus.

Hemisynodontis membranaceus

Hemisynodontis membranaceus

Hemisynodontis membranaceusFace

B. batensoda can grow to be a size of about 7” in length, while H. membrananeus will obtain a larger size of almost 11”. As I have already mentioned, they feed primarily on plankton. To you, as an aquarist, this means that feeding them in captivity can be achieved by offering a variety of small frozen foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and even bloodworms. These gentle giants shouldn’t bother small fish. That being said I’d still be weary of keeping them with tiny fish. Instead, I’d choose larger fish as tank mates such as Barbus walkeri “Walker’s Barb” or Micralestes occidentalis “Red Finned Tetra”. The natural range of both of these fish can occur from the Nile River as far west to the country of Senegal. While, clearly adaptable to a variance in water quality, they do best in a pH of 6.4-7.8 and the temperatures in the high 70’s.

Micralestes occidentalis

Barbus walkeri

Another large sized cat (14” estimated maximum size) found living in the same river systems, is Synodontis clarias “Red Tail Squeaker Cat.” Though they share the same regions as our two mustached friends, S. clarius prefers cooler water (69-75°). Though its common cousin, S. nigriventris, is better known for this behavior, S. clarius was actually the first described “upside down” catfish. The fish is also one of the only members of the Synodontis family to have branched maxillary barbels (the long barbels on the side of the cheeks). These fish are easily recognized by their tall dorsal fin and blood red caudal fin. The diet of S. clarius is very typical of any catfish, and they’ll accept just about any foods you offer them in the aquarium. I always recommend a variety of frozen bloodworms, pellets, and catfish wafers.

 Synodontis clarias

That sums up this week’s newsletter for our mustached friends. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Wet-Spot-Tropical-Fish/, and our Pinterest, http://www.pinterest.com/thewetspotstore/. Keep in mind, with the holidays around the corner we do not want to risk any items being delayed during transit. Therefore, we will not be shipping fish until after the 1st of the year. I will still be continuing to write these informational newsletters for you while we take a short break for the New Year.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Author: Anthony Perry
Editor: Cameo

January 03, 2014

Happy New Year!

Not every newsletter needs to be about the super rare and unusual. I’ve covered some of the more common items such as Tanichthys albonubes “White Cloud Mountain Minnows”, Puntius tetrazona “Tiger Barbs”, and even Danio rerio “Zebra Danios” (see archived spotlights on our webpage). This week, I would like to talk about another common aquarium pet that, at one point in our lives, we’ve all kept – Poecilia reticulata, more commonly known as the “Guppy”. By now, I’ve probably lost a lot of your attention, but before you look at all the pretty pictures and move on to look at the fish list, let me enlighten you on some information that many of you may not know about are fanned friends.

Poecilia reticulata "Platinum Blue"

For instance, can you tell me what continent the guppy originated from? Even my guess of Southeast Asia was incorrect - this assumption being based on most of our stock coming from this area. I was more than surprised to learn that the fish had originally been collected by Wilhelm Peters in 1859 in the country of Venezuela, located in South America. In 1861, De Filippi described his finding as Lebistes poecilioides from the island of Barbados (a small island just north of Surinam). Gunther would name the fish Girardinus guppyi in 1866 in honor of Robert John Lechmere Guppy. In 1913, Regan would reclassify them to Lebistes reticulatus. Around the time of 1963 they would be placed back into their original genus, Poecilia reticulata, with “guppy” sticking as their common name.

Poecilia reticulata Albino "Naked" Male

Poecilia reticulata Albino "Naked"

Their distribution around South America not only covers the countries of Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil, but also the Islands around the Southern Caribbean. In addition, they are now found in many parts of the world because guppies were introduced to many countries in order to help with the prevention of malaria. Scientists had hoped that the guppy would feed on the larvae of the mosquito and this would help control this disease. Unfortunately, the introduction of these fish has seemed to have little to no impact on the mosquito populations around the globe, and is actually negatively impacting existing fish populations.

Poecilia reticulata "Flamingo"

Did you know that they are also known as the “millionfish”? I could not find a source to this common name, but I would guess that it’s because of how many babies they are capable of having during their lives. Guppies are part of the livebearing family and from the time they are born they are fully capable of caring for themselves. The fry will typically form anti-predator tactics by gathering in larger numbers. Females will start reproducing between 10-20 weeks and continue to do so until 20-34 weeks of age. The males will start reproducing around 7 weeks and typically live around 2 years of age. Wild type guppies usually do not have gigantic “fan-like” caudal fins, but rather have smaller tails that are “splashed” with color. The larger tails that we’re all used to seeing has been achieved through years of selective breeding. Now here is the cool part about the guppy. Guppies have 23 pairs of chromosomes, just like humans! This means that the color of the males will pass down to his fry. This makes selective breeding easy to obtain the ornate color patterns that we all love!

Poecilia reticulata "Half Black Yellow"

In the aquarium, guppies will prefer hard water (pH above 7.0 with 7.6-8 being more ideal) and the temperature around 78-82°. They are a shoaling species that prefers to be kept in large numbers. Having one or two individuals often leads to a shortened lifespan. They can also tolerate up to 150% salinity in their environment, which means that they can adapt to pure salt water conditions! I would probably not keep them long term like this, but it is amazing what they are capable of adapting to and living in. Their diet should ideally be a variety of foods. We prefer to give them more on the green side of things as opposed to a high protein diet.

Poecilia reticulata "Ice Flame"

Poecilia reticulata "Black Dragon"

So there you have it. A little bit about one of the most kept aquarium pet, the guppy! Be sure to check our current stock list for all of the different colors we have available. Check out all of our other social media with Pinterest,  http://www.pinterest.com/thewetspotstore/, Google+, www.plus.google.com/+WetSpotTropicalFish, and Facebook,www.facebook.com/pages/The-Wet-Spot-Tropical-Fish. I’ll see you all back here next week!

I hope you all had a wonderful and safe holiday like I did!

Anthony Perry

December 13, 2013

In the 1990’s, several new species of Loricariid catfishes (better known as plecos) were beginning to make their way into the hobby. Some of these cats are extremely beautiful, and sell at a high profit margin (I’m talking about the infamous Hypancistrus zebra, which still holds its value in the hobby but is sadly illegal to export due to being an endangered animal).To offset the cost of freight for these ornate fishes, collectors began shipping cichlids that came from the same region. Several new species of cichlids and pikes made their way onto the scene, and gained aquarium popularity quickly. One of these animals would be Retroculus lapidifer, one of three known species that we refer to as the “Goby” eartheaters found in the Río Tocantins and the surrounding areas of Brazilian rivers. Many years later, Brazil came up with their “black list”, banning many of these fish for exportation, to allow their wild populations to rebuild in nature. Last year, that list was reevaluated—making many of the fish available once more. The Retroculus is one of these cichlids…

Retroculus lapidifer adult

The name Retroculus comes from the Latin word, “retro”, meaning ‘backwards’, and “oculus” or ‘eye’. This is a reference to the position of the eye on the fish – which is set back on the body. The fish was first described by F. de Castelnau in 1855 as Chromys lapidifera. This genus contained eighteen other cichlids, which he placed all within the same genus – including some African Tilapiines. In 1875, Steindachner would move them into the genus Geophagus and would abandon the genus Chromys altogether due to a misspelling (it should have been Chromis). In 1894, Eigenmann and Bray erected the genus Retroculus to contain their new fish, R. boulengeri, which turned out to only be a pseudonym of R. lapidifer. Almost 75 years later two new fish would be discovered and described from other parts of Brazil, R. xinguensis (Gosse 1971) and R. septentrionalis (Gosse 1971).

Keeping Retroculus in an aquarium can prove challenging. In nature, the fish are only found in very turbid and highly oxygenated rapids. If these conditions are not met in an aquarium the fish is likely to perish. This fish will eventually grow to around a foot in length, so I always recommend keeping them in very large tanks, which are extremely over filtered. The use of powerheads is also another good idea to help oxygenate the tank. Higher oxygen content typically results in a higher pH level. Therefore, I always recommend keeping them around neutral (7) and the temps somewhere in the high 70’s to the low 80’s. The fish like to “rest” on their overly sized ventral fins, so the substrate should be a soft material such as sand. The rest of the aquarium can usually be set up with a basic South American biotope, a few pieces of driftwood and some flat stones will be more than enough to keep the cichlids happy.

Retroculus lapidifer

Some cichlids are considered “unspawnable” in an aquarium, and Retroculus lapidifer had been on that list until the early 2000’s. I remember several years ago when Lee Newman brought us some Retroculus xinguensis that he had spawned successfully. This was the world’s first recorded spawning of these amazing cichlids. It was quite a big deal for us when Lee and his wife had driven down to visit our shop and drop off some of their “kids”. This fruitful spawning begs the question: how was Lee successful? The answer brings us to the second part of the Latin name, Lapidifer. This word translates into “stone bearer”, which is a very interesting behavior where the fish will build a “nest” that’s usually a large pit in the sand and place several small stones in the middle of it. These stones as it turns out are the key to successfully breeding these cichlids. The eggs are deposited into the middle of the stones where they are protected from the elements and predators alike. Once the fry are large enough, they are picked up by both parents until they are big enough to be free swimming and eventually fend for themselves.

Lee’s success in breeding these “unspawnable” cichlids certainly followed my good friend Wayne Leibal’s DOPE theory. In Wayne’s words, “to succeed with unspawnable fish, one must be Determined, Obsessive, Persistent (and patient), and Experimental. You must be willing to think outside of the glass box, and you must be willing to try new approaches, methodically and persistently, until the particular species yields its secrets.” This is a theory that I’ll follow forever - both in the breeding and keeping of such rare animals. I’d like to personally thank him for all of his help and literature over the years. Without this I’d still be hooked on those “other” cichlids.  

Retroculus lapidifer

With that I’d like to invite you to like our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pages/The-Wet-Spot-Tropical-Fish. If you haven’t had a chance to check out all of our fabulous pictures (most by yours truly) on our Pinterest than please take a moment to have a peek, www.pinterest.com/thewetspotstore/.

As for me, I’ll be around all next week!

Author: Anthony Perry
Editor: Cameo

December 27, 2013

One of our beautiful dwarf cichlids available right now is Pelvicachromis taeniatus. These fish are remarkably lovely – the male is a pretty golden color with two darker brown stripes on his dorsal half and his belly richly gold-orange. His dorsal and caudal fins are rimmed with pinkish red and adorned with broken stripes and spots of pink and iridescent blue. The top edge of his caudal fin is golden and decorated with bold black spots. His anal fin carries the tail’s pink and iridescent patterning and his ventral fins are edged with black.

 Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Nyete" Male

 

Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Kienke" male

The female is arguably more stunning between the pair – The dorsal half of her body is similar to the males and her fins more plainly yellow, but her belly is colored with brilliant magenta, with a blue cast surrounding the color, which extends to her caudal fin, making for an absolutely striking contrast. Her cup-shaped ventral fins are brilliant magenta and have a thicker black edge than those of the male.

Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Nyete" Female

Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Lokundje" female

pelvicachromis taeniatus "Kienke" female

Any display tank for these fish should have a small-grained substrate and plenty of cover – roots and caves are greatly appreciated and the cover provided by plants is a bonus. We have several color morphs of P. taeniatus available now with variations in the amount of black spotting in the dorsal and caudal fins in both males and females, as well as more subtle differences in coloration and patterning. These include Kienke, Lokundje, Moliwe, Nyete and Wouri.

Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Wouri"

Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Moliwe"

I enjoy our various Pelvicachromis taeniatus varieties, but it’s a real treat to meet a different species: in this case, Pelvicachromis humilis “Fria”, commonly known as the Yellow Kribensis, has just arrived in absolutely stunning condition. This species is much larger than the more common P. taeniatus with a maximum size of five inches for the males. Their bodies are more elongate with gently sloped foreheads, large eyes and nearly subterminal mouths. Males are distinguished from their mates by elongate, pointed dorsal, anal and ventral fins with significantly more color than that of the females – the anal fin in particular is a brilliant purple color and the caudal fin shows reticulation of blue over pinkish red. The male’s dun body is marked with a lateral line blotched with chocolate brown over a brilliant sunflower yellow belly. Female P. humilis “Fria” have somewhat more pudgy bodies and pale finnage with the typical exception of the ventral fins – These blunted, L-shaped fins are a brilliant strawberry color with vivid purple edges, accenting the beautiful berry-colored belly of the female. Much like P. signatus, P. humilis “Fria” females display a large iridescent spot just behind the pectoral fins, adding a flash of rainbow brilliance as they swim. Both genders show a modicum of iridescent blue markings over the cheeks. Overall, I think this is one of the most stunning Pelvicachromis species. If nothing else, it is definitely the largest!

Pelvicachromis humilis "Friya"

Pelvicachromis signatus is a striking member of its genus with some of the most amazing color patterns. The male reaches four inches in length with a long snout and broad mouth. The male’s body is unremarkably beige with brown vertical striping, but his gill plates are striped with shining blue marks and the area immediately behind his pectorals is a striking golden yellow. His anal and caudal fins are this same gold color, with the caudal fin rimmed in iridescent blue and red. The signatus male’s caudal fin runs over his entire back and is beautifully marked with black spots and a brilliant red edge. As is typical for Pelvicachromis species, the female is the real beauty of the pair. She sports the same, if not more, iridescent blue cheek markings with a dark sepia mask from the lower lip to the bottom of her eye. The top of her head and dorsal edge are dusty tan, while the rest of her body is an attractive raspberry purple with a single black spot at the end of her tail. This raspberry color is carried heavily into her cup shaped ventral fins and lightly over her unpaired fins. Her caudal and anal fins are heavily decorated with iridescent blue ad her dorsal fin features one more black spot near its center. The true beauty of the signatus female, however, is one large iridescent spot on the sides of her body. When she swims past, this spot catches the light and her sides shine with a full spectrum of color – violet, red, orange, yellow, green and blue all show in a brilliant flash. Pelvicachromis signatus is one of the less aggressive Pelvicachromis species and should be provided with rocks and caves in which to spawn.

Pelvicachromis signatus female

Pelvicachromis signatus male

Pelvicachromis sacrimontis “Giant Kribensis”, at a maximum of four inches, is an absolutely lovely peaceful cichlid for a moderately-sized community aquarium. P. sacrimontis benefits from extensive hardscaping such as bogwood and spawning caves. Males and females are both intensely and wonderfully colored with reds, yellows, and greens. Both genders sport dark golden-green body coloration with light horizontal striping across their face and the dorsal side of their body. Iridescent blue markings run along their green cheeks beneath their eyes. The female shows the typical Pelvicachromis purple-red iridescent belly marking and her unpaired fins are beautifully orange toned and edged in black. Their dorsal fins, unlike standard Kribensis, have no markings. The cupped ventral fins of the female fade beautifully from black at the front and rear edges to pretty purple-red in their centers. The males in display feature brilliant red coloration along their ventral sides, running from just over their lips and back to the end of their anal fin. The male’s dorsal fin is green-gold and edged in red and white and his ventral fins are striped intricately with blue, red and black.

Pelvicachromis sacrimontis female

Thank you for reading and have a great New Year!

Jessica Supalla

December 6, 2013

A favorite hobby of mine, outside of fish keeping, is archery. There’s something incredibly thrilling about drawing the string back against your cheek, pinpointing your target, releasing a projectile, and hitting an object dozens of yards away with almost no effort. I used to practice several times a week at my local archery shop, and even joined a league for a while. Through lots and lots of practice, I found myself hitting the center of the target almost every time (eventually gaining scores of 290 out of 300 points in my league). 

Under the water surface, a family of fishes has adapted a system that uses water, much like an arrow, to shoot down unsuspecting insects from their perches up to 9 feet above the surface. An adult Toxotes blythii “Clouded Archer” almost always hit their target on the first shot. How is the fish able to bring down prey so far out of the water you ask? Well, the Archerfish not only has keen eyesight, but can compensate for the refraction of light. Archerfish primarily spit at angles about 74°, but are still accurate from 45-110°. The lips of the fish barely break the surface, and when the moment is right the fish presses its tongue against a narrow gap at the roof of its mouth to shoot water towards its new and upcoming meal. What’s even more incredible is the Archerfish has the ability to control the power of the shot for larger prey or in close quarters. We were able to locate some very rare Clouded Archerfish from Myanmar. This Archerfish is one out of seven family members and it is the only that is completely freshwater, as the rest of the other members live in brackish to saltwater. It also happens to be one of the smaller members, growing to a predicted 6” in length. Now, it may be tempting to offer the fish an open top tank, but keep in mind they like to jump. If you do not keep the aquarium well covered you may have the unfortunate experience of coming home to a dried up fish on your floor. While their unique predatory feeding habits are fascinating, they will readily accept prepared foods in your aquarium.

Toxotes blythii

Hailing from Lake Indawgyi in Myanmar, lives an odd looking fish that barely reaches over an inch in length, Indostomus paradoxus “Paradox Toothpick”. Also known in the trade under the name Armored Stickleback, this bizarre creature spends most of its time scourging for aquatic crustaceans, insect larvae, and worms embedded down in the black clay substrate. Their habitat is full of aquatic vegetation, rich in green algae, and covered in leaf litter. The water is usually very shallow (just a few feet deep), which makes it very warm (77-84°), and the pH is right around neutral. In an aquarium they benefits from being kept in numbers, so a group of no less than six fish is recommend for purchase. Once they reach adult size, males will select a spawning site usually around small caves or crevices to court a ripe female in, which is done by erecting his fins and quivering his body. During this phase, his color will lighten and turn a more reddish hue and possibly include a light brown stripe on the dorsal and anal fins. Her color will likely lighten right before spawning. The eggs are typically deposited on the roof of the chosen spawning site and may contain up to forty eggs. After they’ve done their business the female will leave and he’ll assume full responsibility of raising the fry. If left alone some may live, but it’s best to siphon the free swimming fry into a separate tank if you wish to raise them.

Indostomus paradoxus

Indostomus paradoxus

Described in 2003, Parambassis pulcinella “Humphead Glassfish” is still pretty new to the hobby. These Glassfish can be found in the Ataran river basin in Myanmar, but are believed to occupy other rivers in the area as well. Unlike other Glassfish types, the Humphead Glassfish grows a nuchal hump that is present in both males and females, with males growing slightly larger ones. They don’t appear to be as transparent as other Glassfish, but do display a beautiful golden to bluish sheen on their body. They may look rather fragile, but are surprisingly adaptable to various water conditions. That being said, they don’t appreciate low oxygen levels, so be sure there is plenty of flow in the tank. The main thing to consider is that even though they school in nature, reach around 4” in length, they tend to be somewhat aggressive towards each other in an aquarium. It’s best to keep them in larger aquariums and in higher numbers. Smaller fish should be avoided as the Humphead Glassfish may pick on anything that moves slow or may consider them a meal. Their appetite is slightly pickier than most, as they don’t really enjoy flake foods. You’ll have to offer frozen bloodworms and other types of insect larvae. In any case, if you wanted something a little different for your aquarium, you couldn’t go a better direction than with the Humphead Glassfish!

Parambassis pulcinella

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Thanks for reading!

Anthony Perry, Writer & Sales Manager
Notes Edited by: Cameo
The Wet Spot Tropical Fish