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Ompok bimaculatus and O. pabda29.06.2015

Ompok are medium sized catfish that reach a length of 15-40 cm. They are close relatives of the only central European species of catfish, the Wels (Silurus glanis). Ompok look quite similar to the Wels. In southern and southeastern Asia, Ompok are favorite food fish, despite the fact that they are comparatively small. They are called "butter catfish" due to the very soft flesh. This makes is almost impossible to detect the original distribution of the species, because fingerlings are sent over wide distances for stocking fish ponds.

The determination of species of Ompok is very difficult. A lot of species descritions exist (currently 47), but only 27 are regarded as valid usually. The remaining seem to be synonyms or unnecessary renamings. But this fact nevertheless shows that there is a lot of variation in the species and that different scientist have different points of view how to evaluate certain characters, like coloration or body indexes. Until ca. 1950 all described species of Ompok were seen as only one existing, very variable species, namely O. bimaculatus.

Omopk bimaculatus has been described already in 1794. It originates from India. We also received our specimens from India. From India alone 21 species of Ompok have been described, but only 5 are regarded as vaild. So the literature on Ompok from India is very confusing. The situation becomes even worse, as O. bimaculatus is called "pabda" in India, but Ompok pabda is a different species!

Most probably the second species of Ompok we currently have in stock came to Thailand for food purposes. The very long barbels and the marbled pattern on the body fit very good to the description of Ompok pabda.

Keeping Ompok species in aquaria is not difficult and is comparable to keeping glass catfish (Kryptopterus). However, Ompok become much larger! Against other fish that are not suitable to be eaten, Ompok are absolutely peaceful and they also leave plants in the aquarium alone.

For our customers: the fish have code 439752 (O. bimaculatus) and 439853 (O. pabda) on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Gorgeous Crystal Red shrimps arrived!26.06.2015

We received really beautiful, very large Crystal Reds from Indonesia. It is not so long ago that these animals very extremely expensive. But luckily nowadays every enthusiast is able to afford some specimens if he´s interested in doing so. We have produced also a little film on these Crystal Reds which can be watched on our facebook page.

For our customers: the fish have code 485334 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Nemapteryx nenga26.06.2015

This beautiful "freshwater shark" reached us from India. Formerly the species was placed in the genus Arius. Like all these Arius-relatives Nemapteryx nenga is not a shark at all, but a catfish. N. nenga attains a length of about 30 cm and should be kept in large aquaria only.

These "freshwater sharks" are animals that live in the mouths of large rivers. So they can live as well in pure freshwater and in pure seawater. We recommend to keep them in brackish water with a salt content of 5-10 grams per liter.

Due to the nicely shaped dorsal fin the popular name "whimple freshwater shark" could be used. As far as it is known all species of the Arius-relationship are mouthbrooders. The eggs are taken by the male in the mouth until they hatch. One should keep these pretty catfish always in groups (5-10 specimens). Singly kept specimens do not thrive very well.

For our customers: the animals have code 438322 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photo: Frank Schäfer

Brotia herculea26.06.2015

Whoever is on search for a large and easy-to-keep freshwater snail should try the up to 10 cm long Brotia herculea. We recently received this species from Thailand. The animals are relatives to the famed red-rimmed melania (Melanoides tuberculata). But Brotia herculea hardly ever burrows itself in the soil.

In Brotia males and females exist. Sadly it is impossible to tell the sexes apart. So anyone who is interested in breeding this animal should buy a number of them to ensure that both sexes are included.

Brotia herculea is a livebearing species. The juveniles are very numerous and very tiny. Breeders found between 60 and 100 babies from one offspring. Obviously these snails breed only twice or three times per year and have still a kind a breeding season. For rearing the youngsters an old, long-time running "dirty" tank fits best, otherwise one has to face a lot of losses. B. herculea becomes fertile at an age of about two years in aquaria. Then they are about 6 cm long.

Brotia herculea feeds a lot. One can offer a broad variety of vegetables and food tablets for ornamental fish. Some aquarium plants are also eaten. It seems that individual preferences exist. If the snails are fed properly they usually leave aquarium plants alone.

For our customers: the animals have code 481312 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

L24 has been described: Pseudacanthicus pitanga26.06.2015

Another L-number has received a correct scientific description finally: L24. The beautiful orange finned cactus pleco from the Rio Tocantins is named now Pseudacanthicus pitanga. The specific name "pitanga" is from the Tupi-Guarini language and means "red" in allusion to the colour of the fins.

The scientific paper also discusses the risks of using this fish for the ornamental fish industry. The scientist states that this kind of use is no danger for wild populations. The only real danger for Pseudacanthicus pitanga are hydroelectric dams that change the water body in a way that it is destroyed for fish that are specialized in fast flowing waters, like L24. However, due to the very wide distribution of P. pitanga in the Tocantins the species is currently not endangered at all.

Literature: Chamon, C. C. (2015): Pseudacanthicus pitanga: a new species of Ancestrini (SIluriformes: Loricariidae: Hypostominae) from rio Tocantins Basin, North Brazil. Zootaxa 3973 (2): 309-320

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Labidochromis sp. Hongi "Sweden"26.06.2015

We received about 4 cm long bred specimens of this incredibly colourful sport. These fish do not exist in the wild. The additional name "Sweden" has been chosen, because it is said that in Sweden the food mix has been discovered that brings the unbelievable colours on the fish.

For our customers: the animals have code 540902 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Sinibotia robusta26.06.2015

Every year in June is import season for Botia-like loaches from China. The genus Sinibotia currently contains six species. The genus Sinibotia differs from Botia by the presence of three pairs of barbel (two maxillary, one mandibulary), while in Botia a fourth pair of barbels is present on the lower lip.

Sinibotia robusta is also known as the Kansu loach. This comparatively peaceful species is best kept at room temperature (18-24°C) without an additional heater. Maximum size reported for that species is about 18 cm, but in the wild most specimens become only 8-10 cm long.

For our customers: the fish have code 405053 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade. Only very few specimens available!

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer  

Heros severus wild26.06.2015

Many aquarists know this beautiful cichlid by name, but it is only rarely found in the trade. Wild collected specimens are even rarer. We currently received wild collected specimens from Venezuela. They just start to differentiate sexually and are 7-10 cm long. Eye-spot cichlids can become as large as 20 cm. They are comparatively peaceful fish and do usually not destroy the aquarium plantation.

For our customers: the fish have code 682944 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

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