Colombia… a journey to the habitats of our fish Part 2

28. February 2020

After our excursion to the Rio Guaviare we went by boat in direction to Rio Inirida, up the river of the same name up to the Caño Bocón. The Caño Bocón is a small tributary of the Rio Inirida that carries black water. Leonell catches his fish here, which we later keep in our aquariums in Germany. But until the time comes, the fish are kept about three hours upstream at a collecting point in large outdoor ponds with fresh water supply. Many of the fish we know swim here in 26°C warm water with a pH value of 4.2 and 21 microsimens, such as Paracheirodon simulans (GERY, 1963), the blue neon or Crenuchus spilurus GÜNTHER, 1863, a magnificent tetra.

Puerto Inirida – harbour
Boulengerella lateristriga (BOULENGER, 1895), Rio Inirida
Hydrolycus armatus (JARDINE, 1841), Rio Inirida

We used our stay at Caño Bocón to fish a smaller inflow, the Caño Jota in the estuary area. This small inflow had everything what one imagines from a small jungle creek, if …yes, if there were not an infinite number of small blackflies that could make the life hell. Since we arrived here in the early afternoon, we only had to dress up thick until sunset to avoid being completely bitten. During the night and the following morning we had the opportunity to look for fish without blackflies. Since such places with lots of blackflies are not really popular, we drove down the Caño Bocón again towards Rio Inirida around noon.

Caño Bocón
Hemiodus immaculatus KNER, 1858
Brycon amazonicus (SPIX & AGASSIZ, 1829)
Dicrossus gladicauda SCHINDLER & STAECK, 2008
Microglanis iheringi GOMES, 1946
Caño Jota
Crenuchus spilurus GÜNTHER, 1863 from the Caño Jota
Collecting station at Caño Bocón, Roland Rietsch measuring water chemistry
Water parameters at Caño Bocón
Paracheirodon axelrodi (SCHULTZ, 1956)
The catch of a fisherman on the Caño Bocón is examined
Pterophyllum altum PELLEGRIN, 1903
Monocirrhus polyacanthus HECKEL, 1840
Chelonoidis denticulatus (LINNAEUS, 1766) a forest turtle in the village of Comunidad Remanso
Roland Rietsch films in a clear water tributary to the Rio Inirida

The following day we reached the Comunidad Remanso at the Rio Inirida, there are the last foothills of the Guyana Shield. Three round granite rocks, the Cerro Mavicure, Mono & Pajarito form a natural obstacle for the Rio Inirida, with a big rapids. Here it was also possible to stay for three days to explore the surrounding area. We circumnavigated the Cerro Pajarito in a day trip and in the evening we fell in our hammocks from the manifold impressions of the day. A little above the rapids there is a small black water inflow of the Caño San Joaquin, which turned out to be an interesting fishing water for us. On the way back to Puerto Inirida, we made a short stop to climb the Cerro Mavicure and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the breathtaking landscape of the Guyana Shield. In Puerto Inrida we visited the export station of Leonell and accommodated our self-caught fish there.

View from Cerro Mavicure to the Cerro Mono & Pajarito
View from Cerro Mavicure to the rapids of Rio Inirida
Caño San Joaquin
Mesonauta insignis (HECKEL, 1840)
Brycon falcatus MÜLLER & TROSCHEL, 1845 a common tetra in the region
Apistogramma lineata MESA & LASSO, 2011, male
Lonchogenys ilisha MYERS, 1927, a typical blackwater fish with large eyes from the Caño San Joaquin
Export station in Puerto Inirida by Leonell, we get to choose fish
Export station in Puerto Inirida, fish bags for the weekly transport to Bogota and Europe are prepared
Bryconops caudomaculatus (GÜNTHER, 1864) a common inhabitant of the Orinoco system
Collecting fishes at the Caño Coco
Hemiloricaria formosa (ISBRÜCKER & NIJSSEN, 1979)
Dekeyseria scaphirhyncha (KNER, 1854)

We took the opportunity to look for interesting fish in Leonell’s ponds, which we could have sent to Germany with the fish we caught ourselves.
The end of the really great fishing tour was at Caño Coco, which is a tributary of the Rio Atabapo and of course also hosts some of the species that are found there.

Our tourguide and fish collector Leonell
and his son Camillo

A big thank you to Aquarium Glaser, as well as to Leonell, his son Camillo and our Indian boatman Kortez, without whom this tour would not have been possible.

Text, pictures and film: Thomas Große

Part one of the story can be found here: