Fish archives (31)

Hyphessobrycon rosaceus (“ornatus”)

22. September 2023

In 1997, the US ichthyologists Stanley Weitzman and Lisa Palmer published a scientific paper that caused a sensation among experts. In it, they described the new species Hyphessobrycon epicharis, but also commented in detail on a relationship group within the South American small tetras known as the “rosy tetra clade”. The authors showed, among other things, that the phantom tetras belong to this group and that the genus Megalamphodus, in which the phantom tetras stood until then, does not represent an independent genus. 

The actual “rosy tetra”, i.e. the species that precedes the group as the eponymous species, has been one of the most popular ornamental fishes since 1933. Since there are a number of species in the rosy tetra clade that look extremely similar, it is understandable that there have been several misidentifications. At the first import in 1933 it was believed to be a scientifically unknown species, which was described as Hyphessobrycon ornatus. It sailed under this name until the 1960s. Then it was believed that H. ornatus was identical with H. bentosi from Brazil described in 1908. This was split into two subspecies, H. bentosi bentosi and H. bentosi ornatus. The current state of affairs is (fide Zarske, 2014) that the rosy tetra is in fact identical to H. rosaceus, a species described from Guyana in 1909 and to which H. ornatus is a synonym. 

Regardless of the name confusion, the tetra still swims in our aquariums and is propagated by several breeders. This is good, because from Guyana, its homeland, for many years no or only very sporadic imports take place for most different reasons (mainly to high costs). The very rare imports then do not contain common species like the rosy tetra. It is a good example that conservation breeding can easily be done over decades if only there is sufficient and continuous demand for the animals.

Please also note the entry about the breeding form “White Fin”:

For our customers: Hyphessobrycon rosaceus (“ornatus”) has under the name H. ornatus code 261402 on our stock list. Please note that we only supply to wholesalers.


Weitzman, S. H. and L. Palmer (1997): A new species of Hyphessobrycon (Teleostei: Characidae) from the Neblina region of Venezuela and Brazil, with comments on the putative `rosy tetra clade’. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters v. 7 (no. 3): 209-242.

Zarske, A. (2014): Zur Systematik einiger Blutsalmler oder “Rosy Tetras” (Teleostei: Ostariophysi: Characidae). Vertebrate Zoology v. 64 (no. 2): 139-167.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Osphronemus laticlavius

22. September 2023

Once again we received the rare red-finned giant gourami (Osphronemus laticlavius). Like the common giant gourami this species grows around 60 cm long. The home of the fish is on Borneo, where it probably occurs naturally only in Sabah, i.e. in the very north of the island in the Malayan part. Since about 1985 this spectacular species is bred in Bangkok. Animals of this breeding stock formed the basis of the scientific description in 1992. The species was well known before, but always thought to be a “color form” of the common giant gourami, O. goramy.

The adult males develop a distinct physiognomy and deep red fins, which contrast beautifully with the body, which is black in courtship mood. The pictures of the adult animals (which we unfortunately do not have in our offer) show that O. laticlavius is a splendid show fish for large aquariums.

For our customers: the animals have code 440922 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Macrognathus aculeatus “Bangka”

22. September 2023

The small spiny eel Macrognathus aculeatus – the species rarely grows to 20 cm long, even though 38 cm is given as the maximum length in the literature – is one of the longest known species of these bizarre fishes. Already in 1786 it was described by Bloch. As so often with old known species there are exactly therefore a lot of misidentifications in the literature, because the origin was only vaguely known to Bloch; he gives “East India”, which corresponded at that time to the Moluccas, the Indonesian island world and the peninsula Malacca. In this area there are several Macrognathus species similar to each other. Therefore Kottelat and Widjanarti limited the origin to Java in 2005 and established a neotype from there as future reference.

We could now for the first time import beautiful, apparently adult (because the females show clear spawning) Macrognathus from Indonesia, which according to the exporter were collected on the (relatively!) small island of Bangka. Bangka is located east off Sumatra and about 500 km north of Java. These spiny eels are not distinguishable from the neotype and are perhaps the first “real” Macrognathus aculeatus that came alive to Germany – at least recognized.

The care of these animals is easy. They are peaceful, sociable fish that like to cuddle with conspecifics in a lair. However, small fish are seen as a food supplement, you should pay attention to this. Temperature requirements are between 22 and 28°C. Although in nature they seem to colonize peat swamps with strongly acidic black water, the adaptation to “normal” water conditions is good. Any drinking water is suitable for their care. For food it is best to give frozen and live food. They prefer red mosquito larvae, tubifex and the like. After acclimation they usually also accept granulated food. All spiny eels are free spawners, spawning near the water surface in dense plant tangles. Spiny eels do practice broodcare. The sexes differ mainly in the abdominal girth, which is considerably fuller in females.

For our customers: the animals have code 425158 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Myoglanis koepckei

20. September 2023

This small catfish, unique in its combination of characteristics, originates from Peru. There it was collected (scientifically) for the first time in 1984 in a small tributary of the Rio Nanay, which had sandy bottom covered with debris (probably dead wood, dead leaves etc). The scientific description was then in 1999 as Myoglanis koepckei. In the ornamental fish trade this species is offered only very sporadically in small numbers. For us these are the first specimen at all, which we could import.

The largest specimen that has been scientifically measured so far was 5.9 cm long (without caudal fin). The specimen photographed for this post is about that size, rather slightly larger, and measures (with caudal fin) about 7.5 cm. Noticeable are the numerous and large pores in the head area and on the forebody, which strangely are not mentioned at all in the scientific description. These pores are highly sensitive sensory organs. Body shape and just these pores (they are electroreceptors, with which extremely weak electric currents are perceived, as they arise, for example, during the muscle movement of a small worm) strongly remind of the conditions in Gymnallabes (see Although Myoglanis and Gymnallabes are not related; they probably have a similar lifestyle. 

For our customers: the animals have code 271223 on our stock list. Please note that we supply only wholesale. Only available in very small quantities!

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Pelvicachromis pulcher wild yellow

18. September 2023

The yellow color variety of the species P. pulcher comes from southwestern Nigeria, where it is collected west of the Niger Delta in the Ethiop River area. The additional color designations yellow, red and green refer to the gill covers in P. pulcher, they all get red bellies. 

In all Pelvicachromis, females are considerably more colorful than males. In the wild caught P. pulcher, which we can offer regularly, one can study very nicely the variance of the eyespots in the dorsal fin and caudal fin. The number of spots varies individually between zero and eight.

For our customers: the animals have code 560203 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Nematobrycon palmeri WILD

15. September 2023

The Emperor Tetra (Nematobrycon palmeri) has been one of the most popular tetra species for decades due to its beauty and interesting behavior, and is available year-round as a captive breed.

Wild catches, on the other hand, are only available for a limited time and on a seasonal basis. We have now once again received a beautiful shipment of these animals from Colombia.

As with most tetras, the main difference between wild-caught and captive-bred tetras is that wild-caught tetras are much smaller and more graceful than captive-bred tetras, which is due to the fact that the food supply in nature is by far not as abundant as in the aquarium. The photographed animals are fully sexually differentiated (i.e. the males have the three-tipped tail fin and both sexes are capable of spawning) and yet they are only 2-3 cm long!

Regarding the colorfulness there is no difference between captive bred and wild caught fish: both are beautiful!

For our customers: the animals have code 272603 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply to wholesalers.

Text & Photos: Frank Schäfer

Apteronotus leptorhynchus (A. macrostomus)

15. September 2023

The “Brown Ghost” is one of the most popular knifefishes in the aquarium. The species is not small, but not huge either: the maximum length to be expected is about 20 cm. This makes it less than half the size of its black cousin (A. albifrons). It is fascinating to observe knifefish in the aquarium. At first they are still shy and hide, but soon the comparatively intelligent fish understand that there is no danger to them in the aquarium. Then they delight the aquarist with their swimming skills, for knifefish can swim forward and backward with equal speed and elegance. All knifefish belong to the electric fish, but they cannot deliver an electric shock, the voltage is much too low for that. The electrical discharges are used by the fish for orientation (like the echolocation of bats on land) and for intra-species communication. In order to avoid electrosmog in the aquarium, each animal needs hiding places in the form of a cave, which shields the electrical signal. Not beautiful, but extremely practical for this purpose are PVC tubes of various diameters.

For decades, the Brown Ghost was believed to have a vast range in South America. In 2013, scientists Carlos David de Santana and Richard P. Vari published a study in which they showed that there is not one widespread species, but that at least nine different species can be identified, each with a relatively small range. Purely externally, however, they cannot be distinguished on live animals. The fish offered in the hobby originate from Colombia and belong with highest probability to Apteronotus macrostomus. This species comes from the surroundings of the city Villavicencio at the Rio Meta, where numerous ornamental fish catchers are active. The “true” A. leptorhynchus is probably not imported; it comes from the Essequibo River drainage in Guyana. However, since there are no significant external differences between the Brown Ghost species, they will probably continue to be referred to as “Apteronotus leptorhynchus” in the trade.

For our customers: the animals have code 208002 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply to wholesalers.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Peckoltia sp. L265/LDA84

15. September 2023

There are three forms of orange fringed plecos among L catfishes, namely L76 (tributaries of Rio do Pará, Brazil), L99 (also tributaries of Rio do Pará, Brazil), and L265 (Rio Tajajós and its tributary Rio Jamanxin, Brazil). Thus, all sites are located within the state of Pará. L265 has also received LDA number 84 after being assigned an L number. All of these animals have in common that the otherwise largely unpatterned dorsal and caudal fin has an orange fringe. Individually the body pattern can be quite different, therefore the various L- and LDA-numbers. But always one recognizes a pattern of four broad, dark bars on the flanks. In L265/LDA84 the body plates are conspicuously dark bordered.

The pretty animals become 12-15 cm long and belong to the peaceful representatives of the family. The dentition shows that they are unspecialized omnivores, which in the aquarium especially like to accept frozen food of animal origin, but should also get the usual vegeabilic food. Like so many central Amazonian loricariids they like a combination of strong current and comparatively warm water (28-30°C). They are typical cave breeders with a father family.

The assignment of L76, L99 and L265 to the genus Peckoltia is only provisional; because of the orange fin seams a relationship with Ancistomus snethlagae is occasionally suspected. But it is surely more meaningful to wait for a scientific treatment of the animals, than to speculate wildly concerning the genus affiliation.

For our customers: the animals have code 26480-L 265-2 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply to wholesalers.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Brochis splendens “Peru“

13. September 2023

From the upper Amazonas drainage in Peru we regularly receive the beautiful emerald catfish, Brochis splendens. From this region no less than four synonyms of this armored catfish, distributed in three genera (Brochis, Chaenothorax and Corydoras) were described by the famous biologist Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897)! This shows very clearly how different the fish can look. The type specimen of the species Callichthys splendens (today: Brochis splendens) described by Castelnau in 1855 came from the Rio Tocantins in Brazil. It is agreed that there are several species behind the name Brochis splendens, but a comprehensive revision of the species does not exist at present.

At least it is quite interesting that just in a tank with Peru imports we noticed animals with small dots in the dorsal fin. This fin is usually completely transparent in B. splendens. At the same time one male developed – possibly because of the unusually high water temperatures due to the current heat wave – a courtship dress and distinctly long extended pectoral fin spines. The courtship dress is shown by a darkening of the body, a brightening of the head area and both zones are sharply separated by a bright vertical line. The matching female (and the other animals in the tank), on the other hand, continues to show the usual shiny emerald green coloration.

In terms of care, Brochis splendens does not differ significantly from most Corydoras species. You should keep these fish in a group (from 6 specimens upwards). The tank should not be too small, because B. splendens can reach almost 10 cm length. The bottom should consist of fine, soft sand at least in places. Every usual ornamental fish food is eaten. The Corydoras are completely peaceful against all co-inhabitants. Every tap water suitable as drinking water is suitable for the care, the water temperature can be between 18 and 28°C.

For our customers: the animals have code 212505 on our stock list. Please note that we supply only wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Hemigrammus luelingi

11. September 2023

Head-and-Taillight tetras were introduced to Germany as early as 1910 and were also bred soon after. They soon belonged to the iron stock of ornamental fish. Since then there are practically no more wild-caught imports. Now we have received head-and-taillights from Peru, which we initially mistakenly determined to be wild Hemigrammus ocellifer. Tetra specialist Flávio Lima pointed out to us that they are actually H. luelingi, however! He wrote: „This is not Hemigrammus ocellifer, but rather Hemigrammus luelingi, a related species. Hemigrammus ocellifer does not have the anterior humeral blotch rounded as this fish but vertically elongated and more faded. Also, it is a relatively stockier fish. Hemigrammus ocellifer is actually much more common and widespread than H. luelingi, which is a common species in western Amazon basin, especially Peru and Colombia, but not elsewhere.“

Many thanks to Flávio also once again at this point! 

Tetra lovers should definitely pay attention to the differences so they don’t accidentally produce unwanted hybrids (if the two species mate). It is gratifying that another handsome tetra species is now available in the hobby. The animals look especially pretty in aquariums with dark substrate, then the luminous spots on the shoulders and tail and the eyes seem to literally glow.

Who would like to compare: an entry to H. ocellifer can be found here:

Also very similar is H. falsus, for this see here:

For our customers: H. luelingi has code 256793 on our stock list. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Pseudomugil ivantsoffi

8. September 2023

This cute blue-eye originates from the surroundings of the town Timika in the Indonesian province Papua on New Guinea. It was discovered and scientifically described relatively late (1999); at first it was thought to be the same species as P. reticulatus, whose locality is about 900 km further northwest (seen from Timika). But then it turned out that they are different species. 

The animals reach a maximum length of about 3 cm (without caudal fin), males are slightly larger than females. In nature they live in strongly shaded jungle streams of about 2 m width. There pH-values between 6,7 and 7,8 and water temperatures between 24 and 28°C were measured. One must always keep in mind that such measurements are always only snapshots and in nature the values can occasionally deviate significantly up and down. Nevertheless they show that the species is obviously not adapted to extreme conditions.

The care and breeding are comparable with other blue-eyes. It is best to keep the completely peaceful animals in a group of 10-20 specimens of both sexes. They eat any common ornamental fish food, it only has to fit into the small mouth. Spawning takes place in fine plants, these fish do not practice brood care. The newly hatched fry are tiny and grow quite slowly. 

For our customers: the animals have code 446022 on our stock list. Please note that we supply only wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Corydoras ortegai (CW31)

8. September 2023

This cute corydoras is relatively new. It was scientifically described only in 2007. In the hobby it was known a bit longer as “Loreto Panda”, “New Panda” and under the code number CW31. The CW-numbers are assigned on the homepage of Ian Fuller (

The complete distribution of the pretty species is not yet known. The locality of the specimens used for scientific description was in the drainage of the Rio Putumayo. This river rises in southern Colombia, forms the border between Colombia, Ecuador and Peru in places, continues through Peru into Brazil (where it is called Rio Içá) and finally flows into the Amazon. In total, the Rio Putumayo is over 2,000 km long. 

Corydoras ortegai does not inhabit black or clear water, but has been found in the turbid white water of the Rio Yaguas (a tributary of the Putumayo in Peru). Aquaristically the species is excellent and could be bred already, but it is not very productive, so that the small number of offspring does not (yet) appear in the trade, but is distributed among enthusiasts. Males become about 4 cm, females about 4.5 cm long (standard length without tail fin).

For our customers: the animals 238302 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Caridina pareparensis parvidentata

6. September 2023

Dwarf shrimp from the island of Sulawesi (formerly: Celebes) in Indonesia are famous for their colorfulness – and notorious for their high demands on care. These species originate from the large Malili lakes. However, there are dwarf shrimp on Sulawesi that are some of the easiest to keep and maintain anywhere! Among these is Caridina pareparensis. It lives in rivers in the south of the island and adapts to pretty much all conditions you can imagine in a normal aquarium at all: soft and hard water, acidic or alkaline pH, even some salt in the water is tolerated and the temperature can be between 16 and 30°C.

Under all these conditions lives and reproduces the dwarf, which grows only about 1.5 cm long. The breeding is very productive. Although this dwarf shrimp is not very colorful, it is still pretty and because it is not shy at all, its care gives a lot of pleasure.

The species Caridina pareparensis was described from a river near Parepare; the form kept in the hobby is usually assigned to the subspecies (described as variant) Caridina pareparensis parvidentata, whose origin is a spring called Malawa near the village of Tjamba (this is about 150 km further south from Parepare). Where exactly the animals, which are kept in the aquarium, were/are collected is not known. The difference between the typical form and parvidentata lies in the dentition of the rostrum, where parvidentata (like our animals) has 6-10 denticles, all located on the rostrum, while the typical pareparensis has 13-18 denticles, of which 3-4 are located on the cephalothorax.

For our customers: the dwarf shrimp have code 481682 on our stock list. Please note that we only supply to wholesalers.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Hephaestus habbemai

4. September 2023

New fish, new questions. This is how we could characterize our import of the grunter Hephaestus habbemai. These beautiful fish come to us from Indonesia and originate from the island of New Guinea. Originally (1910) they were described from the south of the island, from the Lorentz River. The species is a pure freshwater inhabitant; it reaches a length of about 15-20 cm plus caudal fin. At present our animals are 10-12 cm long (total length). Among themselves the animals are extremely well compatible, which is by no means a matter of course with grunters.

The perch-like shape and the relationship show it already: we are dealing with a carnivore. Frozen and live food of suitable size is willingly accepted, small fish are of course considered as additional food. 

So far, so good. Where are the questions? In fact, the identification of the animals is by no means certain. We simply took the name for the time being, the research about which species it really is proves to be lengthy and is by no means finished.

We have also made a small film about these fish, which you can watch here:

For our customers: the fish have code 421478 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Thayeria sp. Red Tail Teles Pires

1. September 2023

Penguin tetras (Thayeria) are well known aquarium fishes. Of the scientifically accepted four species (T. boehlkei, T. ifati, T. obliqua, T. tapajonica) T. boehlkei is always on offer in the ornamental fish trade. Almost all of them are offsprings, although the species is widely distributed in South America (Peru, Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia).

The Rio Teles Pires is an approximately 1,400 km long river in Brazil and one of the two headwaters of the Rio Tapajós. Apparently, a biodiversity hotspot for Thayeria is located in the Teles Pires: in a recent scientific study of Teles Pires fish species (Ohara, W. M. et al. (2017): Peixes do rio teles pires: diversidade e guia de identificação.), the authors were able to detect 3 different species: T. boehlkei, the then undescribed T. tapajonica, and another scientifically new species in which the lateral stripe begins only below the dorsal fin (as in T. ifati from the Maroni River in Guiana). They provisionally call this species “falso ifati”.

But the most spectacular new discovery from the Teles Pires probably passed them by: the Thayeria sp. Red Tail! It is a wonderfully colorful Penguin tetra, which combines all positive characteristics of the T. boehlkei (size, swimming, social behavior, demands on the aquarium keeping), only that it is additionally very colorful. Whether the species really originates from Teles Pires, we can of course not judge, but we can now offer this new gem in larger numbers as a German offspring for the first time.

For our customers: Thayeria sp. Red Tail Teles Pires has code 296752 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Corydoras loretoensis

1. September 2023

The extremely great popularity of the Corydoras in aquaristics is certainly due to the combination of peacefulness, usefulness and nice appearance that these fish combine. They all have these characteristics, and so you really can’t go far wrong when it comes to deciding which species to choose for your aquarium.

But there are subtle differences nonetheless. Some species grow larger than others, some are particularly sensitive, some like it rather cool, others warm, still others swim more in the open water and also the swarm cohesion is differently pronounced. Corydoras loretoensis originates from Peru, more precisely from the department of Loreto – hence its name. It becomes (without tail fin) maximally 4.5-5 cm long. The temperature requirements are in the range of 22-26°C, the adaptability to different water values is very good. C. loretoensis belongs to the bottom dwellers with particularly large swarm cohesion. Therefore it should be kept in groups of 7 specimens or more.

For our customers: the animals have code 233603 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Cambarellus patzcuarensis CPO

30. August 2023

The gray-brown wild form of the orange dwarf crayfish Cambarellus patzcuarensis (CPO) originates from Mexico, where it is endemic (i.e. only found there) in Lake Patzcuaro. Due to massive environmental pollution and the use of foreign fish for food purposes, the ecosystem of Lake Patzcuaro is extremely disturbed, and a large number of the animal and plant species found there are unfortunately even threatened with extinction – among them Cambarellus patzcuarensis. The catch for aquarium keeping plays no role at all, commercial catches do not exist and the aquarium strains go back to very few individuals brought back by private expeditions, which completely excludes any impairment of the wild stocks from a scientific point of view.

The orange form, which is common in aquaristics today, originated in the aquarium and has been stabilized by appropriate breeding selection. It does not occur in the wild.

With usually 3 cm (male) and 3.5 cm (female) length, the animals are true dwarf crayfish. Only in rare exceptional cases they can reach a maximum length of 5 cm. At least the aquarium strains are also by far not as hide-addicted as most of the larger crayfish species and therefore often visible during the day. Because of their small size Cambarellus species cause little mess in planted aquariums and they can be socialized well with fish. Of course, one must limit oneself to small and peaceful species, which cannot be dangerous to the mini-crawfish even after molting, when they are still soft.

For our customers: CPO has code 481332 on our stock list. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Gymnogeophagus balzanii

28. August 2023

The hump of the male of G. balzanii is comparable to the feather tail of a peacock: it is simply the expression of manhood! The Paraguay Eartheater originates from the southern parts of South America and is imported now and then from Paraguay as wild collected stock, but the species is also bred on a regular basis. The peaceful and quirky animal is thus quite often available, like our photographed specimens.

The species is a maternal, larvophilous mouthbrooder; this means that only the female takes care for the brood and that only the hatched larvae are taken in the mouth, while the eggs (which are placed on stones etc.) are treated in a “normal” way.

For our customers: the animals have code 676013 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Datnioides campbelli

25. August 2023

Among lovers of large, predatory fish, the species of the genus Datnioides (formerly: Coius) enjoy great popularity. They are calm, expressive fish that, after a sometimes somewhat tough acclimation period in which they are shy and skittish, become very attached to the keeper and provide decades of enjoyment.

All Datnioides species grow to 30-40 cm in size. Some prefer brackish water, others soft and acidic freshwater. Still others – D. campbelli is one of these – can do both and take it as it comes. D. campbelli is restricted in its distribution to the island of New Guinea. There it lives in the south-central part in two states, the province Papua belonging to Indonesia and the independent Papua New Guinea. Most of its finds are in the lower reaches of rivers, where it is often brackish, but it has also been caught far above the tidal influence. Due to its bright golden-yellow tiger coloration (all other Datnioides species are silver to ivory with black bands), D. campbelli is easy to identify by color, but capable of extremely rapid color changes. Disturbed animals become deep dark brown in a flash. Currently our animals are 7-9 cm long.

For basic care of such tiger perches see

For our customers: the animals have code 413893 on our stock list. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Stiphodon atropurpureus

25. August 2023

The neon gobies of the genus Stiphodon are all beautiful fish. None of the 37 currently known species grows longer than 5-7 cm, usually they remain much smaller. Although adult Stiphodon live exclusively in pure freshwater, the larvae can only develop in the sea. Therefore, neon gobies live in streams near the coast. They spawn under stones, the male guards the eggs. The hatching, tiny larvae are washed with the current into the sea, where they develop.

Stiphodon atropurpureus is – if one follows the literature data – widely distributed, because the larvae are drifted with ocean currents. The species is known from Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and South China. However, it is scientifically described from the Philippines. Extremely similar is S. semoni from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. By pure observation the two species cannot be distinguished. S. atropurpureus has more scales in the longitudinal row (30-37, mostly 33-35, S. semoni has 27-30), in the vertical row (12-18, mostly 15-17, S. semoni has 10-11) and in front of the first dorsal fin, so altogether smaller (and therefore more) scales on the body. 

However, this is not recognizable on the living animal; it is more than likely that S. atropurpureus and S. semoni are constantly confused with each other. Also we have no other choice than to trust the information of the exporter. Since the two species do not differ in aquaristic requirements and in coloration, the question of which species they are is rather academic.

The fish, like all Stiphodon, live in schools consisting of males and females. Females are inconspicuously colored. Only when they want to spawn, the males develop the full color splendor, occupy a territory and court with their bright colors in front of the females. When the young have hatched, the males become paler again (but they are then still beautiful) and return to the shoal.

In the aquarium the care succeeds easily. Being omnivorous, Stiphodon prefer small food particles (food tablets, frozen cyclops, etc.) and also gnaw on algae. 

For our customers: the animals have code 456083 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Leporinus pellegrinii

23. August 2023

The large genus Leporinus comprises more than 90 species and still confronts science with hardly solvable problems concerning the delimitation of the species. Among the groups of species known for decades as particularly complicated is the group of forms around Leporinus maculatus. These are Leporinus, where at least a part of the flank pattern consists of round spots. Leporinus pellegrinii, which was described in 1910 from Surinam, belongs to the “maculatus group” (the spelling with two “i” at the end is the correct one). The author Steindachner later also assigned animals from the Rio Branco to this species. Unfortunately, the species was not illustrated in the scientific description, so that until today there are doubts about its identity. According to the present opinion the species exists in the Rio Branco, Essequibo, Tibit, Saramacca, Suriname, Mana and in the Peruvian Amazon. 

We have at present very beautiful Leporinus, which are to be counted most probably to the species L. pellegrinii, in stock. Our animals come from Brazil, we did not get more exact information. It is a relatively small Leporinus species, which according to the available information does not exceed 12 cm total length (including tail fin). Among themselves the beautiful fish are peaceful, which is always worth mentioning with Leporinus.

For our customers: the animals have code 265933 on our stock list. Please note that we supply only wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Hypselobarbus jerdoni

21. August 2023

We have received again some juveniles of the very rarely imported large barb Hypselobarbus jerdoni. It is an endemic species of southern India, where it is found in the states of Karnataka and Kerala. With a maximum final length of 50 cm, H. jerdoni is only suitable for really large aquariums.

Here the current-loving, peaceful fish is a real eye-catcher. The brilliant orange pelvic fins are its unique selling point, something you won’t find in any other barb species. In nature, the animal performs spawning migrations of up to 100 km in length. From this it can be concluded that it is a powerful swimmer, capable of overcoming obstacles. If you want to catch H. jerdoni from the aquarium, it sometimes shows what it is made of and jumps from a standing position over 50 cm high vertically out of the water – although our animals are only 6-8 cm long! But nevertheless the species is anything but shy.

For our customers: the animals have code 421592 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Gastromyzon “punctulatus”

18. August 2023

In 1961, a review paper on the hillstream loaches of the genus Gastromyzon of Borneo was published. In it five species were distinguished: G. pauciradiatus, G. nieuwenhuisii, G. fasciatus, G. punctulatus and G. borneensis. In 2006 the next revision of these fishes from Borneo appeared. This was accompanied by a true species explosion; in Gastromyzon alone, 36 species are now known from Borneo! Of the original five species, two are now in Neogastromyzon (nieuwenhuisii and pauciradiatus), so that no less than 33 species, which were assigned to 3 species in earlier imports, must now be redetermined! However, this is not so easy as one can imagine, because many species characteristics are only recognizable on specially prepared specimens and even then it requires great experience not to go astray.

There are always two spotted species offered in the ornamental fish trade that look extremely similar: Gastromyzon ctenocephalus and G. scitulus. Since in former times only one punctulated species was known, namely G. punctulatus, both have been called G. punctulatus for decades. In reality, however, G. punctulatus has “top of head and vertebral area with small, round, light spots in a dark network” (Inger & Chin, 1961) and is probably imported only very exceptionally – if at all, but the two species G. ctenocephalus and G. sciltulus have light spots on a uniform dark background. Depending on the mood, the basic coloration can vary between light brown and deep black. You can supposedly tell these two species apart if they spread their fins. Then you can see that C. ctenocephalus has horizontal blue stripes in the caudal fin and blue-green shiny spots in the dorsal fin; G. sciltulus has blue-green shiny spots in the caudal fin and no colorful markings in the dorsal fin. Unfortunately, however, the animals do not spread their fins when called, and furthermore there are abundant intermediate forms, even within a single import. The animals shown in this post correspond best to G. ctenocephalus. Because quite often a mix of up to five hillstream loach species comes to us anyway – these animals are simply still offered as Gastromyzon punctulatus in the trade.

This is not a big deal if it is not about special scientific questions, because regarding the care requirements all Gastromyzon species are alike. They want very clean, if possible strongly flowing water in a temperature range of 22-28°C, whereby middle values are to be preferred. In nature the water is very soft and often also acidic, in the aquarium they do not necessarily need this. However, during acclimation it may be useful to approximate natural water values. Gastromyzon have a horny lip, with which they can scrape growth from stones and roots. However, they are less concerned with algae than with micro life. You can feed these fish very well with all kinds of food, small frozen foods are best for them. Among themselves these fish are compatible, fights are always harmless. They are not interested in other species. Males differ from the (larger) females by a large glandular scale at the base of the ventral fin. Spawning takes place – as far as known – over coarse gravel, the spawn develops in the gap system between the pebbles. Gastromyzon species do not engage in brood care.

For our customers: Gastromyzon “punctulatus” has code 416562 on our stock list. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Gymnochanda ploegi

18. August 2023

We have received this dwarf glass perch from Indonesia, which was named in honour of Alex Ploeg, who was in the passenger plane shot over the Ukraine on 17 July 2014.

Gymnochanda ploegi is known so far only from West Kalimantan, the part of Borneo belonging to Indonesia. It is a pure freshwater species that lives in very soft, acidic water. The peaceful fish become only 3-4 cm long and is a schooling species. Their care is not difficult, however, Gymnochanda, like most glass-perches, accept only live and  frozen food, the latter only after habituation. It is best to feed such small treasures with live Artemia nauplii.

Only the males have enlarged and red colored fins. Glass-perches often spawn in the aquarium, they are plant-spawners without brood-care. The raising of the tiny young, who often only accept certain food organisms, is, however, a very high school of aquaristics.

For our customers: the animals have code 419622 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Brachyplatystoma capapretum

16. August 2023

The genus Brachyplatystoma is called “Goliath Catfishes” in English, because some of its species belong to the largest freshwater fishes at all: up to 3.6 m length are given in literature! In South America they are ubiquitous and important food fish, of which more than 30,000 tons are consumed annually. Nevertheless, distinguishing the species is almost impossible in some cases, and the species we present here was even scientifically recorded and named only in 2005! In fact, there is no one in the entire world who could confidently distinguish Brachyplatystoma capapretum and B. filamentosum from live specimens or photographs. The difference lies in the dentition. Since both species can occur in the same habitat, also the knowledge of the origin is of no use for identification attempts. The specimens shown here are from Colombia. Our decision in favor of B. capapretum in the present case is based on the upper jaw dentition, which seems to us more similar to B. capapretum than to B. filamentosum. But of course we cannot be really sure either. The relatively small spots on the body speak rather for B. filamentosum, in B. capapretum they are often larger. But since very small juveniles (up to about 3 cm body length) of both species have no spots at all, this characteristic is very unreliable.

No matter which species it is exactly: both become huge! So they are only suitable for really large aquariums and zoological gardens. Although the maximum length of B. capapretum is stated to be “only” 120 cm (that of B. filamentosum three times as long), this is probably based simply on the fact that before 2005 all large goliath catfishes were assigned to B. filamentosum. Due to massive (and threatening!) fishing pressure, even specimens of B. filamentosum over 120 cm long have been downright rarities in the wild since the 1990s.

The extremely long maxillary barbels of our fish are tremendously impressive, reaching a good 13-14 cm in length at about 7-8 cm body length (about 9-10 cm with caudal fin without caudal fin filament). What these long barbels are for is unknown. In any case they are very sensitive to touch and it seems important to us to point out to interested people that you should offer these animals aquariums with as large a surface area as possible (length and depth, the height is not so essential) without significant furnishings. However, a sandy bottom is vital, otherwise sooner or later bacterial infections will set in on the belly of the fish. The aquarium should be only dimly lit, if necessary this can be achieved by a floating plant cover. Brachyplatystoma are fish eaters from an early age. After acclimation they will accept almost any coarse frozen food in the aquarium, but for the beginning well kept, healthy (!) food fish are the best choice. Among themselves our animals are peaceful.

For our customers: the animals have code 211052 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply only wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Carassius auratus Shubunkin multicolored 4-6 cm

14. August 2023

The juveniles of all goldfish breeds are wild colored up to a length of about 4 cm, i.e. gray-green with a brass sheen. That is why there are never very small goldfish in the trade. The first juveniles from this spring have now colored up and are available, a very good opportunity for those who may even have breeding thoughts themselves; because only if you start with small juveniles, you as a breeder have full control over the optimal conditions according to your own philosophy.

The pictures show our Shubunkin youngsters currently in the stock. More information about Shubunkins can be found here:

For our customers: the photographed animals have code 811001 on our stock list. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & Photos: Frank Schäfer

Wallaciia compressiceps (= Crenicichla c.).

11. August 2023

The dwarf spezies among the pike cichlids have recently been separated as an independent genus Wallaciia (see They include W. compressiceps, which occurs only in the Tocantins and Araguaia rivers in Brazil. It is one of the smallest, the prettiest and the most aggressive pike cichlid species. Although it only grows to a maximum length of 10 cm, females always remain smaller, the animals should be provided with at least a 120 cm aquarium. Otherwise they can attack each other like small, biting terriers.

The males can be distinguished from the females already from the relatively small size of 4-6 cm by the clearly denser and more intensive striation of the softly rayed parts of the anal and dorsal fin as well as the caudal fin. In the latter, the stripes are either indistinct or even absent. In addition, males have a red stripe in the dorsal fin that is absent in females; however, this stripe is only seen when the animal spreads the dorsal fin.

If you can meet the space requirements of the little ruffians, you should definitely take care of them once. They are beautiful and relatively easy to breed. To do this, let pairs find each other from a group of animals. Like all pike cichlids they are cave breeders with parent family. The requirements for the water composition are easy to meet, they need a pH in the neutral or slightly acidic range, so they are by no means black water inhabitants! The water temperature should be between 26 and 28°C. Dry food is rejected by the fish, but any kind of frozen and live food is accepted.

For our customers: the fish have code 669202 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Hyphessobrycon haraldschultzi

11. August 2023

After a long time we could finally import some of the beautiful Hyphessobrycon haraldschultzi from the Rio Araguaia in Brazil. The animals are clearly slimmer than serpa tetras (H. eques, “serpae”, “minor” etc.). The coloration is more reminiscent of H. amandae, because the red is – unlike serpa tetras – not a rich blood red but a beautiful crystal red.

More about this beautiful fish you can find here:

For our customers: the animals have code 260402 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Pila ampullacea

10. August 2023

Since November 8, 2012, a ban on apple snails of the genus Pomacea has been in effect in the EU, because one of the species has been found to be a pest in rice plantations in Portugal. Since then, apple snails may not be passed on (not even given away!) even if they are offspring from the EU. Before this trade and import ban, apple snails – almost exclusively the species Pomacea diffusa – were popular pets, which were bred in many color varieties. All species of the genus Pomacea originate from South America, but since the 1970s they have been bred for food in many tropical regions of the world, especially in Asia. Animals that escaped from breeding farms or were deliberately released have long since gotten out of control and are considered an invasive pest in many places.

The vacuum created in the hobby has been filled for some years by the Asian apple snail Pila ampullacea. It too is a popular food animal in Southeast Asia, but is apparently increasingly being displaced by introduced South American Pomacea. As an importer, you have to be careful not to accidentally get the much more common Pomacea from Asia, or you will be in trouble with the authorities. The simplest distinguishing feature of the two genera is the condition of the lid (= operculum). In all South American species (Pomacea) the operculum is horny and easily bendable, comparable to a fingernail, while in the Pila species (there are also several species) it is hard and calcareous and cannot be bent. Since this can only be determined with difficulties on living animals, at least we limit ourselves since 2012 to the import of large specimens from 6 cm shell diameter, which can be easily identified.

Nobody would think of keeping large apple snails in a planted aquarium. In any case, attacks of snails on living plants are always possible. However, it has been shown that Pila ampullacea in particular is very fond of frozen food (for ornamental fish), i.e. meaty food, and usually does little damage to plants. It is very important for the care that fishy co-inhabitants do not constantly pluck the long antennae of the animals. Since Pila ampullacea likes to burrow into the ground, a sufficiently high substrate should be provided. Like all apple snails, Pila are also separately sexual, so there are males and females. Sex differences are not known. The spawn is laid outside the water and includes 20-50 eggs.

Usually the soft body of Pila ampullacea is deep black in color. From time to time, however, yellow-green, mackerel or white-patched animals can be found. Because these very rare deviant colored animals of course attract our attention, we have many pictures of them. But this should not hide the fact that 99% of the Pila ampullacea are pure black.

All apple snails are lung breathers and must come to the water surface to breathe. Therefore, your aquarium must not be filled to just to the top, or the animals will drown!

For our customers: Pila ampullacea in size 6-8 cm have code number 486023 on our stock list. Please note that we supply only wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Hemigrammus falsus

5. August 2023

Head-and-Tail light tetras were introduced to Germany as early as 1910 and were also bred soon after. They soon belonged to the iron stock of ornamental fish. These first head-and-taillight tetras were identified as Hemigrammus ocellifer. In 1958 Hermann Meinken noticed that the head-and-taillight tetra in the hobby does not have a shoulder spot, but the “real” H. ocellifer does. Therefore Meinken described the old known fish without shoulder spot as a new subspecies, which he named H. ocellifer falsus.

Nowadays, it is believed that H. ocellifer and H. falsus are even different species, because they do not mix in nature. Since the “true” H. ocellifer (with shoulder spot) was considered prettier, H. falsus gradually disappeared from the hobby. Nowadays only H. ocellifer is offered. Practically without exception they are offspring. 

The Hemigrammus falsus illustrating this post, however, are wild-caught. They came as so called bycatch from Peru to us

Who would like to compare: an entry to H. ocellifer can be found here:

Also very similar is H. luelingi, for this see here:

The animals look especially pretty in aquariums with dark substrate, then the luminous spots on shoulder and tail and the eyes seem to literally glow.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Hemigrammus ocellifer

5. August 2023

Head-and-Tail light tetras were introduced to Germany as early as 1910 and were also bred soon after. They soon belonged to the iron stock of ornamental fish. These first head-and-taillight tetras were identified as Hemigrammus ocellifer. In 1958 Hermann Meinken noticed that the head-and-taillight tetra in the hobby does not have a shoulder spot, but the “real” H. ocellifer does. Therefore Meinken described the old known fish without shoulder spot as a new subspecies, which he named H. ocellifer falsus.

Nowadays, it is believed that H. ocellifer and H. falsus are even different species, because they do not mix in nature. Since the “true” H. ocellifer (with shoulder spot) was considered prettier, H. falsus gradually disappeared from the hobby. Nowadays only H. ocellifer is offered. Practically without exception they are offspring. 

Who would like to compare: an entry to H. falsus can be found here:

Also very similar is H. luelingi, for this see here:

The animals look especially pretty in aquariums with dark substrate, then the luminous spots on shoulder and tail and the eyes seem to literally glow.

For our customers: H. ocellifer has code 259602 on our stock list. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer