Fish in the shops

Check out this trio of aquarium lovelies, which we spot­ted on our trav­els re­cently.

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Welcome - WORDS AND PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: NATHAN HILL

Check out this trio of aquarium lovelies, spot­ted on our trav­els.

When­ever I see these do­ra­dids, with their heavy­set heads and naked, fleshy bod­ies, I think of pre­his­toric, ex­tinct species like the Dun­kleosteus. There’s some­thing so ‘un­fishy’ about them in the way they bring con­ven­tional and odd­ball looks to­gether that makes me fall in love ev­ery sin­gle time.

These un­gainly look­ing beasts have yet to be graced a com­mon name in the UK. I pro­pose we call them ‘Thumb­saw cat­fish’ be­cause that’s ex­actly what they’ll do if you hold them wrong. Those saw-like ‘teeth’ on the flanks are matched by ser­ra­tions on the in­ner pec­toral fins, and if your fin­ger gets be­tween them, you’ll know about it.

As South Amer­i­can small-to-mid cats go (they reach around 10cm fully grown) they’re ex­traor­di­nar­ily peace­ful, only sin­ning as far as scoff­ing the oc­ca­sional tiny te­tra at night. If it doesn’t fit in the mouth, it’s safe.

Sandy tanks, plenty of leaf lit­ter, hand­fuls of small­ish, peace­ful ci­ch­lids and some chunky te­tra, and you can call your­self a biotoper. But these cats will fit in to most tanks, as long as they’re not al­ka­line. l Sci­en­tific name: Trachy­do­ras nat­tereri (Track-ee-door-ass nat-err-air-eye). l Size: To 10.3cm/4in. l Ori­gin: South Amer­ica, specif­i­cally Colom­bia, Peru and Brazil. l Habi­tat: Sandy rivers, with veg­e­ta­tion and de­bris. l Tank size: Min­i­mum 90 x 30cm foot­print. l Wa­ter re­quire­ments: Slightly soft and acidic to just above neu­tral: 6.0–7.4ph, hard­ness likely 4–12°H. l Tem­per­a­ture: 24–26°C. l Tem­per­a­ment: Peace­ful, may ‘ac­ci­den­tally’ eat tiny fish. l Feed­ing: Sink­ing pel­lets, gran­ules and tablets, live and frozen blood­worm, Daph­nia, Cy­clops, fish flesh, chopped prawns, earth­worm.

l Avail­abil­ity and price: Sur­pris­ingly un­com­mon, spe­cial­ist re­tailer ter­ri­tory, start­ing around £19.95.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.