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