Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Species Showcase -

Prob­a­bly the most com­mon Po­ta­motry­gon species in South Amer­ica, it’s also the most com­monly-avail­able Po­ta­motry­gon species in the trade; many folks’ first ray will be a mo­toro. Typ­i­cal coloura­tion (re­ferred to as P1) con­sists of or­ange spots, ringed with black, on an olive-green/brown body.

There are nu­mer­ous vari­ants; two of these have their own P num­bers (namely P3 and P44), but some are sim­ply given de­scrip­tive names. ‘Blue’ vari­ants have a sub­tle blue coloura­tion around the disc; ‘chain link’ mo­toros pos­sess nu­mer­ous closely-spaced spots around the disc edge; and the most sought-af­ter and at­trac­tive vari­ant is the ‘mar­bled’ mo­toro from the Orinoco River: these have an of­ten-stun­ning var­ie­gated pat­tern, al­though some in­di­vid­u­als fade with age. If pro­vided with enough space, mo­toros are ex­tremely hardy and very easy to keep, but pro­vid­ing enough space is the big is­sue for many peo­ple.

Mo­toros breed read­ily in cap­tiv­ity, which has eth­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions. Pub­lic aquar­i­ums main­tain same-sex groups to pre­vent breed­ing as lim­ited fa­cil­i­ties ex­ist for off­spring to be housed. If keep­ing a pair, you’ll need to be sure that any pups have homes to go to. Pro­nun­ci­a­tion: Poe-tam-oh-try-gone mow-tor-row Size: Usu­ally 50cm Ori­gin: Uruguay, Parana-paraguay, Ama­zon and Orinoco river basins Habi­tat: Sandy and muddy rivers and pools Tank size: Min­i­mum 300x100cm foot­print Wa­ter re­quire­ments: Soft, acidic; 5.0 to 6.0 ph, hard­ness 4-12°H Tem­per­a­ture: 24-26°C Tem­per­a­ment: Preda­tory, peace­ful with larger fish Feed­ing: Large meaty foods, fish pieces, prawn, earth­worm Avail­abil­ity and cost: Rare; prices start around £150 to £250

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