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Ariopsis seemanni (GÜNTHER, 1864)

Colombian Shark Catfish

March 13th, 2012 — 1:22pm

This species is not recommended to those lacking the facilities to house it for life. Sadly it’s all too often seen for sale as an attractive, silvery 2-3″ juvenile, supposedly suitable for the general freshwater community tank. To make matters worse, it is also usually given an ‘alluring’ name such as ‘black-finned’ or ‘silvertip’ shark catfish. The fate of the majority of these specimens is in all likelihood a depressing one.

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Astyanax mexicanus (DE FILIPPI, 1853)

Blind Cave Tetra

March 13th, 2012 — 1:21pm

While the surface-dwelling form of this species is fairly unremarkable and rarely-seen in the hobby, the blind form is very popular indeed. The two may have diverged as recently as within the last 10,000 years, with the blind form losing its eyes and much of its pigment. This probably happened because the fish needed better development in other sensory areas. Losing unnecessary and energy-consuming aspects of its physiology allowed it to devote more energy to developments such as increased numbers of taste receptors on the head.

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Atractosteus spatula (LACEPÈDE, 1803)

Alligator Gar

March 13th, 2012 — 1:20pm

This is one of the largest freshwater fish species in the world, and clearly shouldn’t be considered a home aquarium subject at all given its eventual size and the fact it can live for well in excess of 50 years. We include it here only because some public aquaria are able to maintain it long-term.

Unfortunately, juveniles are seen for sale quite regularly in the aquari…

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Lepisosteus oculatus WINCHELL, 1864

Spotted Gar

March 13th, 2012 — 1:20pm

Known from Great Lakes Erie and Michigan with distribution extending south through the Mississippi River basin to the Gulf of Mexico drainages where it’s said to occur between the lower Apalachicola River in Florida and the Nueces River in Texas.

It may also be found in the Rio Grande which forms the border between Mexico and the United States further south where records include Falcon International Reservoir, for example.

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Thorichthys meeki BRIND, 1918

Firemouth Cichlid

March 13th, 2012 — 1:19pm

This species has been a popular aquarium fish for a considerable period and virtually all fish traded are now raised commercially for the purpose.

It is easily identified by the characteristic bright red or orange underside of the head, which is more pronounced in adults.

Following Miller and Taylor (1984), the genus Thorichthys is identified…

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Characodon lateralis GÜNTHER, 1866

Rainbow Characodon

March 13th, 2012 — 1:19pm

Restricted to a series of small habitats below the waterfall known as ‘El Salto’ in the upper Río Mezquital basin, Durango state, central Mexico. It was previously considered to occur throughout much of the upper Río Mezquital in both Durango and Coahuila states, but genetic analyses suggest otherwise and have resulted in taxonomic confusion (see ‘Notes’).

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Ameca splendens MILLER & FITZSIMONS, 1971

Butterfly Goodeid

March 13th, 2012 — 1:19pm

Despite often being referred to as extinct in the wild this monotypic species is still surviving at a few localities. It's not particularly scarce in the hobby with strong captive populations existing, some of which have been selectively bred to produce variations in colour and patterning.

As with other goodeids, there is less of a size difference between the sexes than in many other livebearers. This is thought to be related to the relatively primitive…

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Rocio octofasciata (REGAN, 1903)

Jack Dempsey Cichlid

March 13th, 2012 — 1:19pm

A bright blue variant normally referred to as ‘electric blue Jack Dempsey’ or simply ‘EBJD’ is of unclear origin but it appears to be an ornamental strain fixed from a natural mutation.

Care is as per the natural form although the blue fish tend to remain smaller and some reports suggest them to be less aggressive.

R. octofasciata has a confusing taxono…

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Xiphophorus hellerii HECKEL, 1848

Green Swordtail

March 13th, 2012 — 1:18pm

Wild swordtails are a fairly basic green colur. However the vast majority of swordtails available in the hobby today are hybrids of X.helleri with X.maculatus or X.variatus. There are a huge number of selectively-bred varieties available, including wagtail, lyretail, tuxedo, albino, neon, red, green and hi-fin.

Swordtails may undergo what appears to be a change in sex. In young fish this may simply be late development. However some adult females develop male characteristics which is thought …

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