What's in Store- August 2018Posted on the 1st August 2018
Old favourites tend to be species that tick a lot of boxes apart from novelty and this one is no exception. X-ray tetras (Pristella maxillaris) have been in the hobby longer than all-glass aquaria and they have much to recommend them. Perfect company for most community fish, their subtle colours come to the fore if given a planted aquarium and plenty of their own kind for company. This batch at Huntingdon looked ready to add sparkle to anyone with the taste to appreciate them.
Subtlety is not something associated with Canna lilies and this is their time to shine. They need to be stored away from the frosts over winter but anything this glamorous is well worth the effort. This year has been especially good for them and a combination of high temperatures and wet feet makes them very happy. You’ll spot them in most of our pond sections - usually from quite a distance.
Every branch of our diverse hobby has species which can be victims of their own popularity but have much to offer those prepared to house them properly. One such species is the Lionfish(Pterois volitans), a large predator that is always something of a showpiece fish, despite a tendency to grow large, eat tank mates and pose a handling risk to unwary keepers. Although their wild kin are busy invading stretches of the US coastline where they don’t belong, the more immediate problem for captive lionfish is providing them with large enough aquaria and companions that they can’t swallow. Given these simple things, youngsters like this one at Big Blue will grow into great pets.
In the freshwater jumbo size class, Flagtail prochilodus(Semaprochilodus insignis) are not for the faint-hearted. Like many social species, these can be quarrelsome unless kept in large numbers and their adult size makes a huge tank a necessity. Given plenty of room, these are keen algae eaters that naturally munch detritus and organic debris. Expect these youngsters at Swindon to need a big tank from the outset and keep it well covered - these migratory fishes are happy to leap waterfalls and don’t know about carpet.
Domestication can bring many changes and goldfish (Carassius auratus) have perhaps been altered more than any other species. One of the more extreme examples that you’ll see in our stores are these ‘Ping pong’ Pearlscales, bred over many generations to have spherical bodies and a waddling swimming action. They may look cute but remember that fancy goldfish in all their forms are potentially large, messy fish that require spacious, well-filtered aquaria to thrive over a lifespan longer than that of a family dog or cat. These were trying to talk me into feeding them at Scotsdale’s .
Far away from the influence of line breeding, these were a first for me - New Guinea Blue-eyes (Pseudomugil novaeguineae) are exactly the type of fish that our Wigan store specialises in, along with Tanganyikans and Corydoras. As with rainbowfishes large and small, these are easily overlooked in our stock tanks but shine once settled in more lush surroundings.
Loaches are often fish that do a lot with brown. They might not be gaudy but these Polkadot loaches (Botia kubotai) are attractive shoaling community fish with an appetite for snails. These handsome individuals at Woodbridge look keen to munch on some nuisance molluscs and are a far better choice than their huge Clown loach cousins in all but the very largest of aquaria.