After what seems like a lifetime of hearing ‘Nemo’ and ‘Dory’ shouted in our stores, it seems that ‘Puff’ might become the next big thing. For viewers of Netflix, another familiar fish becomes ‘as seen on TV’. A Valentini puffer (Canthigaster Valentini) makes the ideal guide to the complex and perilous world of the coral reef and the beauty of featuring life on this scale illustrates the joys of creating a miniature reef at home, where tiny invertebrates and cultured corals can thrive in their own stable ecosystem. Puff’s requirements are fairly easy to provide but don’t forget that many of the tiny reef creatures featured are on the menu! This young male at our Newbury store seemed to know he’d become an overnight celebrity.
Named for its colour-changing abilities, the Chameleon fish or Blue perch (Badis badis) is a fish that has been in the hobby since 1903 but suits the modern trend for well-planted tanks and botanicals such as leaf litter perfectly. Like many of the fishes that have been around longer than heaters, this is a fish which appreciates cooler winter temperatures and can be happily kept in an unheated set-up. This batch at Cirencester were colouring up nicely.
With adorable features and a modest adult size, Pygmy pufferfish (Carinotetraodon travancoricus) have become a popular choice for small, planted aquaria. Don’t let those cute looks fool you though – they’re best suited to a species tank where you don’t get to see their bad side where tankmates are concerned. Males are more ornately marked than females and unlike many of their relatives, breeding can be accomplished successfully in a home aquarium. This batch at Wilton were some of the largest specimens we’ve ever seen.
One of the oldest aquarium fish in the hobby, it’s fun to see a new aquarium colour form of Paradisefish (Macropodus opercularis) and this one goes by the name Blue finned red flame. Expect the same old spicy character traits, in many ways paradisefish are like low-temperature Bettas but without the cult status and dogmatic husbandry.
It might not be Christmas anymore but that doesn’t mean the end of the festive season for keepers of South American cichlids. With features that hint at a close relationship to Angelfishes, Festive cichlids (Mesonauta festivus) are a great choice for large communities where their mild manners can cause minimal disruption, providing that there’s sufficient space to allow them to defend a spawning territory. This batch at Thornbury were looking full of potential.
With spring well and truly in the air, pond sections are starting to buzz. Display ponds are appearing and this year we’re focusing on wildlife in many of our stores, as well as the fishes which are always the stars of the show. It’s not all about the great outdoors though, and some very exciting captive-bred marine fish are causing a stir, as well as some nicely settled tropical fishes following a busy winter season of imports.
Fishkeeper Fry 2022 has now come to a close and it has been a real joy to have been able to deliver this year’s programme, particularly having lost a year due to Covid restrictions. Our schools have produced some amazing work with the support of their fantastic teachers and we’re thrilled to see the way in which the children have engaged with the tasks and activities throughout.