A good choice for an unheated aquarium, these Rosy bitterlings (Rhodeus ocellatus) have beautiful pearlescent colours when the light hits them from the side. Males develop bright colours to intimidate rivals and impress the females, which grow long egg-laying tubes that enable them to spawn in live freshwater mussels. This batch caught the eye at our Hare Hatch store.


Some fishes pack a lot of personality into a small package and the Royal dottyback (Pictichromis paccagnellorum) has an abundance of both. Hardy and adaptable, this miniature grouper relative is territorial enough to live in the marine aquarium equivalent of a rough pub and should only be mixed with equally assertive tankmates in a setting that provides plenty of cover. This stunner was looking bold at our Thornbury branch.


After an absence from our aquaria, it’s good to see the Pitbull plec (Parotocinclus jumbo) back again. This bottom-dwelling small plec is happiest in groups and seems to enjoy the company of Corydoras catfish too. This batch at our Swindon store was a delight to behold and would make a great addition to a peaceful community set up.


This is a familiar sight in many of our stores at the moment, especially those where you can feed the pond fish. Young Koi (Cyprinus rubrofuscus) almost leaving the water to beg for food as you pass their vat. It’s been a good year for pond fish, and they’ve revelled in high temperatures which boost their appetite and promote rapid growth.


A quietly beautiful L number catfish, the Ghost plec (Ancistomus snethageae) enjoys high temperatures and good water movement. Usually seen as a grey fish with white fin trims, these more heavily spotted fish at our Woking branch were an interesting variation.


There’s a lot going on in our pond plant sections at the moment and the dramatic flowers of Apache beads (Anemopsis californica) are almost in danger of being overlooked. With flowers that look like a cross between a Magnolia and an Anemone, this plant enjoys hot sunshine and wet feet. A nice contrast to the bold colours of the Cannas and Lobelias that are also coming to the peak of their flowering season as high summer approaches.

With a well-deserved reputation as one of the best aquarium butterflyfishes, the Addis butterfly (Chaetodon semilarvatus) has always been a popular fish. This juvenile at Reefkeeper Moss End has to be one of the smallest we’ve seen and was absolutely adorable.


Domesticated Discus keep getting brighter and these Albino blue diamonds (Symphysodon sp.) at our Swindon store were almost too shiny to photograph. Like all varieties, these are best kept in large groups to spread aggression until they mature and pair off. Fortunately these can be mixed, giving their keepers a kaleidoscope of colour across the spectrum of aquarium forms.