This highlight comes from Reefkeeper Moss End and is a fish so stunning, it was once known as the Emperor peckoltia.
In those days of its first importation, these fish were priced at over £250 which fell as the Zebra plec (Hypancistrus zebra) was imported from Brazil in larger numbers with a price tag of around £30 (and I still remember people saying that was "expensive for a pleccy!"). After a Brazilian export ban, availability issues drove the price back up to posh reef-fish levels. Then, as now, we relied on tank bred youngsters to satisfy demand and it's always satisfying to see captive bred examples of these stunning fish instore to remind us of the story behind the fish.
Rather absurdly, the export ban will do nothing to protect the native habitat of this and many other Loricariids from the effects of the Belo Monte dam project.
Check out their species profile on our databank here: https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/.../catfish/zebra-plec-l046
In a store with a lot of species to choose from, this striking Golden cobra snakehead (Channa aurantimaculata) at Ascot really stood out. Like many of its relatives, it needs a winter rest below tropical temperatures and is easily overfed.
If you’re considering taking your hobby outside, snakeheads make a great choice and thrive in a greenhouse setting in the UK. This provides them with the natural temperature swings they need and also the space to house a larger set up than might be possible indoors. As temperatures fall, they can be transferred to winter housing where minimum temperatures are provided for their seasonal snooze.
It’s easy to forget that good Sarasa comets (Carassius auratus var.) are just as ornamental as Koi carp. These hardy, easily housed goldfish are a common site in our pond sections and really bring a touch of colour to even modestly-sized filtered ponds.
You’ll find more information here, in their databank profile: https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/help-and-advice/freshwater/pond-fish/sarasa-comet-
It was a treat to see this stunning Achilles tang (Acanthurus achilles) at our Crawley store. This beautiful reef fish needs a large aquarium with excellent water quality, strong water movement and high oxygen levels but is well worth the effort.
If you can find the room, the Brazilian giant rhubarb (Gunnera manicata) is an absolutely epic bog plant. Not to be confused with its invasive Chilean cousin G. tinctoria, you'll find small Gunneras in many of our stores at this time of year and larger ones in those branches such as Ashtead which have a fondness for the larger sizes.
If you like the heavy metal rhubarb look without the size, take a look at the ornamental rhubarbs (Rheum) which also thrive in the lush surroundings of a bog garden and appear on our plant benches
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.