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A small, shallow water species found throughout much of the middle and lower Amazon, the Splash Tetra gets its name from its unique breeding strategy, which has female fish laying their eggs above the waterline in overhanging vegetation. They are typically found in blackwater streams, and do best in soft or slightly acidic water in the aquarium but are otherwise hardy fish. They will readily accept most floating foods and are a loosely schooling species so should be kept in groups of 5 or more.
A large growing and unique knifefish, the Elephant Nose Knifefish is, as the name implies, distinguished by its elongated trunk which it uses to root in substrate to find food. They feed on insect larvae and crustaceans in the wild but in the aquarium will generally accept small frozen foods like bloodworms or brine. Like most knifefish, they are shy and should be provided with plenty of cover in the form of driftwood and leaf litter in the aquarium.
A unique member of a rarely seen genus of duckbill catfish, the Green Stripe Duckbill Cat is found in the Nanay river, a tributary of the Peruvian Amazon. Unlike some of the related duckbill catfish of the genus Ageneiosus, these fish are not large growing, with a maximum size of around 5-6″. They are often misidentified and this striped variant is one of several found in the region that are yet to be described. In the aquarium they are hardy and adaptable, but will do best with plenty of plants or driftwood for cover. They are often found in groups in the wild and will loosely school in some cases.
A large, peaceful cichlid found throughout parts of the Amazon and Guyana Shield, the Jurupari Eartheater has been a popular fish in the cichlid hobby for decades. Unfortunately they are often misidentified in the trade, with closely-related species being confused for the true S. jurupari (which can be distinguished by the pattern of spots and stripes in the face). Like all eartheaters, they are adapted to ingest mouthfuls of fine sand substrate and sift out small food items like insect larvae and crustaceans. In the aquarium, they tend to do best in groups and will coexist with a variety of similarly peaceful cichlids or other fish species, and they are generally safe even with much smaller fish.
A uniquely patterned and colorful relative of the more well known “rubber lip plecos, the L455 Tiger or Tiger Chaetostoma Pleco is an undescribed species found only in Amazon tributaries (such as the Maranon and Ucayali) in Peru. Males display the most striking coloration and spotting on the face but females are also quite colorful. Like most members of the genus Chaetostoma, they prefer moderate to strong water movement and are most at home with plenty of caves and rocks to hide among. In the aquarium, they will accept most sinking herbivore foods, gel diets, and fresh veggies.
One of the Amazon’s largest and most widespread giant catfish, the Jau or Gilded Catfish ranges from the headwaters of the river in the East to its mouth and most major tributaries. Throughout its range it is considered an important food fish. With wild specimens reported to reach well over 50″ in length, these fish are powerful, huge growing fish suitable only for public aquariums or very large tropical ponds or custom aquariums. In the wild, they are an active predator and scavenger, found in the fast-moving main river channels and preying on smaller fish, invertebrates, and carrion.
A peaceful, medium growing and uniquely shaped Loricariid, the Common Whiptail has been a popular oddball fish in the hobby for many years. They are an effective algae grazer, mostly live plant safe, and will live peacefully with nearly all tankmates, making them a unique addition to a medium to large community aquarium. In the wild, they are usually found on and around driftwood piles and will benefit from driftwood as well as live or artificial plants to provide cover. They should be fed regularly with a sinking herbivore diet or fresh veggies and will supplement this diet by grazing on nuisance algae onglass and decor in the aquarium.
A medium sized colorful wood eater, the Mustard Spot or LDA031 Pleco features the distinctive lyretail common to members of the genus Panaqolus. Found in middle Amazon tributaries in Peru, Ecuador, and Southern Colombia, these fish inhabit driftwood piles in clear, relatively fast-moving waters. In the aquarium they are hardy and not typically shy, making them a great centerpiece pleco for a medium sized tank.
Found in the fast-flowing, clear waters of Colombia’s Rio Meta and its tributaries, the Spotted Rubber Pleco is a hardy, popular species and among the most effective plecos for diatom and other algae control in the aquarium. In the wild, they are commonly found in rocky, shallow water areas and should be provided plenty of cover in the aquarium. They are enthusiastic feeders and will readily accept fresh veggies, Repashy gel diet, and other prepared foods designed for herbivores and algae grazers.
A medium growing cichlid found in the soft, acidic waters of Guyana and Suriname, the Bandit or Geayi Cichlid is named for the distinct stripe covering both eyes. In the aquarium, they are active, interesting fish which will often sift sand through their gills like an eartheater as well as rearrange decor like plants or leaf litter. They are somewhat aggressive despite their relatively small adult size and will typically hold their own with similar or larger moderate to aggressive cichlids. Bandit Cichlids will typically get along in groups of 5 or more as long as ample space for territories and structure in the form of driftwood, caves, and plants is provided. They are a hardy and entertaining aquarium fish that will adapt to most conditions.
A long time favorite in the aquarium hobby, the Spotted Pictus or Angelicus Catfish is a medium sized, active, schooling catfish found throughout much of the Amazon and Orinoco basins in South America. In the wild, they usually inhabit shallow water with medium to fast-moving current and typically shoal in large groups. A hardy aquarium fish, they should be given plenty of open space for swimming and are best kept in groups of 6 or more. They make an excellent addition to larger aquariums with peaceful South or Central American Cichlids.