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Mystery Fish

Posted By: martin thoene <martin.thoene@lakenheath.af.mil>
Date: Thursday, 20 August 1998, at 7:42 a.m.

You know once in a while you walk into a shop and you see a fish you've never seen before? And it's so beautiful (in the eyes of a fish-nut,anyway), that you go against all common-sense and reason and have to buy it, because at that moment it seems life will never be the same if you don't? Well I don't make a habit of this 'cos it's not fair on the fish to aquire it with no knowledge of it's requirements.About 3 years ago I ignored common sense and made one of these impulse buys (the Devil made me do it,honest!). I was in one of my local shops which is not a specialist fish outlet as it's more of your regular Pet-shop. They had about 6 "Orchid Botia" in stock, about 2" long. I've never seen them before or since and wondered if any of you experts out there might recognise a description. They were NOT a Botia, that I'm sure. The body was long , slim and tapered with a flattish bottom. The head was roughly triangular in plan-view tapered down to an underslung mouth. The pectoral Fins were particularly large , kinda like a plecostomus's, the pelvic fins were a similar shape, but smaller. The most incredible thing was the colour and markings. The main body was a fleshy pink. This was banded by different width stripes which had iregular edges to them (kinda wavy). The stripes were a sort of Chestnut reddy brown at the edges, fading to a deep pinky brown at their centres. The fins were striped too. I can honestly say they were one of the most beautiful freshwater tropicals I have ever seen. Quizing the shop-owner, all I could determine was that they had them before from the same importer and they sold like lightning, so got these when the wholesaler listed them again. All they new was this, presumably Trade name, which was probably invented at source, somewhere in SE Asia. I could only afford one (first mistake) at 4.95 (pounds), at that time, so chose the fattest, healthiest individual. I introduced it to my community tank, where it took up station directly in the air bubbles from a powerfull airstone. From this, I deduced that it probably came from fast waters and had a high oxygen requirement. Not knowing the source is a nuisance as of late there have been imports of odd loach and loach-like fish from China which are quite happy in Temperate tanks. I never saw it feed despite trying all the things that should work, and it just wasted away, untill it's eventual demise. I've tried to work out the possible mistakes. I believe that it's probably a shoaling species, so missed company. It never moved during the day, just holding position against the air-line tube by angling the fins in the water-flow and hydro-dynamicly "sucking" itself to the pipe. This was rather like the "ground effects" of a Race-car. I guess it was maybe nocturnal or insecure because of lack of company. Maybe the temperature was too high and that didn't help (78.5 degrees). If this description makes any sense to anyone, and anyone can give me any info I'd be real grateful. Now I've got this Loach-bug thing I know I'll just have to try to keep this species again if I see them, but I'd like to do it right this time....Martin

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