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Got some more unusual Loaches today.

Posted By: Martin Thoene <martin.thoene@lakenheath.af.mil>
Date: Friday, 3 September 1999, at 6:09 p.m.

I decided to go up to Swallow Aquatics, which is about a half-hour from my home, today. Having just got my new Indian fish book, I was interested to see many of the species in it, actually swimming around in Swallow's tanks. Might just be a coincidence, but having a book like this published maybe means that awareness, and therefore theoretically demand will grow for these fish. Unfortunately, they didn't have any of the Loaches that the book features, but maybe the next shipment will (fingers crossed).

They had some Garra species, cheap apart from the Rhinoceros Algaeter, Garra bicornuta, which is a fairly colourful fish. They wanted 12.95 pounds for 3" specemins.

I didn't buy anything, and as I drove out of their car-park, I suddenly decided to head a little further North up to Anglia Aquatics in Attleborough, Norfolk. I must have certain psychic abilities!

This shop specialises in Marines, and it's freshwater stock is sparse, and not usually very inspiring for me personally, but once in a while they have some odd stuff. Today, my attention was caught by some Dutch-bred White-Cloud Mountain Minnows which were quite the most beautiful I've ever seen. They were far more colourful than the usual ones we see....good price too!

Didn't see much else till I looked into their 7 foot display aquaria and saw a single 2" Homaloptera zollingeri........darn it! these fish aren't for sale! Figuring that if they'd had them in then a closer look of the other tanks was needed JUST in case I missed them during my usual dismissive glances past tanks of "Bread & Butter" fish. Sure enough, there they were. 2 with some Lemon Tetras, and several more in with some small Goldfish! I had a good look, and noticed an oddball in with the 2. This looked like a Nemachelius sp. It's plain olive-brown with a dark stripe that runs from nose to the eye. The eyes themselves are a lovely bright orange/yellow. They wanted 3.50 pounds each for the Homaloptera, and I asked for 6, plus the odd-ball. The shop owner said he'd do me a deal, and let me have the 6 I wanted, plus another small one, and the odd-ball for 20 pounds! Good deal!

Whilst he was catching them I started my "Do you get any other unusual Loaches in?" interrogation. I carry print-outs from LOL of Homaloptera orthogoniata and the Batik Loach with me, and he said they had previously had Batik's in. He thought the orthogoniata was wild, but hadn't ever seen them. Good news is that he said in about a month they will be getting more unusual loaches in, because they are dealing with an Importer who specialises in out of the ordinary fish, and the Loach season is just about starting now. I'll keep you all posted on that!

All the fish have settled quickly in the River-tank, and the Homaloptera are very lively. They feed off the algae covered rocks at a very rapid rate, and like my Gastomyzon will sit right in the outflow from the powerheads. Interesting to watch a delicate looking 1" fish sitting on a rock, pressed down against it by it's large pectoral "wings" in a flow of about 1650 litres per hour! Good bio-engineering.


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