We went exploring by car on the afternoon of our first day in Puerto Inirida and traveled out to the village at the crossing of Can Vitina, a blackwater stream that flows into the Rio Atabapo. There was a party going on when we got there, so we could not collect fish at the main pool under the bridge. We were led to a trail upstream from the village to get to another section of the stream, but we never got to the main channel. The trail and the forest around it was flooded, and there were fish everywhere. After an hour of netting, the sun started to set and we had to leave.
Our boats were not ready the next morning, so we decided to go back to the same village now that the party was (hopefully) over. We had the stream to ourselves and the help of several kids from the village. I have never seen black water like this before! The light could only penetrate a few feet. I was able to shoot video near the banks, but not out in the deeper water. We found a lot of fish, including dwarf pike cichlids and cardinal tetras, but when the stream in is flood stage like this the actual catching of fish is hard to do.
Eduardo ‘Dudu’ Gomes resported to hook and line to find larger pike cichlids. The local boys got into the action and were a lot better at catching fish than we were. We made a deal with them to catch pike cichlids for us all week, and we would buy them when we came back to the city at the end of the week.
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I’m back!!! I just returned from a couple weeks of traveling, first to Mexico for a little touring and aquarium-related fun (videos will be forthcoming), and then some family R&R for the holiday. But now we return to our regularly scheduled programming.
Episode 10 of the Colombia 2016 picks up the trip as we arrive in Puerto Inirida for our first look at the blackwater rivers of eastern Colombia. Puerto Inirida is a nice little city with a lot of friendly people. It is the gateway to the rivers of the confluence region, and where all of the fish from the area come to before being shipped to Bogota exporters. This is the place we want to be!
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Episode 8 features my last day out exploring the waters of the Llanos region of Colombia. We had already seen a lot of really cools fish on the trip, but almost no catfish. I had really hoped to see some Corydoras sp. while in the Llanos, because there are so many species from that area in the hobby. Most notably, Corydoras metae. So I asked Hernando and Allesandro to take me to a place we would find them… Enjoy.
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This episode of Colombia 2016 revisits the ditch habitat from Episode 6, which has inspired me to aquascape an aquarium to give the impression of that ditch. Trying to recreate a specific ‘biotope’ in an aquarium is very hard to do… I actually think it is impossible, but there will always be someone willing to make it happen. A ‘biotope’ aquarium, in my opinion, is an impression of a habitat that looks as close as possible, but is also manageable. For example, trying to maintain an aquarium with several inches of organic mud on the bottom is not a good idea. Sometimes getting the actual species of plants or fish is also impossible, so another species that is similar is used to fill that niche. The idea is to have an aquarium that gives the impression of the biotope. When I look at this aquarium, I am reminded of the Llanos ditch. That is the effect I am after.
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I am hosting a live stream event each week that we are calling the Tuesday Night Mixer. Tonight was the first one, and it was a lot of fun. The topic was how I work with killifish. Here is the recording… join us next week!
This episode takes us to a very small blackwater stream that is really more of a flooded ditch just off the main flow of a larger river. The creek is choked with plants, and finding a place with enough open water to film is difficult. There are a lot of really cool little fish in this stream, including an undescribed tetra that looks like a dusky-bodied silver tip tetra. There are also a lot more Apistogramma alacrina at this location, including many females with fry.
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Here is a video about the changes I made to the downstairs 75-gallon aquarium several months ago. Again, this is old footage that I had misplaced. I will be doing more recent update videos on these tanks.
Here is a video that was created on my FaceBook page as a live feed. The topic is working with DIY LED lights.
This episode of Colombia 2016 takes us back onto the Llanos to search for Apistogramma alacrina. Our plan was to spend most of the morning on the Rio Guejar, a larger river with a lot of cool fish, but the water was too high and muddy after overnight rains. We then retraced our steps and visited a few streams on the way back to Villavicencio. The first stop was a stream near the town of San Juan des Arama, a place close to the type locality of A. alacrina. That stream is the focus of this video… Enjoy.
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