Colombia 2016! – Episode 6 – Llanos Ditch

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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Planted Tanks Update – Downstairs 75-gallon

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.

Working with LED Lights

Here is a video that was created on my FaceBook page as a live feed.  The topic is working with DIY LED lights.  

 

 

 

Colombia 2016! – Episode 5

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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75-gallon Planted Tank (Upstairs) Update

Guess what!  I found the footage that I shot months ago when I intended to make a 2-month update on the planted aquarium projects I started last summer.  I was shooting a new update after doing a major overhaul the other day, but since I found the older footage I will make videos and show you the progress over several months leading up to where I am at on the tanks today.  This episode shows the upstairs 75-gallon 2 months after starting the tank.  Enjoy…

Colombia 2016 – Episode 4: Colombia Aquarium Export House

Two of my goals while visiting Colombia were to see how a fish shipment is packed for export out of the country and to follow the path of altum angelfish from the river to the export, in hopes of learning something that will help us be more successful with this amazing angelfish species.  This video will show an afternoon spent in an exporter, Colombia Aquarium, and also investigate the water parameters in which altum angels are held and shipped.

I was very surprised to see the pH with the altum angels under 4.0.  That is really low!  Especially since I have been told by several people that the water in Bogota, where the fish are shipped from, is harder and more alkaline. I do not know any importer, wholesaler or store in the USA that is maintaining tanks with pH that low for these fish.  Not many hobbyists can manage it either.  I do not believe altum angels need the pH that low long-term, but they may need the acidity while acclimating to life in an aquarium.  Enjoy the video…

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Colombia 2016! – Episode 3 – Hernando’s Fish Farm

Ornamental fish farming is a new idea in Colombia. Hernando Gil purchased a farm near the Rio Meta, east of Villavicencio, ten years ago.  The farm produces cattle and sugar cane, and it used to produce tilapia and pacu for human consumption.  Two years ago, Hernando reopened the ponds to give breeding ornamental fish a try.

I have visited many fish farms, and I imagine that what Hernando is building is very similar to what the ornamental aquaculture industry pioneered in Florida decades ago.  Colombia has some incredible species, many of which are hard to find, very seasonal or hard to acclimate into aquarium life. Hernando wants to concentrate on these species, in hopes of making them more available and easier to keep.  Species like the altum angelfish and the panda uaru.  Here is a look at the operation Hernando is building….

 

Special thanks to my sponsors.  Please visit their websites and take a look at what they have to offer.  I use Repashy Superfood a lot, all my aquariums are filtered with Poret foam from Swiss Tropicals, and I love to read Amazonas.  I endorse what I use, and I am very happy that they choose to endorse me and my activities.  Thank you!

Colombia 2016! – Episode 2 – Cano Potosi

My adventures in Colombia really got rolling on my first full day in Villavicencio. The plan was to hit the road at 5:30 AM and drive straight out to Hernando’s fish farm about 2 hours away, and then stop at a few places to look for fish on the way back. The weather was crappy, with rain all night and a slight drizzle at dawn that lasted most of the morning. But a big delay was caused by someone parking Hernando into his garage, so we were not able to leave until the owner of the offending vehicle was found and the car moved. This is something that we chalk up to ‘COWA’… Colombia Wins Again… which means that annoying things will happen, there is nothing we can do about them, so just move on and do not get upset.  COWA was a BIGLY part of this trip.

The late start meant that we had to deal with more traffic on the roads, so we were slower getting out of town.  We hit the countryside about 8:30 in the morning, a time when we had intended to already be at the fish farm. The plan changed to trying to find filming locations while we had good light and work our way to the fish farm later in the day.  We can return to the city in the evening.  There is no sense driving when the conditions are good for filming.

But… COWA… the conditions are not all that good for filming.  The rain stopped mid-morning, but the skies remained overcast. All the rain had blown out the streams, and each creek we passed was flooded and muddy.  Hernando and Allesandro (a fish collector along to help out) were concerned that we were not going to find any place to film at all.

I, on the other hand, was having a great time.  Yes, I wanted to collect fish and get some good video, but this day was also my first real foray into the countryside of the Llanos.  Everything that I saw was new to me. I think that my bird watching was annoying Hernando and Allesandro a bit (after spending two weeks with Hernando, I think he became at least a closet birder), but I added 32 species to my life list that day.

The aquarium gods were watching and took pity on us, because the stream that would be our best chance at finding Apistogramma veijita, the Cano Potosi, was running low and clear, even while streams a kilometer away were blown out and muddy.  I have no explanation, but I am thankful that this stream turning out to be such a great place to see fish.

Thank you to my sponsors for this expedition.  Please visit their websites and take a look at what they have to offer.

 

Enjoy the video…

 

Colombia 2016! – Episode 1

Colombia has been a dream destination for me for many years, ever since I started importing fish from there in the late 1980’s. But traveling to Colombia back in those days, especially from the USA, was not a good idea. Times have changed. Colombia is a much safer place to travel and is poised to become one of the biggest destinations in the world for ecotourism. I fulfilled my dream in December 2016, and I have promised myself to go again… many times!

I was in Colombia for two weeks and visited to areas of the country.  The llanos region in the headwaters of the Rio Meta and Rio Guaviare, near the city of Villavicencio one the edge of the easter slope of the Andes mountains.  And the confluence region near the city of Puerto Inirida, where the Rio Inirida, Rio Guaviare and Rio Atabapo come together and join the mighty Rio Orinoco as it leaves the interior of Venezuela.  I will present this trip is a series of videos, of which the first episode is presented here.  I am not sure how many videos the whole trip will require, but I shot a LOT of footage.

The trip was sponsored by three companies that have been instrumental in the advancement of the aquarium hobby, and their contributions to this project are greatly appreciated:

                              

 

Episode 1 will set the stage for the entire trip.  My goal is to publish a new episode each week, probably on a Sunday.  Each episode will be previewed here on the vlog site telling you some more detail about the episode, so here is a great place to view the series.  But I also appreciate the sharing of this video on FaceBook and subscribing to the Ted Judy YouTube Channel.  Enjoy…

Apistogramma hongsloi Pair

Here is a short video of a pair of A. hogsloi defending a spawning site.  I think that they have already laid eggs, as the female is disappearing into the cave regularly for a few minutes, and she is thinner than she was.  The aquarium is a 30-breeder.  There are eight cichlids in there altogether, and this is the first female to show spawning colors.  The largest male is looking ver colorful as well, so I will assume that he is her mate.  She tolerates his presence around the spawning cave, but chases away all the others.  Enjoy…