After an unsuccessful day on the Rio Guaviare and Lago Macasabe, we regrouped for the night in Puerto Inirida and started fresh the next day. Our goal is to make it to Santa Rosa along the Cano Bocon, a tributary of the Rio Inirida, where we hope to find fishermen willing to show us how to catch the altum angelfish.
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In the last episode of the series we stopped at a nice stream with a colony of bats living under the bridge, and found the target species Corydoras metae. The section of the stream we looked at was deep and calm, so in this episode we will take a look at the shallow, swifter section below a rock dam. The most impressive features are beds of Echinodoras sp. sword plants that dominate the habitat. This is the last stop, and the last video, in the Llanos region around Villavicencio. The time has come to head back to Bogota to meet some friends (Vin Kutty, Jeff Cardwell and Eduardo Gomez) to take off for the second week of this adventure exploring the lowland rivers of eastern Colombia.
But you will have to wait a couple weeks…. I am going to take a two week break from publishing Colombia 2016 videos, and Episode 10 will air on Sunday, April 16 (Easter). I am not being lazy. I am traveling again! The destination is Mexico to visit some streams in the central highlands and in the desert around Monterey. I will finally get the chance to visit Quatro Cienegas… one of the places on my bucket list. See you in a few weeks!
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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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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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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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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.
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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…
Here is the second part to the video set on using botanicals to infuse tannins into an aquarium. Tannins are an important part of a soft water, black water aquarium. Fish from these habitat really thrive in tannin-rich water. They are more active and their colors are vibrant. The botanicals that I feature in this video series came from Tannin Aquatics . I am very happy with the products Tannin Aquatics sent me.
Here is a short video showing my colony of A. sp. ‘Abacaxi’, an undescribed dwarf cichlid from Brazil. Enjoy….
The new fish room is functional and I am in the process of getting my aquariums set up for keeping the fish that I have on hand; and for some fish that have come my way that I simply cannot pass up, regardless of whether I am ready for them or not! All 21 of the 30-breeder aquariums in the fish room will be aqua-scaped long-term homes for different species, many of which are from soft, black-water biotopes. I was experimenting with using planted tank ‘soils’ over int he old fish room, and I like the affect that they have on the pH in a soft water tank, so I am going to incorporate these soils into the aquariums where I want the water to be very soft and acidic. This video will show you how I am setting up a tank as one of these soft, black-water biotopes for a group of Apistogramma sp. ‘Miua’ and cardinal tetras.