A Kiss with a Fish

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Valentine’s day is just around the corner, and while the pressure is on, here at The Wet Spot, we draw inspiration from…you guessed it…fish! From what to wear to what to give, our tank inhabitants have all the answers; and if your sweetheart is a fish-lover, that makes the second question simple! We’ve got you covered. Together, we can put together a tank that would make anyone swoon. Eat your hearts out with just one of several possibilities: Poecilocharax weitzmani, Xiphophorus maculatus, and Neocardina davidi.

Still choosing an outfit? There’s nothing wrong with going classic. Take a page out of P. weitzmani, and break out that little black dress and add a little a red accent! Known commonly as “Black Darter Tetras” these characins are wonderful focal species in community tanks. Reaching just under 2 inches in length, they have a striking black lateral stripe and bright red fins. Found throughout slow-moving rainforest streams in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela, these energetic swimmers do best in tannin-heavy conditions. Tanks should be dimly lit and equipped with sandy substrate, leaf litter, woody branches, and dense vegetation. Hiding places and regions of covor are ideal, and required for successful breeding. Lengths of PVC pipe have been used for this to much avail. No free love here- unlike their schooling relatives, male black darters tend to be “jealous”, and can become territorial; thus, they are best kept as pairs or harems. Micropredators in the wild, these tetras feed mostly from the substrate with a preference for small invertebrates and the occasional side of fry. Daily meals of live and frozen fare like Daphnia, Artemia, bloodworm, and the like are best for their health, though they can be painstakingly taught to accept dried foods. 

That black dress not making enough–or maybe too much– of a statement? You could certainly show that special someone you’re serious with a Red Tuxedo. Like the X. maculatus morph “Red Tuxedo” Platy, you’d certainly be ready to party. Reaching up to 3 inches in size, Platys have pointed heads, and beautiful undulating fins. This particular morph is clad in bright red with black fins, and black scales accent on the center of the body. Found along the Atlantic coastal plain of Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Belize, these Platys are common to streams and rivers. At their best in tanks with lots of open swimming space, they appreciate some water flow and sandy substrate. Vegetation in particular is not appreciated. Very peaceful by nature, these Platys are ideal community tank inhabitants. Females tend to be the slightly larger sex of the species, and should kept in number to spread the attention of relentless males. Extremely easy to keep in most regards, diet is no exception to the rule. These fish are incredibly adventurous eaters, and will accept dried, live, and frozen offerings without hesitation.

Now for that perfect gift for those with aquatic tendencies–the pearl. With resemblance to the crystalline product of living mollusks, N. davidi is the perfect jewel for the occasion. The “Blue Pearl” morph of the common “Cherry Shrimp”, is bred for their beautiful opalescent blue coloration. Native to Southeast Asia, these shrimp have a preference for steam and pond habitats with lots of vegetation, and natural rocky or woody substrate. Reaching just over 1.5 inches in length, these shrimp are a bit skittish, and do best in aquariums with ample cover like plants, rocks of various sizes, and wood. Algae makes up most of their diet, and they will keep aquatic plants clear of the algal growth that any aquarist comes to despise. Additional dietary constituents like bacteria and microorganisms tend to live on the surfaces of these furnishings as well. Most boisterous when kept in groups of 6 or more, they can also be kept alongside small fish that cannot fit them into their mouths.

This year, that special someone deserves a kiss with a fish! Hopefully not a kiss like a fish… but of course–to each their own. In need of more inspiration and gift ideas? Give us a call at The Wet Spot, and we’ll find you the right accompaniment for your Valentines plans.

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