All That Glitters

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The words “bronze, silver, and gold” once lived predominantly in glorious association with top athletes. Large scale athletics competitions being few and far between, these precious metals have become more synonymous with picking an insurance plan. And on that note…we aim to bring the symbolism back to a less controversial context…fish! Some of our favorite shiny metallic brethren include Nematobrycon palmeri, Pangio anguillaris, and Corydoras aeneus.  

Bringing home the gold in the 50 meter freestyle is N. palmeri. Also known as Gold Emperor Tetras, these characins are found energetically darting in schools along the slow moving rivers, tributaries, and backwaters of the San Juan River basin of Colombia. Reaching about 1.5 inches in length, these tetras are shimmering gold-scaled, and arrow-shaped with a thick black lateral accent stripe. Popular in the aquarist hobby, Gold Emperor Tetras have made a name for themselves not only for their beauty, but their fascinating personalities, and general hardiness, making them ideal for beginners. These tetras do best in 20-30 gallon tanks with plenty of swimming room and dense vegetation. Otherwise, they show great tolerance for a wide range of tank decor. This is a true-shoaling species, and should be kept in groups of at least 6 individuals, preferably 10 or more. Peaceful by nature, these tetras are fantastic for general community tanks, coexisting well with livebearers, peaceful bottom-dwellers, small cichlids, other tetras, and pencilfish. In the wild, these micropredators eat a range of aquatic insects, worms, crustaceans, and zooplankton. In captivity, they will accept high quality dried foods, however, for optimal golden coloration, individuals should be fed daily meals of small live and frozen treats like daphnia. Water conditions should be maintained with temperatures between 73 and 80°F, pH of 5.0 to 7.5, and hardness between 18 and 215 ppm.

For those who prefer the twilight elegance of silver, there is P. anguillaris. Also known as the “Silver Kuhli Loach”, these long and slender wrigglers exhibit shiny silver scales with a grey lateral stripe down their 4.5 inch long bodies. Native to the Indo-Pacific freshwater habitats of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, these loaches inhabit slow moving sections of streams, or calm swamps and backwaters. Predominant characteristics of their habitats include dense vegetation, roots, tangles, branches, leaf litter, and soft muddy, sandy, or silty substrate. It is here that they spend most of their time half-buried in search of tasty morsels. Captive tanks should be equipped with as many of these features as possible with gentle filtration and surface water agitation. Additionally, tanks should be fit with a tight lid, as some loaches try to jump ship when first introduced. Spending their days sifting through mouthfuls of substrate in search of microorganisms like insect larvae and small crustaceans, these loaches can be fed high-quality, dried sinking-foods with regular supplementation of live and frozen fare. Kuhli loaches are extremely peaceful, making them ideal additions to community tanks with other other diminutive and peaceful species from similar environments. They may, however, not do terribly well with other sand-dwelling loaches due to competition, and of course, shouldn’t be kept with fish that might eat them. Usually found in conspecific aggregations in the wild, these silver squirmers do best in groups of 6 or more. Waters should be maintained with temperatures of 71 to 84°F, pH of 6.0 to 7.5, and hardness between 0-143 ppm.

Bronze but not lesser, is C. aeneus. Also known as the “Bronze Cory”, these Trinidadian armored-catfish are named for their brassy golden-green coloration. Peaceful, and gregarious, these small Cories reach about 3 inches in length, and are ideal candidates for community tanks so long as they are kept in conspecific groups of 4 or more. Like others of their genus, they use sensitive barbels to search out snacks within the substrate. As opportunistic omnivores, Bronze Cories can be fed sinking dried-foods supplemented by live and frozen fare like bloodworm or brine. Tank substrate should be fine sand or rounded gravel to prevent damage to their food-seeking external organs. Other tank furnishing is largely up to the aquarist’s tastes provided the Cories have plenty of shady hiding places for when they are feeling antisocial. Waters should be maintained with temperatures between 69 and 80°F, pH around 6.0 to 8.0, and hardness between 36 and 268 ppm.

Looking to add a little glamour to your life? Claim these metallic colors for your own purposes! Give us a call, and we’ll find you the best glittering companions to brighten your days.