Devario sondhii

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Matt Clarke explains how to keep the lovely Devario sondhii.

Scientific name: Devario sondhii (Hora and Mukerji, 1934).

Origin: Wetland pools in the highlands of Myanmar around Ho Pong. According to fish exporter Kamphol Udomritthiruj, this fish is collected from the same high altitude wetland pools as that of the Celestial pearl danio, Danio margaritatus (formerly Celestichthys margaritatus).

Size: Reaches 4-5cm/2" or a touch more.

Diet: Flakes, bloodworms, Daphnia, Cyclops and brineshrimp are all ideal.

Water: At the type locality of this fish it is reportedly slightly alkaline, with an ideal temperature of around 22-24C/72-75F.

Habitat: Wetland area in which these fish are reportedly collected is rich in plant life and contains dense growths of Elodea. Ponds are small and shallow (up to 30cm/12 deep).

Other fish from the same pools are thought to include the Rosy loach, an apparently undescribed species sold under the fictitious scientific name of Tuberoschistura arakensis and Microrasbora cf. rubescens (which is being sold under the name Glowlight rasbora and has been imported into the UK under the false scientific names Microrasbora sonthii and Rasbora thuzari).

The Myanmar-based collector U Tin Win says that two colour forms of D. sondhii exist at the type locality. However, I suspect one of these might actually be Microrasbora cf. rubescens.

Notes: This species was first described as Danio sondhii by Hora and Mukerji in 1934. It was then moved to Brachydanio, but is now regarded as a member of the Devario genus. Only recently become available in the aquarium hobby.

Identification: Devario sondhii can differ in coloration depending on mood and condition. However, they typically have quite a prominent cleithral spot just behind the gill cover. This distinguishes them from M. cf. rubescens.

Breeding: Pete Cottle was one of the first to breed this species and fellow contributor Pete Liptrot has also bred them.

Pete Cottle says that it's a prolific egg layer and the fry have a rapid growth rate, with the offspring capable of spawning three months after hatching.

Availability: These were first imported into the UK in early 2007, possibly by Wildwoods. We saw some of the first collected on sale at shops in Singapore around the same time. These were photographed recently in Maidenhead Aquatics @ Peterborough.

Price: £2.50.

This article was first published in the May 2008 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.