Heiko Bleher discovers: New community tetras

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Heiko Bleher reveals four new South American community tetras. Some are already in the hobby.

Moenkhausia intermedia var. (pictured above)

Origin: Caño Pichuna, Aguas Claras, Leticia, Colombia.

Water: pH 4.80, conductivity 48.

Habitat: Fast-flowing creek full of driftwood and with sandy bottom. Overhanging trees along the edges were making the biotope dark even during daytime. It was a blackwater site with no aquatic vegetation.

Notes: Several species are similar, including M. dichroura, M. lepidura, M. icae, M. gracilima and Hemigrammus marginatus — one the type as in Eigenmann and from Lago Castanha, Brazil, but both forms are scale-less on the caudal fin while Moenkhausia species have scales. M. intermedia can be identified by a large pre-caudal-, often angular, spot which extents into the end of the caudal fin. It also has an amazing distribution in the Amazon, Orinoco, La Plata, Approuague, Maroni and Mana river basins.

Aquarium: This species is perfect for a planted community aquarium with sandy bottom. It should have a slowly flowing filter, driftwood and shade with floating plants like Azolla, Salvinia and Lemna species.

This species should be kept in groups of at least three to five and as tank mates I suggest other Moenkhausia and Nannostomus or Carnegiella and Hyphessobrycon species, Corydoras and Rineloricaria as well as dwarf cichlids (Apistogramma and Dicrossus) and possibly larger ones like Heros and Mesonauta.

Moenkhausia collettii var.

Origin: El Remanso, at cataracts called Three Pedras at Inirida, Colombia.

Water: pH 5.41-5.71, conductivity 187-23.

Habitat: Flowing river with a rocky and sandy bottom, with fallen-in trees and along the edges overhanging grasses creating all-day shade. Black water and no aquatic vegetation, but there were many tree roots, Philodendron and other terrestrial plant roots.

Notes: There are several similar species, like M. copei, and both were described by Steindachner in 1882 from Óbidos,  Amazonas, Brazil.

M. collettii has an amazing distribution in Amazon and Orinoco river basins and is found throughout the Guyanas and south to the Paraná-Paraguay river basins.

It’s the most widely distributed characoid species I’ve found in South America, but there are many colour variants. This is possibly the most colourful, with a bright golden body colour all the way into the dorsal and anal fins and blood red adipose and caudal fins.  

Aquarium: This beautiful species is perfect for any community aquarium with a sandy bottom and floating plants with long roots. It should have a slowly flowing filter.

The fish may breed within roots of floating plants or Philodendron roots growing in.

As mates I suggest group fishes like Hemigrammus species such as H. bleheri, Nannostomus species, Carnegiella species, Hyphessobrycon eques, Corydoras and Rineloricaria species as well as dwarf cichlids (Apistogramma, Dicrossus, Aequidens species).

Microschemobrycon sp. ‘1’

Origin: Chorro Jacamin, Río Apaporis, Colombia.

Water: pH 5.19, conductivity 32.

Habitat: Clear slow-flowing bay of the river with sandy bottom and in bright sunlight. No vegetation, but some tree roots.

Notes: Seven species are in the genus Microschemobrcon, Böhlke, 1953, and they are tetras hardly 2.5cm/ 1” TL.

One, Hemigrammus geisleri, Zarske and Géry 2007, was described twice, as it is the same fish as Microshemobrycon geisleri, Géry, 1973 – both described from the same type locality near Óbidos Igarapé, Pará, Brazil.

I collected several times here and confirm it’s the same fish. The species is probably new and has a neon-like stripe from gill plate to caudal peduncle.

Aquarium: This species is a beauty for smaller aquaria and perfect for small community aquariums with small mates.

Décor should consist of sand, leaves and driftwood, and a filter should provide no turbulence.

As tank mates I suggest Nannostomus, Characidiums and Carnegiella, Ancistrus and smaller Rineloricaria species, as well as Apistogramma bitaeniata.

Hyphessobrycon copelandi var.

Origin: Caño Pichuna, Aguas Claras, Leticia, Colombia.

Water: pH 5.68-6.16, conductivity 24.

Habitat: Fast flowing creek full of driftwood and a sandy bottom. Overhanging trees made the biotope dark. Blackwater with no aquatic vegetation, but this species lived along the edges below leaves and driftwood.

Notes: This species is similar to H. copelandi, although its pattern differs. Its humeral spot extents above rather than below the lateral line, the humeral spot is not edged by a white band, its dorsal is red with the black blotch, as opposed to white with a black blotch. It has a red anal fin, as against a transparent one, but both have a white edge.

This is a much more colourful species and H. copelandi has its type locality in the Igarapé Belém, 150 km/93 miles east of this location.

Aquarium: This fish is also perfect for a planted community aquarium. It should be kept in groups of at least four to six specimens and have a slowly flowing filter, some driftwood and leaves on the bottom.

As tank mates I suggest other Hyphessobrycon, Nannostomus, Characidium and Carnegiella, and Corydoras arcuatus and Rineloricaria species, as well as dwarf cichlids like Apistogramma bitaeniata and Aequidens species.

Why not check out

Heiko Bleher discovers: South American surprises

Heiko Bleher discovers: Miniature fishes from South America

Heiko Bleher discovers: Crenicichla

Heiko Bleher discovers: Apistogramma

Heiko Bleher discovers: Loricariids

in the same series? 

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