Another lovely species is Pseudogastromyzon fangi. This is a durable hillstream loach that grows to 4 inches in length, which is quite large for hillstream
standards. The bold pattern and yellow fins make P. fangi
something worth searching for. Expect frequent squabbles
and bickering over territories.
Pseudogastromyzon sp. “Red Spot”
Exceedingly rare, the vermilion loach Leptobotia rubrilabris is exceptionally secretive. It is nearly extinct in the wild and occurs only as the very rare
contaminants found among already meager catches of the
imperial flower loach L. elongata. In Chongqing, China, the
construction of dams has severely affected the population
of L. rubrilabris.
The vermilion loach is extremely variable in coloration.
Individuals can be anything from deep wine red to orange
to gray or brown. The pointed tail lobes are unique among
members of the Leptobotia complex. These are rather large
and shy captive fish. Aquarium care is much like other
large loaches from the genus. Pieces of raw market shrimp,
bloodworms, earthworms, and frozen mysis are relished.
Coreoperca (Siniperca) whiteheadi
This small 2-inch loach is rather secretive, which is a shame because the startling scarlet dots along its flanks and other minute details can only be seen up
close in good lighting. These loaches are also very hardy
once acclimated. Never purchase inactive or underweight
Vermilion Loach Leptobotia rubrilabris
Shady areas should be provided. Anyone who comes across
the vermilion loach should try breeding and photographing
them. Sadly, someday in the near future, I can guarantee
that this loach will be extinct in the wild.
Coreoperca (Siniperca) whiteheadi is a 10-inch predator that is very similar in appearance to the North American sunfish Lepomis sp.—complete with a black operculum spot! C.
whiteheadi hails from southern China, Zhejiang, Guangxi, and Hainan
Island in major rivers. This species lurks in the lower part of the open
water column. Its temperament is semiaggressive with conspecifics, but
fishes that are not closely related are largely ignored if they are too large
to be swallowed. This bold species does not hide much and will learn
to eat all prepared foods.
C. whiteheadi will tolerate a wide range of water parameters and
have been documented living in brackish water at river mouths. These
fish have been imported several times within the past decade and are
usually available at fairly reasonable prices. It is a bycatch among food
fishes in China. Like so many other freshwater species native to China,
these too are facing immediate threat of extinction due to industrial
development and habitat destruction. This species has little commercial
value and has not been bred in captivity.
Only spawnings conducted for commercial artificial propagation
methods as in the important food fish and their close cousin S. chuatsi
have been achieved. For aquaculture purposes, captive breeding in the
aquarium has been documented on the closely related C. kawamebari.
These breeding events documented them as being egglayers, depositing
their eggs on the underside of leaves and branches. Once the eggs
hatched, parental guarding behavior was observed.
Tropical Fish Hobbyist www.tfhmagazine.com