Peat swamps in North Selangor featured Betta livida, a great decorative species with green iridescence.
Boraras maculatus, and even the
croaking gourami Trichopsis vittata.
We started for Johore by
motorway at 2: 30 p.m. and arrived
at 5: 30 p.m. We then checked into
a small hotel.
A Visit to Singapore
We took a taxi to Johore’s
immigration checkpoint to cross
into Singapore to see our friend
Patrick, who is an exporter.
We passed through Singapore
Immigration and Customs
and took a taxi to Patrick’s fish
distribution warehouse. He wasn’t
there, so we headed for the nearest
food outlet, which turned out to be
a cafeteria that was conveniently
located around the corner from
the warehouse. We came across a
wholesaler of aquarium equipment
along the way, who sold Paul some
When we returned to Patrick’s,
it was evident that there was lots
of unloading going on from small trucks
that stopped by to unload shipments of
fish. The tanks held an assortment of
barbs, rasboras, danios, and loaches from
places all over Southeast Asia. They were
all in excellent condition, but I didn’t
see any bettas or licorice gouramis until
Patrick arrived. It turned out that these
beautiful green croaking gouramis, but the
others collecting in the forest only found
one B. tomi. We drove toward Desaru,
where we found a swampy area with B.
pugnax, a few B. tomi (or possibly waseri),
and even a three-spot gourami.
We found a nice spot under a
bridge. The others went into the
swamp forest to find B. tomi while
I fished along the edge and found
Trichopsis, B. imbellis, kuhli loaches,
gobies, and the blackline rasboras.
Eventually I went along a narrow
footpath into the swamp forest area,
which I found very muddy and
difficult to collect many fish in. The
noise of chainsaws could be heard
close by, which left us no doubts
about the fate of this area. We only
found one B. tomi, which was disappointing.
We then drove along the road to Mersing
and found a small stream where we found
B. pugnax, Boraras maculatus, Channa
gachua, and a few Betta tomi. Again this
swamp habitat appeared to be headed for
destruction, with many of the surrounding
trees already cleared away.
The croaking sounds of Trichopsis vittata can sometimes be heard
throughout Cherating’s grassy pools, in which the small labyrinth
were housed in another room that I had
missed. We chatted for a bit, saw more fish,
and then left at 1 p.m., taking a taxi down
to the immigration center.
Day 4: Gourami Success
Our first stop of the day was
disappointing. I was able to collect some