The Jewel Cichlid, hemichromis bimaculatus, is a beautiful fish that inhabits streams from southern Guinea to Central Liberia. During breeding conditions, the males have intense red colouration which is spectacular to see. These cichlids are territorial and should be housed in a spacious, well planted aquarium with abundant shelters. If there are enough shelters, these fish will be less aggressive as each of them is able to claim a certain territory within in the aquarium. Include several flat-topped rocks to mimic the cichlids natural environment. If a breeding pair is established, the female will spawn on these flat-topped rocks (flat leaves are also possible). The pair will then take turns to vigorously guard to fry. The Jewel Cichlid is omnivorous and will take dried and live foods. Keep these fish well fed or else they will become nasty fin nippers!
The Pictus Catfish, Pimelodus Pictus, is a small species of catfish with extreme long barbels. The barbels can even reach to the caudal fin! Pictus Catfish are active bottom feeders that are usually most active at night. They inhabit the Amazon and Orinoco river basins and are common in the aquarium trade. In captivity they are omnivorous and eat vegetables, blood worms and insects among others. They are relatively peaceful fish and can be kept with other fish of similar size. Larger Pictus Catfish, however, will have a go at smaller fish (small tetra’s for example). Pictus Catfish are non-territorial so a shoal of 5 or more will make this species of catfish feel more at home. Furthermore, it is important to provide plenty of plants, rock, caves and driftwood in soft water. A dimly lit aquarium encourages the fish to be more active.
The blood parrot is an interesting fish with a round balloon-shaped body and a small mouth. Since it’s a hybrid developed by humans it does not occur in the wild. They come in many colours, but the most striking ones are those with yellow or red colour. The blood parrot is very popular aquarium fish. It is a hardy fish and is therefore easy for the beginner They are, however, messy eaters and will only consume part of the food that is given. A powerful filter and good cleaning of the substrate is necessary when keeping these fish. Originating from cichlid parents, one would expect these fish to be aggressive. However, this is far from the case and these fish can easily be housed with similar sized fish such as Angelfish, Corydoras, Silver Dollars and many catfish species.They are called parrotfish because their nose looks like the beak of a parrot 🙂
On the 17th of December 2016 I travelled together with one of Indonesia’s best fish breeders, Pak Mulyadi, to the Indonesian Convention Exhibition (ICE) in South Tangerang, to attend the Indonesia’s 1st Ornamental Fish and Aquatic Plant Show. I had no idea what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm of everyone I met there. The aquascaping competition was the biggest I have ever seen. The exhibition was divided is several themes: Betta, Killifish, Goldfish, Guppy, Arowana and Lohan. My personal highlight were the amazing award-winning Lohan’s on display and the 1 meter+ Jumbo Koi!
Indonesia has huge potential to become a market leader in the aquarium business since many aquarium fish species originate from Indonesia. Other non-native species are also harvested in Indonesia, particularly in and around Bogor. However, most of the money is made in Singapore due the lack of sufficient infrastructure in Indonesia. Singapore buys fish cheaply from Indonesia and sells it on to other countries overseas. Changi Airport and the Port of Singapore are far more effective in handling the demand than the overcrowded airport of Soekarno-Hatta or the flood-prone port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta.
Despite this, the BRINusatic Ornamental Fish Show 2016 was a step in the right direction to commercialise the aquarium business in Indonesia. It united several fish-clubs into one joint show to make it appeal to a wider public. People from Ministry of Fisheries explained to me that this was the very reason why this show was held. I hope it will be held again soon!