Alestopetersius brichardi the “Cherry Red Congo Tetra”

Hello again all!
If you are located in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving!
As of recently there has been a real lack of new and rare fish/plants coming into the hobby at this time, as it is now Winter, and transporting fish and plants are made more difficult with the chilly weather, thus the lack of posts, sorry about that!

So today I am going to change it up and make a fish post on an African Tetra that is in the top 3 of my favorite African fish. The African Characin that I am speaking of is called Alestopetersius brichardi, commonly known as the “Cherry Red Congo Tetra.” It is rare in that sources for this fish are quite hard to find, the collection site for these fish isn’t the most “safe” of places to go to, and as far as I know breeding successes for this fish are limited if at all.


These fish come from the country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, specifically such places as Yangambi and lake Yandja (at least these places are where the type localities are).

I believe that this fish has it all when it comes to the perfect combination of coloration and finnage. They as their name implies, they are Red/deep Orange hues in color, which in itself, is brilliant, but that’s not all as over their whole body there is a blue and purple metallic sheen!


As for the finnage, there is a long extension/spike in the middle of the caudal fin that comes out about ¾ of an inch to an inch, along with that dark stripe that goes from the eye down the whole length of the body, actually goes through this caudal spike. The Dorsal fin has about 3-4 filaments that come right off those top fin rays.

These Tetras have sexual dimorphism, in other words, the physical appearance differs between the males and females. The females are much more drab in finnage and coloration, basically they are the polar opposite of the brilliant males. They still hold the blue sheen, a smaller caudal spike, and slight orange coloration.

The female is to the right, male is on the bottom left.

Also as with many African Tetras, they are somewhat on the larger size compared to most of the characoid family. They grow to a little over 3-4 inches in length. They aren’t very temperamental, and easy to keep. They prefer softer acidic water, especially if you are planning to breed them, although they are quite lenient in water parameters in terms of just maintaining them.

I wanted to post 2 pictures here that was one of the 1st if not the 1st picture of this fish, collected straight out of the wild. The credit for this photograph is highly-contested, and I dare not name names, but I have heard who the true credit goes to, but I would rather not say here. The colors you see on these fish below are REAL, not fake, these fish in the bag are straight out of the wild. I had a conversation with a friend awhile back where we talked about how in the wild these fish show such a strong red hue, but once tanked they eventually lose it and come to the color of the specimens in the 1st few pictures.


Ultimately he came to the conclusion that the brilliant red hue is mainly diet-dependant, along with the effect of natural sunlight on the fish. Nonetheless even without this crazy red hue, when tanked these fish still exhibit amazing coloration! The proof is in the 1st few pictures, which were taken from when I had an opportunity to keep these amazing fish.

This is just a crazy colorful African Tetra! Hopefully if you want to try these fish out now, that you get that chance soon!
Have a good one people!
If you like what you are seeing please feel free to leave a comment!
Have a good one guys!

Geothelphusa dehaani (blue variant) “Sawagani”

Hello again!
These past few weeks have been quite busy, the combination of the flu and work doesn’t do the body any good. Nonetheless I am back, this time with a post on a freshwater crustacean called Geothelphusa dehaani (blue variant). They go by the name of “Sawagani” here in Japan.

Sexually mature male

This is a small freshwater crab that is found in and around the forest streams of Japan. They are quite abundant during the warmer times of the year, Spring and Summer, where many can be found crawling around out in the open, and there are baby crabs everywhere. As opposed to the colder times of the year (Fall, and especially Winter) they tend to “shutdown” and tend to go into “hibernation” you could call it. They do not breed, they aren’t found crawling out in the open, and basically just not active at all. Take the one male that I currently have in my terrarium. During the Summer when I first got him, he would crawl and climb all over the tank all day, very active. Yet now during the Winter, it has gotten very cold, and I never see him, he does not even eat the food I place in the tank, although he is still alive, he just always stays under the water and hidden.

In terms of sexual dimorphism, both males and females can exhibit the blue and white coloration, the brown colored specimens seem to be sexually immature. The easiest way to tell the difference between the sexes is the males have 1 large claw, and 1 smaller claw. Also the females have a larger/wider “flap” on their abdomen, in order to carry the eggs/babies.

Sexually immature specimen

In their natural habitat (given you collect them at the right times of the year, as stated above) you can find them crawling anywhere on the ground. Most of the time they can be found especially under rocks, it seems that, that is where they make their homes.

A blue variant excavating a home underneath rocks

They are very good climbers, in the forest I have seen them crawling steep rock faces. As for food, they like most crustaceans are scavengers. They have been documented as eating, rice, algae, bugs, other dead crustaceans, and vegetable matter (soy beans, bamboo root etc). I personally fed my crab cooked white rice! Seems odd, but he would go nuts for it!

An older blue variant male eating a piece of old carapace

A Red variant eating some vegetable matter

As far as I could tell, in terms of breeding, the females carry the eggs on their underbelly, and they carry them until the eggs hatch into baby crabs just under 1cm across, at which point the female drops them, and they’re left to fend for themselves.

Blue variant females carrying eggs
photo credit:
photo credit:

Red female carrying babies that are soon-to-be dropped

Recently dropped juvenile
photo credit:

Like I mentioned earlier this is the blue variant of Geothelphusa dehanni. There is another known variety that naturally occurs in Japan, and it is the red variety. The lifestyle and habitat of the red variety is no different from the blue variety.

Red variant male

I hope you all enjoyed this post on my most recent pet, Geothelphusa dehaani! Please leave a comment if you like what you are seeing, it would be much appreciated!
Take care all!

Got Microsorium??

How are you all doing? All is well I hope! 🙂
This post we will be getting back to plants, and my favorite genus of plants at that, Microsorium.
Most people know of the common “Windelov, Red, Tropica, and Narrow” leaf types, but did you know that there are at least 15-20 (possibly much more yet undiscovered) types of Microsorium?? Most have not been established in the hobby, but there are a large number of locality types, and a few cultivar types.

Microsorium are easy to grow, sometimes they can be a bit finicky if you let the water quality go too far down. They will do fine in the CO2/fertilizer/lighting tank setup (leaf stunting and crinkling can be a side effect of the unnatural conditions) but they naturally come from areas where there is filtered light coming down through the forest canopy, the choice is really yours.

Being that this my favorite group of plants, I had invested the last 6 years searching for the various hard-to-find/unknown cultivars and locality types, and I would like to share some of them with you.

Micro. Reverse Tropica
This Microsorium’s trademark is it’s scalloped leaves, although this is a picture of an emersed specimen, the leaves maintain that scalloped-look just the same while immersed. Leaves are approximately 5-7 inches maximum

Micro. Fork Leaf
This one may look similar to Tropica, but if you were to compare the two, you would notice that this one has much more “teeth” on it’s edges, and the teeth are much more narrow. I really prefer this one over Tropica, but of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder 🙂 This one is relatively new, and not many hobbyists have this certain variety. Leaves are approximately 5-6 inches maximum.

Micro. Small Leaf
As you can see from the size reference of my finger in this picture, this particular Micro. stays quite small, the largest leaves that you see in the picture, are as big as they get, about 2 inches. Great for those people looking to add a fern into a smaller sized, “micro”-type tank. This Micro. is also one of the softer-leaved ones, meaning the leaves aren’t very hard to the touch, and basically those Micro. that are soft-leaved, tend to be the ones that are more sensitive to water conditions.

I hope you enjoyed this post about my favorite genus of aquatic plants! 🙂
Take care everyone!

The First

Hello all! 🙂

Since this is my first post on my brand spankin’ new blog “AquaBiota” I just want to give you a short synopsis of what sort of topics will be covered here and my own interests and reasons for starting this blog.

First, “AquaBiota” is Latin for “aquatic life”, more specifically in terms of what this blog will be focusing on, is freshwater aquatic life (plants and fish).  There will various pictures of such things as aquarium/terrarium setups, aquarium products, fish, plants, and anything else that the aquarium hobby might find interesting.

As for my own interests and the reason for starting this blog is quite simple.  I have had a deep interest in the aquarium hobby for about the past 9 years now.  I have had experiences in working with a number of plants and fish, yet I have no specifics as to what species I like to work with, as I mainly enjoy working with species new/rare at the time.  If I had to put my finger on one of each plant and fish genus I most enjoy working with, it would be Apistogramma (fish) and Microsorium/Bucephelandra (plant).

I am by no means an expert or claiming to be one, the purpose of this blog is to share my interests, learn myself from others, and hopefully pass on some helpful information to others with interests similar to my own.  I hope you all enjoy this blog and the interesting things to come! 😉

Sincerely, Inspire91

I will leave you with some pictures of a few “Star Plants” or Eriocaulon. One of the more unique genus of aquatic rosette type plants that have had a strong buzz around them for the past few years. They as a whole can be quite fickle and require a specific environment in order to thrive. Certain species will quickly melt if optimum water conditions are not met.

Requirements: Generally speaking, they will do best in acidic (pH ~ 4-5) and very soft (GH of 1-3*) water. They do well in stronger lighting, and in my experiences really flourish in a “current” area within the tank.

Propagation: They propagate either by splitting from their core, similar to watching cells “cleave”, or they will throw up a long thin stem that will produce a small plantlet at it’s tip. If the plant begins to “cleave” let it split into separate cores (or as close as possible to separate cores), and then gently pull them apart, if you try to force it early and break them apart, you risk killing both (or more) of the plants that were about to be produced. If long thin stems (which break the water’s surface) with a white spores at the tip appear, you can (if by chance you have another of this plant doing this same exact growth at the time) use a q-tip and touch the various heads of these spores, and hope you have pollination. Another possibility is that the tip may or may not break the water’s surface, yet has grown a small plantlet, at which point you will want to leave it alone until it reaches about an inch and has a few roots growing from it, then you will cut it, and plant it into the soil.

This is a small only about an inch tall maximum, very hard to the touch species of Eriocaulon. It is found on the shores of the lakes in Sulawesi, in very tight compact mats. Very slow growing, but readily splits, and is quite unique in its “carpeting” capabilities.

This can be a tough one! This species of Eriocaulon from Matogrosso in Brazil, has very particular water requirements, very soft and very acidic. Prefers an area where there is a current, as it very much dislikes any debris settling on it. The many long and thin leaves, are very iconic of this species.

This is Eriocaulon sp.”Goias”, another Brazilian beauty that is special for its wider, turning leaves. This one can get quite large, as I’ve seen a specimen that was about a foot in diameter!

This is Eriocaulon cinereum (notice the many long thin stems shooting up from the plant, signaling a time of propagation) nothing too special, as this species was one of the first on the plant scene.
Eriocaulon cinereum (reproducing)