Everyone should have a hobby - and as I don't drink or smoke, the next best thing was fish-keeping. And since going on about David Attenborough can't strictly be classified as a hobby, raising tropical fish seemed a more socially acceptable pastime.
I must admit that my efforts at piscine husbandry kind of faded away after my dear old pair of Blue Discus died of, well, being terminally old. Although an assorted population of South American catfish are thriving in the former Discus abode, its just not the same without the Old Blues not being around any more.
The Old Blues - we had such fun together
But having said all that, I have recently resurrected a small two foot tank - stocked it to the brim with plants and fed them with CO2. The desired "submerged jungle" effect is well on its way and I have populated the tank with a species of fish that has long intrigued me...
While browsing a local fish shop (better known as 'LFS' by aquarium aficionados like myself), I came across a shoal of inch-long fish which the shopkeeper had creatively christened "Buddy's buddies".
Well I thought to myself, this all sounds and looks very familiar - and my suspicions were later confirmed after surfing the 'net. This was Badis badis, a charismatic little fish from India.
According to the experts, "Badis badis is also known as the chameleon fish due to it's ability to quickly change it's bright colors. Taxonomically it is a bit of a chameleon as well. It shows a relationship to Anabantids - Gouramis and Leaf Fish. At the present time the genus is monotypic and Badis badis is the only species. However, with the discovery of the un-described Scarlet Badis, all of the subspecies are being looked at and may be broken up. Specimens of this fish can be found in India, Pakistan, Burma and Thailand, resulting in the subspecies."
They actually behave a lot like cichlids, and when the diminutive little males establish their territories and jostle for breeding rights, they actual colour up quite nicely. So I will follow my little band of five "buddies" closely, and eagerly anticipate a bit of rumbling in the jungle.
Right now they look a bit like this:
But when its 'time', the males should look like this:
After my lot have settled in, I will take some of my own photos...
This experiment has just begun, and keeping in mind that my subjects are currently smaller than my fingernail, I will diligently continue my observations inspite of the repetitive eye strain.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and indulging in my hobby. It keeps me out of trouble and is certainly cheaper than a bottle of Red Label (unless I decide to invest in Discus again, in which case - it won't be)