Mike Wise, a dwarf cichlid expert identified these apistos as Apistogramma wapisana. This is the first time I have ever kept them. They seem to live in groups more then any other apisto I have caught, even in the aquarium.
About 7 km north of Boa Vista is the Rio Caumé, a small, clear water river.
First, I collected around the shore, catching tetras and a few catfish. After I had a decent sample in the beach I donned scuba gear and jumped in. Pretty much the first fish I saw was a 8 inch in diameter Stingray in the sand below me. It spooked and I hurried back to the shore to get my water shoes.
Once on the other side, there was a small creek flowing into the river.
Here the habitat looked much more promising. There were lots of leaves in the sand substrate and tons of fish.
The first net brought up a bunch of Apistogramma sp. which I put into breather bags. They were especially easy to catch here, and almost every net had at least one.
I also caught a few juvenile Hoplias sp., lots of tetras, an Aequidens sp. and even a few dwarf Pike cichlids, probably Cr. regani, or Cr. notopthalmus.
I went upriver a good way and caught a few Apistogramma rupununi ”savanna” One interesting catch was a tiny, one inch long wood catfish in the leaves, one of the only catfish caught in the stream. The only other one was a Candiru.
Back at the main river I kept fishing by the beach, I caught my first Rineloricaria of the trip and an unusual Gymnotid eel with a black tail
After driving a half an hour on rough dirt roads I arrived at the gorgeous spring fed stream. The water was perfectly clear, full of green, aquatic vegetation, underneath the surface. Tetras roamed in groups through the current, an adult Heros sp. had staked out its territory underneath a log and a large, single Satanoperca sp. sifted through the silt. It was perfect, I had 40 minutes before I had to go back to Boa Vista, not much time, but enough to get a good idea of the species.
Finally it was time for me to jump in, and start fishing. The first few dips of the net brought up a healthy Apistogramma, probably A. gibbiceps, the first of my trip
I caught several more of them, many differant tetras, and pencilfish and even a pike cichlid! I couldn’t catch a single heros or Satanoperca though.
I caught only a single Hypselecara
One surprise was that I did not catch a single rupununi or any other apisto besides the “gibbiceps”, which I had not caught anywhere else.
On the way back I passed igarapes….
…and dry igarapés
In case you arent up to date with the weather in Boa Vista, the rainy season is just starting and the smallest forest creeks have dried up, something I didn’t know, walking in the open field to a distant line of Buriti palm trees. These trees grow almost anywhere that there is water throughout the year, and generally where ever you can find these trees, there is a little creek running through the soft mud below. Unfortunately this was not the case here as the water had dried up completely and I couldnt even find mud. So I took a few pictures and made my way back to the farm.
Fortunately though I asked around and there was a water hole about a kilometer away. When I arrived however I was a little dismayed whenI saw that the water was completely opaque.
There was no water coming or leaving and fortunately for the fish in a few weeks the rainy season would start full force and they would be rescued just in time. Oh, did I mention there were fish? The first fish was a pair of Candiru. Slightly disconcerting since I began to realize how common they were having caught them everywhere I fished.
All of the fish collected at the stream were completely washed out, no spangles, bars, and spots. Below a Acaronia nassa
I caught a lot of gymnotid eels here.
And yes, I caught apistos. Rupununi and Laetecara
A sign of things to come….
I was able to fish in two places today. I didnt have much time at either, but I finally got some Apistogrammas in my net.At the first creek, called, Ai Grande, I caught two types of pencilfish, numerous Hyphessobrycon sp. a few Mesonauta insignis in the grass, Fluviphylax pygmaeus (?), Apistogramma rupununi, and what I think are Farlowellas.
Ai Grande was very muddy and there was very little leaf litter so I had a lot of trouble moving anywhere, making it difficult to fish effectively. The only Apisto I caught was in the mouth of the tiny stream to the right of the foto. After I had muddied up that creek I visited another, 5 kilometers further from Boa Vista called Agua Boa.
At Agua Boa the water had an unusual bluish tint. The water was deep with lots of movement and current, which was not good for catching Apistos. I caught yet another species of pencilfish, more tetras, some golden Splash tetras, a few tiny characids, a 9 inch Hoplias malabaricus, three Apistogrammas, a Gymnotid eel and the most disconcerting fish of all… the parasitic Candiru. I was not very eager to get back in the water after catching several of them. I tried to catch a small dwarf Pike Cichlid, but he evaded my net with such skill that he escaped. As I was about to leave I noticed many two – three inch fish in the current, that to me looked like Darters, I positioned my net downstream and scared them into the net. They were catfish of course (I should have known) and I kept a few of them
This afternoon I will go fishing again north of boa vista and will have more time, stay tuned for updates.
We visited a creek that I plan to collect at, but this time I didnt have time to fish, just take pictures and get water samples for tests. It was a clear water creek, unfortunately (for the fish) across the road from the city dump and I wasnt sure if there would even be any fish. Fortunately there were. I saw tons of tetras and a 5 inch traira, or wolf fish wich seemed perfectly healthy and active. I didnt see any apistos but it deffinately looked like a good place for them. Contrary to what I expected the results of the tests were normal, PH below 6.0, 0ppm of Nitrate, and Ammonia. The water was extremely soft and clean besides the trash littered around the otherwise normal creek.
I am in Boa Vista! Havent done any collecting yet but have marked out a few areas to target.