I had been looking forward to this trip and finally it had worked out. I ate breakfast at our friends house and since it was only five minutes away I decided to go check it out with one net and a breather bag to make sure there were fish and decide what equipment to bring. Three Brazilian boys took me to the Igarape and after 5 minutes of walking through banana trees, thick jungle and swampy areas we arrived at the stream.
It was cloudy, and as soon as we jumped in, it got worse. I used one of my smaller nets which was about 13 inches wide and after a few minutes i had a small cichlid. I am not sure what species of fish it was but it has a very unique shape with a stripe running from its eye to just above the caudal peduncle.
The next fish was a port acara and after that some female wild guppies I waded down the stream (which was up to my hip at this point) I dug my net in deep and brought it up along the bank in it was a 1 inch baby plecostomus. On my way back I netted a few more ports, and livebearers as well as a Rineloricaria also known as the whiptail catfish. These proved to be common wherever we went.
I went upstream now along with one of the boys who accepted the duty of taking the little breather bag wherever I went. One of the boys with me had been able to catch a small acara with his hands. The stream narrowed out into a shallow, beautiful little stream with little water falls everywhere. Here One of the boys was able to catch a perfect sized plecostomus about 2 inches. With the next sweep of my net I also caught one, about 3 inches.
Interestingly enough this was the last of this species that I collected for the rest of the trip. I continued upstream and collected a few more livebearers and rhineloricaria.
Finally we had to go back, only a half an hour had passed. We planned to come back right after lunch but a sudden storm prevented us from going out until 2:20. This time I was going to go fully equipped. Test kits, check, multiple collecting nets, check, breather bags, check , little blue fishy stress relievers, check, rubber bands, check etc. We decided to hit a different stretch of the creek to see if we had any better luck there. It took half the time to get there. We had been worried that the rain would have swollen up the creek but when we arrived on the site our fears had been unfounded, the stream was as nice as small as ever. I only brought two nets so two of us were going to be doing the less fun jobs like taking pictures and toting around breather bags full of fish while the other two would make the exciting catches etc. We decided to switch off, when one of us got so tired of waiting for the others to catch all the fish we would switch off. One minute the water was clearish and we could see corydoras catfish in the water then we jumped in and the water turned muddy very fast. The two with the net waded around netting here and there. Some scoops turned up nothing while the next would have a small school of guppies or a few acaras. We got our first wild male guppies there and their colors rivaled the best line breds.
Among more rhineloricarias, baby acaras, and guppies i caught my first corydoras.
They were a metallic greenish gold with yellow fins and undersides. If someone caught one, chances were good that there would be another one in the net. We had to be careful because of a large wasp’s nest that was hanging over the creek. i was careful to avoid that spot. Here the ph of the water was around 6.5, the water was very soft, with no trace of nitrites or nitrates. The Kh was low.
We moved up and downstream and the highlight of the trip was when i caught a 6-7 inch acara in my net, not huge but considering where we were it was a good size.
We moved to the first stretch of the stream and went down it for a pretty long ways looking for new species. Twice we saw a large amieva swimming in the water, it looked similar to a snake at first. We battled throught the bushes that were closing in and when they barred our passage we went up around them. Once i saw a brazilian wandering spider, arguably the most venomous spider in the world. Eventually we had to go back and on the way found a huge toad.
Then we went upstream. Squeezing through banana plants and stomping through knee deep mud we made it to the stream again.
Here there was a variety of poisonous, stinging, and spiny plants which made it more difficult a few times we had to crawl along tree trunks to get past the mud. Colecting trips dont get better then this! What did we find, one single hoplias sp. The problem? we had left the breather bags back a ways, by the first stretch of the stream. i volunteered to get it and got lost on the way. I had to come back and get someone else to go with me. The wolf fish thankfully made it though. Somehow it lost an eye, and we are not sure how (it came out of the water with only one eye).
That was the last noteworthy fish and after that we packed up our gear and headed for home. The breather bags worked well and even though we had a lot of small disasters (the bags bags fell twice, spilling their contents over the forest floor, and one sprung a leak) only a very few fish died .
On the way back i found a very large leech on my leg. i dont k now how long it had been gorging itself with my blood but it was almost full.