Friday, December 31, 2010

Cryptocoryne Bullosa's spathe

Just wanted to share a photo of the Cryptocoryne Bullosa's spathe which is short and spots bright red flower with dark ring colar. The plant in photo is under shallow fast flowing water. Cryptocoryne Bullosa was described by Engler in 1879 and can be found in central Sarawak. Depending on the locations where the specimens are collected, they sometimes exhibit slight differences. I once had a friend who mistook Cryptocoryne Uenoi for Bullosa but flowers often is the sure way to tell. The largest species of Cryptocoryne Bullosa is found in Northern Sarawak at one particular river where their dark leaves grows to the length of nearly 1 feet long. Needless to say this variety is in deep water and collecting them in rainy season is near impossible.

Happy New Year and may your 2011 be a good year from all of us at Borneo Echo Streams!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Puntius Rhomboocellatus

I have not been posting the last few months on this blog as we were hampered by a long stretch of bad weather affecting many villages where we are developing our social enterprise. So in the lean months, we fall back to cultivating and fine horning our husbandry skills with our workers. But thank God for signs of change, so we are now starting to get fishes again.

One of my favorite barbs, the Puntius Rhomboocellatus is now available at BES. The fishes are beginning to show striking colors just after 2 weeks of quarantine and conditioning. These fishes often look so beautiful in contrast to green colors of Echinodorus Quadricostatus or similar foreground plants. I will post some other fish and plant updates soon.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cryptocoryne Longicauda - Wild Emersed Form

My recent foray into Sumatra took me to various locations of wild fishes and plants through Central Sumatra. We travelled extensively and found that in some old locations, the wild Cryptocoryne Longicauda exposed in open areas in a drying stream due to land clearing for palm oil plantations. I amazed at the form of these plants adapting to such harsh environment. These plants grow best in shadier streams. The pH of the water is around 5.0. The base of the stream is sandy with cool water flowing through some sections.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cryptocoryne Villosa

I am sitting here in KL LCCT awaiting my next flight to Kuching after spending a week in Sumatra with Joshua Siow. So while waiting, I decide I should update this blog with some news of our trip to Sumatra. Both of us visited some old known locations where Cryptocoryne Moehlmanii, Crytpcoryne Pontederifolia, Cryptocoryne Cordata Var Diderici and Cryptocoryne Jacobsenii were found 25 years ago. Many of the locations have been developed and the Crypts are now gone. At this location where we found Cryptocoryne Villosa, the old rubber plantations are now being cleared for palm oil plantation. This little stream will soon change as well and we are doubtful the Crypts will survive the dry season in the open. I plan to come back again and explore more of Sumatra in the coming months.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Climate Change and Developmental Impact

It's been raining cats and dogs again in Kuching. We did have a few good sunny days in the last couple of weeks, enough for a couple of good field trips. At Borneo Echo Streams, we have been working the last few months on expanding our capacity for quarantine and breeding both in Kuching and in our villages. The weather change have impact and will continue to be unpredicatable as the world faces this phenomena. Rivers swollen due to heavy downpour when it was supposed to be the dry season.

Dvelopment of land has a major impact too as many developments are done at the cost of nature and the environment. Values of stability in nature is exchanged for developer's cost saving. Wetlands, a major natural source of cleaning our water is disappearing. Flora and faunas we know so little about are also dissappearing at alarming rate. Who knows if one of them holds the secret to the cure of cancer or some other illness.

For the poor farmers, things gets dicey as well. As I leave next week for a trip to Padang, Sumatra and the Mentawai Islands, the whole issue of how global climate change affects everyone remain in my thoughts. We need to think of new strategies to cope with these changes with view of long term sustainability. In the end, we have to all be better stewards of the wonderful resources of this planet. For hobbyist, the time for taking for granted what you have is gone. Take care and learn about the fishes and plants you are keeping. For those in the trade, sustainable and responsible practices will keep this trade healthy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cryptocoryne Auriculata

Cryptocoryne Auriculata from central Sarawak can be grown both in submersed or emersed form. The water pH in this location is 6.3 with a temperature around 25C. The tiger stripe marking on this crypt is beautiful and they make nice potted plants best kept in high humidity environment. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Betta Rubra Spawning

Betta Rubra are one of those lesser seen wild bettas in the circle of hobbyist. Many have seen photos of the red beautiful male in tiger stripes so I thought I will share a photo of a female specimen in spawning colors. As you can see the egg is ready for delivery and the male in courtship dance in the background. These beautiful bettas hail from northern Sumatra near Aceh. My first few Betta Rubras was sourced from a friend, Haji Baharuddin. Couple with some from another source, we are now breeding these little beauties.  


Betta Rubra Revisited: This specimens from Aceh have been identified as a different species from B Rubra by Dr Tan Heok Hui in a recent update. These are Betta Dennisyongi, named after naturalist Dennis Yong Ghong Chong. There are slight difference with the similar Rubra found in the same coastal areas in North Sumatera in body size and markings. Source: The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2013 61(1): 323-330

Cryptocoryne 'Batang Ai' Sp

The Cryptocoryne 'Batang Ai' Sp is still an undescribed species, first discovered by Michael Lo a couple of years ago. I am amazed by the sheer intensity of the leaf color. It has speckles of metalic sheen with magenta on it. The tiger stripes also enhances the beauty of this Cryptocoryne. Natural habitat is fast flowing river with low pH of 6.0. Temperature of 25C. This Cryptocoryne shares the habitat with Crytocoryne Striolata, Blyxa Aurbetii, Eleocharis Acicularis.

Out on a Raining Day

Photo of Josh and Herman in action at a swollen river. It was raining at the time they got into the river. Josh had to dive for Cryptocorynes as the water was very high, while Herman was there as a decoy for crocodiles. Hahaha...I am just joking.

It has been months since my last posting as we went through a very strange season of excessive rain here in Sarawak. Much of our earlier field trip has been hampered by bad weather. So we took the opportunity to expand our quarantine facility as well as servicing local demands for planted aquariums. However last week, a couple of friends from West Malaysia came to Kuching and we went off on a 7 day journey sampling and collecting cryptocorynes and fishes in Sarawak.

Our initial plan was to visit the 2 locations of Cryptocoryne Zaidiana but it didnt materialize as our local contact there advised us not to go due to the high river water level and evening thunderstorms. We did spend days on all other different location in this ardous journey. Braving the heat of scorching sun, the rain that never fail to show up just when we are about to reach a location, swarms of blood thirsty mosquitoes, cuts and scratches climbing and rolling down steep river banks, we came home tired but happy with some Cryptocorynes and other plants. We also enjoyed the good local food along the way and I had the pleasure of catching the Live Telecast of Le Tour De France's race stage for the Tourmalet peak in a hotel room in Sibu. Overall the locations of some Cryptocorynes are in very good condition but some are dwindling due to polution or development.

Thanks for dropping by and I will update this forum more frequently now as I have several postings coming soon. Cheers! 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Parosphromenus Sp 'Lundu'

The raining season have kept us in Borneo in house much the last couple of months and until recently we are seeing some small breaks from daily thunderstorms. This week I managed to get some specimens of a unidentified Parosphromenus from Western Sarawak. Originally collected some years ago by regional fish enthusiasts, it was initially mistaken for Parosphromenus Allani, later clarified as a separate species. The fish in photo is still acclimatizing to new home and the colors are extremely beautiful in the wild. I will retake the photo in time. in the meantime I have several other photos of interesting fishes which I will share over the next few days. 

Thanks for dropping by again and have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Breeding and Caring for CRS Shrimps

The Crystal Red Shrimp (CRS) or sometimes called Red Bee Shrimp is a very popular pet with many aquarist around the world. The finest examples of these shrimps were bred and produced in Japan years ago but these days most serious hobbyist are able to keep and breed these shrimps at home too. Graded and valued differently, most agrees that the white pigments of the best CRS should be as solid as possible. I wont discuss grading here as that is a different topic altogether. What I like to share is how you could keep, breed and raise your CRS at home.

We use ADA's Amazonia Aquasoil as base in each CRS tanks as essential trace and colloids from this substrate leaching into the water seems to be produce the best results. Water should be very clean so I strongly advise anyone from keeping CRS in a new tank. We introduce CRS into tanks with matured filtration system after a minimum of 7 weeks cycling. ADA's Bacter 100 or Bacter Ball is used together with Green Gain in prepping such tanks. The ideal water condition are pH6.0, kH2-3 with temperature of 25C. Forget about breeding CRS if you are not committed to provide the right environment. CRS in a beautiful tank is a statement of your commitment and discipline.

Dont fret if your CRS's beauty deteriorate because conditions are not right. With some care improving the conditions, the shrimps will become better after some weeks. Keep the water well filtered, cool at 24-25C, Aquasoil based substrate and feed them well. Water should  be changed weekly at around 25%. Add in some moss to the tank. Moss provides food for the shrimps as well as sponging up waste.

We add conditioners to the tank water each week when water is changed as supplements to the shrimps. As you know shrimp experience moltings regularly and the right conditioners support new shell colors and growth. We have had good results caring for CRS with products under the brand name Shirakura and Mosura.

With care, you will see your CRS optimized once again in time. Recently we had a whole bunch baby Snow Whites in our tanks and the parents are no SSS grade beauties at all. So I wish you all the best with your brood. Cheers!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Betta Taeniata

The blue cheek Borneo Betta or scientifically named Betta Taeniata (Regan 1910) is a medium sized wild betta from our hill streams here in Sarawak. There are also some specimens collected from Kalimantan but they have slight difference of color on the body. As in the case of many other wild bettas, spawning season brings out their best colors. The male displays very strong blueish green opercle with blackish border on their anal and caudal fins. When stressed, it is very hard to distinguish the male from the females as their colors fade out. Betta Taeniata is part of the Betta Picta group. Make sure their water is clean and the tank have plenty of plants to keep them happy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A short visit to the Mentawai Islands

Sorry for being a little quiet the last couple of weeks. I was away in the Mentawai Islands (part of Indonesia) in the Indian Ocean, west of Sumatra. These cluster of remote islands offer their unique richness in bio diversity. Culturally, the Mentawai tribes share much similarity to the Dayaks in Borneo. Life on these islands in some places are still very untouched by the outside world. Life is basic with, water from well or rain, no electricity, and your BlackBerry aint going to work there. So there I was plastered with sunblock lotion and insect repellent (it's a Malaria infested area besides the regular earthquakes), adjusting and making the most of my time enjoying nature in it's pristine state.

There are interesting plants and fishes, among other animals on these islands from the shore to the mountains.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cryptocoryne Bullosa

The Cryptocoryne plants have always been a fascinating aquatic plant for an enthusiast. They are add to any planted tank a certain feel that 'forest have been there since the beginning of time'. However keeping exotic Cryptocoryne like the Bullosa requires a certain experience. I first came across this plant thought to have gone extinct in the central region of Sarawak some years ago. In fact I cant remember if anyone have seen it prior to Japanese explorer, Yujii Sasaki re-discovering a patch of them back in the 80's. As usual wild collected specimens are robust with bullated leaves. The color of the leaves varies from dark green to brown to almost black depending on location. This plant can grow both in emmersed or submerssed form. I have kept them successfully propagated in ADA based aquariums while some of my friends report success with laterite based substrate.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ambassis Interrupta

The Long Fin Glass Perchlet found in freshwater river of Matang, Sarawak was sampled from our last outing. I'd love to photograph a school of these fishes underwater swimming with Rasbora Caudimaculata and Rasbora Sarawakensis someday.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Unexpected but Pleasant Find

Sometimes I visit familiar locations of fishes to see for myself how the fish populations are like during different seasons. Today was one of those days, it had been raining a lot the last several days and isnt the best time for sampling. Kenneth and Mixrayon joined me today for an OJT trip somewhere in the wetlands of Matang. I wanted to show them several spots but mostly to collect a few more samples of fishes from these area. It was already late in the evening and throughout the day we were in between afternoon showers and the sun. The 3 of us were netting and suddenly we caught a few Glassfish. it was unusual as I have never seen them in that area. I'll try to get some photos up soon. I am not sure if they are Chanda Ranga as there are several different species of Chanda around.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pseudogobiopsis Festivus

This freshwater Goby is relatively a new comer to the list of described fishes of Borneo. The Pseudogobiopsis Festivus (Larson, H.K., 2009) is an active fish that is loves clean clear cool water as it hails from hill streams. Although not much about this fish has been published yet, I am sure this will be another interesting pet for many aquarium keepers around the world. The adult male specimen display orange reddish filament fins and are rather attractive. Sandy or light gravel bed aquariums with some planting will suit these fishes. They are not shy and often will feed of your fingers.

Apologies for the poor quality photo, I have yet to capture a good shot if this vibrant active fish. Perhaps when I have better photo, I will repost again. Cheers!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Boraras Brigittae

Boraras Brigittae, commonly known as Chilli Rasbora from Kalimantan Barat is a very small red cyprinidae. They are so petite and pretty in their colors and makes great fishes for the small nano planted tanks or could be companions in shrimp tanks.

Betta Brownorum

Betta Brownorum (Witte & Schmidt, 1992) is found in several locations in Sarawak and Kalimantan Barat. This wine red betta specimen is from a fresh water peat swamp near Kota Samarahan, Kuching. Traditionally collected from Matang, these days the Sarawak's collection have dwindled severely. Almost all Betta Brownorums in the aquarium trade the last few years comes from Kalimantan Barat. I was on location in KALBAR last year to sample some and they each have slight difference although the same fish. The best conditions to keep these diminishing beauties are clean cool, peaty, soft and acidic waters (pH4.5-5.0, 25-26C) with heavy vegetation.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Parosphromenus Anjunganensis

Parosphromenus Anjunganensis (Kottelat 1991) is one of the liquorice gourami fish of Borneo. This little peaceful labyrinth fish from the Kalimantan Barat's black water streams spots reddish fins with metalic blue seams. Original pH 4.5-5.5, soft and cool temperature around 25C. Wabi-Kusa planting will be ideal for this fishes. They will eat baby brine shrimps and micro pellets.

Neocaridina Sp 'Sumatran Sunset'

Neocaridina Sp 'Sunset' Shrimp from Sumatra. pH6.0, 25C, kH0-3.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tonina Fluviatilis

I love the green color on this beautiful stem plant from South America. Tonina Fluviatilis blossoms like a little star, that can be positioned in mid tank or background depending on the size of your planted aquarium. This little star demands CO2 injection, adequate lighting and cool water. With ADA's Amazonia II Aquasoil substrate system, they will be a rewarding visual treat for any enthusiast. Recommended for expert class.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hemirhamphodon Kuekenthali

These 3 spot forest Halfbeaks known as Hemirhamphodon Kuekenthali (Steindachner 1901) are live bearers that range from slightly brackish waters to freshwater hill streams of Sarawak. Surface fishes, they adapt readily to micropellet food but enjoys small live insects. They are able to adapt to wide range of water conditions but proper acclimatizing is nevertheless required (pH range from 5.5 to 7.5, soft to medium kH, temperature 25C). Our stock originates from mountainous streams, obtained through a program for eradication of poverty by empowering the villagers over the area though social enterprise development.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This week's incoming

We are expecting a shipment of plants and fishes incoming this week. Drop by and check out our new stock.

Tonina Fluviatilis
Microsorium Pteropus Narrow Leaf
Microsorium Pteropus Windelov
Lileopsis Brasiliensis
Eloecharis Parvulus
Blyxa Japonica
Glossostigma Elantoides
Echinodorus Quadricostatus
Bobitis Heudelotii

Crossocheilus Siamensis - Standard Algae Eater in our books. :)
Paracheirodon Innesi Var Diamond
Taiwanese Bumblebee Shrimp
Indian Red Nose Shrimp
Sumatran Sunset Shrimp - stunning orange
Crystal Red Bee Shrimp - High Grade
Botia Macrantha - Very nice condition
Pangio Kuhli - Very nice condition
Parosphromenus Anjunganensis - Hard to get now
Parosphromenus Ornaticauda - Hard to get now
Paracheirodon Axelrodi - Very well conditioned
Boraras Brigitae - Chilli Red
Boraras Merah
Nemacheilus Saravncensis
Sundadanio Axelrodi - Blueish Green
Axelrodia Riesei - Very beautiful
Dario Dario - very cute and pretty
Megalomphodus Sweglesi - for the Amanoistic tanks. :)~
Neritina 'Zebra' - Zebra Algae Eating Snails
Bumble Bee Snail - great algae eater
Yamato Shrimp - Must have for Planted Tank
Indian Dwarf Puffer - natural snail buster

We have lots of other exotic fishes and plants. Please ask if you cant locate them.

Chinese New Year Promotion!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Datnioides Quadrifasciatus

The Four Bar Tiger Fish (Datnioides Quadrifasciatus) from the upper region of Kapuas river is a another beautiful fish from Borneo. The large adult Tiger Fish makes a great companion to the Asian Arowana or other similar large predator fishes.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Brachygobius Doriae

The Brachygobius Doriae are very cute little gobies that recently caught my attention. Information about these fishes are sketchy and sparse although these fishes can be commonly found in the aquarium trade. These little colorful fishes that I observed loves shallow clear waters with sandy bed and have ability to 'adhere' to any surface againts water current. Unfortunately they are picky eaters and prefer to attack small live food like baby shrimps. They can also be territorial although small groups of them can be spotted lying together to ambush passing 'food'. Some of the BumbleBee Gobies are from brackish waters while others are from freshwater rivers.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Betta Midas - A Gold Colored Fighter

A couple months ago I came across a bunch of wild Bettas from one of my trips into Indonesia. They are from the Anabantoide Group but I could see there was two types of fishes collected from the same area. After due quarantine and the fishes settling down in their new home, their yellow golden colors began to peak distinctly. This fish was described by Tan Heok Hui (Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, NUS, Singapore) in 2009.