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Fish, plants. rocks, wood...and "the big picture"

Tannin Aquatics

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I don't know if it's just me, but I have this thing about "brown and grey" fishes. I've written about this before, and it always catches an empathetic ear from some fish geek somewhere, who agrees with my less than chromatically brilliant aesthetic choices.


And I try to figure out what it is about the somewhat "chromatically challenged" fishes that I love so much. Now, don't get me wrong, I can appreciate the incredible colors of a fancy Betta, brilliantly-colored Tetra, a beautiful Discus, or a fancy livebearer. It's just that, when I'm selecting fishes for my aquariums, I tend to go after the more subtly-colored ones for the bulk of the fish population in a given aquarium.


Sure, I will often put in a fish or two that has a big "pop" of color for the affect. However, the majority of the fishes in my tanks are subtly attractive (or, "Just subtle", as one of my "friends" tells me, lol). For example, the "stars" in my characin-heavy office tank that you see so much here are Nanostomus marginatus and Sailfin Tetras (Crenuchus spilurus)- nice- but not the kinds of fishes that you're going to catch a glance of as they swim by and yell, "WOW! Those are crazy!"


Rather, they are the kinds of fishes that have their own quiet charm. They blend nicely into their surroundings, have interesting color patterns, and sort of hold your attention a bit longer than say, a school of bright, flashy Cardinal Tetras. For a "pop" in color, I always seem to choose a fish that is, indeed colorful, but maybe one that wouldn't be your first choice to blow people's minds...Like, for example, the "Orange Flame Tetras", Hyphessobrycon flammeus (a domesticated variant of a popular "beginner's fish") that grace our office tank. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me what those fishes were, I wouldn't have to sling botanicals for a living! (click to read more)

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