Catching a glimpse of those enigmatic "mystery fishes..."

Ever own one of those fishes that you had been trying to find for years, only to realize that it's one of those that tends to live a cryptic. nocturnal, or otherwise hidden existence one added to your tank?

Yeah, I've had my share of 'em over the years. Fishes for which, in reality, your best glimpses of them come when you first add them to your tank, or when you break it down in the future, only to discover it's twice as large as when you got it, somehow finding enough food while maintaining its "deep cover"

It started wit ha Black Ghost Kinfefish when I was a kid. This was the fish I had longed for forever: Alluring, mysterious, and beautiful. I remember the excitement when I added him to my tank. He swam into the perfect driftwood cave I created for him...and that was the last time I saw him for MONTHS!

Eventually, I adjusted the lighting in the tank to make it a bit more comfortable for the Black Ghost to emerge during the day time, and he gradually appeared more and more, finally emerging every time feeding or other interesting activities occurred in the aquarium. But it took a couple of years for this to occur!

I remember keeping fishes like Bassletts" in my reef tanks. You'd literally add these brightly colored fishes to your reefy, and wouldn't see them for months and months, save an occasional "surprise" appearance when the lights just went on for the day, or by accidentally turning on the light in the room where the tank was at 2AM...or seeing them slip through the rocks.

And yet, as an aquarist- you accept this. You understand, frustrating though it may be, that the "price" of owning such a cool fish is that you may only occasionally get to visually enjoy them.

However, there is something cool about knowing. Knowing that you set up the right environment, tank mates...situation- for the fish in question. Knowing, that it's in there. Comfortable...Ready at any moment to make its big appearance.

And it's THOSE moments- those exciting, unexpected, yet profoundly satisfying moments that make owning a cryptic, nocturnal, or otherwise very shy fish worth owning.

Just a thought for today as I hope to catch a glimpse of my "L134 Leopard Frog" (Peckolotia compta), as he pops out of his "Jungle Pod" for a snack...

Set the right "mood", and hope for a sighting.

Stay optimistic. Stay ready.

Stay Wet.


Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics


Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


Leave a comment