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Houndfish (Tylosurus crocodilus)

The Houndfish or Tylosurus crocodilus is just one of the over 50 different species of Needlefish.  Houndfish are believed to be the largest of the family Belonidae, growing to about 5' (1.5m) and weighing up to 10lbs (4.5kg).  Also known as the Crocodile Needlefish, they have long, very slender bodies with dark blue backs and silver sides.  They also have an impressive display of teeth much like Gar Fish.  
Houndfish are saltwater fish that are found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, particularly in the Red Sea and off the coast of South Africa.  They like to hang around lagoons and reefs.  Houndfish are often found in small schools and feed on small fish that they can fit into their mouths.  When these fish reproduce their eggs will attach themselves to objects in the water and drift until they hatch.

As you will see in the video below these fish can be caught using a particular species of spider's web along with a kite.  Amazing!

If you have any additional information about the Houndfish please leave us a comment!
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Black Bullhead (Ameiurus melas)

The Black Bullhead or Ameiurus melas is a species of Catfish that is found in many places in North America including The Great Lakes, Ontario, New York, Arizona and California just to name a few.  This species of freshwater fish goes by a few different names depending on where you are including Horned Pout, Yellow Belly Bullhead and the Black Catfish.

Despite its name, this fish is actually normally green, olive and even has some yellowish shades.  The only time this fish is black is when the male is spawning or when they are first born.  Their underbellies are white or yellow in coloration.  The barbels of the Black Bullhead are often spotted or just black altogether, and these fish have a rather square tail.
Growing to just over 2' in length, they can live to about 10 years old and reach weighs of over 7lbs.  Black Bullhead are nocturnal and will feed on fish, clams, snails and even some plants.  When they spawn the female will prepare the nest.  Each time the eggs are released both parents will actually fan the eggs until they hatch.  Then they will guard the fry until they leave in groups into the great unknown.

If you have any additional information about the Black Bullhead that you would like to share please drop us a comment.
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Black African Knifefish (Xenomystus nigri)

The Black African Knifefish or Xenomystus nigri is an odd looking fish with no dorsal or caudal fins. Instead, like other species of Knifefish they have an elongated anal fin that they use to maneuver around. They have a long slender bodies that can reach lengths of about 12" (30cm). As their name states they are gray, black or brown in coloration with a knife shaped body.  You can check out their rather unique way of swimming in the video below...

This species of Knifefish is found in many coastal river basins in Africa including the Congo, Nile, Chad and Niger basins. They go by a couple different names including the African Brown Knife Fish or simply the African Knife Fish. These fish are mostly nocturnal, and will often stay in hiding during the day. Take this into consideration if you are thinking of purchasing a Black African Knifefish for your freshwater aquarium. They get along well with most other species of fish, but shouldn't be kept with fast moving aggressive fish. Black African Knifefish should be fed a variety of food including snails, brine shrimp, worms and other meaty preparations.
One odd fact about the Black African Knifefish is that they are able to produce barking sounds. No one is really sure of the exact purpose of this strange habit.

If you have any additional information about the Black African Knifefish please leave us a comment. 

Skunk Catfish (Corydoras arcuatus)

The Skunk Catfish or Corydoras arcuatus is a hardy scavenger that is often kept in a freshwater aquarium.  Also known as the Arched Catfish, and the Skunk Cory, this species originated in the Amazon river basin in places like Brazil, Ecuador and Peru.

Skunk Catfish have a series of bony plates instead of scales, much like Sturgeon. They are small, only reaching length of about 2" maximum. Their barbels are quite long for their size, almost extend to their gill slits.
These freshwater fish are omnivores that should be fed a variety of foods. While they are scavengers that pick up after what other fish eat, they should also be fed themselves. This scavenger mentality though can help keep your aquarium cleaner for longer, especially when combined will a Pelco or two.  If you would like to buy a Skunk Catfish but want to see them in action first check out the video below...

If you have any additional information about the Skunk Catfish please share.

Smallmouth Buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus)

The Smallmouth Buffalo or Ictiobus bubalus is one of the largest sucker fish in the entire world growing to about 36" in length maximum and weighing in at an impressive 82lbs!  The only sucker fish that can grow bigger is its close relative the Bigmouth Buffalo.  These freshwater fish look similar, but you can always tell them apart by their mouths.  The mouth of the Smallmouth Buffalo is facing downward, typical of a sucker, while the mouth of the Bigmouth Buffalo faces forward.  The Smallmouth also has a much more slanted back than the Bigmouth.   
Another fish that is often confused with the Smallmouth Buffalo is various species of Carp.  The easy way to tell these fish apart is the lack of barbels on the Smallmouth.  The coloration of the Smallmouth Buffalo is often gray or olive with its underbelly being yellow or white.   
Smallmouth Buffalo fish are found exclusively in North America in places like Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Tennessee, Alabama, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  They go by a few different names depending on where you are including the Razorback Buffalo, Hump-Back Buffalo, River Buffalo, High-Back Buffalo, Roachback, Thick-Lipped Buffalo and the Channel Buffalo.  While they are considered edible, they are often used as fish food.

If you have any additional information of fishing tips for the Smallmouth Buffalo please share...

Crocodilefish (Cymbacephalus beauforti)

The Crocodilefish or Cymbacephalus beauforti is a very odd saltwater fish that gets it name from its crocodile like appearance as you can see in the pictures.  Also known as the Crocodile Flathead, and the De Beaufort's Flathead, these fish are members of the Scorpaeniformes order which makes them close relatives to Stonefish and Scorpionfish.  These strange creatures are often found on the muddy bottom in the Western Pacific in places like Indonesia, the Philippines and around the Great Barrier Reef as well.
Crocodilefish are green or grey in color with blotches that help them look nearly invisible on the ocean floor.  Like the Stonefish, this fish is an ambush predator that lies in wait, when an unsuspecting fish or crustacean wanders by it gobbles it up with impressive speed.  Lucky for us these fish are not very large only growing to about 20" (50cm) in length.
You can check out the Crocodilefish in action in the video below... 

If you have any questions or additional information about the Crocodilefish leave us a comment!

Butterfly Peacock Bass (Cichla ocellaris)


The Butterfly Peacock Bass or Cichla ocellaris is a freshwater fish that is considered to be one of the strongest pound for pound fighters in the world!  Like the Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, these fish strike hard and have a never say die attitude!  Despite their name these fish are actually Cichlids, not Bass, and are just one of the several species of Peacock Bass.   

Also known as the Peacock Cichlid, Tuncunare and Mariposa these fish have been introduced in Hawaii as well as Florida, Panama, Guam, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.  Their coloration can vary quite a bit, but they are generally a yellowish green with three dark blotches.  When breeding, much like many species of Salmon, they develop a hump on the backs of the males.   You can check out this beautiful species as well as their fry in the video below...

These fish are not the biggest, but make up for that with their fight.  The record Butterfly Peacock Bass was 12lbs 9oz and was caught in Venezuela.  If you have any fishing tips please share!

Aquarium Fish Of The Month - Spotted Cardinalfish

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