4th International L-Number Days: Unwittingly destined for catfish mania

Im meinJBL Blog kommen nicht nur die JBL Experten zu Wort. In der Zukunft werden befreundete Blogger und Experten zu speziellen Themen ihre Erfahrungen mit Ihnen hier auf dieser Plattform teilen. Den Startschuss legt Julien Preuß, der als Experte für Biotopaquaristik ( http://www.biotopaquaristik.de/ ) in der deutschen Szene bekannt ist:

At the beginning of 2015 JBL approached me to ask whether I would like to visit the 4th International L-Number Days. Frankly, L number catfish weren’t that important to me and I only had a few Peckoltia and Ancistrus in stock. Without JBL behind me, I would never have thought of attending.

Having said that, I still didn’t hesitate to say yes, because the opportunity to visit the L-Number Days is not one any aquarist can turn down. One of the best things about the aquatic hobby is that you never stop learning.

Day one of the L-Number Days started with a hearty breakfast and a meeting of specimens of our carshare team. After some strong coffee we set off for Panta Rhei, our first stop this weekend. While admiring the aquariums, displayed and sold there, I soon became painfully aware of my ignorance on the subject of L-number catfish. Some quick internet research enabled me to keep up a bit with the conversation, but the communication suffered a lot from my using the smartphone to look everything up.

Finally the first presentation: Leandro Sousa talking about the Rio Xingu during the construction of the dam. What started off in optimism turned into a source of moderate depression, as people gradually became aware of the massive impact the dam project would have on nature. There has been so much disturbance in the Xingu section between Altamira and Belo that some species have very little chance of survival. Hypancistrus sp. „L 174“, which is only to be found in this area of the Rio Xingu, is particularly endangered.

After a presentation like this, the next item on the agenda was a lot more cheerful: getting-together and discussion.

After breakfast on Saturday, we entered the world of wood eating bristlemouths, belonging to the genera Panaqolus, Panaque and Cochliodon. And when you’re on this topic, you just have to have Andreas Tanke to give a presentation. Together with Ingo Seidel he gave a really interesting presentation about his favourite animals. This was followed appropriately by an overview of the genus Panaqolus given by Leandro Sousa and Christian Cramer. Up till then I had only known Panaqolus sp. aff. maccus (L 448) from this catfish group, but now I was getting to know many more species.

After a well-deserved coffee break, demands were made on out scientific knowledge as we listened to the lectures of Nathan Lujan about the ichthyo fauna of the Andes and his journey to the Guyana Shield. After all this information had washed over me, one word remained in my memory: Chaetostoma. The first thing you notice about bristlemouths is their exceptionally wide mouth, which they use to graze algae from the substrate, mostly on flat stones in strong currents. Because of the low temperatures and their appearance they make very interesting aquarium animals.

The last programme item of this day fitted well to the lectures of Nathan Lujan. The focus of the panel discussion “Hobby goes Science” was the question, how can aquarists and scientists work together. The result of this discussion wasn’t a surprise for me at all because I had run into similar problems in other fields. Both aquarists and scientists bear grudges against each other and these can only be settled through a shift in mindset on both sides. In my opinion the IG BSSW is making a first move towards this, at least in the catfish scene, by initiating such events as this one. With the breeder presentations the last day of the event was more practically oriented than the other days, especially the Saturday.

I personally found the lecture Markus Kaluza gave especially interesting, about the reproduction of Pseudacanthicus pitanga (L 24), because I already had been allowed to visit his facility and I had already seen the animals in his photo documentation live. Rajanta S. Rahardja almost mass-production of Hypancistrus zebra (L 46) also impressed me a lot.

I certainly won’t forget the 4th International L-Number Days. It is a seamlessly organised, adventure weekend for aquarists, with interesting lectures of the highest standard. I am especially grateful for this opportunity to get to know so many aquatic enthusiasts and for some of them to become my friends. One month to the day after the L-Number Days ended, my stock of Loricariidae has already increased from 2 to 8 widely differing species, and catfish mania has got me.

© 08.12.2015
Matthias Wiesensee
Matthias Wiesensee
M.Sc. Wirtschaftsinformatik
JBL GmbH & Co. KG

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