• Species: Corydoras caudimaculatus

  • Species: Corydoras diphyes

  • Species: Corydoras reynoldsi

  • Source: Gerald Allen

    Species: Melanotaenia kamaka

  • Species: Melanotaenia macculloch

  • Species: Traccatichthys taeniatus

  • Species: Channa aurantimaculata

  • Species: Serrasalmus maculatus

  • Species: Distichodus noboli

Stock list review : Wildwoods Tropicalfish2yourdoor

21 January 2018

Tropical Fish 2 Your Door (TF2YD) is the biggest mail order tropical fish delivery service in the UK. Operated in conjunction with one of the UK's best known tropical fish stores, Wildwoods in Enfield. It's been said that when it comes to tropical fish, if Wildwoods can't get hold of it, nobody else can, and with the assistance of TF2YD, you can take advantage of that fact no matter where you live in Britain!

In this month's round-up we'll be looking at a mix of unusual or rarely seen fish, some perfectly suitable for community tanks, others better suited to single-tank set-ups. While these species do give a hint of what's available through TF2YD, there are literally hundreds of species not mentioned here. To browse the TF2YD catalogue in its entirety, visit the TF2YD page elsewhere on this site.

Corydoras Catfish, Corydoras spp.

The genus Corydoras contains a variety of schooling catfish that typically get to no more than 5 cm/2 inches in length. While naturally found in soft, acidic water habitats, Corydoras have proved to be quite adaptable, most doing adequately well even in quite hard water (up to 20 degrees dH, pH 8). On the other hand, while they are able to gulp air should the amount of oxygen in the water drop too low, wise aquarists will not force them to do this for too long. Brisk filtration, good water quality, and moderate temperatures (22-25 C/72-77 F) all being recommended. Similarly, while these catfish have a well-earned reputation for consuming leftover fish food, this shouldn't be their only source of nutrition. Instead, offer them their own food 2-3 times a week, though take care not to overfeed; for example, a single sinking tablet should be adequate for a small school of Corydoras catfish. All Corydoras are gregarious, and should be kept in groups of at least three specimens, ideally five or more. Some species will school with other species readily, but this shouldn't be relied upon.

Among the unusual species available via TF2YD is Corydoras diphyes, a species resembled the better-known Peppered Catfish, Corydoras paleatus, but with a more silvery-grey body colour and bolder, blacker markings. Maximum length is about 5 cm, females tending to be a bit bigger than males, as is typical for the genus. Like Corydoras paleatus, this is a species that appreciates cool conditions, down to 18 C/64 F being tolerated. As such, it's a good choice for subtropical communities alongside other species that appreciate such conditions. Buy Corydoras diphyes from Tropical Fish 2 Your Door, here.

Another species on sale at TF2YD is Corydoras reynoldsi. It is a small (to 3.5 cm) silvery grey catfish with delicate grey markings and three bold vertical bars, one passing through the eye, another through and below the dorsal fin, and the last close to the caudal peduncle. While Corydoras reynoldsi is only rarely seen in the UK trade, it has proven to be delightful community tank species, ideally suited to life alongside small tetras and minnows. Buy Corydoras reynoldsi from Tropical Fish 2 Your Door, here.

Our final TF2YD Corydoras is Corydoras caudimaculatus, a small (to 3.5 cm) but stocky species with a beautiful warm pinkish-brown body colour and distinctive golden sheen around the face and shoulders. It is marked with numerous tiny black spots all along the flanks, while the caudal peduncle bears a large black patch. This charming species works very well in community tanks. Buy Corydoras caudimaculatus from Tropical Fish 2 Your Door, here.

True Parrot Cichlid, Hoplarchus psittacus

This isn't the hybrid fish commonly sold as the Blood Parrot, but a South American cichlid rarely seen in England. Up to 30-35 cm length, it is essentially shiny dark green in colour, but with scarlet red on the throat and belly. While the eye is bright red, there is a large dark eyespot on the base of the tail, presumably to confuse predators, a common adaptation seen among Amazonian fish. Young Hoplarchus psittacus are silvery with vertical bands, and these bands can also be seen on stressed adults as well. There is no sexual dimorphism apart from the shape of the genital papillae. While Hoplarchus psittacus is carnivorous in the wild, in the aquarium it is readily takes good quality flake and pellets, as well as suitable frozen foods such as bloodworms, prawns and strips of fish fillet. Hoplarchus psittacus is a soft water cichlid that does poorly in hard water; 1-5 degrees dH, pH 5.5-6.5 is recommended. It also appreciates a bit of warmth, 25-28C/77-82F being about right. Adult Hoplarchus psittacus are territorial and best kept either singly or in mated pairs, though the lack of sexual dimorphism can make the process of obtaining a pair challenging. The usual approach is to rear a small group and then remove pairs as they form. While intolerant of their own kind and potentially other cichlids, Hoplarchus psittacus will get along fine with completely dissimilar fish, for example L-number catfish.

Buy Hoplarchus psittacus from Tropical Fish 2 Your Door, here.


Rainbowfish are native to Australia and New Guinea, ecologically occupying the same sort of niche as things like tetras, barbs and minnows do elsewhere. They are relatively small, schooling fish that feed primarily on insects and other small invertebrates, the biggest species getting to about 15 cm/6 inches in length but most are much smaller than that, 8-10 cm/3.5-4 inches being typical. While the group is very diverse, a few generalisations can be made. Sexual dimorphism is often pronounced, males often more brightly coloured and sometimes slightly aggressive towards one another. There are some rainbowfish from soft water habitats, but most prefer harder water chemistry; 10-20 degrees dH, pH 7-8 is recommended as a good default, though researching the needs of a particular species is definitely a good idea.

Melanotaenia kamaka is one of the New Guinean species, notable for its relatively small size (around 7 cm/3 inches is typical) and blue colouration. Adults are silvery-blue, darker above, lighter below, with a thick steel blue band running from snout to tail. Its off-white fins are edged with blue. While both sexes share this most attractive colouration, the blue band is darker and more intense on the males, which also have more metallic sheen to their scales absent from the females. Melanotaenia kamaka is apparently restricted to Lake Kamaka or Kamakawaiar, which is a hard water lake in an area with predominantly limestone geology. As such, this is definitely a species for the hard water aquarium. Buy Melanotaenia kamaka from Tropical Fish 2 Your Door, here.

Melanotaenia maccullochi 'Skull Creek' is an Australian species known to exist in several geographically isolated morphs. While Melanotaenia maccullochi has been common in the trade for decades, wild-caught or F1 fish of the various morphs have not been so commonly seen. Melanotaenia maccullochi 'Skull Creek' is a very attractive, medium-sized form with a silvery-white body on the males, more yellowy on the females, both sexes have numerous longitudinal stripes along the flanks though the ones on the males are a bit bolder. Both sexes have yellow fins, those on the males being especially strongly coloured, sulphur yellow, white, and black. Maximum length is around 6 cm/2.5 inches. Buy Melanotaenia maccullochi 'Skull Creek' from Tropical Fish 2 Your Door, here.

Chilatherina sentaniensis 'Skull Creek' is endemic to Lake Sentani in Papua New Guinea. Although one of the larger species (up to 12 cm/5 inches in length) this species has a slender body shape including a distinctly tapering snout. Both sexes are essentially metallic blue-grey with orangey flanks and rows of darker blue scales along the flanks, but as is often the case with rainbowfish, the males are larger and more strongly coloured. In the wild Chilatherina sentaniensis is often found alongside the better-known Red Rainbowfish, Glossolepis incisus, and the two species might be kept together in the aquarium if you wanted. Both appreciate good water quality, middling temperatures (around 25 C/77 F is fine), and water that is not too soft (10-20 degrees dH, pH 7-8 is recommended). Note that while the species is endangered in the wild due to habitat loss and the introduction of exotic species such as tilapia, the fish seen in the aquarium trade are tank-bred specimens. Buy Chilatherina sentaniensis 'Skull Creek' from Tropical Fish 2 Your Door, here.

Distichodus noboli

Distichodus are medium to large African characins that occupy a similar niche to the better known South American herbivorous serrasalmines, such as Pacu and Silver Dollars. While the Six-Band Distichodus, Distichodus sexfasciatus, has been fairly frequently traded over the years, other species in the genus are much less often seen. That's a shame because these are attractive fish with lots of personality, and while their herbivorous habits mean they're completely unsuited to planted tanks, they are good choices for tanks decorated with rocks and bogwood. Distichodus noboli is a variable but attractive species, essentially metallic green-grey with bright red dorsal, pelvic and anal fins. The tail fin is paler red, and there is a large black blob on the leading edge of the dorsal fin. Some varieties have additional markings on the flanks including mossy green patches or long red stripes, depending on their origin. Maximum length is around 18 cm/7 inches, so a reasonably large aquarium, upwards of 250 litres, is surely essential. Distichodus can be unpredictable in community settings. Juveniles may ignore one another or even form loose schools, but under aquarium conditions the adults tend to be territorial. Dissimilar fish are usually ignored, but Distichodus can be fin-nippers, so tankmates should be chosen with care. Fast-moving companions or best, whether bottom dwellers like loaches or the more conventional midwater barbs and characins.

Buy Distichodus noboli from Tropical Fish 2 Your Door, here.

Maculatus Piranha, Serrasalmus maculatus

The Maculatus Piranha, or 'Mac', is one of the most colourful and beautiful piranhas, but rather uncommon in the trade. Healthy specimens have a distinct golden colour, particularly around the gills gills, pectoral fins and throat. Small darker spots can be seen scattered across the flanks. Given that it's a relatively small species (up to 20 cm/8 inches) and essentially solitary once mature, it's one of the better species for the home aquarium. An aquarium around 250 litres in size will be sufficient for a singleton, while groups of 6+ specimens have been maintained in very much bigger tanks. Water chemistry isn't a major worry, though extremes are best avoided. On the other hand, as with all piranhas, good water quality and a suitably varied diet are essential. Robust filtration and frequent water changes will take of the first issue, while a balanced diet will include a range of meaty foods including white fish fillet and frozen invertebrates. Thiaminase-rich foods such as shrimps and mussels should be used sparingly to avoid problems with thiamin (vitamin B1) deficiency.

Buy Serrasalmus maculatus from Tropical Fish 2 Your Door, here.

Golden Cobra Snakehead, Channa aurantimaculata

Channa aurantimaculata is an Indian species, this time from Assam. It's sometimes called the Orange Spotted Snakehead because of its brilliant colouration. With a maximum length of around 40 cm/16 inches, this species does require a fair bit more space than the popular dwarf species. An aquarium upwards of 450 litres is surely necessary, together with robust filtration, though water current shouldn't be too strong. Although adaptable with regard to water chemistry, Channa aurantimaculata does need relatively cool water, 22-24 C/72-75 F being recommended. While pairs have been maintained by expert aquarists, this species is most easily kept alone. It is an exceptionally beautiful fish though, and for the aquarist able to provide a large, shady tank, this is one of the best snakeheads out there. Buy Channa aurantimaculata from Tropical Fish 2 Your Door, here.

Peppermint Loach, Traccatichthys taeniatus

Our last selection from the Wildwoods TF2YD stocklist is this interesting little loach from Vietnam. They are an attractive greenish-grey in colour with pink around the pelvic fins, a golden-green band along the midline from head to tail, yellow pelvic and pectoral fins, and red and black markings on the dorsal fin. With a maximum length of around 12 cm/5 inches, these fish can make good additions to well maintained mountain stream communities. Although not true hillstream loaches, they do appreciate moderately brisk water currents, high oxygen levels, and low to middling tropical temperatures (22-25 C/72-77 F being recommended). The tank should have a sandy substrate that facilitates burrowing, as well as waterworn rocks and cobblestones for hiding places. Peppermint Loaches are sociable, and should be kept in groups rather than singly. They ignore dissimilar tankmates, and would make fine companions for species with similar requirements, such as swordtails, medium to large danios and barbs, non-aggressive rheophilic cichlids, and the smaller L-numbers unlikely to compete too strongly for food. Buy Traccatichthys taeniatus from Tropical Fish 2 Your Door, here.