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Fluval Team Discovers New Fish in South America

Posted: Aug. 27, 2013, 6:55 p.m. EDT


By Clay Jackson

An estimated 8.7 million animal species have yet to be discovered, a team from Canada’s Dalhousie University reported in 2011. Better make that 8,699,999.

A Fluval expedition team is reporting the discovery of a new species of pike cichlid in the wilds of Colombia. Both genders of the new fish sport a distinctive W-shaped trident near the gills.

While identifying a new species is a wonderful accomplishment, it wasn’t why Fluval, a Rolf C. Hagen brand of aquarium products, sponsored the 13-day, 1,600-mile expedition across the Llanos, a tropical grassland in the shadow of the Andes Mountains.

 Tom Sarac
Expedition leader Tom Sarac enjoys a boat ride up one of the many streams negotiated in Colombia.
Because Fluval is in the fish business, company representatives wanted to take a field trip to view the ultimate end user of their products—fish—in a natural setting.

South America is one of the hotspots of freshwater fish diversity.

The purpose of the expedition was to:

• Understand and witness the rich biodiverse environment.

• Implement what they learned into habitat-accurate products for the home aquarium hobby.

• Raise awareness about outside threats to natural environments.  

Finding the previously unknown fish was a bonus.

"Pike cichlids, while not as mainstream as some other species, are certainly ornamental tropical fish bred in aquariums and the subject of tropical fish literature within the hobby,” said Eric Marquis, aquatics communications manager for Montreal, Canada-based Rolf C. Hagen.

Fluval isn’t wasting time in bringing the discovery to light, especially among fishphiles.

The sighting and trip will be featured in Fluval’s "Colombia Expedition” film, which will be released in conjunction with the launch of the FluvalAquatics.com website in September. Photographs of the still-unnamed fish will be released at the same time.

Aquatic fans are encouraged to register on the Fluval homepage to be alerted when the site goes live.

In the meantime, a minute-long trailer was released in August and may be viewed at Youtube.com/fluvalblog.  

Fluval is planning an expedition to Papua New Guinea this year with aquatic explorer Heiko Bleher.

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