Sunday, April 5, 2009

C. minima 'Perak' natural habitat

I have travelled to Perak for 3 times already with my explorer friend since last August. The 1st time was to search for Parosphromenus rubrimontis which is supposedly endemic there. We took the night bus there, collected the fish in one day and then took the night bus back to Singapore again, all in 2 nights 1 day.

We found this heaven only towards the end of our 1st trip just when we were about to give up and call it a day. A path cuts into the forest with slow flowing black water streams on both sides. From the smell and sight of the place, my friend immediately knew that his target fish could be found inside the stream and he was right.

The water in the streams were really black when I first went there in August 2008, just like black coffee's black. When I went there again in October 2008 on my 2nd visit, the water had turned lighter (i.e. black tea's black) probably due to the rain?

Other than Paro rubrimontis, chocolate gouramis and some beautiful rasboras which names I did not know, giant water leeches could also be found swimming within the black water streams so be careful when you tread in these water. I revamped my out field gears to include a high cut rubber boots from then on.

However, on the first two occasions, I did not find C. minima around this area. Instead, I chose the wrong path and bashed into another nearby flooded forest from another route with my friend for over an hour wearing our wader suit before finally locating C. minima. It was a tiring experience.
My friend was sure that the distribution of C. minima should be wide spread in the various pockets of forests around here. So during our 3rd trip there in end March 2009, we went back to this area and trekked into the flooded forest beside the streams. Immediately we saw a clump of what we were looking for underwater around the base of a few young trees.

The ground is muddy and swampy and the pH of the water is about 5 to 5.5 when I measured it this time. It was below 5 the last time I measured during my previous trip.
It was a beautiful and surreal sight, seeing chocolate gouramis swimming in the water around the cryptocorynes. It's a pity I could not capture this with my handy Nokia N73 hand phone camera.

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