Bird Families

Sumatran Shrub / Garrulax bicolor


5 - 6 cm in length.

The body of the barbs is rather high, round, with a pointed head. The body color is bright green, neon.

Breeding form, chimera, artificially bred.

In nature, it lives in Southeast Asia, Sumatra in slow streams.

Keeping in the aquarium

It is better to keep barbs in groups in an aquarium from 50 liters in volume. These are quite active and fussy fish, and therefore they should not be planted with unhurried, sluggish fish, especially with veil fins, as they will be chased and cut off by fins. But they feel great in a company with barbs of other species and colors. Barbs look especially good in aquariums decorated with live plants, snags and stones. But at the same time, there should be areas free of plants for swimming. Barbs jump well, so a cover on the aquarium is required. They love clean, oxygen-rich water, so good filtration and aeration are highly desirable, as well as weekly water changes of around 25%. The hydrochemical parameters of water for the content are as follows - pH 6.5 - 7, temperature 24 - 26 degrees, hardness 5 - 18 German degrees.

They are unpretentious in nutrition, they perfectly eat any commensurate industrial dry and frozen, as well as live feed.

Sumatran rheophyte

  • Dedicated to the memory of a friend and colleague in hobby Eduard Montay

Probably, almost each of you in childhood memories will discover how rich and amazing life was at that time. Every day brought a lot of new discoveries. On the banks of an ordinary pond, one could spend hours studying various dragonflies, snails, frogs and other living creatures. Or, lying on your back in the grass, peering into the form of clouds running across the sky performing a “heavenly” performance that only you can understand. Unfortunately, as we get older, these things no longer bring so much pleasure, and sometimes we do not even notice them at all. But this nostalgia is deceiving. Man, by nature, always remains a researcher and, having cognized some phenomena, rushes in search of others.

Rarely will an aquarist be content with just one species of fish or plant for several years. An irresistible craving for the unknown will push him to acquire more and more new pets. However, from a certain moment you begin to understand that the circle of living objects suitable for keeping under water is not so great. In addition, they are also systematically united into groups (families, genus), representatives of which have similar morphology and conditions of detention. For example, plants of the Aroid family are represented in aquariums, as a rule, by the already bored Cryptocorynes and Anubias. You won't surprise anyone with waterfowl pistia and duckweed. Unless it is possible to note the transition in 2010 of the last of the Ryaskovs to all the same Aroids, taxonomists still discerned the inflorescence of this single-leaved plant.

Against this background, the recent aquarium development of a number of rheophytic aroids from the island of Kalimantan looks revolutionary. In particular, representatives of the Bucephalandra genus in a fairly short period of time not only firmly settled in collectors' home reservoirs, but are also actively used in aquascaping.

It turned out that not only Kalimantan is rich in surprises, but also the neighboring island of Sumatra. Although it would seem that there could be something new when the Sumatran barbus (Puntiustetrazona) has been one of the most popular fish among aquarists for several decades?

Several months ago, through a Muscovite K. Pakhomov, I received a plant from Indonesia Furtadoasumatrensis... Despite the fact that I have been interested in representatives of the Aroid family for several years now, I did not even suspect the existence of such a generic name. The only association was only the name of the famous Canadian singer Nelly Furtado, but it would be naive to believe that the plant is named after her.

A quick search on the Internet clarified the situation. It turns out the genus Furtadoa consists of only two species and is named after C.X. Furtado, researcher of the flora of Southeast Asia, Indian by origin. The name, by the way, is not entirely unknown in aquarium circles, in particular, he described Cryptocoryne nurii in 1935. It is symbolic that two years later Furtado was holding in his hands a plant that would be named in his honor only after the death of the botanist in 1981, but did not describe it in detail, but made only a modest assumption: "Perhaps this is a new genus." A complete description of the new plant, according to all the canons of modern botany, was made by the Japanese M. Hotta during an expedition to the western part of Sumatra. For me, all this dry statistics causes only one bewilderment - why do we, aquarists, find out about a plant discovered and described more than 30 years ago?

At the first moment after receiving F. sumatrensis, I had two options for answering this question: either the plant is difficult to cultivate at home, or the region of its growth is difficult for collectors to access. Looking ahead, I will say that the first version turned out to be completely unfounded.

I received a new visitor from Sumatra in two forms, differing in the color of the petioles and young leaves - red and green. Outwardly, the bushes turned out to be similar to the anubias of the Barter group: small in size (up to 20 cm high), creeping rhizome, with ovoid leaf plates extending from it on thin petioles.

Both plants were planted in a greenhouse with nutrient solution. In this case, such a choice was completely random - I was guided by the principle "Where there is free space, we plant there."

There is a misconception among nature lovers that greenhouse conditions are certainly better than aquarium conditions. In fact, this statement is not always true. In this regard, I propose to reflect on the term "rheophytic plants". This group of hydrophytes includes plants growing in fast streams of water. In nature, such biotopes have the following distinctive features: the constancy of the chemical composition of water and its low hardness. These two conditions are the easiest to meet in an aquarium. The aqueous medium, due to the significantly higher viscosity and heat capacity compared to air, smoothes out almost any differences in the conditions of detention. In addition, the mineralization of almost all greenhouse nutrient solutions is prohibitively high (TDS = 500-1000 ppm), and not every plant is able to withstand the osmotic shock that occurs when moving to such an environment. Therefore, the same bucephalandra is much easier to keep in an aquarium. According to the literature, the Sumatran Furtadoa is also a typical rheophyte that grows on rocks along the banks of small streams with a fast current.

Despite all the "buts", both forms of furtadoa perfectly mastered on the expanded clay provided to them as a substrate. The red variety, with enviable constancy (once every one and a half weeks), delighted me with a young red leaf, which, as it grew older, acquired more familiar green colors, through which a “girlish blush” still peeped out. The green form, in addition to growing the leaf mass, bloomed almost continuously, releasing bud after bud. Usually, abundant flowering slows down the growth of plants, but in this case, this did not affect the growth rate in any way. At first, I tried to maintain the pH of the solution within 6.0-7.0, but the subsequent transition to water with pH 4.5 did not affect the bushes, which demonstrates their extraordinary adaptive qualities.

At the first meeting, the Furtadoa inflorescence does not cause enthusiastic emotions. Ear (spadix), cover leaf (bedspread) - nothing special. Many aquarists will say, "Like anubias." In fact, this can be expressed about the inflorescences of almost all representatives of the Aroid family. All the most interesting is hidden in the details.

As we remember, in Anubias, unisexual flowers are differentiated: female flowers are located in the lower part of the ear, and male flowers are located in the upper part. For example, in the Acorus, which also previously belonged to this family, the spadix is ​​uniformly covered with bisexual flowers. Furtadoa is an intermediate evolutionary link between these familiar plants to every aquarist. She has female and male flowers, although distributed along the entire length of the ear, they remain unisexual.

The female flowers at the top of the spadix, as well as the male flowers at the bottom, are sterile. They can be called rudiments that have lost their functions in the course of evolutionary development from bisexual flowers to more perfect unisexual flowers. However, in order to see all this, it is necessary to mechanically remove the cover leaf of the inflorescence, or at least a part of it - the guest from Sumatra turned out to be very “shy” and during the flowering process only opens a small gap in the bedspread for a short time.

Vegetative processes in Furtadoa emerge from dormant buds on the rhizome, as in Anubias. The similarity with these natives of Africa is so great that if it were not for the differences in the structure of the inflorescences, F.sumatrensis should be called the first "Asian Anubias".

There is very little information on the underwater content of the Sumatran rheophyte. It is still difficult to formulate general recommendations, so I will describe only one example of a successful experience, the author of which is A. Litvinov from Voronezh. In his aquarium with a volume of 250 liters and a height of water column of 40 cm, the red form of furtadoa shows an unhurried growth rate, producing one leaf per month. Moreover, each new sheet is larger than the previous one. The plant itself is tied by its rhizome to a small stone. The aquarium is equipped with a 220 W fluorescent lamp and a CO supply system2... Water parameters: pH 6.6. dGH 8 °, kH 3 °, temperature 24-25 ° C. Under these conditions, silvery spangles, characteristic of bucephalandram, appear on the leaves. It is not possible to achieve such a “glamorous effect” with the greenhouse content.

It is too early to put an end to the history of Furtadoa. Most likely, this plant still has quite a few mysteries in store for aquarists, so it is appropriate to end your today's story with the words of A. Pushkin:

Oh, how many wonderful discoveries we have
Prepares enlightenment spirit
And experience, son of difficult mistakes,
And a genius, a friend of paradoxes,
And chance, god is an inventor.

D. Loginov, Magazine "Aquarium" No. 4 for 2013.

Photo credits: D. Loginov and A. Litvinov