Purple labeo, a hippo-sucking aquarist nightmare from Africa

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Potamotrygon
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I'm too lazy to retype what's been described to great detail in here https://www.planetcatfish.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=41670&hilit=purple+labeo

I am creating this thread to document my continuing endeavor with my remaining 1 of 2 purple labeo, bought as a harlequin shark, or calico shark, etc. back in 2011.

This is some of what they do with that terrific sucking apparatus in the wild:


What they do in captivity with it, you can see in that PCF link I attached first.


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what did the pleco do to earn jerk tank status?
also, how did you catch those leporinus out of the 4500?
 

thebiggerthebetter

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what did the pleco do to earn jerk tank status?
also, how did you catch those leporinus out of the 4500?
The pleco haven't. They are there because they are armored and spiked fish'owar and the jerks don't / can't bother them. They are the only exception in the tank. The trick to catch any fast fish in the 4500 gal is drop the water as low as possible (but still safe) and get two nets in two hands and get the fish winded before you do :)
 

thebiggerthebetter

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I had to take the purple labeo out of its 240 gal because it had started bothering the dorado catfish (lots of scuff marks appeared on the dorado as it has been evading the labeo) but I had nowhere else to place it... so I decided to move our Distichodus lusosso from the jerk tank to one of the 4500 gal with the RTC, pacu, and Co. and place the labeo back in the jerk tank.

It has now been a few weeks after the move and so far so good for the labeo reunited with its old tank mates:





Here is a video about the reshuffle and the experience-based rating of our three worst tank mate fishes:

 
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thebiggerthebetter

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The nightmare has been chilling in the 240 gal jerk tank, patiently waiting for its larger 600 or 1200 gal to be glued together by joining 2 or 4 glass 240's together (not that it knows it).

It is roughly 8-9 years old now.

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Fishman Dave

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The adult colour of the purple labeo and the variegated shark or Harlequin shark are practically identical, (purple Labeo background colour may look more grey where Harlequin color background colour is jet black), as are their size and behaviour. Hence they are easily mixed up. However the Harlequin or variegated shark are great fish, but easily bought by unsuspecting fish keepers at a mere 2-3" when they look stunning and completely different. Then they have a beautiful mottled black and gold colour. Then they grow, and grow, losing their gold and gaining more black as they do, and when they get around 6" you have a totally black fish but with the beautiful red and purple on each scale.
I know this fish as Labeo Variegatus which was reclassified as Labeo Cyclorhynchus.
Labeo Congoro I have never seen for sale and equally have never seen small so do not know what colour they start out, do you Victor? Would be interesting to see if this was originally one fish which through biodiversity changed habits and eventually led to two classifications.
 

thebiggerthebetter

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Fishman Dave Fishman Dave Thank you for this, Dave. The ID process of our fish started out with L. variegatus and L. cyclorhynchus and proceeded from there with the help of experts (see below). All I can do fetch you the threads on the basis of which I settled at the L. congoro ID.

Richard B is an expert level hobbyist and your countryman: https://www.planetcatfish.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=41670&hilit=labeo

Cichlas knows his carp and is your countryman; posts #8,9,10 and so on: https://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/...abeo-shark-in-miami-lake.656939/#post-7432826

So what do you think now? Do you still suppose my current species ID may be off?
 
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Fishman Dave

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Sorry Victor, wasn’t trying to imply your id was incorrect. Just never seen a small l. Congoro so interested if they start out the same colour as l.cychlorhynchus. What colour was he when you got him at 3”?
Interesting that fish base have the harlequin max length at 16cm which is way incorrect.
I know mine are l. Cychlorhyncus @ 14” and l. Chrysophekadion (black shark) @ 24” both of which I have had since 3” and and would agree that whilst yours still has the same scales as l.cychlorhynchus I think too that it could be congoro due to its lighter base colour and maybe it’s height ( not quite as tall as my harlequin and certainly not as dark). Currently I still wonder if congoro and cychlorhynchus are to be proven to have been one and the same in the past.
 
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thebiggerthebetter

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I don't think I have any pics of mine saved when they were small but here is an image off google that's pretty close off memory (this one is used by seriously fish to show a harlequin aka cyclorhynchus):

download.jpg

This doesn't mean this is it, the congoro also looks like that. If the differences are subtle, I'd not read much into my memory. Here is a google image for the purple labeo:

stock-photo-purple-labeo-or-purple-mudsucker-labeo-congoro-aquarium-fish-from-congo-good-algae...jpg

My recollection (mind you it was in 2012 or so) is that our fish was somewhere in between the first and second image. It had less orange / light colored areas versus the first image but I think more than the second image.
 
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Fishman Dave

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Sounds very much like congoro. The only picture I have found for juvenile congoro was like you say, more speckled than the juvenile harlequin with less sand color (albeit my harlequin had more sand colour than the photo above ( Just shows they all vary)).
interesting to track the tank habits of your purple labeo vs what we know of harlequin and black sharks. Thanks for sharing and updating this thread.
 
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