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As promised here is a sampling of the nearly hundred photos that I took of the tanks. I've received a few e-mails and PM's asking if these were, in fact, the same fish being sold as Zonatus "Rio Carolina". I think the answer to that question is yes. When Rusty Wessel gave me these fish he described them as looking very close to zonatus. So I can see how the name would stick. It's a whole lot easier than writing "coatzacoalcos".

The main difference I see between these and the zonatus is the intense red spangling, in addition to the red band across the snout.

A lot of these shots look similar...but I look for small differences in the "pose" of the fish.

Note how a slight change in position makes the fins more luminous.

My method of photography is to light one particular area in the tank them wither wait or draw the subjects into the light. As stated above, I moved a third of the gravel away from the front of the tank in order to facilitate a light underneath. I think it makes a real difference in the lighting of the fish...and if I didn't point it out, it might not be apparent.

I don't shoot full tank shots. Partially becasue I think it's boring..and partially becasue it's more difficult to light evenly. Here's four of the fish that are in one tank. The lights are set for the far right. Note the fish on the far left.

Normally I would crop down to the lighted fish. In the case below the fish was so perfectly centered in the sweet spot of the light that I left the "extra" all around the fish. It looks like a spotlight hit the fish.

Same fish, same light, same spot...side shot. You can see how these might be mistaken as zonatus. Having had both I can tell you that these fish at 3-4" are more blue and overall more colorful than the zonatus at the same size. I've seen some awesome shots of an adult pair. They are going to be stunners.

With the group I believe I can sort male from female with male being more heavily spangled...especially across the snout...and females less and slightly less blue. Here's a female.

A male....see?

I always strive to get different poses...not really liking the side fish shot. I took a bunch of these standing back around fifteen feet from the tank and shooting with a 70-300mm zoom. Focusing wasn't the challenge. Timing the very moment when the fish turns to catch something like this...

I was paid high praise by a very good friend of mine...who has been around CA/SA cichlids for many years. He said that one nice thing about giving fish to me is that he is certain that their growth will be documented for posterity. I enjoy photographing and posting these as much as I do keeping the fish...maybe more. Over the years I have had hundred of emails telling me how one person or another acquired the fish after seeing my photos...especially the managuense shots. For me personally, it doesn't get better than that.


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Wow! Excellent shots and gorgeous fish. Thanks for posting these. I always enjoy them.
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