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An Amazon Experience

A trip to Brazil offers a lot of learning experiences, but fish collecting and scientific study are strictly regulated for foreigners.

By Tony Silva |

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Brazil has attracted my interests since my youth, and I have come to this country many times in the past 20 years. The Amazon in particular has been the focus of my interest — more specifically, the discus. In English, the name for discus has changed as the aquarium hobby has progressed. In the early years, it was called the pompadour fishor disc cichlid. Today the fish is simply called the discus. To me it is still the “king of aquarium fish.”

Collecting discus and seeing this fish in its habitat has taken me to Manaus, Brazil, several times. From Manaus, I have ventured throughout the Amazon. The most recent trip was to a locality in the Ariau River area, where I searched for the heckel discus (Symphysodon sp.). To reach the discus habitat, Pedro Garcia, my guide and friend, organized the expedition. Pedro was born in the forest. He is a typical caboclo or “river person” whose ancestry is mixed European and Amerindian. He is knowledgeable, and if I want to see a particular fish, he is able to deliver.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the October 2010 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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