Tinfoil Barb

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Peace
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Tinfoil Barb

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limfish
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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by limfish »

lampan as it is commonly known
Urrrgh, no time to fish now~

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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by Peace »

Thanks limfish, that's very helpful. I actually missed that. :o

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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by Peace »

gohyuheng wrote:how large can this barbs grow up to, may i know?
According to fishbase, it can grow up to about 35cm in length. I haven't caught this fish before, this specimen is contributed by one of the members here. This fish should exist in almost any reservoir.

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Schwanenfeld
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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by Schwanenfeld »

Hi, I have a keen interest in angling for Schwanenfeld's Tinfoil Barbs (Lampan/Lampam) and would like to contribute a few pictures. For those who are interested in a little bit of Lampan trivia, Tinfoil Barbs were once reported as being native to Singapore, but it seems they have all but disappeared by the late 1930s. They were last seen in the Jurong area. The fish in MacRitchie Reservoir were certainly introduced, by a source unknown to me.

Tinfoil Barbs are good clean fighters on appropriate light tackle. They are fast, and large ones (those over a foot long) take some time to beat. But most anglers would agree that the most difficult obstacle is getting them to bite the bait. You can have a school a hundred strong swimming before you and they will snatch up every piece of loose offering e.g. bread flakes except the one with a hook in it! Light lines and subtle terminal tackle are key for success to ensnare this very wary and sharp-eyed fish.

It is very rewarding to catch a large specimen. Above all they are, in my eyes, probably the most beautiful freshwater fish swimming in our inland waters.

It appears that I cannot upload images onto this website, so I'll give a link to my flickr account instead!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/54269167@N07/

PS Eco-friendly note: Let us be glad that Lampans are swimming in our waters again, even if only through man's reintroduction. We have recovered a true gem from Singapore's natural history, just like the Sebaraus. Here's to catch and release for all Singaporean Lampans!

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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by Peace »

Welcome to HLF, Schwanenfeld and a very informative contribution on your first post. :nod: You must be quite a lampan hunter and certainly know the fish. I've never caught one before but from your description it seems like they're as cautious as mullets when approaching baits with hook.

Is there a specific type of habitat they like to dwell in? It'll help anglers spot where the barb is likely to be found. Also, may I have your permission to use your pictures for this site? They're nicely taken. :)

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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by Schwanenfeld »

Hi Peace - never targeted mullets before, but yes, I suppose both the mullet and the tinfoil barb are ultra-cautious when approaching baits. In terms of habitat, the Tinfoil Barb is really a fish of jungle rivers. Within Singapore however, it appears that the only significant population is found in one reservoir... the oldest one, heh. People have told me they can be found in and about Mandai and Lower Pierce, but I have yet to confirm this. Please feel free to use the pics on my flickr for your site - let me know if you have trouble downloading them.

Here's an article I wrote up about Tinfoil Barbs:
The Tinfoil Barb (Barbonymus Schwanenfeldii) is one of the more delightful fish to grace the tropical freshwater habitats of Asia. Shoals of these barbs are a familiar sight to those dwelling in quaint riverside Malay Kampungs and Thai villages. It gives young sun-burnt boys, who often trot down to the water's edge with no more than a bamboo pole and silk line, the opportunity to be inducted into the wonderful world of angling, while at the same time proving elusive and combative enough to offer a challenge to those who deem themselves as skilled piscators. Above all, it is a red-finned silver beauty, and few fish in this part of the world are more beautiful to behold.

Originally described by noted Dutch icthyologist Pieter Bleeker in 1853, this cyprinid has a confused taxonomic history; it has been shifted about between various genera, viz. the Puntius and Barbodes genera, before being designated as the type species for Barbonymus, a newly established genus. Close cousins include the larger Javan Barb (Barbonymus Gonionotus) and the near-identical Red-tailed Tinfoil Barb (Barbonymus Altus). The latter is distinguised from the Tinfoil Barb proper by its much smaller size and fully-red caudal and dorsal fins. The Tinfoil Barb is also known as Schwanenfeld's Barb, Lampam Sungai in Bahasa Melayu and Pla Ta Pien Hang Deng in the Thai language.

Being pleasing in appearance, the Tinfoil Barb is highly admired even by those who have but a glimpse it. The glory of a large specimen is not to be soon forgotten. It is a shimmering bright silver in body, though individuals may appear to flicker to a faint gold when held under different conditions of light. Doubtless the brilliant metallic sheen of its scales must have played a part in the naming of this fish. It has beautiful crimson fins. Black stripes adorn the lobes of the caudal fins and a dark patch blotches the tip of the dorsal fin, constrasting well with the rich red. The barb's eyes, with yellow irises, are positively huge relative to its body size - small wonder then that they are incredibly keen of sight!

Where one Tinfoil Barb is found, it is for certain that another, and yet another, is close at hand! For it is gregarious of nature, and congregrates in large shoals. Indeed, a lone Tinfoil Barb would be a distressed one, as he does not have the protection of his fellow brothers and sisters. He would be easy foil for a hungry Giant Snakehead lurking in ambush. The primary defence mechanism of a shoal is its great numbers. An underwater predator charging at a school of Lampam would have to contend with the flashing silver of dozens of these barbs and channel his focus on a single target amongst the mass of darting bodies.

A deeply forked tail gives power to this fish, and it uses this power to thrive in rivers and streams, in renowned watercourse systems such as the vast Mekong and Chao Phraya Basins of Thailand and the mighty Pahang and Perak Rivers of Malaysia. Though it appears to adapt quite well to stillwaters, the barb is a lover of strong currents, and loves best the environments where such could be found.

The presence of four miniscule barbels, coupled with a slightly downward-protruding upper lip, indicates that it is designed by nature to feed largely on the substrate, rooting the beds of rivers and streams for food. However, shoals of Tinfoil Barbs will not hesitate to pick food items off the surface in shallow water, be they fallen insect or fallen fruit. The quick and noisy splashes created by a surface-feeding shoal excites both the naturalist and angler alike. It is largely a peaceful and gentle herbivore, though like most fish, it is opportunistic by nature, and some have recorded these barbs harrying smaller fish.

The scientifc authorities report it to have a maximum length of 13 to 14 inches, though I venture to guess that it may obtain lengths of up to 16 inches instead. An exceptionally large individual would no doubt weigh in excess of two pounds. The average adult, however, would measure in length between 10 to 12 inches and be in the weight range of 13 ounces to slightly over a pound. Admittedly, the larger specimens exhibit the stronger beauty and elicit the greater admiration. Of course, the average size of a barb would vary according to the food supply it has access to and the environment in which it stays.

The Tinfoil Barb is distributed across a significant part of South-East Asia. Its reported natural range includes much of Indochina, i.e. the countries of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, down the length of the Malay Peninsula, and the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Jungle-fringed rivers are its classic natural home, though they occur in modified and artificial habitats such as reservoirs and canals.

Economically, the Tinfoil Barb carries importance as a food source for those dwelling in rural areas. Indeed, the fish is reputed as being good for the table, though like many other cyprinids, a common complaint is that the flesh is too bony. Surprisingly, the fish is not reared extensively for aquaculture; its cousin, the Javan Barb, is deemed more suitable for this purpose by virtue of its larger size and better adaptation to pond habitats. I have read of it being sold for five ringgit per fish in northern Malaysian wet-markets, though I personally have yet to see one marketed fresh. It is also traded for the ornamental fish market, though its large size by aquarium standards renders it unsuitable for small and even medium-sized tanks.

Of course, it is recognized by a few as a fish for sport in its own right, and it is its qualities as a fisherman's quarry that I would like to promote to the general angling public. But perhaps it would be more accurate to say that fishing for Tinfoil Barbs is not so much a sport as it is an art.

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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by dBs™ »

Welcome to HLF Schwanenfeld !

It's a very detailed article written. :thumbsup:
Am so glad you found us and we found you.
Thanks for the pics and detailed article.

HLF do need more people like you to come forward, share infos on our local fish species.
That explain why HLF is progressing in a rather slow but steadily over the years.
We needed time to find and catch the fishes, collect the infos and then most difficult part which Peace do it all alone ... FISH ID.

Thank you Schwanenfeld. :D


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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by Peace »

That's a good writeup. :thumbsup: I have a question, is the fish in the first post a Red-tailed Tinfoil Barb (Barbonymus Altus) or Barbonymus Schwanenfeldii? It does look slightly different from the ones in your picture; bigger eyes and more redder fins. Or is this a maturity/sex/habitatual trait?

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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by Schwanenfeld »

The absence of black marginal lines along the caudal fins would indeed suggest that it is Barbonymus Altus, as opposed to B. Schwanenfeldii. However, I would advise that verifying the origin of the photograph would give a better clue- the photo also appears to be edited, which might affect the overall appearance (I have caught Lampam whose black marginal lines were very faint and pale- photo editing might have removed these?). Was it caught from Mac in Singapore? It looks to be an immature specimen of B. Schwanenfeldii, but I cannot be sure.

Sometimes, fish don't match the physiological description we read of them in the textbooks. I have caught quite a few mature Lampam that do not have any barbules when they were supposed to have them. =)

Glad to contribute what little I know. This W.T.F. project is a great effort. :)

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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by Peace »

The specimen in the first post was contributed by a member here, I will have to check with him on where it was caught. Below is the original photo it was cropped from.
Image

A closer look at the tail: left unedited, right brightened.
Image

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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by Schwanenfeld »

Hi Peace, sorry I can't provide conclusive input. My guess would be that it would be a B. Altus specimen, instead of B. Schwanenfeldii.

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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by Peace »

Thanks for the input, I guess I will have to change to a better picture for that page. By that I mean using your photo. :lol: The fish picture in question was actually caught in Punggol Park, I believe the fish might have been released from fish hobbyists.

I'll get the image changed as soon as I get a new computer and recover my precious data from the one that just crashed on me. :(

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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by catfish »

The freshwater travelly in singapore!
Man they fight!!!
Use a ultra light outfit 5 lb braid and a 10lb flourocarbon leader with a circle hook baited with bread
Best freshwater fish to target in singapore!
* I have caught specimens over 3lbs before

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Re: Tinfoil Barb

Post by Peace »

3lbs is one big tinfoil barb, the fight must be insane. :shocked:

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