Aqua Media Group’s 2011 2-part documentary sets the stage; “Altum Angels, the premier league of aquarium life. They only inhabit a small area – only a few rivers through the jungle along the border between Columbia and Venezuela.”  This documentary, available translated into English via Youtube only in November, 2012, is a must watch for any Angelfish enthusiast.

In Part 1, follow along on the journey in search of Pterophyllum altum in its natural habitat.  From making camp to tropical deluges, the team endures the elements in search of the Altum Angelfish. The black-water habitats of the Altum are shared by plecos, characins and cichlids.  Some of the most notable cohorts documented in this video include the Striped Pike Characin (Boulengerella lateristriga), Cardinal Tetras (Paracheirodon axelrodi),  the Flag Cichlid or Festivum (Mesonauta festivus), and the Spotted Demonfish (Satanoperca daemon).  Many other species make cameo appearances including Pike Cichlids (Crenecichla sp.), Pencilfish (Nannostomus sp.), a beautiful yellow and black banded Leporinus (Leporinus sp.) and a Severum-type Cichlid (Heros sp.), possibly the Atapabo “Mouthbrooding” Severum, before we finally see what this team is after…wild Atabapo Altum Angelfish.  This footage is pure gold for anyone wishing to set up an Altum Angelfish biotope aquarium!

In Part 2, “With a heavy heart, we had to start our long journey back to Germany,” says the narrator as the second installment gets underway.  The segment leads off with insights on the care and transport of dozens of wild-collected Altum Angelfish as the expedition draws to an end.  “…we would be only truly successful if some of the animals arrive in Germany alive!” exclaims Andreas Stelzig, who is one of the expedition’s team members as well as this film’s director.

From there, the documentary jumps to Germany, near Coburg, to the fishroom of AMAZONAS Cover-Story author Simon Forkel, who “is one of the very few people who have been successful in breeding genuine Altum Angels” according to the the narrator.  Forkel states he has been “working with Altum Angels for 18 years…it’s a long journey and as a breeder you have to work in it continually.”  The film goes on to show the many variations of Altums in Forkel’s care, including 4th generation Siegrist-Line fish, as well as adults and captive-bred juveniles of the Atapabo, Inirida, and Orinoco populations of Pteropyllum altum. Of course, the observant aquarist will notice the details in the tour of Forkel’s fishroom, and you’ll be even more impressed by the impressive growth rates demonstrated by Forkel’s fish.

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