Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

All posts regarding the care and breeding of these catfishes from South America.
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Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by Mol_PMB »

I have 4 young adult L397s in a 2'x2' footprint tank, with the hope of breeding them. Decor is lots of wood: bogwood, mopani, oak and branches of another softer wood. They especially like hiding in the big chunks of oak that I have drilled deep 1" diameter holes in. Substrate is 1-2mm brown sand/gravel.

Food offered is courgette and other veg, new era pleco pellets, 'morning wood' and of course the decor. Judging by the enormous amount of poo that they're producing, they're eating well. The softer wood branches are obviously being eaten away, as is the oak.

At the moment the only tankmates are 3 1" ancistrus fry that somehow got left behind during a complete tank strip-down and rescape after I removed the previous breeding pair of BNs and their hordes of fry. They will be moved out when I can catch them!

The L397s spend most of their time hiding, though I can usually count a few tails protruding from their wooden 'caves'.

Would they be happier or more at ease if there were some dither fish? Previously I had the group in a community tank with tetras and Otos and I saw the L397s out and about more often.

The main purpose of this tank is breeding rather than looking pretty, so obviously I don't want to add anything that will compromise the main aim.

Any suggestions welcome!

Many thanks,
Paul


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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by Coldhands »

Wish I could get my hands on those too.
I think you are on the right path towards breeding them. A little more patience is all you need. Good luck!
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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by Jools »

I think a bunch of Harlequin Rasboras would fit the bit well. 12 to 18 would do it. This is one of my favourite options for pleco breeding tanks especially those with high tannins.

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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by Linus_Cello »

Another option are rummy nose tetras. Some zebra Pleco breeders use them as indicators of water quality.
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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by Mol_PMB »

Thank you for the ideas :)

I've attached a photo showing about all I see of my L397s at the moment!

I've got 35 rummies in another tank and I love them, so I could move some or use this as an excuse to get more!
I've currently got 5 Petitella georgiae, 10 Hemigrammus rhodostomus and 20 Hemigrammus bleheri, all wild-caught. Would love to get more of the Petitella georgiae if only I could find some!

Is 27 degrees C about the right temperature for the L397s?
Any other suggestions on my setup?
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L397 in home-made oak cave
L397 in home-made oak cave
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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by rupertoooo »

With the tanks footprint bleheri probably are not the best fit. Sure they could work but for schooling purposes its not much space. How about a nice size shoal of Hyphessobrycon amandae (embers) or as Jools mentioned Trigonostigma heteromorpha (Harlequins). In general most rasboras would fit the bill nicely.
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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by Mol_PMB »

That's a fair point - my Rummies do like to use the swimming space in my 4' tank.

Would any small tetra species be suitable or are there some that would cause problems with fry predation etc? I've always fancied a shoal of lemon tetras, or maybe pristella tetras?

I have very soft water here, KH almost immeasurable, so south american blackwater species seem to work best for me.

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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by rupertoooo »

Sure, there are numerous types of Tetras that will work and I believe Lemons would be a nice addition but I would take a long hard look at the Ember Tetra. A large Shoal of Embers in optimal conditions is truly a remarkable site. IMO other strong tetra candidates would be Hemigrammus rodwayi (Gold), Axelrodia riesei (Ruby) or if you can find either Hyphessobrycon takasei (coffee) or Hyphessobrycon amapaensis they would be killer. Of course there are many others but I would probably avoid the slender fast moving tetras (Rummy, Blue, Silver Tip, Bloodfin etc.).
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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by bekateen »

I've never seen (or heard of) Hyphessobrycon amapaensis. Just Googled it. That's an amazing looking fish. I wish they were for sale in my area.
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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by Mol_PMB »

bekateen wrote:I've never seen (or heard of) Hyphessobrycon amapaensis. Just Googled it. That's an amazing looking fish. I wish they were for sale in my area.
Yes, very attractive! The colours are similar to my small group of Weitzmani tetra.
I'll give it some more thought and see what's available. I'm currently setting up a Rio Oiapoque tank too, for my Cory oiapoquensis and condiscipulus, and I think the coffee bean tetra might be right for that. I've not seen them for sale though.

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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by Aquaticus »

I'm a big fan of pencil fish.
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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by Jools »

Pencils aren't as great in the consistent strong water current that Panaqolus love, but they are lovely dither fishes for more demure surroundings.

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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by Mol_PMB »

Yes, I do do have quite a high current in there with a big external filter plus an extra powerhead.
I've not kept pencils before but I'd like to some day.
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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by Mol_PMB »

Coldhands wrote:Wish I could get my hands on those too.
I think you are on the right path towards breeding them. A little more patience is all you need. Good luck!
You were correct!
This little guy has been in the tank at least 10 days, but I thought it was an Ancistrus fry (the other two slightly bigger fry in the tank definitely are Ancistrus). But now he's grown a bit I can see he's got stripes rather than spots. So this must be a baby L397!

Image

Here he was 10 days ago:
Image

I've only seen one, which is odd. There might be more hiding, or the first spawn may not have gone too well.

Cheers,
Paul
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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by bekateen »

That is awesome! Congratulations Paul. ^:)^ (*) b-) ... (There is no icon I see on the main post page for "envious", so this is the best I can do: =P~ Like Coldhands said, I'd love to get 397 too)

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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by apistomaster »

When I was breeding Peckoltia compta and small Hypancistrus species, I used to keep Cherry Shrimp with them. Never any other fish.
I'd thin out the shrimp and feed them to my wild Scalare and Blue Discus as a side benefit.
Congrats on the spawning of your L397's. They appear to be a pretty pleco. I looked them up but I didn't find their mature size mentioned.(Am I overlooking something?)
Based on the photos they appeared to me to be similar to P.compta for adult size. Is that correct?
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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by Mol_PMB »

Thanks :)
My fish are less than 3" total length, and clearly mature enough to spawn. I suspect they will grow a little more, but as you say they will probably be similar in size to the other small Panaqolus and Peckoltia species.
I've not kept shrimp before but that's a good idea :)
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Re: Dither fish for L397 breeding tank?

Post by Coldhands »

Congratulations! Your patience is rewarded!
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