Once again, the fish outsmarted me.
I tried everything. I read all the books and the magazine articles. I talked to Corydoras people. I set the ten gallon tank up in a cool room with some natural sunlight. It didn't work. Someone in a magazine said to put the heater on a timer, so the temperature was higher during the day and fell at night. I tried it. It didn't work.One of the books said that if you lower the pH of the water with water changes, even "difficult" Corys would spawn. So I did water changes daily with rain water and brought the pH down. It didn't work.
Some experienced Corydoras people said that some species needed very subdued light to get them into condition. So I blocked off the sides of the tank and put a weak light on a timer for a short period each day. It didn't work. Finally, I thought, maybe using all these methods together would do the trick. It didn't - I gave up.
Even though these are some of the most colorful catfish I'd ever seen, I had to admit defeat. I put them in a ten gallon tank in my fish room with some bog wood, Java Moss, and tap water, and figured I'd just enjoy them for as long as they lasted. Within a week, they spawned. It may have just been their way of saying, "Thanks for finally leaving us alone."
There were about a hundred eggs on the glass, plants, and floor of the tank. The parents didn't seem interested in them, but I thought it best to remove the eggs to a separate tank for hatching. Some of the eggs were infertile, but about seventy young hatched in eight days. In about two days, I started giving them some microworms, and that's been their staple since. I gave them newly hatched brine shrimp for a couple of days, but I found several fry dead with distended stomachs. I'm not sure the two are connected, but they do well on microworms, so brine shrimp are no longer in their diet.
At one month, the young were eating fine flake food along with regular feedings of microworms. They started to look more like the adults, but hadn't developed the bright green coloration. At this point, they were moved from the ten gallon hatching tank into a breeder-style 50 gallon. This gave them a lot more room and seriously cut down on my maintenance, as I was changing water in the ten gallon twice a day. The young fish started growing more quickly in the new tank, but as with most Corydoras species, growth was not what one would call rapid.
At two months, the fish eat all the same foods as the adults: live, frozen and dry, just more finely ground or chopped. They are just beginning to show the green stripes the parents wear. The parents are still in the same ten gallon tank with no special treatment, and have rewarded me for leaving them alone with another spawning. I'm not going to any special trouble for these guys again!
Shane's Note: I am calling this fish Corydoras aeneus based on conversations with Corydoras expert Ernie Gemeinhart. Ernie has looked at a number of the "LASER" Corydoras and found them synonymous with C. aeneus. This article was originally published in the Potomac Valley Aquarium Society's Delta Tale Vol. 30, No. 2-3.
There is further information on this species on the Cat-eLog page.
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