Article © Pete Liptrot, uploaded January 01, 2002.
Here is a short summary of a spawning of Lasiancistrus which took place in the aquarium of a friend of mine. The fish in question is in the original "Aqualog All L Numbers" book as Lasiancistrus species "Venezuela" (Pg. 40-42), and appears similar to Lasiancistrus scolymnus (Ed - note it was described after the time of writing as L. tentaculus).
My friend obtained the fish in September 1996 from me. I had decided that the "pair" I selected were actually two males (more fool me!). He wanted a fish to remove algae from one of his cichlid breeding tanks, and I wanted to make space for something I could try and breed, so a quick deal was worked out and all parties concerned were happy (including, so it seemed the fish).
I occasionally enquired after their well being, this was met with a standard reply of "don't see them that much". However, several months later, my friend phoned me up to tell me that he had spotted a small fish in the tank, and upon closer investigation the fish proved to be very young catfish. After a bit of probing around, 4 or 5 more were discovered and he decided that as they seemed to be doing well they would remain in situ. Unfortunately (or so it seemed), they disappeared after a few days. A few days after first seeing the fry he decided to clean out one of the power filters. Imagine his surprise to find 22 healthy young catfish in the filter body along with one or two which hadn't survived!
These fry, which were about 10mm in length, were removed to a smaller tank with plenty of algae for observation. After 6 weeks the young, which had dwindled to 16 in number, reached about 15mm in length. Half of these were placed in a 36" tank with a heavy growth of algae. The algae was quickly consumed by the fry. The diet was supplemented with growth food and algae wafers throughout this period, which is similar to the diet the parents had when in my care. Following this, he has kept a closer eye on proceedings, and recently faxed me a description of another spawning which is as follows:
Both fish disappeared for a couple of days. The female was then noticed with a reduced abdominal area. Three days later some eggs (around 25) were spotted in a cleft behind a large piece of bogwood. The eggs, which were in a clump, stuck to each other and were about 5mm in diameter. They were a "sweetcorn yellow" in colour. Two days after this, the eggs hatched and the new born fry were about 6-7mm with a large yolk sac. Even when newly hatched, the fry showed grazing movements, in spite of the yolk sac, but this may just have been to ensure a sufficient flow of water past the gills.
All in all, I believe this represents quite an achievement, especially for someone who thinks catfish are just there to clean up after real fish (cichlids!). The lucky ****** in question is a member of the North West Cichlid Group, and I look forward to further spawning from this delightful little catfish.
There is further information on this species on the Cat-eLog page.
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