Shane's World Right Arrow Reproduction Right Arrow Breeding the Porthole Catfish • Article © Torill Nordeide Berge, uploaded January 19, 2015

All images by the author

In May 2013, I had but one big aquarium. Just one, but it was 540 litres with many different fishes, Apistogramma, Ancistrus, Betta splendens and some others, a typical fish soup as we called it.

One day after a water change, a thought came into my mind; I wonder how the fish would like some leaves in the tank? I did not refill the tank. I had only to get my jacket, because I knew we had a lot of maple leaves in the forest behind my house. It's a bit fun to do something different and it is really decorative when you put them in to your tank.

It took about an hour to collect a bucket full of leaves; I went back to the house and started to fill up the tank with some cold water. Once refilled, I covered the top at one side with leaves. Always after a water change I feed the fishes because I love to just sit down and look at them; so I went to my freezer to get some black mosquito larvae and brine shrimp and also raw scampi. The water parameters were PH 6.2 GH 4 KH 2.

The next day I noticed that the male Dianema longibarbis was very interested in the female. Before then, I didn't know which was male or female, but now there was no doubt about it. The female was big around her belly and the male kept pushing her under the belly. I thought it was funny and I didn't think more about it. On the third day I noticed the male was standing still in the middle of the water, almost like a hummingbird. This made me sit down so I could study him, and it was then that I discovered the leaf with many bubbles. I ran to my computer to check this out but it was hard to find any good info. I did understand that this was a bubblenest, but i didn't know what to do. I found out, via Lars Jamne from Bergen) that this species is not one that has been bred in Norway.

Male tending bubblenest
Close-up of bubblenest

He told me to write everything down and take photos and videos. But my Betta splendens like their eggs fresh and becuase I did not know what to do, they ate them all. But, lucky me, they laid eggs again, so I took the leaf from the male and placed it in a 5 litres plastic box with an airstone. Five days after that they hatched. They were so incredibly small - just as small as a dot.

I took water from the main tank every time I gave them new water; they didn't grow much the first month. But after one month I replaced them in a bigger tank, 60 liters. I should not have done that, all but 2 died.

I had to shut down my 540L , so the fish ended up in a small tank, just 120 L. Suddenly I saw the male again, hovering like a hummingbird. Now he had made a bubblenest under a green leaf from the big plant in the tank. I took the leaf, the eggs later hatched, but not one survived.


Finally, I moved my two Dianema Longibarbis to my 160 L, because now I have many aquariums and now I wanted to see if I could get them to spawn. This was November 5th 2014. I carried out a waterchange and gave them lots of food, many dried maple leaves and ensured slow motion at the surface. Next day, the male gave me a leaf full of eggs. Now I had a bigger box, 25L, set-up with a shrimp filter, some sand , few sandsnails and a few shrimps. Just under the leaf I placed an airstone so the eggs would stay fresh.

And same procedure as always, they hatched on the 9th of November, 5 days after. Many dots swimming around, the day after I saw the fry struggle, I checked the temperature and it was 27C, I made a small waterchange, just so as I could get the temperature down. Finally i had 25C and the fry did much better. Eight weeks later I had 101 fry in that box. They are now in 3 different aquariums.

They have laid eggs seven times between May and the middle of November. To get the fry to grow up, I did not do anything in their tank, just added water from the main tank and only when you need to fill up a bit. I do make infusoria, so i have food to give them, it does not look like they have any yolk sac, so after two days I give them infusoria, after 1 week I give whiteworm and/or microworm, from one month to two months they grow much faster, so when they are six to seven weeks they get novo tab and Repashy Superfood.

There is further information on this species on the Cat-eLog page.

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