reeding Corydoras nattereri has taken me quite sometime to achieve. During October 1995 while on one of our club outings to The British Aquarist Festival in Manchester we visited BAS Aquatics in Bolton where I purchased my five Corydoras nattereri.
Description: Light grey to gold body with blue-green stripe down side. Length 5-6 cm.
Maintenance: This species prefers water to be colder than is normal for Corydoras and I would recommend 72F/22C. Initially I housed them in an 18x12x12 tank with a sand substrate and Java Fern plants.
Filtration: Air driven box filter in one corner and sponge filter in the opposite corner.
Feeding: Tetra Prima, quality flake, tablets and frozen bloodworm. Normally I don’t use live food with the exception of newly hatched brine shrimp for fry. I am currently experimenting with Grindal Worm cultures.
Breeding: After quite sometime trying the usual tricks with cory’s to get them to spawn i.e. large water changes using cold water which drops the temperature about 6 degrees, nothing was happening. I more or less gave up on them. April’97 eighteen months after their arrival I decided to use the tank they were in for something new and moved the C. nattereri to a 27-gallon tank (39"x15"x12"). Filtration being external canister plus a large double sponge filter.
No substrate was used but included a large piece of Java Moss which covered half of the tank. I then left them to with no further disturbance from myself.
At the end of April 1998 while during my usual water change in their tank I moved the Java Moss and noticed a young catfish darting away towards the back of the tank, it had to be a young nattereri as this was a species tank.
My five original nattereri consisted of four males and one large female which was almost twice the size of the males. I decided to try and get them to spawn again. Sunday: 25% water change was carried out using water straight from the household water supply pH 8.3. Prior to this the tank conditions were pH 6.0 and Temperature 73F/23C. After the 7-gallon water change I knew this would make quite a change to the water parameters but I decided to go ahead anyway.
Day 2 Tues.: I removed nine eggs from the Java Moss.
Day 3 Wed: 12 eggs
Days 4-5 Thurs/Friday: A further 19 eggs removed.
This totalled 40 eggs, which were placed in a small show tank with water from the spawning tank to which I added one drop of Methylene Blue. An airline was placed in the small tank to keep the water circulating. Any infertile eggs were removed. The fertile eggs were tan coloured and got darker until on the third day they hatched. A further two days and they were free swimming, approximately 1/8th on an inch in overall length.
The following weekend I repeated the same procedure again with the water change and on day three I collected 24 eggs. By now my compliment of nattereri young numbered 43 - ½ inch fry. During these two "controlled" spawnings 64 eggs were collected of which 12 were infertile and 12 fry died giving me 43 fry. There were also some fry darting about the parent’s tank. It caused me a bit of concern as to why I lost 12 of the fry as they were being fed with micro worm, newly hatched brine shrimp and plenty water changes using water from the parents tank.
I soon realised that the tank holding the fry was sited 3 feet higher than the parent’s tank and was at least 5 degrees hotter. I then moved the fry tanks to a colder part of the fish house and since doing that there have been no further losses.
At the age of six week’s the fry were moved from their [ 12"x 10"x 8"] rearing tank to a 18’’x12’’x12’’ growing on tank and they will moved on to a larger tank as they grow.
One month after the first spawning I repeated the whole procedure yet again.Day 3: I spent quite sometime removing 97 eggs from the Java Moss. Tank conditions at time of removal pH6.5 temperature 71F/21C.
Conclusion: Never give up trying to breed Corydoras Catfish as they will surprise you all the time. This article was written for publication in The Paisley & District Aquarist Society’s Newsletter and the Northern Area Catfish Group ( now Catfish Study Group U.K.) Newsletter, and ScotCat. if they wish to use it.
Any comments or thoughts regarding this article can be sent to the author at his e-mail address: [email protected]
Photo Credit: Helen Burns.