mong the members of the family
Bagridae are many beautiful and amazing catfishes.
I have been maintaining and attempting to spawn a number
of bagrids over the last eight years. In fact, over
this time my interest in this family has grown to the
point that about 90 percent of my fishroom's tanks are
now solely devoted to members of Bagridae.
I have maintained bagrids from the genera: Mystus,
Hemibagrus, Pelteobagrus, Pseudomystus,
Bagrichthys, Horabagrus, Batasio and
Leiocassis. One of my favourites has always been
the common Asian bumblebee catfish, Pseudomystus
siamensis. I recently, after a lot of work, failed
to spawn Pseudomystus siamensis.
There are no known captive spawnings of this fish. Here
are my notes and hoping that my failure will bring someone
else luck down the road.
One adult male (purchased 11 Aug 95 at 2.5 inches)
and one adult female (purchased 15 Sept 95 at 1.5 inches)
were removed from a twenty gallon tank they share with
three other P. siamensis (1 male and two females).
The male was selected because he is the larger and better
looking of the two and the female was selected because
she appeared the most gravid. Each fish was given its
own ten gallon tank on 1 Dec 98 and fed heavily on frozen
foods. Water changes of 50% were performed every week.
On 30 Dec 98 both fish were moved to a ten gallon tank
that was divided. One adult was placed in each half.
The tank's parameters were pH 7.6, 150ppm DH, and Temp
78F. The tank was half full of water. Peat filtration
and distilled water were used to lower the water's pH
2 Jan 99, pH 7.2, 120
ppm DH, and Temp 81F (water tinted amber) 3
Jan 99, pH 7.2, 100ppm DH, and Temp 81F (removed all
filtration to simulate dry season)
4 Jan 99, pH 7.0,
90ppm DH, Temp 83F
5 Jan 99, pH6.8, 90ppm DH, Temp
6 Jan 99,
pH6.8, 80ppm DH, Temp 83F
7 Jan 99, pH 6.8,
80ppm DH, Temp 83F
8 Jan 99, at 4:10pm added aeration (airstone,
biowheel 170, and 40 gallon capacity sponge filter all
at once) also added two gallons chilled distilled water
(pH 6, no hardness).
4:30pm, tank measures pH 6.8, 40ppm DH, and temp 74
8:30pm, Removed divider. The fish quickly found each
other. The female placed herself next to the male and
"shivered" in a way that reminded me of a
female krib's mating dance. I have NEVER before seen
any bagrid do this little cichlid-like mating dance.
The female then appeared to have locked pectoral fins
with the male and as they sat side by side, they both
just quivered very violently. The female shook more
After about a half hour they swam off in different directions.
I checked for eggs and found none. I left the both fish
in the tank for two more days, but they just ignored
Things to do different in the future:
1) Longer faux dry
season (maybe a month instead of a week)
2) Lower parameters.
Take pH down to 6.5 and hardness to almost zero.
3) Condition with
more live foods
Try a trio to double chances that one female
will be willing.
Other individuals have suggested keeping up with massive
daily water changes using soft rain or reverse osmosis
water. There may be merit to this suggestion as it may
take a few "artificial monsoons" to convince
the fish it is time to spawn. Anyway, I'll keep on trying.
Below are the photo's supplied
by the author. You will notice the difference in colouration
between the male (right) and female (left). Shane states
that he finds this form of dichromatism (two colours)
in all Pseudomystus species. (Editor)
Photo Credits: Top: Ian
Bottom: R.Shane Linder.