Close, But No siamensis!

R. Shane Linder

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.



Pseudomystus siamensis

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 and hardness.

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 83F

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 violently.
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 each other.

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
4) 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)

Pseudomystus siamensis  


Pseudomystus siamensis




Photo Credits:

Top: © Ian Fuller @CorydorasWorld
Bottom: R. Shane Linder.



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