I bought the
fish at Huddersfield Aquatics 6th March 1999, on
one of our club raiding trips south of the border.
This is an excellent outlet that caters mainly for
cichlids and catfish species, all wild caught. Four
males (3.5cm) and two females approximately 5cm
body size were purchased at what I thought was a
bargain at £2.50 each.
When I returned home I set them up in a 45cm x 30cm
x 30cm quarantine tank. Temperature 22c, pH 6.5.
Filtration was by an air operated Bio 45 sponge
and a corner box filter filled with ceramic pipes
and crushed coral (this prevents the pH from dropping
too low). Tank also included a small glass trough
filled with fine sand and planted heavily with Java
fern. Java moss was weighed down and placed on top
of a piece of slate (10cm x 15cm). On the slate
I had attached small feet, this allowed the fish
a hiding place and some security as I found them
to be very skittish. They were fed at least twice
daily on a mixed diet of live whiteworm, grindal
worm, Tetra Prima & Tetra Tabi Min.
The fish were maintained in the above conditions
until 4th July 1999. I then re-located their tank
to a higher position in the fish hut, doing this
automatically increased the temperature by two degrees
as the hut is space heated. I let things settle
down for three weeks and then decided to have a
go at getting them to breed. (Its the old
story, you talk to other aquarists who say they
have bred Corydoras melanotaenia years and
years ago without any problems, but they never really
enlighten you as to how they did it). I was doing
my weekly 25% water changes to all my tanks, when
I got to the melanotaenia tank. I did a 40%
change using water straight from the domestic supply,
pH 8.3, temperature below 16C. Fortunately
this had no adverse effect on the fish, quite the
reverse as 72 hours later (29th July) they had spawned.
Water parameters at time of spawning were Temp 20c
- pH 6.9.
Day 1. The first eggs I found when I went out to
the fish hut to feed the fish 6.30pm. Eggs
are ivory in colour and measure 1.5mm. These had
been placed at two different sites. Site one, was
on the front glass about 3cm from the water surface
approximately 150 placed in a group 3cm.in diameter
with the eggs on top of each other, in the same
manner Corydoras barbatus lay their eggs.
The second site had double the quantity of eggs,
laid in the same way, the only difference being
that some of the eggs were caught up in some Java
moss and only 10cm from the bottom of the tank.
For the purpose of this experiment I divided the
eggs into three separate show tanks with water from
the breeding tank. An airline was added with slow
turnover to give slight water movement and treated
spawning (surface) small amount of methylene blue
was added and then removed after 30 minutes by a
95% water change using water from the breeding tank.
spawning (bottom) I divided into two separate tanks
and labeled them Site 2 and 3.
eggs were left as they were, with nothing added
to the water.
methylene blue was added and left for 12 hours and
then a 95% water change was done the following morning
using water from the breeding tank.
All eggs had now changed colour to light tan, some
were eyeing-up. Only six eggs fungused in all of
the show tanks, these were removed.
10am. I did a water change to all three tanks after
I removed a total of six white fungused eggs.
90% water change was carried out out in all small
tanks, removing a couple of bad eggs. By the evening
most of the eggs had hatched
Water changes to all tanks removing any shells
or dead fry. The fry from lot 2 had started
to die off and this had a knock on effect, by the
time I returned later in the afternoon all fry from
lot 2 were dead.
Still keeping lots 1 & 3 separate I transferred
the fry into larger tanks (20cm x 12cm x 12cm) Bio-foam
45 sponge filter added. Feeding started with microworm.
Prior to each feeding 50% water change was done
using water from the main breeding tank.
Day 7. All fry
were looking well, and feeding now was alternated
between microworm and newly hatched brine shrimp
ensuring 50% water changes where done prior to each
I transferred the fry to 30cm x 20cm x 20cm tanks
and they were fed as much brine shrimp as they could
eat with a few feedings of grindal worms. Water
changes were stepped up accordingly.
All fry were moved into the same tank (45cm
x 45cm x 30cm). I stopped feeding brine shrimp and
concentrated on feeding grindal worms, Tetra Prima
and Tetra Tabi Min.
The fry were now beginning to look like the adults,
the only difference being the fins had not coloured
Day 30. All
fry were moved to 1015cm x 45cm x 30cm tank. Trickle
filter filled with ceramic pipes and crushed coral
powered by Fluval 4 internal filter. It is a very
rewarding sight to watch 200-300 Corydoras fry moving
about the bottom of the tank on the lookout for
I normally like to keep eggs and fry with the parent
fish, I believe fry grow bigger and faster in that
environment. On this occasion I was quite glad that
I did remove most of the eggs because I have never
seen a single fry in the parents tank. I know I
didnt manage to remove all the eggs at the
beginning therefore from my experience with C.
Melanotaenia I have observed that they are egg,
and or fry eaters. As to the experiment with methylene
blue Im not too sure what to do about that
for the best, I think Ill stick to the method
of breeding corys that I have used quite successfully
for the last few years, only changing things if
the fish are a new species to me. If I do happen
to get them to spawn Ill normally remove most
of the eggs and hatch them as above until I know
the adults are not going to eat the eggs or fry.
This article was written for Paisley & District
Aquarist Society, Catfish Study Group UK (formally
The Nothern Area Catfish Group) and Allan James'