is a small member of the family Callichthyidae, the
armored catfish. Along with Corydoras and Brochis
it is further a member of the subfamily Corydoridinae
(Burgess, p38). Thus, to most of us, members of the genus
Aspidoras are like small Cory catfish. Indeed, the
features which separate Aspidoras from Corydoras
are, to the layman, too small to distinguish. Nevertheless,
we can make some generalizations about this group that serve
to separate them.
Those that I have seen
are small, 2 to 2 1/2 inches in length (5 - 6 cm). They
have relatively small eyes when compared to Corydoras.
They tend to be fairly slender,
and the males and females can be hard to distinguish. Most
are covered with black or grey blotches on a whitish background.
In fact, they look a lot like male Corydoras paleatus
(the Peppered Catfish).
The females tend to get a little more plump, but this is not
as obvious as with Corydoras. As with Corydoras,
Aspidoras are quite peaceful. I have found that A.
maculosus is a little more skitterish than Corys, however.
They would do well to have a little cover, or a place to escape
to. They definitely do better in groups of at least a
half a dozen, and they tend to stick together. Also, if you
purchase a small group, you are more apt to get some of each
Feeding Aspidoras is pretty much the same as with Corydoras.
They take all foods I have tried including flakes, brine shrimp
(adult frozen and baby), beef heart, Tabi-Min, etc. They are
bottom feeders so one has to be sure they get their share
in a community setup.
I obtained about a half-a-dozen a little over a year ago at
a club auction, and placed them in a 5 gallon tank. The tank
contains a sponge filter, some java moss, and water sprite
floating on the surface. As these were close to adults, I
gave them a bottom mop to spawn in, in addition to the jave
moss. After several months, however, no eggs were found in
the mop or on the glass. Then one day I found 3 eggs on the
front glass near the surface of the water. These were removed
and placed in a small tank with a sponge filter. They hatched
and grew without difficulties. As they were not enough for
our Breeder's Award Program, I gave them away as soon as they
were big enough.
The experience made me think, however,
that maybe they needed a floating mop. So I placed a killie
mop with a cork on top in the front of the tank where I could
watch. Within a week I found a few eggs on the glass behind
the mop facing the front. An inspection of the mop revealed
many more eggs hidden in the upper portion of the mop. The
mop and eggs were again placed in a 1 1/2 gallon tank with
a sponge filter. The sponge filter has a short stem so
the water level can be kept low, also the filter has a small
stone under one edge so the fry can go under and not get stuck.
After about three days the eggs hatched. Another 2 to 3 days
were required for the fry to absorb their yolk sac. At that
time they were fed. They took the usual fry food without difficulties
and were easily raised.
My fry get a banquet of a squirt of infusoria, some vinegar
eels, some microworms, and very few baby brine shrimp. Very
small servings of each are given to prevent pollution. At
this point I also introduce some small snails to clean up
whats left. As soon as I see they are going after the
brine shrimp (by their pink bellies), I discontinue the other
foods. When they are about 1/2 inch in length, they get some
powdered dried food. I have found that A. maculosus
are quite easy to raise under these conditions. I have not
tried to start them in small margarine containers, so I don't
know if it will work.
My fish definitely prefer a floating spawning mop. In the
last spawning, consisting of 17 fry, only 2 eggs were on the
glass. And these two were right next to the mop. This makes
it very convenient, as the mop is easily removed to another
container for hatching.
I find these a delightful little cat. They should make a nice
addition to a small community tank.
Dr. Warren E.; A Complete Introduction to Corydoras and
Related Catfishes, T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, NJ,
This article can also be viewed on the Saskatoon
Aquarium Society web site. As published in Nekton, the
newsletter of the Saskatoon Aquarium Society.
Credit: © Hans-Georg Evers