maculosus 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
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
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 sex.
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.
Burgess, Dr. Warren E. A Complete
Introduction to Corydoras and Related Catfishes, T.F.H.
Publications, Neptune City, NJ, 1987.
This article can also be viewed on the Saskatoon
web site. As published in Nekton, the newsletter of
the Saskatoon Aquarium Society.
Photo Credit: © Hans-Georg