Overall gold colour, red eyes. Sexual difference, Females
have short thin pointed tentacles on the snout, males have many
longer thicker tentacles covering the snout.
Tank 45 gallons, this was a community tank hence the size. Water
changes were carried out weekly, approximately 20% using tap
water via Purity on Tap Unit. The pH fluctuated between 6
6.5, temperature 26c (79f). Sand substrate and surface area
heavily covered with Indian Fern and Elodea. Two thirds of the
floor area was covered in bogwood and there were small clay
pots for the dwarf cichlids. Trickle filtration filled with
ceramic rings and covered in filter floss powered by an internal
filter. The tank also had large double air driven sponges and
for the purpose of stabilising the pH, a box filter filled with
Feeding for the Ancistus was mainly lettuce, cucumber
and shelled garden peas. Occasionally I gave them some of my
beef heart mix, which contained peas, spinach, catfish pellets
and flake, they devoured this eagerly. There was never a problem
with algae in their tank as they obviously ate any that did
appear. If there were any pots or bogwood in other tanks
that had algae growth on it, I placed this into their tank and
over night, it was eaten. Tankmates included Cardinal and Rummy
Nose Tetras, Rasbora somphongsi, maculata, Sparkling
Gouramis and sub adult Apistogramma sp. Pandurini.
Getting the "Golds"
to spawn was easy, so easy I didnt know they had. I had
made no prior set up or any changes in the maintenance of the
tank. The site chosen was an up-side-down 3" clay flowerpot
which had a hole chipped out of the side, this was for the dwarf
cichlids. I had noticed the male had been inside this pot for
a while and after being inside for a few days I thought it had
got trapped, never thinking what was about to transpire. I slowly
lifted the pot, the male immediately swam away, to my sheer
surprise part of the inner wall was lined with golden wrigglers,
and some had fallen onto the floor of the tank. My inexperience
with Ancistrus was now very evident. I placed the pot
containing the wrigglers into a small tank, which I had filled
with water from the spawning tank, to this I added a mature
sponge filter with slight aeration to circulate the water. At
time of removal there were approximately 40 wrigglers, which
had very large egg sacs, three days later they became free swimming
and by now the numbers had reduced drastically. I fed these
fry on spinach, lettuce and tablets.
The total success of fry raised numbered only twelve. Soon after
this spawning I removed most of the other species which were
housed in the tank. Rasbora and sparkling gouramies remained,
as they caused no threat to the Ancictrus. Incidentally
I was having success with these two species spawning with fry
surviving, I believe this was due to the fact that feeding cucumber
and lettuce to the adult Ancistrus created plenty infusoria
to enable them to survive.
Spawning Behaviour: It wasnt
long before the same male was ready to spawn with the second
female. I was fortunate to witness the following spawning behaviour.
First the male would enter the pot, it took some manoeuvring,
as he had to enter sideways. He would spend sometime inside
the pot cleaning the inner wall and time after time he would
come out of the pot, eventually the female would appear at the
entrance. There was a problem as this female was much larger
and although she tried to repeatedly enter the pot she just
couldnt get through the entrance hole. After the
first spawning I had put a few more suitable spawning sites
into the tank but the male only wanted to use the same one.
Thankfully I was in the fish house to see the females dilemma.
I removed the pot and carefully enlarged the entrance, also
taking care to remove any rough edges with sandpaper, replacing
the pot it wasnt long before male and female were inside.
The spawning ritual took a while as the pair were inside the
pot for at least an hour before I had to retire for the evening.
The following day I could see the male inside the pot where
he remained for the following six days caring for his brood.
The spawn hatched on day five, this kept the male busy inside
his confined home. I would see some of the wrigglers on the
floor of the tank as they hatched and it wasnt long before
the male would retrieve them, and out of my view he must have
been placing them onto the inner wall of the pot.
Two days after hatching the fry slowly began to emerge from
the pot and by the third day all fry were free swimming. I never
at anytime noticed the male leaving the pot for food during
that time so I can only assume he fasts for the period of brood
care. The final count totalled 67 golden miniature Ancistrus
fry foraging all over the tank, a wonderful sight. Neither of
the adults caused any threat to the young and often adults and
fry were sharing the same lettuce or cucumber at feeding time.
These fry remained in the main tank for several weeks and as
their appetites grew it was time to disperse them to other tanks
and owners. When the fry from the first spawning were 4 months
of age they had attained the size at which I had bought the
parents, therefore I would say that at the age of 11 months,
Ancistus "Golds" are mature and will breed.
The sex ratio of the twelve first born are 4 males 8 females
and I found that this wasnt evident (to me at least) until
they were six months of age. I have retained eight from this
brood (2 males 6 females) which are presently housed in my 7x
2 x 2 community tank in my lounge.When these reach
maturity I intend to give them a species tank (if I can catch
them) and hopefully start the process again, this time without
Photo Credit: Helen Burns