n the fall of 2004 I bought a mature
male and female. They had a size of 6-7 cm. none of these
had bred before. They were put in a community tank on 92
US gallon tank (350 liter); together with 6 wild caught
angelfish, Pterophyllum altum, and 6 wild caught
Corydoras duplicareus. The only filtration the
first 2 months was an external filter with a turnover of
1200 L/H. It took them exactly 2 months from they were introduced
to their first spawn.
It only took a cold water change with
more or less the same hardness to get them going.
The first attempt took place in a cave I made for them out
of slate. (see pic above).
The first spawn:
I first discovered the fry after the yolk sack was all
used up, and the fry were more and more tempted to explore
the rest of the tank. The male however would not let the
fry out of the cave, some managed to escape and were never
seen again. Once I saw with my own eyes the male pushing
a tetra tabimin into the cave, as time went by I became
more and more convinced that he gave this to his fry.
At the same time I was considering selling the 6 angelfish
since the likelihood of them spawning was slim. The 6
were sold late one afternoon in Dec 2004, and the very
next day when the light came on I saw fry all over the
tank, on the wood, on the plants and on the glass, in
eager search for food. At this time an internal circular
pump was added, pumping 2000 L/h. To me they looked like
they were about 1 month old, and I could not count them
because there were so many of them.
Under normal circumstances they would have left the cave
2-5 days after the yolk sack had been absorbed, but the
presence of the angelfish had most likely had the effect
that the male had kept them in his cave until it was safe
enough for them to leave.
An obvious conclusion of this is that the male is a good
father who is capable of knowing the level of danger before
letting his fry out of the cave. Of all the fry from the
first attempt only 8 survived. In the tank it was unknown
how many they were from the start. The main reason of
this loss was the lack of food.
Water values in the 92 US gallon tank (350 liters):
Temp: 27°C (80.6 °F)
K h: 4
Ext filter with a turnover of 1200 L/H and circ. pump
2000 L/H going at half its capacity. (Max 9,14 its Volume)
The picture below show three out
of seven from the first breeding attempt. At two months
old they were 2 cm in size, aren’t they cute?.
Second breeding attempt:
The second breeding attempt was also in the 92 US gallon
tank (350 liter), but this time in another cave made by
Dr Gribb (user name in Nowegian forum) which was added
two days prior. Now the whole spawn left the cave 7-11
days after the hatch, this time most of the fry got lost
in the tank due to lack of food. The first month the fry
have a rather whitish colour, the yellow colour developed
after 4 weeks, those who stay white, or get whiter will
The third spawn:
The third spawn took place in a
42-gallon (160 Liter) tank, 2 days after a new cave were
introduced to the tank. Immediately after the cave was
put in the male inspected the cave thoroughly, he went
in and out like crazy, in and out several times, the female
positioned herself nearby, without being chased off, obviously
interested. Believe me it was quit I sight
The next day I got my superstition
confirmed, all the way inside was the male who was fluttering
quite hectic over the eggs. The male did so for 5 days
until the eggs hatched. The fry nurture on the yolk sack
in 4-5 days. On the fourth day the male was seen outside
the cave and then further and further away from the cave.
I chose to remove the third and fourth spawn 1-2 days
after the yolk sack was used up. The reason for this was
I suspected the survival rate would increase by putting
them in a tank by themselves. I used water from the main
tank, and they did grow faster. Although I lost fewer
fry this way, the male gets a little upset when I remove
the fry, he hides behind the heater for a week or so,
and is anxious of any movement in front of the tank, so
moving the fry is not recommended.
A 45 L tank was already been put up for them. This is
based on personal experience. Each time I counted while
I moved them I ended up with over 40 fry all together.
values in the 42 US G tank (160 liters):
Temp: 29°C, (84.2°F)
filter with a turnover of 700 L/H + internal
filter 1200 L/H (about 12 times)
out tank 11 US G (45 liters):
Temp: 25 °C (77 °F)
Eheim aquaball 2212 with a turnover at 650
L/h and one Eheim aquaball 2208 with 480
L/h (25 times its volume)
The pair’s offspring
was kept in this little 11-gallon tank with
the measurements 60cm x30cmx25cm, with 2 15W
T8 tubes. In order to promote algae growth I
left the lights on for 14 hours, since algae
is a good nutrient, beside that they were only
fed crushed tetra tabimin and Sera vipachips.
The 11 gallon tank consist of today of 65+ fry,
who were moved back in with the parents after
2 months. The fourth spawn consisted of 25 fry
+ those 3 fry he threw out just after the hatching.
Some of the fry
I got were born with a brown spot. Some had
it on their back, pectoral fins, and nose.
I only know of 2 breeders who have experienced
After I inquired about
this in a foreign forum, came the confirmation
that this has happened to others.
The reason for is this a single amelanistic
male which was exported from Paraguay and was
spawned with the normal coloured female and
later bred back with his own daughters to fix
Amelanistic is an absence of dark colored pigments
that results in a tan / yellow colored fish
(as in L144) with normal coloured eyes.
Now after 8 spawns of
this pair I would say they are rather easy to
spawn, just as easy as the regular Ancistrus
All photo's by author.