ust before Christmas of 2005 I was given a breeding pair
of these cats by a fellow member of the Fair City Aquarist
Society. They were regarded are straightforward to spawn
and had been spawning about every two weeks. However raising
fry had caused problems. I was determined to give them
The first step was to ascertain what species they were
and this proved to be no easy matter. They had originally
been purchased at a local garden centre and were sold
as ‘whiptails’, which wasn’t very helpful.
None of the books I had were any use and even seasoned
catfish keepers were non-committal. Eventually I posted
a picture of the adult male and fry on an internet forum
and agreement was reached fairly quickly. They were Loricariinae
sp. (1), also known as LG6. Not the most glamorous of
names for a rather pretty cat.
I housed them in an 18”x12”x12” tank
with air powered box filter and aquarium sand substrate.
A piece of bogwood with some Java fern attached and a
couple of clay pipes completed the setup.
As I’m fortunate to live
in Perthshire, (Scotland) I’m able to use unaltered
tap water for all my fish. The water here is very soft
(only a couple of degrees hardness) and the pH is neutral.
I conditioned the pair on bloodworm,
white worm, mixed flake and pellets. I tried various vegetable
foods but they ignored them all. It seems that LG6 is
a meat eater by preference.
Over the Christmas holidays they
grew fatter, a bit like their keeper. On the 20th January
I observed that the male was guarding a large clutch of
dark green eggs on the rear glass. The clay pipes had
been ignored throughout and this would appear to be an
exception to the rule that Whiptails breed in pipes.
I removed the female
and let the male get on with looking after his 150 or
so eggs. Incubation was 10 days and I did not feed the
male during this time. Hatch rate was 100% from what I
could see and the hatchlings attached themselves to the
side of the glass making it easy to see their green yolk
After 3 days the fry started to become mobile so I removed
the male and started to feed them. Firstly on microworm
and pre-soaked ZM-100 powdered fry food. As with their
parents, they ignored all veggie type food.
After a week I stopped using the ZM-100 and started using
King British Plecostomus tablets. By 1 month they were
eating grindal worm, crushed flake and Plecostomus tablets
and within 2 months they were eating the same as the adults.
From the start I replaced around one third of the water
every day with aged water of the same temperature. I continued
with daily water changes until I moved them onto their
growing out tanks. (2 x 40 gallon)
I didn’t have enough room
to raise over 100 catfish so I started giving away fry
at an early age. Unfortunately success with moving such
small fry was always going to be poor and few survived
the change in conditions.
I kept about 80 to grow on and when they were about 2
months old I began to trade them with friends. At this
age most fish survived the move and I was confident enough
to sell them at auction and to local fish shops from 3
They grow fairly quickly and by 3 months they were about
5-6cm long including their tail. At the time of writing
they are 14 weeks old and
the largest fish are about 10cm.
I would say that this fish would be regarded as intermediate
in terms of difficulty; easy to spawn, but the fry can
be tricky to raise. These would be the key points to consider
if you are trying to breed this fish:
• Open breeders, a pipe is not required
• Meaty foods preferred by both fry and adults
• Like all loracids they are messy so regular water
changes are a must
• Use aged water of the same temperature for water
In summary this was an enjoyable and rewarding species
to breed; the fry are easily sold and the adults are attractive
enough to live in a community tank. I would recommend
this fish to intermediate hobbyists who are looking to
move on from the easier species.