Spawning Brochis splendens (Castelnau, 1855)

by Adrian Taylor

ome years ago, I purchased five young adults at a Catfish Study Group meeting. Which upon closer inspection turned out to be a mixture of 3 females and two males. After acclimatising them in my fish shed for a few days I moved them into what I call a dump tank, this is a largish tank of some 100 litres capacity in order to grow small sized fishes up to maturity. These catfish were fed on a varying diet of tablet, pelleted and flake commercial foods, frozen foods such as bloodworms and daphnia and live foods such as bloodworms and white worms. The fish themselves were left to compete with all the other fish in the tank which was a mixture of different Corydoradinae catfishes, varrying akyis, like A. longifilis and midwater fishes such as small characins.


Brochis splendens - adults

Brochis splendens - adults


About 10 months later during a full clean out of this tank I noticed that the three females appeared a bit more rotund than normal, and I decided to move them and the two males into a mature but empty tank measuring 55cm x 38cm x 25 cm in which I could try and hopefully suceed in spawning them. Proir to moving them I replaced 50% of the water with clean water that had yet to be syphoned off the dump tank. This tank was filtered by a large internal air operated box filter; and having a substrate of sand and the spawning media (decor) was provided by the way of a piece of bog wood which had a broad leaved plant attached to it and a nylon spawning mop which was held in place by a suction cup that was attached to the side of the tank midway down. Over the next few days I fed this group copious amounts of daphnia and bloodworms and after turning the lighting off at night I gave them a propriety catfish tablet. after a couple of days I carried out 20% water changes using water that had been standing in the fish shed until it had equalised to the fish shed temperature.

The next afternoon I noticed that the males were eagerly swimming around the tank, often making quick dashes to the water surface and after some time the males started to chase the females around the tank offering up their flanks to the females heads and snouts; the way that nearly all Corydoradinae catfishes do while they are engaging in courtship and spawning activity. The females looked like they had swallowed a small ball and all fish showed quite a metallic lime green luster to their scutes; so I settled down to watch with both camera and cam-corder in hand. After just over an hour I witnessed one male and one female spawning in the classic Corydoradinae ‘T’ position. This mating was quite brief and for such a ‘large’ catfish species I was surprised to see only one egg clasped between the females ventral fins. During the next couple of hours all five fish were seen mating. I took the measurements of the water conditions; trying very carefully not to upset the catfish. The following readings were obtained. Temperature 73°f , pH 6.7, Conductivity 160 µS, GH3 and KH was zero. There were approximately 160 opaque eggs laid all over the sides of the tank and inamongst some broad leafed aquarium plants.



Brochis splendens = 7 days old

Brochis splendens - 7 days old


About 50% of the eggs were removed and placed into an egg hatching tray (plastic fast food tray) and the other 50% were placed into a breeding hatching container of the type that hangs onto to outside of the tank and uses an air pump to circulate the tank water through the hatching container. Both sets of eggs took not quite 4 days to hatch and a further 24 hours to absorb their yolk sac. For the first two weeks the fry were keep in a small growing on tank that had a sand substrate and was filtered by a small sponge filter and were fed twice daily on liquid food for the first week and then milli-worm for the next week. During this time I was carrying out a 30% water change every other day on this tank. The fry seemed to grow quite fast and after the second week the extended sail like dorsal fin was already prominent. It was in part due to this growth that I moved the fry on to a larger tank that already contained some month old Aspidoras. The fry were then fed on a alternating diet of microworms, newly hatched brine shrimp and a commercial food tablet, and a water change was carried out every third day, as the type of brine shrimp egg that I use, seems to me to have a negative effect on the filtration bacteria, resulting in high nitrate levels and the loss of fry if water changes are not kept regular.



Brochis splendens = 1 month old

Brochis splendens - 1 month old

Brochis splendens = 3 months old

Brochis splendens - 3 months old


It was just after they reached three months of age that they started to lose the sail like dorsal fin and by the time they were four months of age the dorsal fin was looking quite normal, at this time I again transferred them to a large tank that was filtered by an external power filter; I then commenced the same procedure all over again with the adults and was this rewarded with around 200 eggs.

All images by Author


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