the members of the family Bagridae are many beautiful
and amazing catfishes. I have been maintaining and attempting
to spawn a number of bagrids over the last eight years.
In fact, over this time my interest in this family has
grown to the point that about 90 percent of my fishroom's
tanks are now solely devoted to members of Bagridae.
I have maintained bagrids from the genera: Mystus,
Hemibagrus, Pelteobagrus, Pseudomystus,
Bagrichthys, Horabagrus, Batasio and
Leiocassis. One of my favourites has always been
the common Asian bumblebee catfish, Pseudomystus
siamensis. I recently, after a lot of work, failed
to spawn Pseudomystus siamensis.
There are no known captive
spawnings of this fish. Here are my notes and hoping
that my failure will bring someone else luck down
One adult male (purchased 11 Aug 95 at 2.5 inches)
and one adult female (purchased 15 Sept 95 at 1.5
inches) were removed from a twenty gallon tank they
share with three other P. siamensis (1 male
and two females). The male was selected because
he is the larger and better looking of the two and
the female was selected because she appeared the
most gravid. Each fish was given its own ten gallon
tank on 1 Dec 98 and fed heavily on frozen foods.
Water changes of 50% were performed every week.
On 30 Dec 98 both fish were moved to a ten gallon
tank that was divided. One adult was placed in each
half. The tank's parameters were pH 7.6, 150ppm
DH, and Temp 78F. The tank was half full of water.
Peat filtration and distilled water were used to
lower the water's pH and hardness.
2 Jan 99, pH 7.2,
120 ppm DH, and Temp 81F (water tinted amber)
3 Jan 99, pH 7.2, 100ppm DH,
and Temp 81F (removed all filtration to simulate
4 Jan 99, pH
7.0, 90ppm DH, Temp 83F
5 Jan 99, pH6.8, 90ppm DH,
6 Jan 99,
pH6.8, 80ppm DH, Temp 83F
7 Jan 99, pH
6.8, 80ppm DH, Temp 83F
8 Jan 99, at 4:10pm added aeration (airstone,
biowheel 170, and 40 gallon capacity sponge filter
all at once) also added two gallons chilled distilled
water (pH 6, no hardness).
4:30pm, tank measures pH 6.8, 40ppm DH, and temp
8:30pm, Removed divider. The fish quickly found
each other. The female placed herself next to the
male and "shivered" in a way that reminded
me of a female krib's mating dance. I have NEVER
before seen any bagrid do this little cichlid-like
mating dance. The female then appeared to have locked
pectoral fins with the male and as they sat side
by side, they both just quivered very violently.
The female shook more violently.
After about a half hour they swam off in different
I checked for eggs and found none. I left the both
fish in the tank for two more days, but they just
ignored each other.
Things to do different in the future:
1) Longer faux
dry season (maybe a month instead of a week)
2) Lower parameters.
Take pH down to 6.5 and hardness to almost zero.
with more live foods
Try a trio to double chances that one female
will be willing.
Other individuals have suggested keeping up with
massive daily water changes using soft rain or reverse
osmosis water. There may be merit to this suggestion
as it may take a few "artificial monsoons"
to convince the fish it is time to spawn. Anyway,
I'll keep on trying.
Below are the photo's
supplied by the author. You will notice the difference
in colouration between the male (right) and female
(left). Shane states that he finds this form of
dichromatism (two colours) in all Pseudomystus
Ian Fuller @
Bottom: R. Shane Linder.