Aspidoras poecilus, a little interesting catfish

Erik Schiller

Of the currently 18 scientifically described Aspidoras species, Aspidoras poecilus is one of the most beautiful. The species is one of the smaller representative within the genus. This Aspidoras species shows a nice coloration. The color contrast of the young fish reminds me of the drawing of a libbard. The black, relatively big spots highlight from the almost colorless body. For some years I have kept a group of 8 of these lively catfish in an aquarium of 60 liters. The tank was only equipped with of some tufts of the African spear leaf, Anubias nana. I use fine gravel (diameter about 2 mm) mixed with sand in most of my aquaria. All tanks within my fish room are indirectly illuminated by the ambient light. Every tank is kept clean by the use of sponge filters. Aspidoras poecilus is spawning in a tank if the temperature fluctuates seasonally between 20-25C if the pH is kept between 6-6,5. The female Aspidoras spawn if feeding is varied with commercially available dry food pellets or tablets and live food. The spawning is then triggered occasionally by a greater water change of about 50% of the tank content or by using an additional pump that increases water flow. In the early morning hours an adult female will lay up to 40 eggs after an extremely vivaceous mating behavior. Mostly the eggs are laid in two clutches with about 15 to 20 eggs each. With a diameter of about 2 mm, the eggs are quite big. The strongly adhesive eggs are mostly laid on the surface of the Anubias leafs. The clutches of eggs were always placed in places with the strongest water current. On the second day, the eggs get a deep brown color. The first larvae hatch after 3 days at 25C. Another two days later the yolk sac is used up and the fry may take Artemia nauplii as a first food. The fry can eat a big amount of food, therefore the growth is very rapid within the first months. The further rearing doesn't cause any problems. The main spawning season of my catfishes is Octobers to January. Because of its low final size of about 4 cm of total length and its permanent swimming behavior, Aspidoras poecilus can be kept in community tanks. Remark: Mr Evers traveled to the federal state Goias (Brazil) where he caught Aspidoras poecilus near the city of Aruna during July 1999. I also received my specimens from Mr Evers. The river was a clear water stream with slow current, a conflux of the Rio Araguaia. Since the biotope was visited in the dry season, the water level was low.