Aspidoras eurycephalus Eric Bodrock

These are a great looking little armored catfish that are rarely seen in the aquarium hobby today.  I was able to get a group of some tank-raised fry handed to me from a top Germany breeder while he was here for a visit.  The fish were barely a quarter of an inch when I got them, but as with most Aspidoras species, they grew quickly.  Their grow out tank was a ten-gallon aquarium which was part of a larger �fry system� that is all linked together with a total capacity of about four hundred gallons which also runs thru an ultraviolet sterilizer.  I lost a few of the young as they were growing out, but of what survived, within seven months the females reached a size of nearly one and a half inches and males grew to just over an inch. 

I�m guessing at about six months of age, I placed the group into a fifteen-gallon tank by themselves.  It looked as if I had a few females and about six males.  Males, not only are smaller is total body length, but are thinner bodied, have more distinct black body markings and have a mostly black dorsal.  Females are full bodied; show more of a faint marble body pattern and hardly have any color in their dorsal.  The tank was void of any substrate and painted black on the underside.  A single sponge filter with a good heavy airflow was used for filtering.  Water changes done every seven to ten days of approximately fifty percent.  Water pH of 7.2, temperature at seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit and a TDS reading of 256 were averaged.  A yarn mop was placed on the bottom of the tank for cover and spawning substrate.  Tank was covered with a glass lid and light levels low.  I fed the fish usually twice a day, one feeding of a little live baby brine shrimp and the second feeding of either live black worms, frozen bloodworms or one of many flake or stick foods on hand. 

Within a month of being placed in this set-up, a few eggs were noticed in the mop and stuck to the glass bottom under the mop.  The mop and eggs were pulled from the tank and placed in 2-gallon container for hatching, in which a couple of drops of methylene blue and an airstone with a gentle air flow was added.  In a few days the eggs hatched and I found four fry with their egg sacs swimming along the bottom of the hatching container.  The following day I removed the fry and placed them in the �fry system� (mentioned above) to grow out.  Microworms, along with some sponge filter squeezing were the first foods offered.  Live baby brine shrimp was add to their diet a few days later.  Fry grow quickly, much quicker than most Corydoras fry!

Spawning seems to continue on a pretty regular basis, finding small numbers of eggs every week or so.  I continued to pull eggs from the spawning tank over the following month until I had a fair number of fry to ensure I would be able to grow some to adulthood to form another breeding group.  Due to my lack of time, I started to slip on the frequency of checking for eggs, but no problem�cause it seems that the parents don�t eat their fry!  Now all I simply do is about every two weeks, remove the mop and filter and siphon the dozen or so fry from the bottom of the tank!  It doesn�t get much easier than that to spawn a fish that you rarely see in the hobby.  I think that these are one of the best looking of the Aspidoras due to their markings, which is much darker than what is seen in many of the other Aspidoras species. 

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