Aspidoras sp. 'Senger' C118

by Eric Bodrock

These are a new, undescribed species of Aspidoras catfish that have recently been bred by one of Germany's top catfish breeders, Erik Schiller.  Senger is mentioned in association with the 'orientation' of the fish, so until the scientific world officially describes the fish, it can be identified in the hobby as Aspidoras species (sp.) 'Senger' and more recently given a "C" number of C-118.

 I am fortunate to have "fishhead" friends living here in the States and in Germany, who are also friends with Erik. Usually once or twice a year, at least one of these friends have an occasion to travel back and forth between the USA and Germany and will gladly transport fish for me along with them.  This is how I obtained my group of these little rarities, about eight months ago in November 2002. 

When I received the fish they were still very young and unsexable.  As with most Aspidoras their growth rate is quick and within several months they obtained a size of an inch or better. Once they reached this adult size, surprisingly they started to spawn for me!  The group of adults, eight fish, is housed in a bare-bottomed, fifteen-gallon aquarium. The underside painted black for their comfort.  A sponge filter with a one-inch lift tube with good airflow provides the filtering.  Water changes of fifty percent are done every seven to ten days.  Water pH ranges from 6.6-7.0 between changes. Temperature ranges in the mid to upper 70's. The TDS reading average is 260.   Diet consists of live blackworms, frozen bloodworms, live baby brine shrimp and assorted sinking food sticks and crushed flakes, feedings usually twice a day.

They place their eggs in either a small cluster of 20-30 in the middle of the glass on the side of the aquarium or in a yarn mop which lays on the aquarium floor or, are you ready for this, in the inside of the lift tube of the sponge filter!  (I guess they like the current!)  When they started spawning it was about every five days, but I wasn't able to hatch out any of the eggs.  They appeared to be "bad" eggs right from the start; I blamed this on the young age of the fish.  Just because they were large and spawning doesn't mean they are old enough to have viable spawns.  I think this is a common problem with many Corydoras species too.  As the weeks passed I started to get a fry or two to hatch.  I took comfort in this knowing that it was just a matter of time before the hatch rate improved.  One thing I started to do was add a few gallons of R/O water each week, bringing the TDS reading down to 158.  The hatch rate slowly increased over the weeks and I'm now getting hatches of forty to fifty percent.  I do believe that the increase is due to the fish ageing a bit and the softer water isn't hurting either.

These fish are easy to maintain, very active and peaceful as all the species of Aspidoras are.  They would be a pleasant addition to any aquarium housing smaller community fish, not to mention that you would be one of the few to have them! 

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