(Tatia) perugiae By
These are a South American catfish, commonly referred to as the Dwarf Honeycomb Driftwood catfish. Maximum total body length of the fish, for both sexes, is two and a quarter inches. Sexing the fish is easy, the anal fin in the males is narrow and pointed and the females are full and round, similar to livebearing fish. One might think that the body shape can be used to determine the sexes, but both sexes will gorge themselves at feeding time and appear to be egg-filled females and they stay fat!
For the most part they stay hidden and non-active in the aquarium until feeding time, at which point they go into a total feeding frenzy until every bit of food is consumed. They aren't picky about diet, I feed mine live black worms, frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp, live daphnia and assorted flake foods.
My group of eight, in the spawning group, are F1 fish that I received about a year ago as youngsters from Jeff Natterer from Ohio. I have two females and six males and maintain them in a fifteen-gallon aquarium. The bottom is covered with a layer of play sand and a large clump of Java Moss fills most of the aquarium. About twelve, two inch long pieces of half inch gray plastic pipe are scattered along the bottom. An ATI brand Hydro-Sponge I is used to filter the water. Water changes of fifty percent are done every ten to fourteen days. The water chemistry stays pretty constant at a pH of 7.6, a TDS reading of 223 and a temperature of seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit.
One day as I was just finishing a water change I noticed a small, almost quarter inch long youngster swimming up and down the side of the aquarium. I grabbed a net to catch him and in the chase I disturbed the clump of Java Moss and Hydro-Sponge filter, which resulted in a small frenzy of fry to take off through out the aquarium. I was able to remove fourteen fry and get them into their own ten-gallon aquarium that was set up as the adults were with the exception of the sand on the bottom. At that size they are gray in color with a tadpole shaped body. They quickly accepted live baby brine shrimp and microworms, feeding in the same manner as the adults! They grow rather quickly and show adult colors by day forty-four at a size of three eighths of an inch.
I wish I could have seen the actual spawn or at least the eggs in the aquarium. I understand that the males fertilize the eggs inside the female. The female then deposits the eggs inside the plastic pipes (or caves) and guards them until they hatch! Knowing how the adults aggressively go after food, I wonder if they ate a bunch of the young before I noticed them OR even worse, have they spawned before and I missed it! Hopefully someday I�ll catch them while they are spawning and learn more about how they do it.