Shell-Dwelling Catfish !?!

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Ancistrus Dolicopterus is a catfish that is very easy to find and breeding in our tanks, it has usually very good environment and with few pretensions.

It is just a nice piece of wood and a bit of vegetables to make it live well, and avoid eating the plants, of course, on the other side, the water conditions are very important.

The specimens that I have in a tank live with hard water, tap water, at a temperature not exceeding 25 C in winter.
The Ancistrus reaches - in the aquarium - the size hardly exceeding 10-12 cm, lives quite well in the community (you can often struggles between specimens of the same sex), and if take them in good health you'll have great satisfactions in breeding.


I must admit - however - that it is the first time I have to witness such a thing, but it is also the first time that I reproduce - in my short (only ten years) experienced  hobbyists - the catfishes .... In the tank where I raise African cichlids of Tanganyika Lake, including a small colony of Neolamprologus Multifasciatus, I recently added a beautiful wood and, to keep it clean, I thought I'd insert some Ancistrus (namely 4 specimens, 3 females and 1 male ) gave me by a friend. It is not true that Ancistrus is the remedy for all the 'evils' of the aquaria, but it certainly helps to keep clean sometimes the windows, conversely, its continued eating, scratching, scratching produces a large quantity of ... crap!

I had already filmed a deposition - find it at this link - but this time I was able to spin well the shell toward the front glass aquarium, and I started clicking, and the short video you can see in my photo gallery.
Needless to say, I have often tried to 'propose' a different point of lay to the couple, placing in the aquarium amphoras, pipes and other shelters, but after the first reproduction in the shell, my catfish did not want to choose other places for the deposition!

The male immediately - after female laying eggs - airs continuously, and never leaves the shell but not the female is closer to the nest after spawning, I hope this time to save their young.

Reproduction that you see in the picture must have occurred less than a week, even if the eggs seem big enough and you start to see the fries inside. You can see the details in the picture, here on the side.

And in fact, exactly 1 hour after having taken the photos, the eggs began to hatch and the chicks are gone, helped by his father, as is shown in this movie. To save the children, I have isolated the shell and its content in a separated place, at this link you can see some photos of fry with yolk sac still visible size.
The supply will begin only after the bag will be completely resorbed. In my experience I noticed that the bag is absorbed with a rate of approximately 30% per day.
Two days after hatching, the fry have grown again and the bag is declining significantly. On the third day after hatching, about 72 hours after birth, it is almost absorbed.
When the bag is absorbed the fry have begun to show more vitality and motion, while remaining within the shell, always ventilated by the father who does not distance himself.
Then, after 24 hours have started to leave, now the color has gone from orange to brown / black.
they are no longer all togheter neighbors in a corner, but starts to spin the bottom and sides of the delivery room, even if alone.

Like the administration of food, inserting a syringe into the FIRING pan.

The food I've used is Artemia nauplii - specific to fry - with a rather high protein content.
Just absorbed the yolk sac little ones have slowly tacked color from orange (color of eggs) to brown / gray. Even the dimensions are increased and now exceed cm. One week after hatching magiato have a slice of zucchini and boiled in 24 h have devoured. All good except 1 loss. I removed the male from the delivery room almost immediately, once the children have started to leave and, after a few days, took place just another reproduction. The young born were left in the tank, where many have survived thanks to an environment already very run-in, and after a further 20 days, the male is again fanned the eggs. One detail that has made me much to think about this experience is that I have always tried to reproduce the ancy without success, often I have recorded many losses, and never have been able to see reproductions in my tanks. I believe that this factor is to be charged specimens had in the aquarium. Since I had a gift Ancistrus that used to house the tank, and once reached sexual  maturity reproductions are started without stopping again.

 

 
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