A Spawning of the Pot Bellied Pig, er, I mean… Aspidoras maculosus

I first heard of these fish when I was asked by a very fishy friend if I wanted some. So after getting filled in on these busy little catfish and of course diving into my books for more information, I placed a call and said sure! About a month later they were shipped to me. It took a month because I also wanted some other fish that were too small to ship at the time, so we waited for them to all be shipped together.

When I opened the box, I saw cute little catfish that resembled some of the smaller Corydoras species. They were quite pale from being in the box all day. By the next morning their colors were more normal, with the entire fish being a dark gray with black splotches and of course the cutest little whiskers. The whiskers are slightly longer than that of the small Corydoras. These fish have little black beady eyes. They are kind of creepy that way.

The ten fish were put into a 125-liter aquarium, alone at first. The water parameters were temperature 24C, hardness 280 to 290 ppm, and a pH of 8. These fish were raised in hard water but not quite as hard as it is here. A couple of weeks later I added five rosy barbs and five golden barbs out of my 250-liter aquarium. I do water changes weekly, unless I have over-fed, then I do them more frequently.

I noticed that the Aspidoras looked like they were climbing the walls, or rather, sort of walking up the walls. It looked rather strange! I had never seen corys do this. They do the same thing when they are in a net. They walk up the net. These fish also like a water flow. They will jump like salmon up the waterfall of the 300 Aquaclear to get into this filter to lay their eggs. I have also found eggs across from the water flow were it goes across the tank and hits the front wall.

My first few attempts at raising some fry were eggs collected from the above mentioned places. I moved them into a 10-liter tank that contained three Corydoras habrosis. The water parameters were the same as the 125-liter tank. Out of approximately 15 eggs, I would raise one, two, or as many as four fry. I don’t know what the problem was but I did blame it on the hard water. After all it couldn’t have been anything that I did. HA HA.

My next attempt was to move a rather large spawn (over 60 eggs) to the 80-liter aquarium. This looked promising! I had a large hatch rate…I was so pleased! Then after about 4 days, I noticed what I thought were yolk sacs (that should have disappeared) were instead getting bigger. What could possibly cause bubble bellies? I had never seen this before. I blamed it on the hard water. In actual fact, I believe that it was caused from a bacterial build up in the water. Its much easier to blame the hard water than it is to say my aquaria aren’t clean enough. I wonder about this though as I bleach the aquaria between spawns and rinse them out at least three times, and dry it out with a fish towel. Then I let them air for a few days, before I add water and fish. Needless to say, I didn’t raise any fry from this most promising spawn.

My next attempt was to put a pair in a 40-liter aquarium. I saw nothing after several days, so I moved them back to the 125-liter tank. I didn’t clean the aquarium out this time, but instead added a pair of checker barbs. After a few days I removed them. I couldn’t tell if there were eggs or not so I left it for a couple of days, to see if anything would appear. When I lifted out the plastic plants and black undergravel filter I saw nothing. I was just about ready to clean this tank out when I noticed what looked like a baby cory swimming around. So I know for a fact that the Aspidoras did spawn, but I missed it completely. I moved the only fry to the 10-liter aquarium.

OK, OK, in the mean time I was doing some research, and talking to other hobbyist, and was told to try some different things. So the next batch of eggs, I used straight tap water with no chlorout. I filled a clear plastic container and put in the eggs that I took out of the 300 Aquaclear. A couple of the eggs got a small white spot (the beginning of fungus) so I removed them. The rest all hatched. I moved them to a bare 10-liter aquarium. There were eggs that were one day later that I followed the same procedure with. Twenty-five were raised from the two spawns until they were just about one month old in the 10-liter and then they were moved to a 40-liter tank until they were a selling size.

These fish will eat you out of house and home if you let them. My little pot bellied pigs started out with micro worms, then graduated to sinking wafers and Grindal worms. Then white worms, flake pellets, algae wafers, and all kinds of flakes.

All in all, once you get past their beady little eyes, they make a nice aquarium pet. They are a rather fast and busy little catfish that I would not recommend mixing with slow docile fish. BEWARE – They can eat and eat and eat and eat …?