More Than One Way to Spawn a Cat

More Than One Way to Spawn a Cat (Fish)
The Panda Corydorus had been a catfish I could not seem to get to spawn, even though I have been lucky enough to spawn other types of Cory Catfish. My usual procedure had been to feed them live Black Worms to get them ready to spawn, drop the water level and, replace it with cooler water to simulate Spring Rains. This also seemed to work best when a rain storm was about to come in and the Barometric Pressure dropped. Over a period of two years, I have purchased Pandas at auctions, retail stores etc to insure I had good fertile fish.

I set them up in two tanks and followed the above procedure; feeding them flake food, live baby brine shrimp etc. I also tried adding ground Peat Moss to the water to soften it and, hopefully, provide infusoria for any fry. Well to make this spawning technique short, it SEEMED like I never got any fry. Since I am a poor record keeper, I apparently never noticed the increase in the number of juvenile Pandas in the tank. They had been spawning, growing and never sent out any announcements of the new births.

The second technique. At various auctions where I had purchased Pandas, I asked the breeders how they did it. Pat Winters from Wolcott NY, told me he just put his in a tub with Java Moss, fed them flake, and any live food that either entered the tub or he added such as baby brine shrimp. I set up a third tank as he described, loaded it with Java Moss and put 6 Pandas in it. As suggested, I fed them Live Baby Brine and my usual ground flake food. Lights were on 12 hrs per day. Again, not taking enough time to examine the tanks, I just did normal water changes. About four months later while showing someone around the fish room, he noticed several little guys scooting around the bottom. Pat’s technique worked!

I then decided to recheck the Peat Moss tanks and sure enough, there were more little Pandas in there. The fish turned in for BAP at the May 2006 meeting are half from each tank just to show that Panda Corys can be spawned by either method. While I never saw any eggs plastered on the glass the way Albino Corys do, I assume they were there or placed in the Java Moss.

I am now raising about a dozen more little Pandas and hope more come around.

Mammoth goby caught in harbour

Christopher Hatfield and the 10lb Goby

This is a tale of both angling intrigue and environmental interest. Early this week, I received a call from a local man, who had been fishing down at Pier 4. “I got a huge scoop for you. You won’t believe what I just hauled in,” said Christopher Hatfield, of Dundas. “Get your camera and get down here. This is going to make the front pages of every newspaper across North America.” I was somewhat amused at Mr. Hatfield’s bumptiousness. “You’ll be lucky to get in one of our community papers,” I mumbled under my breathe. No matter where they come from, fishermen are all alike – they lie. They tell tall tales of aquatic conquests to anyone willing to listen.With that in mind, I grabbed my camera and headed down to Pier 4.

It was a sunny day and I needed a little break from the office. What better place to kill a little time than lovely Pier 4 Park. As I approached, an excited Mr. Hatfield ran towards me, arms waving in the air and a grin from ear to ear.”You’re not going to believe this,” he said, barely able to control his emotions. “I just hauled in a 10-pound Goby.” I’m a recreational angler, so I have some knowledge of native Ontario species. The goby is a bottom-dwelling fish that has great potential for causing impacts on Great Lakes fisheries. Originally, the round goby and the tubenose goby were introduced into the St. Claire River in 1990, probably via contaminated ballast water of transoceanic ships. The fish is known to have spread throughout the Great Lakes and research studies have confirmed its presence in Hamilton Harbour. Gobies are capable of rapid population growth after they reach new areas. They have shown the ability to out-compete native fish for food and habitat because of their aggressiveness, ability to survive in poor water quality conditions, ability to feed in complete darkness and long spawning period (April through September). Another area of concern Considering Hamilton Harbour is one of the most polluted areas on Lake Ontario, it makes perfect sense the Goby would find a home here. The Goby is an ugly little fish.

The only good thing about it is the fact it feeds on Zebra Mussels, another exotic and invasive species that threatens our ecosystem. Many anglers know the Goby as a nuisance fish, with a habit of stealing bait. As I approached the dock area, Mr. Hatfield pointed over to his catch.It was a big fish, much bigger than I expected. “Are you sure it’s a Goby,” I asked. “I know my fish Mr. Cripps and that’s probably one of the biggest Gobies ever captured in North America,” said Mr. Hatfield. “I wanted you to be the one to share this story with the world.” I didn’t know how big or how small a Goby fish would grow so I called the Ministry of Natural Resources office in Peterborough. This is where I finally realized this was no ordinary catch. Speaking to fisheries expert Marcel Jobard, I found Gobies typically grow up to 25 cm (9.8 in.). When I told him I have a picture of a 10-pounder, he was shocked and somewhat skeptical.”I’ll send you a photo,” I said. “Sure, but I need to have someone come and confirm this catch,” he replied. “Maybe it’s that polluted water down there in Hamilton. “I sent the photo and Mr. Jobard called back to confirm it did in fact appear to be a Goby.In order to confirm Mr. Hatfield’s catch, the ministry is sending a Conservation Officer to Hamilton on Sunday, April 1.Talk about a fish tale.

Breeding something different

If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary and you have a 20 gallon tank begging for something to be put into it, and you are willing to do frequent water changes and you have copious amount of duckweed, water sprite or java moss then Allotoca dugesi might be the fish for you.

The fish that I am keeping a lucky enough to have breed is Allotoca dugesi melanistic. This is from the collection of Ivan dibble in 2000 from Rancho ell Molino. Allotoca dugesi has the common name of golden bumble bee goodeid because the males are golden yellow and the females are also yellow with a black middle. The melanistic form the males rear two thirds of the body are black with the front third being a pale yellow. The females are much like the normal form just the bellies are a little blacker.

As with most of the goodieds the Allotoca dugesi is found in the highlands of Mexico and can withstand temperatures in the low 50’s to high 70’s, but are happier if the temperature is kept around 68 degrees. This is a robust animal with females growing to about 3 1/2 inches and males about 2 1/2 inches. One of the reasons the need for plants and space is the females can be a little hard on the males or smaller fish. I had to remove my Corydoras because their fins were becoming rather split and missing!

These fish are big eaters, much like New World cichlids. I feed mine high quality flakes, brine shrimp both frozen and decapsulated, blood worms and chopped earth worms. They need to be feed at least two times a day if not more or they will fade very quickly. My breeding group consisted of three females and two large males and one smaller male. The smaller mail disappeared after a few weeks. When the females are gravid, and you can very well tell, are huge, to the point of if they eat any more they are going to split. Everything I have been reading on the web tells me that they are not fry eaters but, I beg to differ. Like I said the females are huge and after they release the fry they are about half of what they were. Yet the fry are a just slightly larger than guppy fry and number under twenty, with most of my spawns are under ten.

I have never seen them chasing fry and I have never found any dead fry so I conclude that somebody must be eating them. My 20 gallon tank that they are breeding in is about 3/4 full o f java moss with a covering of Salvina at the surface.

The gestation period is about 55 to 60 days depending on temperature. The fry grow fairly quickly on a diet of decapsulated brine shrimp eggs and crushed spirulina flakes. The sexes can be distinguished afer about one week with the males “coloring up” very nicely. These fry are big eaters and must be maintained in QH2O. I did 50% water changes every week in a ten gallon tank with a sponge filter added.

Because of the range of temperature these fish will thrive in, I think they will make an excellent candidate for one of my out door ponds in the late Spring.

Blue Lobster

Scientific Name: Procambarus alleni
Other Names: Blue crayfish, Blue Florida Crayfish, Electric Blue Crayfish, fish Everglades Cray
Origin: Florida
Adult Size: 10-15 cm
Social: Poor. Highly territorial and aggressive.
Lifespan: 20 years

Tank Level: bottom
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons and bigger
Diet: omnivore (scavenger)
Breeding: Egg-Layer
Care: Medium

Ideal pH: 7.0
Temperature: 10-22 C (55 – 70F)
Tank setup: Allow for gravel or sand substrate. Some caves will be welcomed. Plants are highly recommended.
Sexing:The male blue lobster’s claws are generally larger and more elongated and if you turn him upside down he has two claspers near his vent that look like hockey sticks. The females blue lobster claws are shorter and more rounded and she lacks the claspers.

Description: The blue lobster that is found in aquarium hobby is actually not a true lobster, but rather a blue color crayfish. For the purpose of this article, I will refer to them as blue lobster. Like its name suggest, the Blue lobster is blue in color and shades of blue vary from bright electric blue to a duller bluish white. Other then their unique coloration, they are highly similar to other crayfish and lobsters. By maturity, Blue Florida Crayfish achieve lengths of 15 centimeters.

Habitat/Care:In the wild, Blue Lobsters are usually found in wetlands biome or habitats that have distinct wet and dry seasons. Although Blue Lobsters trend to be abundant in wet seasons, they are extremely well hidden in periods by burrowing into the mud. When water is abundant, Blue Lobsters stay near the bottom of the flooded area, eating invertebrates and algae.

It is recommended that the tank mirror their environment by providing some fine sand or gravel, and allow a cave or place for hiding when the blue lobsters are stressed. Plants are highly recommended as they provide a source of food and hiding places. As long as the tank contains enough water, blue lobsters should be bury themselves. Because they require a large tank, blue lobsters should be keep in a tank of at least 20 gallons.

They are excellent escape artists, and the tank should have a tight lib. Temperatures should remain between 10 and 22 degrees Celsius. They usually require pH values upward of 7.0. It has been reported that the addition of freshwater salt greatly enhances the health of this species.

Usually, Blue Lobster get along well with other fast, medium size fishes. However, small and slower fishes will be eaten, and larger but slower fishes may be injured by the Blue Lobster.

Larger, carnivorous fishes view Blue Lobsters as a tasty snack. Blue Lobsters are highly territorial and they should NOT be kept with others of their kind, or they may fight and gravely injure one another, unless there are lots of hiding place and the tank is large enough for all of them. Blue Lobsters continuously molds (they will drop off their shell) as they grows bigger. During the juvenile period, the molding is fairly rapid, but slows down as it grows

Diet: Blue lobsters aren’t actually very fussy when it comes to food. In the wild, they eat aquatic plants, algae, rotting vegetation that falls into the water, snails, fish, and even the decomposing flesh of animals that die in or near the water.

The trick is never to over-feed them, as uneaten food could contaminate the tank quickly. Fish flakes are great for baby lobbies, while shrimp pellets are perfect for adults.

Two large crushed flakes a day are plenty for babies, one in the morning and another in the evening. For adults, a large pellet for breakfast and then another for dinner should do it. You can also try feeding them water lettuce, water hyacinth, water cress and romaine lettuce.

Breeding: The male blue lobster’s claws are generally larger and more elongated and if you turn him upside down he has two claspers near his vent that look like hockey sticks. The females blue lobster claws are shorter and more rounded and she lacks the claspers. During the mating act, the male initiates copulation, and the Blue Lobsters will clean each other as part of the mating ritual.

After mating, the eggs are carried in the female pleopods. Blue Lobsters eggs normally hatch in about four weeks. They emerge as miniature versions of adults, though lacking reproductive organs. In the first 24 hours of life, Blue Florida Crayfish fry must molt, and many may not survive this first molt. You should begin changing the water regularly and maintaining the best water conditions possible to aid the fry in surviving. They can be fed freshly hatched brine shrimp, microworms, or liquefied foods. After about two weeks, the young Florida Blue Crayfish have generally become much more hardy. They will still be rather transparent, but by the time they reach sexual maturity they will have gained adult coloration.

Big and Nasty

That is all I have ever heard about Parapetenia festae, the Red Terror. Easy to sex but impossible to maintain a pair in the same tank before one of the sexes kills the other one. Maybe you can be successful in breeding them if a screen is kept between male and female. Unless you have a very large tank keeping any other fish in with the Red Terror is a sure failure. Hogwash! At least with the pair I have. The male is about 7 inches and the female about 5 inches. They are housed in a bare bottom 29 gallon tank with a couple of large rocks, a large Anubias barteri and a hydro-sponge filter. Along with the Red terrors are three kullie loaches that hide under the rocks and sponge filters but come out to feed.

The male is and tannish orange with several understated stripes and red fins. There is a black spot on its caudal fin and a black shoulder spot. The older the male gets the more pronounce the cranial hump is. The female is a bright pumpkin orange with dark blue-black vertical stripes. She also has the spot on her caudal fin. When spawning is immanent the colors of both sexes intensifies .

The pair are fed with cichlid pellets, brine shrimp, cocktail shrimp, and earthworms about twice a day. I do 25% water changes every week and clean the filter about every second week. The water is kept at 78 degrees with a pH of 7.2- 7.5 depending when I take the reading (before or after water change). Besides the intense colors the only other spawning indication is that the pair seem to do more jaw clenching with neither having an advantage. The male and female seems to clean a spot of the tank floor equally for the spawning of eggs. The first spawn had about 200 eggs that hatched with in 96 hrs and the fry were not free swimming in another 72 hrs.

There was a problem with this spawn. After 96 hours all the fry seem to be belly sliders. I have seen this problem with killies, some live-bearers and anabantids that are mouthbrooders but I have never seen this with cichlids. The fry slowly disappeared and after 7 days they were all gone. The second spawn was three weeks later with about 400 eggs being laid. Again the eggs hatched in 96 hrs and the fry were free swimming in 72 more hours and very hungry. Only then did the parents seem interested in the loaches. But the loaches stayed out of sight and did not come out to feed. The fry were fed Baby brine decapsulated shrimp three times and day. The adults were fed the cichlid pellets. More than one occasion I saw the female chew the pellets and expel them thru the gill plates near the swarm of fry. The female took control of the fry 95% of the time with the male guarding the territory.

Only when the female wanted to feed did the male take over guarding.

After two weeks after free swimming I removed about 100 fry leaving more than that with the parents. The removed fry were housed in a ten gallon bare bottom tank with a sponge filter. Feeding was the same for both batches of fry, but the fry left with the parents are almost a 1/3rd larger than the removed fry. The fry seem to growing fast and I will need to removed more from the parents soon. I have a feeling that the parents will do that for me soon or later when they feel a need to spawn again.

I guess the moral of the story is not to believe every thing you read and all fish are individual characters and you may get lucky and find a gem that you can breed like the Red Terror.