The Loachaphile's Blog

Discussion in 'Member's Blogs' started by Sean S, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    I moved a lot of fish around in the fishroom this weekend, not completely done but I got a lot of them moved. When I pulled my Pangio cuneovirgata out I discovered two things, 1, I only lost one (one was swimming funny when I unbagged them initially, so not a surprise) and 2, they got plenty to eat and there were several females that appeared full of eggs. So I called an audible and moved a couple more fish around to free up some space to try my next eel loach breeding experiment.

    This time the adults are in a 3 gallon container that sits in a larger tank with a sponge filter for filtration and both a floating and a sinking spawning mop. I am replacing the floating mop every morning to see if I can get some eggs from there. I have read that the eel loaches spawn in surface vegetation and that the eggs adhere to the plants. The mops are being moved to a separate dedicated 20H with additional sponge filters for aeration and potentially a food source for new fry. I will continue this regimen for at least a week, maybe two. I may then try removing the sinking mop more frequently but that will be more difficult as the loaches will be hiding in it and accidentally transferring an adult to the egg/ fry tank would defeat the purpose.

    I now have three slightly different approaches going simultaneously with three different species. Hopefully at least one will work and that the technique will transfer to other species. These are definitely challenging fish to breed. I will start working on my next idea in case these don't work.
  2. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    Eel loach breeding attempts have been unsuccessful so far. I am a little behind in the fish room but I have begun formulating my next thoughts. I am going to focus on Pangio cuneovirgata as I can easily tell that I have gravid females and this would be an excellent candidate for captive propagation. P. cuneovirgata is a little smaller that the standard kuhlii but still has the neat striping pattern. Additionally they are not commonly available so breeding them would help raise the availablility and, hopefully, popularity of this eel loach. I am hoping focusing on just one species at a time will increase my chances with that species and will be transferable to others.

    I have started my next effort by locating the natural range of this species and looking at climate data to see if there may be any seasonal triggers I could attempt to replicate that could induce spawning. The location of P. cuneovirgata in the wild appears to be the Narathiwat province located in southern Thailand. Since this area is very close to the equator fluctuations in photoperiod would likely be of little consequence however climate data suggests that actually hours of sunlight does vary due to clouds in the sky. The actual photoperiod is roughly 12 hours a day but the hours of sunlight varies on average from 3.5 to 6.1 hours. So perhaps varying the intensity of the light might help but the actual day/ night cycle should remain consistent. There is some seasonality to the rainfall in the region but it appears to be more of a wet/ wetter season as opposed to a true wet/ dry season. The driest month still gets 50+ inches of rain (Madison gets around 30+ inches of rain a year, plus 50+ inches of snow). The wettest month gets over 550 inches on rain. I am still researching different aspects of the climate of the region but I suspect with that much rain the water is probably close to a neutral pH most of the time and turbity is likely quite high. Air temperature is also quite consistent with the average daily temperature varying between 79 and 83 degrees all year and even the avaerge high and low over the whole year varying by less than 10 degrees. Do we even have any days in Wisconsin that vary by less than 10 degrees?

    Armed with this information I will set out to replicate the climate in Narathiwat, Thailand and see if I can induce P. cuneovirgata to spawn!
    Mike F likes this.
  3. fishlady

    fishlady Well-Known Member

    I was thinking about trying to get my clown loaches to spawn. Haven't researched it yet but any hint's on set up and parameters would be nice. I wish our Wisconsin weather was as predictable as what you described, it sounds nice.
  4. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    From what I have read clown loaches need to be very large (approaching 10 inches) to be sexually mature. There are a few unsubstantiated reports of Hobbyists breeding them but no proof. Fish farms actually milk the eggs and milt from the fish to get fertilized eggs from what I have seen. They may also use hormones. If you could get them to spawn I would vote for a new BAP class!
  5. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    While our last speaker was here I picked his brain on breeding eel loaches since one of the few eel loach breeding reports I could find was one he wrote for TFH. He gave me a couple of ideas and said he is currently breeding three different species, I preordered some Pangio myersi from him since he will be at the December GCCA swap to speak to the Chicago Livebearer Society afterwards. As sson as I find the time I will be trying these two ideas. One species will definitely be the cuneovirgata but I haven't decided which other species to try yet. I am leaning towards the doriae or anguilaris but their slimmer prfile and propensity for digging into the substrate might prove problematic.

    Mike said he used to do the undergravel filter method and it worked well so I will try that again when I have time to redo that tank. He now uses a bare bottom tank with a matten filter covered with java ferns and floating plants. He hasn't quite figured out how the fry get behind the matten filter but they do and they can be siphoned out from there. I will be ordering a matten filter and installing it in a ten gallon to see if I can have similar results.

    I also recently saw scissortail loaches (Vailliantella maassi) for sale, I would love to get a group but do not currently have the funds. Maybe if they are still available after my next swap I can purchase a group to start working with.
    Aquaticus likes this.
  6. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    I am preparing to focus heavily on breeding eel loaches. I have ordered a matten filter and have obtained 9 more Pangio myersi to give me a group of 12. Once the matten filter arrives I will be installing it in the Pangio cuneovirgata tank and ramping up the water changes. As soon as I can find the time I will redo the undergravel filter tank and add the Pangio myersi. Hopefully I can get at least one of these two species reporoducing before the BAP year is done. As soon as one of these methods works I will be replicating it for the other species and probably using larger tanks.

    My goal is to be the kuhlii king, or perhaps more accurately the eel loach emperor!
    steve and Aquaticus like this.
  7. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    Adding a matten filter to an established tank with Pangio cuneovirgata was a bit of a challenge. The substrate contained some laterite to help the plants but it did not help my installation as it quickly clouded the water when I moved the substrate from one end of the aquarium to put in the matten filter. So after my first placement I couldn't quite see what I was doing and the filter was not very straight. I also had loaches on both sides of the filter, not the plan. I was able to catch the loach on the wrong side after tracking down an old small net and using patience and quick movements to catch the little guy.

    After the tank settled back down a bit I adjusted the matten filter so it was roughly straight and didn't have any gaps for the loaches to get on the wrong side. But, once the cloudiness dissipated there was still a loach on the wrong side so I had to net out a second loach.

    Since then observations have shown no additional loaches on the wrong side so I was able to get the filter in place with no gaps, now I just have to provide the proper conditions and hopefully I will have baby P. cuneovirgata before too long.

    And did anyone else see the amazing gold form of Pangio doriae in the current issue of Amazonas? I have to try to find some of those! They were stunning!
    Aquaticus likes this.
  8. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    Over the holidays I was able to get my second attempt at breeding Pangio myersi in a tank with an undergravel filter going. I transferred the group of a dozen to the 10 gallon set up with larger gravel and the undergravel filter. One of the loaches was particularly rambunctious and jumped to the floor while being transferred. I had some difficulty getting it back in the water. While initially I thought it would be OK it died a day or so later. But eleven should still be plenty for breeding. Now the hard part, patience!

    After moving the P. myersi I moved my group of P. semicincta into the tank I had the P. myersi in so I could use the semicicnta tank for another project (Chalinochromis brichardi). While moving them (they hide under spawning mops a lot so don't see them too often) I am not sure if they are all the same species. P. semicincta has a variable pattern but some seemed atypical for semicincta. I will have to try to get some photos and consult the experts and literature when I have time and before beginning any breeding projects with that species. If I cannot confirm Ids I may not use them for breeding and get a new group to work with.

    Still no P. cuneovirgata fry yet but it may take some time, it has been less than a month since the matten filter was installed.

    I also moved the Betta sp. Antuta out of my hillstream loach tank and may be adding some more Sewellia lineolata soon to start attempts at breeding them. I will likely get rid of the few Gastromyzon that I have left when I do this so it is a species only tank.

    I also heard reports of a guy in Florida with a group of clown loaches breeding at 5 to 6 inches in a 600 gallon tank. My source said he does have documentation of the spawning but has only gotten 3 spawns in 5 years. While this is not prolific it gives me hope that this can be done in captivity by hobbyists. I don't think I can convince my wife to let me put in a 600 gallon tank though. Maybe someday!

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