My attempt to breed Ancistrus sp.
a pictorial story by Francesco Zezza
The tank is half full: the water level is, step by step, lowered trying to reproduce the dry season, The filter is – still – running, Water splashing at surface can be seen. Light is shielded (see plastic sheet at top).
The water level has been lowered to its maximum (at right are shown the chemicals used), filter has been stopped (removed), and the bacterial colony is kept alive in a plastic tank – the one with the blue cover – that can be seen in the background (at left of tank).
This is how the ground looked like in the tank (no filtration at all, from many days, at the moment the pic has been taken. There were massive inputs of salts and other chemicals: calcium bicarbonate, magnesium sulphate, fertilizers, vitamines). Believe it or not the water – even if full of humic acids – was perfectly clear.
An old stocking (discarded by Stefania!!!) has been used to hold peat grains and dry leaves (again, just in case refer to the “main” text).
In this – above - pics (a yellow arrows has been added to “help” you) taken during the peak of the (pretended!!!) dry seasons the female – of the pair involved in my breeding attemp - can be seen (or better yet guessed!) while grazing on the coconut wall a bit hungry!
Please look at the “mess” in the tank: lot of “dissolved organical matter” is present (look at stains on water surface), many of the leaves are above the water level (plants that can stand this situation have been choosen: Anubias barteri (along the back wall), Echinodorus “Ozelot” (a small plant I’m trying to recover … in the clay pot at right), Microsorium (at front, and partially contained in a coconut shell).
Now a final remark … this is (in 26 days) the only time I’ve seen one (and only one) of the fishes! I was aware of the fact they were alive by sudden movement of the water and plants or, else, something “smashing” at surface (at one time one of the fish came out of the water “running” – in the air – along one of bogwoods to reach the opposite side or the tank), I even had no opportunity to check their “health” at feeding time (they have been starved, according to the protocol, for many days).
YOU HAVE TO BE MAD (AND QUITE A BIT) TO UNDERGO SUCH A STORY … YES YOU HAVE TO BE MAD … AND I AM!!!
Many thanks to Carli De Busk for her editorial help.