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Clown Loach Breeding (Part 1 of 2)

Posted By: Jeff Shafer - Webmaster <webmaster@aquaweb.pair.com>
Date: Sunday, 24 January 1999, at 12:47 a.m.

I'm posting this for Hans:

Since I`ve found another article by someone who came at least close to breeding Clown Loaches (Klaus Gernhard) I summarize all the info I`ve got for everyone who wants to take a serious shot at clown loach breeding. In this article Gernhard describes that he accidently killed a pair of clowns by pouring H2O2 in their tank. When he examined the bodies, he found the female being filled with thousands of small green eggs, just as Martin described.....guess thats the definition of a bad day (:-() !

Tank size:
Nowak 80 gal (140 l?), 3 large Echinodorus, lots of driftwood, outside power filter, no information on lighting, but he reports, that his clowns were quite shy and left their hideouts only after he turned off the light, so he might have had quite strong lighting (?). Im a bit confused about his publication(s) since he seems to have published the same event twice (see below). One time he writes his name with v, one time with w and the size of the tank and the number of loaches also vary. Since all other parameters are identical (including the number of raised fry), I think he is describing the same event and hasn`t bred them twice. Gernhard: 300 l, densely planted, several clay tubes.
IMO you should get at least a 250 l tank. Dim lighting is required.

Number of clowns:
Nowak: 6 (7?) kept together for 5 years. Gernhard: 8 kept together 5-6 years.
It seems to be very important that you add the clowns at one time and do not disturb their pecking order by adding/removing clowns for months if not years.

Size of the fish:
Nowak: 6 to 7 inch, two of them heavy-bodied. Gernhard: mentions only the dead ones, male 21 cm, female 17 cm.
Seems that Clowns don`t reach sexual maturity unless they have grown to at least 15 cm. Age of the fish doesn`t seem to be important, size matters. Clowns kept alone often stay behind in growth and therefore might never reach sexual maturity. That`s probably due to the catabolic stress of not being able to work out aggressions.

Of course you cannot expect any differences between the sexes unless they have matured. Then, Gernhard reports that his male, after reaching maturity, developed small "hooks" on the tips of his tail fin. Unfortunately no drawing was included, so I translate it as I`ve found it.

Water conditions:
Nowak: pH 6.2, DH 2.0, nitrite <0.05 ppm, filtered over peat moss.
Novak tells the clowns were bred in a tank which was used to breed discus in.
So for breeding, Discus-like conditions seem to be required, see also Martins summary.

(Continued in part 2)...

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