The Tiger Panaques were my first real attempt at breeding fancy plecos using the "make them happy" technique.
It must be remembered with all my breeding logs that the water from my tap has a KH = 0 and a TDS of 60-70. pH = 7.5 and 6.5 after 24 hours.
This sort of presents me with an advantage, one that I am more than willing to exploit.........
Initially the tigers were sharing a 4 foot tank with some LDA33 and a couple of male L204, so initially happy was a relative term.
At the commencement of this project I did not know how my water quality was, as I did not have the correct equipment, so I was preparing for the rainy season and all the other potential trigger events by continuing with my research and a bit of outside the square thinking... Perhaps some Barry White music being piped into the water via some airline tube might be the thing that I needed
I figured I needed to get the LDA33 out of the tank before I could expect much, so I made some plans and had a couple of 2 metre stands made so that I could put in a 2 metre tank for the LDA33 and a couple of 1 metre tanks for the L204 colony and the L239 colony. The other L204 males would just have to stay with the tigers because I was going on holiday, out of the country, and had enough to worry about figuring out how to relax on Day Dream Island.
At the same time I was communicating with a few folks from Europe and was becoming inquisitive about the atmospheric pressure breeding results, and the moon cycle breeding results.
Obviously I needed some more gadgets
but 4 metres of steel stands and 4 metres of tanks and the associated filters Fluval FX5, Fluval 305, Fluval 405, 5 x Tunzee nanostream pumps and all the wood and rocks, and the trip to the Gold Coast and Day Dream Island had caused quite a dent in the bank balance!
Lucky for me my birthday was coming up, so I managed to score a weather station, a TDS metre, and a pH metre.
So I would be all set up for when I get back from Holiday.
The contents of the fish room were moved 90 degrees to the left (or right) so that the new stands could fit in, and they turned up in time. Then all the glassware arrived and all the tanks were set up and rapid cycled.
Then the fish all got re-homed and that left the 4 male + 1 female tiger in their nice 4 foot tank with a couple of large male L204.
I hired my "fish minder" to look after the setup while I was away (we were going away for 2 weeks), and gave him the appropriate level of training, with the water changes.
I change 200 litres of water per day on the right tanks in the right order (22 something tanks, 3000+ litres!), and the water needs to be pre-heated and conditioned etc. So that over a week every tank has had at least one 20% water change and some will have had 2 x 30% changes
Well ...... two days before we went away and how do you think the tigers repaid me for moving the LDA33 out of their tank?
That’s right, they spawned
No pressure for the fish minder and no pressure for trying to relax on holiday!
I decided on a cash bonus for the fish minder if there were surviving fry on my return, and just could not do anything more, so decided not to worry and enjoy my holiday.
On my return there were surviving fry.
I then was able to set up all the monitoring systems and take all the necessary readings, because without this information this would be more the ramblings of some lucky guy, rather than a fish breeding log.
My next worry was whether or not they would breed again........
They did and this time I was able to gather some data:
pH = 5.5
temp = 29C
TDS = 141
The tank setup.........
Below is a picture of the tank.
It is a standard 4 foot tank (122x45x45 cm). Obviously set up for Panaques the only decorations are substrate, wood and caves.
The caves keep the wood off the bottom of the tank. This also provides lots of “upside down” spots for the fish to hang out, and keep an eye on their caves. These caves are all slate, made by myself, although I have tried PVC pipe, resin ornaments and bamboo. The slate seems to be the winner thus far.
Filtration is a Fluval 405 with the intake and the outlet at the right back of the tank. The inlet runs from the top right back of the tank at about a 45 degree angle towards the centre front of the tank.
Heaters and air are located at the back left of the tank.
For circulation a Tunzee 6045 nanostream pump is used and this is located on the right back side of the tank. It is directed upwards at about a 30 degree angle towards the centre right front of the tank. This creates surface agitation but also means the stream of water rolls off the front of the tank and over the cave mouths which all face toward to front of the tank. In theory the water then flows behind the wood pile to the outlet.
They continued to spawn every 44 days, or so.
There was a minor association with them spawning as the atmospheric pressure rose after a drop.
The "season" seemed to start at the end of October and go through until April at which point the temperature went below 28 C.
It is also worth noting that these fish seemed to be more active in the breeding area when the pH was rather low 5.x. It may be that the pH of the rain water is around 5.6 so with the regular water changes (20% three times per 2 weeks) then as the pH naturally dropped in the tank due to having no KH in the replacement water they thought that it was a rainy season?
This year they have just started spawning again and it is September.
The first picture is the tank, as described above.
The second picture is a jar of fry
The third picture is a female L002 (Centre right), a Male L204 (centre) and there are two little L002, one under the log directly under the L204 and one at the left end of that same log.
It must be noted that there was absolutely no aggression between the L204 and the L002. I can only think that this was so because there were no female L204 in the tank? As a precaution the L204 have been moved.
In addition to all this there was one interesting observation I made one night which was particularly funny, so I must share it. It relates I suspect to the females selection of the male and his cave.
In the real world it doesn’t go from day to night, at the flick of a switch, and also there is some stability to when the sun comes up and goes down. So all my lights are on timers and I also have a daylight and sunset arrangement, with different lights coming on and off.
The twilight lights had just come on and I was waiting for my conditioning reservoir to fill up so I was doing the final checks on the tanks. There was some different activity going on in the L002 tank so I grabbed a chair to observe what was going on.
All the males had their tails out of their caves and they were wagging furiously. Some had done a really good job of clearing semi circular furrows in the substrate. The female started at the cave on the left. She nudged the male and he came shooting out of the cave. He danced all around her and then shot up on top of the cave. She poked her head into the cave, but only up to the pectoral fins, he continued to dance all around her brushing her with his pectoral fins. It was really quite funny to watch him. On top of her, to the right, to the left, behind her, on top of the cave. If only they could talk....... The dance finished with them facing one another with his mouth resting on her head, just below the eyes.
Nope she just wasn’t interested, so off to the next cave she went, and the process started all over again.
By the time she had rejected all the males, I thought.... We have a word for girls like you.....