By Charles DrewFinding a proper name for the L-183 White Seam bushynose pleco is about as hard as finding the fish it self. Some books call it the Ancistrus dolichopterus but they also give the same name to our common bushynose. In Baensch Aquarium Atlas there are no less than seven synonyms. I prefer the name Ancistrus hoplogenys which sets it aside from the most common bushynose and into a sort of sub class. They come from the Rio Negro and the water being black and with a Ph of 5.5 it makes them a problem to acclimatize wild fish to aquarium conditions. Not very many people are at present spawning them with much success. Often other somewhat similar species are confused with them some by accident or lack of knowledge and some on purpose to get a higher price. Them and several similar species are all called Starlight and Starry Night because they all have tiny little salt like white dots on their black bodies. Only the L-183 has a wide band of white on both the tail and dorsal. There would be much less confusion if everyone would just refer to them as the White Seam Ancistrus. There is also a similar fish the L-059 that is sometimes called the Blue Seam. They could easily be the same fish from a different river system.
I first found my White Seams at Big Alâ€™s in Mississauga in the early part of 2004. I bought six and took them home only to have all but two die. They were only about two inches long and not old enough to sex. They grew steadily and by fall I new that I had a pair. That October I went to the first Catfish Convention in Laurel Maryland. It was there I bought two more about two inches long in the auction. I put them into a community tank to grow while the pair had a tank of their own. Each evening they would come out to eat zucchini or algae wafers. Most of the day they hid in a piece of driftwood. As time went by they matured and it was soon obvious that they were both females. As time went by I added them to the tank with the pair. Eventually one female died possibly from a fight or a breeding mishap.
For the past few years they have been spawning occasionally usually once or twice in the early spring and sometimes in the fall. The male would spawn in a bamboo cave only to eat the eggs or chew them up on the second or third day. The few eggs that did hatch would result in fry that died in a day or two. The guidance that I got from a successful breeder suggested that the water should be 82 degrees F and a PH of 6.2. This I tried but he still ate or chewed up the eggs. The eggs are very sensitive to conditions and all it takes is a couple of eggs that start to go bad and cause the male to go on a chewing rampage.
Success was finally achieved mainly though European Black Alder Cones. If the female is fat spawning can often be accomplished by a series of water changes with RO water and throwing in a few alder cones. I usually play silly bugger and wait until the male chews up and kicks out the eggs. This time I removed the eggs as soon as I realized that they had spawned. I found that several eggs had already turned white. These I removed with a pair of surgical tweezers. The eggs were placed in my homemade pleco egg tumbler with some RO water that I had prepared the day before by putting five alder cones in two liters of RO water. It looked like tea and the PH read 6 or possibly even a bit lower. The eggs hatched on the fifth day and the fry were very strong and healthy. I removed the empty egg shells that floated to the surface with a kitchen baster and replaced lost water with the same water that they had hatched in. I next set up a five gallon tank with RO water and put in six alder cones. After a day or two I used some of this water to gradually change water in the tumbler. Seven days after hatching the fry were ready to start feeding. They were put in the five gallon tank that was bare bottom and had a Nano Filter on it with a sponge on the inlet tube. A piece of broken clay flower pot was put in the tank to give them a hiding place. The first food given was live baby brine shrimp. Contrary to most peoples belief the fry of some Ancistrus as well as Whiptail Catfish start life as meat eaters and donâ€™t eat veggies until they are nearly two inches long. For the first week or two my fry got live shrimp exclusively soon they were getting a speck of flake at night and a few catfish pellets. On this diet they have grown quickly and at six weeks of age most are at least an inch long or bigger. Once they have reached this size they are usually no problem to raise to adult. Aquarium bred specimens are very tolerant of a great variety of tank conditions. As a matter of fact I have two other adults that I have grown from one of my destroyed spawnings that have thrived on near total neglect. At the present time I am converting this spawning of fry to our Lake Ontario tap water. If you enjoy a pleco that offers a challenge but is not impossible to breed then this is the fish for you.
Edited by CanadaPleco, 13 October 2009 - 03:20 AM.