This is my 4th attempt at a hillstream tank. I learnt about these fish roughly 1 year ago and started off with 2 sharing a 20L tank with 3 comets Everybody starts somewhere, right?
Anyway, I've fallen completely in love with them and have been constantly upgrading my tank for them. We went from a 20L, to a 54L, to a customer built 140L with a 120x40cm footprint. As a part-time minimum wage, school student, they've eaten away every spare dollar I've earned I reckon they're worth it!
The 140L was meant to be my dream tank, but sadly it didn't take long to realise that it couldn't work for me where I'm living right now, as in the summer we barely have enough water to wash with, never mind do water changes. My Dad got annoyed, and we came to the conclusion that if I wanted to keep the loaches I'd need to do it in a smaller tank. So here we are, my 54L semi-dream tank haha.
It's 60x30x30cm, with a 700lph 3 stage filter and a bubble bar for extra oxygenation. The substrate is sand, with smooth rocks and aged driftwood, and a few Amazon Sword plants at the back. I've got some lovely baby balansae plants growing in the tropical tank but prefer the swords because the loaches seem to like grazing on the broad leaves. Temperature is ambient at the moment and fluctuates between 20-22C day to night. I don't like the idea of a constant temperature because surely in nature there is some variation overnight? I've got a very good quality heater for strict temperature control when I try to breed them.
I'm particularly interested in G. ocellatus, and want to breed them. Is it right to think that this hasn't been done before? If so, I'm all for a challenge
At the moment I've only managed to find one G. ocellatus, but didn't want to take him home alone so got another happy, healthy looking hillstream loach to keep him company. I think she's a G. zebrinus but would love your opinions on this as soon as I can get a good pic.
Pics up as soon as possible, I'm having difficulty loading them.
Ideas/advice/comments would be appreciated as always!
To my knowledge there has been at least one successful breeding of gastromyzon sp. I can't remember which? Charles has details if he happens to see this maybe he can elaborate. I have kept several sp. for some 4 years now without any fry appearing. I've had very obviously gravid female g. ocellatus but that's as far as it went. I think the most important thing you could do other than supply clean, oxygenated water for them is to keep them in a single sp. tank. Maybe some small dithers that are not proven egg eaters. This is something that I haven't done as my tank space is limited. Who knows how many fish have bred successfully only to have another bottom dweller consume the eggs or fry? Best of luck!
For now here's a pic!
Sorry for the late reply, I've only just seen that comment! The tank structure worked very well, (the amazon swords THRIVED in the set up) but unfortunately I had no success with the loaches themselves. The ocellatus had patchy disease and the zebrinus refused to eat any food I offered and wouldn't even graze the algae. It got thinner and thinner and died after a couple of weeks. In the months after, I couldn't source any individuals of decent health at all. In desperation I eventually bought any ocellatus I could find, one of which seemed to have an eye issue and simply never moved (I mean seriously, it could have been an ornament) and another which was skinny from day one and sadly didn't last a week. It was all quite frustrating as just weeks before setting up the tank there had been beautiful specimens in almost every shop I visited! A downside of living in NZ is the limited availability of these fish. I scrapped the project when we moved house after around 5 months.
I haven't given up though and just today went to pick up a custom-made tank that I'm going to try the project again with. At 36 litres it's only small (64L x 20D x 28H cm) but it's all I can fit in our new house. I'm planning to set up an under-gravel pipe to allow for a more unidirectional flow, based on Martin Thoene's river tank manifold but with some slight alterations. Might make a thread of it if I find the time. They're definitely going to be a challenge to breed but it's only 'impossible' until it is done
I really hope you manage to breed these fish and make some history!
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