Herichthys bartoni: It's not quite what it seems
Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:58 am
When I originally set up some young Etroplus canarensis that I received late last summer, I decided they needed some company. I happened to have picked up eight small (3/4 to 1") Herichthys bartoni from Rusty Wessel's fish room via aFISHionados, here in Winnipeg. I first became interested in bartoni when Duane Stuermer from Milwaukee posted that a pair of his had spawned. His pictures showed very attractive fish in spawning dress, white on top, black on the bottom with blue-green highlights in the gill plates and fins. I had heard they were slow growers and so would not outgrow my canarensis. When I obtained them, I was told they could sexually mature at a small size. Sure enough, after a few months, the females began parading around in their black and white dress, barely 1 1/2" long. The 2" males were also colored up. But they completely ignored the canarensis and vice-versa. When the canarensis began to show signs of pairing, I removed the bartoni and housed them in a 70G growout tank, totally bare except for a thin layer of silica sand and a couple of sponge filters.They shared the tank with 7 Geophagus proximus, 8 Astatheros altifrons, and 6 little Paratilapia polleni 'Maralambo'. Since these fish were all juveniles and quite small, they co-existed well. Today, I happened to notice a pair of bartoni, in full breeding dress, staying close to one of the filters and taking runs at anything that came near. Upon closer inspection, I spotted a cluster of eggs on the side of one of the sponge filters ... not on the plastic but on the sponge itself. There wasn't really anything else to put a spawn down on, other than the tank sides or heater. They chose the sponge. Here is a photo of the female with her eggs. The first one is deceptively calm and almost peaceful. The truth of the matter is, the other fish were flying around, making life miserable for the new parents. The last two reflect the real scene.