Otocinclus Breeding

Image used with permission by Frédéric Baron


Otocinclus breeding... due to the popularity of this fish it is surprising that there are very few published accounts of having any otocinclus spawn. Usually it is reported as "I know I bought four otocinclus but now I have five!" Not many people have witnessed actual spawning activity of this fish.

Most reports I've read state that otocinclus spawn as the Corydoras species do. That is, the female runs up and down flat surfaces (plants, tank sides, slate rock) with males in pursuit. The male and female will also form a "T" position in midwater. This is basically the male causing the female to release eggs from her vent and hold them with her ventral fins. She then swims up the flat surface, places the sticky eggs onto it, where the male follows in close pursuit and fertilizes the eggs behind her. This pattern gets repeated over and over until the female is done.

On this page I will track any spawning activity and successful breeding that I'm aware of, either by myself or anyone else on the web.

Confirmed Spawning Report on French Message Board! - August, 2004

I was notified by a French student, Guillaume Laurent, that another French aquarist announced a successful spawning of otocinclus on a message board. Thanks to translation from Guillaume I was able to piece together some helpful information, with at least some solid evidence of the breeding behavior of the otocinclus. The aquarist (Frédéric Baron) has given permission to use his photos showing the otocinclus in the middle of spawning under a broad leaf plant (shown above). From Guillaume's translation of the discussion which ensued, and the photo given by the reporting aquarist, we can piece together what happened.

The otocinclus do indeed spawn much like the corydoras species, in that both fish form a "T" position, with the female pointing its snout towards the males anal fin. In the picture above the male is curled and the female is straight. It's not known (until we get more confirmed reports) whether or not otocinclus prefer the underside of plants, or that just happened to be a convenient place to spawn.

Parameters for the tank: pH 6.8, KH 5, Temp 26° C
He bought the fish 4 days prior to them spawning, so no special treatment was given, although he reports the tank having plenty of algae. It was most likely the change from the store's water to the aquarist's water (very clean), along with plenty of food, which helped start the spawning. He also reported the corydoras spawning at the same time but it's unclear as to whether it was in the same tank or not.

For pre-spawning behavior the fish were running up and down the sides of the tank chasing each other, mainly in the high currents of the tank. During the actual laying of eggs (which took all day) they spent their time cleaning the area. They deposited one or two eggs at a time, scattered about and not in clumps (as corydoras often do).


Here are all the links I could find online so far in regard to breeding otocinclus:

Spawning behavior by a fellow aquarist in Sweden.
Breeding report at thekrib.com
Breeding report on planetcatfish.com by Paul Kjćrland
Short article with breeding info at AquariaWeb
Breeding report of parotocinclus at ScotCat.com (may prove useful for otocinclus)

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