A few months ago I decided that I should try and move my two separate groups of Scleromystax barbatus into a single 40 breeder that was recently freed up. (Thanks for taking the last of my angels, @Robert😄). The original intent of having the barbatus in two separate 20 highs was to see if there would be any difference in behavior or breeding with two different types of substrate; fine sand vs small gravel. I have had these fish for going on 10 months and I never really noticed any breeding activity in either setup. Given how long I have had them, feeding routine, stable temps, and clean water, I assumed the lack of spawning could be 1 of 2 things: 1) the group size is too small for this particular species (I have had success with panda corys with just a group of 5 or 6), 2) these fish are not a fan of the front to back layout with the only "clear" side being the front, which is actually the end of the tank, or perhaps a sprinkling of both column 1 and column 2. I realize #2 might be a stretch, but hey there could be something to the footprint dimension relative to the "clear" side.
So, with a vacant 40 breeder I moved both barbatus groups about 3 or 4 days ago. Today during feeding and a little maintenance I noticed a lot of movement from their new tank. I didn't spot it immediately, but my floor almost dropped when I noticed the clutch of eggs up on the back of the glass! Success! I can say that I really needed a new fish room "win" and am super glad it was with these fish.
Now, which change is more likely responsible for the spawning? I really think it is both, definitely the bigger group I think has to play a role, but moving to a larger tank has to count for something. I am not so sure the dimensions relative to the "Clear" side matter so much, but hey who knows.
In truth, it could be one last thing that triggered this spawn. I did spend a few hours with Master Breeder @Dean’s Fishroom yesterday. I would not be surprised if the fish detected some of the residual Dean clinging to me and decided to get their act together and spawn. I don't know what we will call it, or how to market it, but bottling some of Dean's fish breeding magic will certainly be a new Co-Op product that I will be working on. 🤣