Jump to content

Breeding sewellia Loaches


Recommended Posts

So Australia by and large still holds the view that you can only keep and breed Hillstream Loaches in a river tank and that its very hard to do.

This makes getting useful answers to my questions here difficult. 

I have watched and read a few guides about breeding Sewellia, and like Cory they USUALLY (if written in the last 3-4 years) say, "Temperature and current don't matter. Rock piles, good food and Good O2 is all you need and they will breed like crazy."

However I have a few questions as someone aiming to make them his first breeding project.

1) Most people use Sponge Filters for Sewellia breeding colonies, (Or most breeding projects) however since we are dealing with a Gravel Substrate is an Undergravel Filter a good idea?

On one hand the small suction could suck the eggs where the adults can't eat them, which seems like a benifit.

On the other hand, cleaning such a filter will very likely suck some of the eggs out of the tank. And the rock piles will create spots where cleaning is difficult/impossible without rescaping.

2) IMO (Note: Newbie less then 6 months in the hobby so take this with a nanoscopic pinch of salt) part of the reason we thought they were so hard to breed for so long was that by putting the egg scattering Sewellia into a river tank to breed, all the eggs were getting caught in the current (as they would in nature) and being sucked into the powerhead/river manafold/ wave maker.

Loaches.com's comments about finding Fry in filters seems to confirm that.

However while their is possibly some debate about if the guppy shaped babies enjoy such current, the adults definitely do. Its not required for them to breed but they will fight over rocks to get closer to the current source. So if I have a single powerhead or wave maker in a 55 Gallon is it possible to put it in such a way to please the adults without risk of sucking up eggs? 

3)There seems to be some debate as to if plants should be added to such a setup (as in one intended for colony breeding for Sewellia). On one hand plants steal food from algae, which means you need to provide more food for the adults and fry. They also don't help hide the fry or their eggs unless they are a thick cover.

On the other hand, its a bit of extra Nitrate control and as a newbie that seems like a good idea in a tank that's meant to contain fry.

So what are people's thoughts on that. Specifically my mind goes to Brazilian Pennywart and Ambulia as those are fast growing plants with largish leaves that I have seen sewellia climb over. Can they even grow in a largely gravel Substrate?

4)Finally while the videos I have watched make it fairly clear Tempurature, GH, KH does effect Sewellia breeding, I don't seem to have an answer about pH other then "Keep it close to Neutral." Does anyone have anything more specific?

Thank you everyone who answers any question

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not have the Sewellia but I am doing a project with another hillstream loach the panda loach.  I have considered all those questions myself. (Sorry on the delay thought this posted earlier.)

1. I think the undergravel filter could work and I might consider doing a hybrid version where I only have the edge with a cut and cover the rest of the filter plate up. That could increase your flow a bit. The pandas don't always play in the current but they certainly enjoy it if present. 

2. My guess is that the eggs in river loaches sink quickly and are not easy for the powerhead to suck up with an intake sponge and a little room off the bottom. My assumption, based of the panda loach behaviors, is they will breed in the current and use that flow to disperse the eggs. That would push most of them away from a powerhead intake in most situations.

I am planning on putting a powerhead on a pvc uptube centered and halfway up the water column attached to a square pvc frame burried in the gravel and have two sponge covered intakes on the far end the powerhead outflow faces and closer to the surface. I believe that will have a slightly calmer flow and minimize eggs in the powerhead frame. Basically a square of pipe that feeds the powerhead from 2 intake tubes that stick above the gravel

3. Pandas eat pretty much all vegetable matter for me I would make a gel food and add it to rocks as well as use fresh vegetables like zucchini squash etc. They fight over it less if the food is wide and everyone has some room to access it. That species is pure vegetable as well in the literature but they eat live brine, worms, and anything else they find for me. My guess is food variety may help condition them to spawn.

4. I don't worry about any of the water conditions personally other than keeping ammonia down with clean water through plants and water changes the rest sorts itself out for me. If I chase perfect something will crash if I keep it clean most things breed and raise up for me. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Currently I am dealing with a population explosion with my Sewellias.  Started out with one female and two males because they were not sexed at time of purchase.  We have hard water.  I tend to keep temps at the cooler range.  I have always had a HOB with a prefilter sponge and have a power head also fitted with a profiler sponge and hooked up to air for some added oxygenated current.  Oh and one other airstone on the other side of the tank.

Rock piles are enough to harbor eggs and fry.  I have pool filter sand as a substrate and the loach fry glean a lot of food from the surface of the sandy  substrate so I don’t think an under gravel filter is a great idea.  

Anubias plants are great for loach species because they tend to have a lot of edible biofilm on them for fry.  The fry spend a lot of time in these leaves especially when they are small.  I have a very large Anubias Barterai on the top of the primary rock pile in my tank.  Other plants include Jungle Val, a variety of crypts, Java moss and they also seem to enjoy grazing on the drift wood.

I try to feed a variety of foods.  Algae and carnivore wafers, Soilent Green Repashy, frozen brine shrimp and blood worms, spinach, bug bites and krill flakes.

Hope these ideas help.😊59D71970-753C-495B-96B3-B529561C952E.jpeg.2a72ca09c5944edc51e166ff97ed629a.jpeg4AC24363-B6F7-4DBB-A7B9-89637BC604B7.jpeg.5f72ff9bcd70ed7f88c4cbb2b55fc95a.jpeg51E13FF5-534C-4C2D-8A40-8D393E1C1383.jpeg.a1ae5802ad6b10b344a117367de2c933.jpegAC255832-74CA-4FB0-AE8B-A284874F5673.jpeg.bd22aeeb02166ccfcef0c86bd10e5e04.jpeg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...