Written by Irene Miller(Irene0100)

I first bought my pair of Gold stripes in sept 2004, they were adults then so no idea of age.
But old enough to sex – here is one in the bag newly arrived.

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I kept my pair in community tank for a couple of years (trigon 190) , no plans to breed or any sign of breeding, in fact I hardly ever saw them. A couple of years later I bought a new 4ftx1x1 to breed my common BNs (Bristle nose ancistrus) and moved the Gold stripes in there in the hope that I might see more of them and maybe the hormones or whatever from the commons would encourage them to breed.
To trigger the common BN I did not do extensive conditioning, as they had bred earlier in a smaller tank, just did no water changes for a week then 20%cooler water every other day, and the commons laid.
The tank was kept at 26-27 degrees C with fairly soft water.
It has an external eheim ecco filter and an internal fluval 2.
Food mainly vegetables (peas, courgettes, cabbage,etc) , algae wafers, all put in for the BNs, plus tropical flakes for the neons.
No mating was seen between the gold stripes although he took up territory in a clay cave. However, about 6 months later (summer 2006) I added a large driftwood log which I had drilled several holes in and had had soaking under stones in the garden pond for months to make it sink. This was what really turned them on. I have other wood in there but without holes in it. He immediately took over a cave in the log.

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In the meantime the common BNs were mating regularly throughout, which meant lots of young BNs around so water changes were almost every day a bucket or two. The first time the gold stripes were trying to mate I thought they were just squabbling over the wanting the same hole as they were taking turns to go in and out and waiting outside for a chance to get in. But then no activity for a month so I assumed territories resolved and the female took up residence in another hole. However next month similar activity, she sat in hole headfirst for about 4 days with him sometimes on top of her. I had no idea if any eggs were laid but he fanned for a few days after. The next month repeated, two days head first then she realised easier if she went in tail first and spent a day in with male on top. Then he fanned for two weeks but no young. Also similar activity the following month. I asked an expert who said I must have two females and a dominant female can take on characteristics of a male if no males in tank. !
I then noticed the L333 male I had in the tank was giving him some harassment, so I moved him out.
Anyway early Nov 2006 they mated again -but his time they raised about 5 young!
I did not dare scare them with a torch, but once I felt he had fanned long enough to have young hatched I did a quick pic with flash and I could see the young!

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I continued with small water changes every day to keep quality good.

Here is a youngster only a few days out of the nest

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I think they may have laid earlier but the L333 annoyed them in the night so the eggs got eaten!
the hole is in a piece of drift wood 1.25 inch diameter (only because largest drill my hubby had, a size larger may have been better.)
Hole is not very deep, about 2 -3 inches, as only as deep as log would permit. She then laid again two more times at about 35 day intervals and each time 5-6 youngsters emerged.

Here is a picture of her trying to get into the hole to lay eggs, you can see she is plump (gravid) and her fins are more orange than his.

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They don’t all come out on the same day and some stayed with dad up to the next mating–so he had no food for months other than chewing the walls of the hole. Then they rested for a couple of months, allowed dad to feed up I guess, and April 2007 they started again, no special conditioning other than good regular water changes and plenty of varied food.
This time she laid even more eggs than before.

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here you can see the female and a youngster (plus one of the BN youngsters.)

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So hopefully they will reward me with some more babies yet. I have no idea how long these fish live for.

Update: since writing this I had two poor breeding goes where only one fry survived. He seemed to chuck them out of the nest too early as they had a reasonable amount of egg sack left, but died once the egg sack had gone. For some reason they could not or would not feed. I came to the conclusion that they young must need to stay with dad until eating, and then he teaches them to eat or chews wood for them or provides poo with essential bacteria in it.
The next brood, I was super careful, no photos at all in case they unnerved him, because something was making him evict the young too early. I did water changes every day just a couple of buckets, and watched a lot. Well it paid off, I had the biggest brood yet, over 20 fry who are doing fine.

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Since then they have spent a year without breeding, (perhaps because I have stopped breeding the common BNs?) although she has tried a few times, he does not want to know!!
So I am now trying them in a small tank without other adult plecs, just a few other plec fry which are growing up, time will tell.
I hope you found this interesting, thank you for reading it.
Irene