How to buy Bristlenose Catfish might seem like a strange title for an article. After all you can buy Bristlenose Catfish from nearly anywhere. Aquariums, Live Fish Stores, Pet Shops and of course private breeders.
Therefore if you’re just buying Bristlenose as algae eaters for your Community Tank then in most cases it’s just a matter of buying some from a reputable source, placing them in the tank and that’s it. This certainly was the case for me when I first bought Bristlenose Catfish for my Bettas tanks.
What I discovered later on though, was that if you’re buying Bristlenose to breed then there is a little bit more to it than that as after I bought my first two pairs I discovered that there was another consideration as well that very few take into consideration. In fact I think this consideration is so important I’ll write about it later in this article as in the long run it might just save you a whole lot of wasted time going down a path that comes up fruitless (or maybe fryless?).
First of all though, if you are buying Bristlenose to breed then there are probably two major ways in which you can go about it.
You can buy a group of juveniles, place them in you community tank, give them some favourable conditions, then sit back and wait for them to mature and let nature take it’s course. This of course works for many and how well it does work can be a little bit “hit and miss”. Juvenile Bristlenose are difficult to sex and of course it’s not until they get older that the male grows his bristles and it then becomes obvious. Therefore, this is the reason why many “would be breeders” buy several juvenile Bristlenose, as it increases the likelihood of at least getting one male or female to form a breeding pair amongst the group.
The next method many new Bristlenose breeders use to buy Bristlenose Catfish, is to go out and buy a specific Bristlenose pair or trio. Either method has it’s advantages. Having a trio of one male and two females increases the likelihood of a successful spawn while placing a pair together does ensure you know the genetics of the fry. So I suppose whichever method you decide on can simply come down to personal choice.
Next up is to select your actual breeding pairs and this is where many new breeders make their first mistake. You see sometimes breeders sell a whole spawn at an early age to another party to raise and then onsell again as they come into sexual maturity, when the sexes are just becoming more distinguishable. These Bristlenose can become good breeders as they are young, healthy and virile but here’s where the first mistake in often made by the new breeder.
They buy a pair or trio of these Bristlenose and then try and breed them. This can be a mistake. You see you can breed brothers with sisters from the same spawn and you can do it successfully but what you will find is that “you” as a the buyer won’t know how many generations back these Bristlenose have been interbred. And of course the reason why is because the seller probably won’t know either or in some cases he/she might but because he’s/she’s got an investment that he/she wants to sell, you may find you won’t get the full story anyway. Therefore you won’t have any idea what their linage is.
Therefore diversity of genes with Bristlenose , just like with any species is important. It ensures strong healthy offspring and in this case fry that are stronger, more disease resistant and more likely to survive and grow to adulthood. So if you like you can try breeding Bristlenose from the same spawn and maybe you’ll get away with it but then again maybe you won’t. You may find that your Bristlenose will spawn, produce lots of eggs and fry and then slowly the fry will die and you’ll be left with just a handful.
Then you’ll probably sit back and wonder what went wrong. Was there a problem with the condition of the water? Were the parents inexperienced or is it just a case of second time lucky? Was there interference from some other fish in the tank? You may be just left scratching your head.
Therefore you could then spend a whole lot of time trying to remedy all manner of suspected issues only to then try again and suffer the same result the second time. Then at the end of the day the real cause was simply the fact that you chose to breed a brother and sister that had come from a long line of interbred Bristlenose.
Therefore if you want to save yourself the hassle, the easy way around it is to simply still buy the same amount of pairs you’re after from the same spawn but then go and find another spawn from a totally different source, buy the same amount of Bristlenose the second time and then swap them around. If you want you can then sell the excess Bristlenose pairs/trios you don’t want and advertise them as having diverse genes and hopefully they will be more attractive to a buyer for that very reason.
Then of course the other way is to buy Bristlenose Catfish individually from different sources to ensure their genetic diversity. At the end of the day though, how you go about it is up to you.
So there you have it, if you want to buy Bristlenose Catfish for the purpose of breeding look for diversity of bloodlines and buy from a different source.