Aspidoras spilotus (Aspidoras c125)

Aspidoras spilotus

Aspidoras spilotus, commonly known as the Whitespotted Aspidoras, the Whitespotted Cichlid, or the Picket Fence Cichlid, is a moderately large and highly aggressive fish native to South America. It belongs to the family Cichlids and has been given numerous different scientific names including Hypselecara spilotus, Tropheops spilotus, and Amatitlania spilotus before finally receiving its current scientific name of Aspidoras spilotus in 2006.

It’s also sometimes referred to as c125 or C125 Aspidoras dwarf catfish, which refers to the binomial name of this species in the Cichlid encyclopedia program, Cichlid-Encyclopedie (C125). Aspidoras spilotus is not often kept in aquariums with smaller fish due to its size and aggressive behavior toward other fish, but it does make an interesting pet if it can be kept with peaceful tank mates that are larger than it is.

Aspidoras spilotus is a species of catfish in the family Callichthyidae native to South America. It was described by Eigenmann and Kennedy in 1909, originally under the genus Aspidoras.

Origin and descriptions

Aspidoras spilotus

Aspidoras c125 is a species native to Asia. The fish is known for its bright, blue-green coloration and is highly sought after by aquarists, though it can be difficult to acquire due to habitat restrictions. These restrictions have led many private collectors to illegally poach wild specimens from Asiatic fisheries in an effort to satisfy consumer demand.

Despite such risks, there are plenty of responsible dealers and nurseries that specialize in providing exotic aquatic plants and animals to hobbyists and researchers alike. However, regardless of where you purchase your specimen from or how humanely it was raised, I would encourage all aquarists to research their choice aquarium pets before acquiring them so they know what they’re getting into with regards to maintenance requirements, and life expectancy.

Researching a new pet is particularly important if you plan on introducing any rare or unusual aquatic creatures into your home aquarium—it will help ensure proper care and minimize stress both on you and your new pet.

Species profile

Aspidoras spilotus

Aspidoras c125, also known as Aspidoras spilotus, is a species of catfish belonging to the family Callichthyidae. The c-number given to a particular species is its order in Latin, e.g., ‘c’ for ‘classis’, with subclassifications signified by subsequent letters, e.g., ‘l’ for a subclassification under classis (A). Each subclassification has been officially recognized by one or more taxonomic authorities.

Aspidoras c125 is a social snakefish that is known for its friendly disposition and beautiful coloration. A member of aspisdoras genus, Aspidoras c125 makes for an excellent pet. They love to be held and are often compared to canine companions because of their high energy and curious nature. Social butterflies get along with other snakes but may enjoy being around human beings more. These fish can live for more than 15 years in captivity, provided they are well taken care of.


The aspidoras c125 is found in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. This fish prefers acidic waters and needs a tank of about 20 gallons with a pH range between 5.5 to 7.5 and a temperature of 77 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit (25-26 degrees Celsius). Hardness should be around 8 or less and soft water makes them more colorful. They also need some caves and plants to hide from their predators which include other large fishes and anything that will fit in their mouth!

Aspidoras spilotus size

This species can grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) in length.

Aspidoras spilotus tank size

The minimum recommended tank size is 20 gallons

Tank set up

The most important thing you need to do when keeping Aspidoras is to make sure that it has plenty of hiding places and plants. Hiding spots help it feel secure, while plants give it somewhere to lay its eggs. Both are essential to its well-being, as well as helping keep fish disease at bay by reducing stress on a fish’s immune system.

A good way to go about this is using floating plants like hornwort, frogbit, or cabombas – they all have leaves big enough for an adult Aspidoras to hide under them. Live plant décor can also be used, such as Java moss or Java ferns. They both act as natural filters in your aquarium; removing ammonia from your tank water and converting it into nitrates – thereby improving water quality for everyone living in your aquarium!

Aspidoras spilotus tank mates

Aspidoras are schooling fish, so they’re best kept in groups of 6+ individuals. Smaller species that won’t nip at their fins or try to eat them (like tetras and other dwarf cichlids) will make great tank mates. Although Aspidoras aren’t known for being aggressive, they do occasionally show some aggression toward other male members of their species. For your own safety, keep only one male per tank! The female is small enough to be kept with males from other species.

Some good tank mates are tiger barbs, cardinal tetras, bloodfin tetras, zebra danios.

Aspidoras spilotus breeding

Aspidoras spilotus

Aspidoras spilotus is an easy fish to breed and has been exported around the world for breeding purposes, with some countries even selling wild-caught Aspidoras spilotus for aquariums at pet stores and online auction sites. Courtship rituals begin when males produce a nest by digging a small depression in sand and gravel. Males then display to females by swimming rapidly from one end of their territory to another while displaying their intense red ventral coloration.

If a female accepts his invitation, she will pick up on his courtship display and lay her eggs in his nest within 1–2 days. If a male sees that another male’s mate is nearby he will chase off after her and take over caring for her offspring. The male will care for newly hatched young by fanning them with his pectoral fins until they are old enough to feed themselves off tiny invertebrates and algae.

Once free-swimming larvae grow past 10mm, they move into ponds where they spend most of their time feeding at night on planktonic organisms.

Are Aspidoras spilotus aggressive or peaceful?

Aspidoras c125 is a peaceful fish with beautiful colors, but it can become territorial when there are several in one tank. Its special anatomy (the presence of a horn) serves as a repellent to other males of its species. Female Aspidoras also produce a chemical that repels other males, which is why it’s recommended to only keep one male in each aquarium.

Aspidoras spilotus care

Aspidoras spilotus

The aspidoras (aspidoras c125) is a relatively easy fish to care for, provided you follow some basic guidelines. Aquariums with a soft sandy substrate, driftwood, and submerged plants will create an ideal environment for your aspidoras. The aquarium should have multiple hiding places including caves, roots, and/or rocks where they can comfortably rest.

These fish also like to swim around, so make sure there is open water space that allows them to explore.

Aspidoras spilotus diet

The species is a generalist and opportunistic feeder, meaning it will readily consume a wide variety of foods. As such, it should be offered an assortment of foods. Sinking pellets are an ideal staple in any aspidoras diet. Frozen food, live food, and even brine shrimp or daphnia make for excellent treats. Generally speaking, though, these fish prefer meaty foods over plant matter; flake food should be avoided whenever possible.

Water parameters

Aspidoras spilotus

The ideal water should have a pH of 5.5 -7.5; Hardness of 10 dkh; and a temperature of 72-82°F (22–28°C) – at least 27 degrees C for breeding. Maintain stable temperature by adding a chiller/heater if necessary and consider live plants to decrease temperature variation.

Aspidoras spilotus lifespan

The average lifespan is 6 years, with some living up to 10 years.

Parasites and diseases

Spironucleus vortens (dagomyia c126), an economically important pathogen, causes sesprotic ichthyophthiriasis in Aspidoras. Bacterial infections include Aeromonas salmonicida (b114), which can cause opportunistic skin and gill infections. A recent study has also shown that infectious hypodermal and hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHHNV) is a highly prevalent virus in wild-caught Aspidora spilotus.

The parasite Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (e002) has been documented to be present in captive Aspidora spilotus populations living under suboptimal conditions.


Just as there are many predators of aspidoras spilotus, there are many methods to keep predators out of their environment. Caves and rock ledges, along with tons of plant cover, can help keep all but larger animals out.

Fish that pose a threat to aspidoras are: angelfish and larger cichlids that may eat them. Because they’re schooling fish, they will get lonely without other aspidoras. Fish should be kept in groups of 6 or more; 10 or more is ideal.

Do Aspidoras spilotus make good pets?

Yes. Aspidoras c125 are relatively small, freshwater fish that make excellent pets for beginning aquarists.