We're having babies!
I'm a hobbyist aquarist. I love fish keeping. Aquariums are just so relaxing. It doesn't feel like home without one. I also love how, while they're in a domestic setting, they still behave like wild animals. One moment everyone is swimming along like normal, then one day I happen to glance over and see two clown loaches engaged in a ritualistic fight for alpha position, or see the angles courting one another. Never a dull moment! My system is only a tropical freshwater system: I lack the finances for marine one, but maybe one day.
So... I've had a female bristlenose pleco (Ancistrus cirrhosus) for about two years. More recently I decided to get a second pleco. It's grown super fast and is now almost the same size as the female. I thought it, too, was a female due to the almost non-existent bristles. Then it went missing for a few weeks. They're usually pretty cryptic species but I never saw it out at all. Then we found where it was hiding: guarding a clutch of eggs. So he's a boy afterall (and his bristles seemed to have grown in his absence).
The males will establish a territory. The female will come along and choose a territory, lay here eggs and leave to have no further input. It's up to the males to guard and take care of the eggs and subsequent fry. They're typically good fathers, but first-timers can be a little careless. Mine is doing very well indeed.
He's spent the last week guarding his clutch, and fanning them with his fins to keep them oxygenated. They've just hatched (I'll give you some updated shots later) but this photo was taken mere hours before they emerged from their eggs. Those little black dots are their eyes.
This is the first time any fish in this particular aquarium have laid eggs, let alone reared any to hatching so I am SO excited. BABIES!