Born in Birmingham in 1946, a toolmaker by trade, Ian Fuller is a self-confessed Corydoras nut. Ian started keeping tropical fish in 1970 in an 18-inch aquarium, which someone gave him. It wasn’t too long before he had two four-foots and two three-foots set up in the spare room. Over the first two or three years Ian kept and bred many of the popular fish groups, starting with South American Cichlids, graduating through Barbs, Anabantids and Characins. Although Ian had kept several species of catfish during this period it wasn't until 1973 that he took an active interest in them.
In 1973 Ian co-founded a tropical fish club in the small town of Rugeley, Staffordshire, where he then lived, and it was around this time he first became hooked on Corys when he bought a small group of C. pygmaeus that he had to keep in small jars for several days because the tank earmarked for them had become polluted due to the demise of a couple of apple snails, which had gone unnoticed and needed to be completely cleaned out. The Corys were divided into three sweet jars while the tank was being readied and Ian was sure it was the constant twice-daily water changes in these jars that triggered the C. pygmaeus to spawn. That was it, Ian was hooked and has been ever since. Ian has to date successfully spawned over 150 species of Corydoradinae Catfish and hopes to spawn many more. Some of the species Ian has bred were the first recorded spawning and with others he is probably the only one to have bred them.
Ian's first fish house took shape in 1977 and was a sectioned off part of his garage, which housed 36 - 18 x 18 x 12 inch tanks. It was then that he started seriously breeding Corydoras, a project that still continues to this day in what is now his third fish house.
Ian found it impossible to keep on top of all the names of the different fish species so wrote to the British Museum to ask for some advice. The British Museum advised him to carry on with the notes that he was already making on fry development, breeding habitats, conditions, egg size, egg stickiness, etc. After 30 years of making notes Ian self-produced, printed and marketed his first book called Breeding Corydoradinae Catfishes in 2001 which has 64 species logs. A second edition followed on in 2012 representing almost 40 years of keeping and breeding Corydoradinae Catfish. The new volume was significantly larger than the original, containing a further 138 pages, totalling 372 pages. Unlike the original, which was almost entirely self-produced, the second edition was professionally printed and bound in A4 hard back format.
Working in conjunction with Hans-Georg Evers, Ian produced another book in 2005 called Identifying Corydoradinae Catfish. This was followed by a supplement in 2011 and Ian is currently working on the second edition.
During the 1970’s and 80’s Ian was very active in the showing and judging scene. In 1999 Ian was elected chairman of what is now the Catfish Study Group, which is now a fully international group but UK based. Ian was also Convention Manager, and organised the CSG’s annual convention fro 16 years, finally retiring from all CSG activities in 2015.
Ian has his own website, www.corydorasworld.com, where you can find detailed information on Corydoradinae Catfishes including husbandry and detailed breeding accounts in the form of spawning logs. Every known species is detailed on its own dedicated page.
Ian has a small tour business in south eastern Peru called GoWildPeru, and along with his partner Michael Barber from Virginia USA, organises guided fish collecting expeditions and wildlife tours in Peru. The dedicated trips are a fantastic opportunity for enthusiasts to enjoy looking for and collecting fish without having to worry about accommodation, food and logistics. For more information about GoWildPeru visit www.gowildperu.com.
Ian’s latest venture was to organise and run one final convention dedicated to Corydoradinae catfishes, this independent event took place in a hotel in Standish Lancashire over the weekend of June 9th -11th 2017 and with 98 people attending it proved to be a great success.
Ian is also a hardened traveller, and since the beginning of 2002 he has travelled to many parts of the world to give lectures on his beloved Corys at aquarium society meetings and conventions. Ian is still very active on the lecture circuit, and is always willing to give advise and pass on the knowledge he has gained over the last 45 years of keeping and breeding Corys.