Catfish

Catfish belong to different families, but are all members of the order Siluriformes. They possess barbels, live a solitary life on the bottom, and are mainly twilight species. Not very fussy about water quality, they play a major part in maintaining the balance of the aquarium as they scavenge algae or particles which have sunk to the bottom.

Two families are of particular importance: the Callichthyidae and the Loricariidae. The Callichthyidae include the genus Corydoras; these fish do not have scales, but their flanks are covered in layers of overlapping "shingles" (bony plates) They can also be recognized by the barbels round their mouths and the spines on their dorsal and pectoral fins. Their flat bellies indicate that they live and search for food (artificial, or small live prey) on the bottom; they are active mostly at dusk and during the night. Originally native to South America, Corydoras species are ideal subjects for keeping in a regional aquarium along with Characins, angelfish or discus. Ten or so species are currently available in the trade; others appear on the market intermittently.

The Loricariidae live on the beds of streams and rivers in South America. Their mouths resemble suckers, their bodies are "armor-plated," and they often have spines on their fins. All are either partially or completely herbivorous. It is very rare to hear of them breeding in captivity.

Corydorasarcuatus (Callichthyidae)

The skunk catfish. The Latin arcuatus (banded) refers to the broad black band running along the back from the eye to the caudal peduncle. Generally considered a difficult subject; this includes breeding. Size: 5 cm. •

Corydorasmelanistus (Callichthyidae)

The black-sail corydoras or black-spotted corydoras has a distinctive black smudge near the dorsal fin. The female lays 100-200 eggs which hatch in a week or so. Size: 5 cm. T

Corydorastrinileatus (Callichthyidae)

The arrangement of spots on the three-line corydoras varies according to its origins. Prefers diffused illumination. Harder to breed than the peppered cory. Size: 5 cm. •

Corydoras punctatus (Callichthyidae)

In color, the spotted catfish resembles the skunk clownfish, with which it is often confused, but the black markings on the back are absent. Size: 5 cm. •

Acanthodoras Spinossimus

Corydoras punctatus (Callichthyidae)

In color, the spotted catfish resembles the skunk clownfish, with which it is often confused, but the black markings on the back are absent. Size: 5 cm. •

Corydorastrinileatus (Callichthyidae)

The arrangement of spots on the three-line corydoras varies according to its origins. Prefers diffused illumination. Harder to breed than the peppered cory. Size: 5 cm. •

C schwartzi C. schwartzi C. melanistus C. melanistus

(Surinam sub-species) (sub-species)

C schwartzi C. schwartzi C. melanistus C. melanistus

(Surinam sub-species) (sub-species)

CORYDORAS SPECIES FOR THE BEGINNER

Two robust and sturdy species are particularly recommended to the beginner.

The aeneus catfish or bronze catfish

(Corydoras aeneus) is rather drab: there is also an riety created through artificial selection. As with many ;ies, the male's dorsal and pectoral fins are more pointed than the female's.

Corydorasaeneus ipered corydoras (C. paleatus) has lone iquarists, and is raised in South-East Asia 50 eggs a day, sticking them to a suit-ile surface, even the walls of the aquarium; she may continue laying like this for several weeks. Size: 5 cm.

Corydoras paleatus

Corydoras aeneus

Corydorasmetae(Callichthyidae)

The female of the bandit catfish fastidiously cleans plants or the glass of the tank before sticking her eggs to them. Size: 5 cm. •

• Corydorasjulii (Callichthyidae)

One of the most attractive Corydoras species is the leopard catfish, so known because of its distinctive spot pattern. Rather shy, and difficult to breed, it is easily confused with species having similar markings. Size: 5 cm.

•Corydorasschwartzi(Call\chthy\dae)

Schwartz's corydoras is often confused with other species: its coloration varies according to region. Given that there are over 150 feral species of

Corydoras, it is not hard to see how confusions arise in distinguishing between fish species. Size: 5 cm.

Corydorasmetae(Callichthyidae)

The female of the bandit catfish fastidiously cleans plants or the glass of the tank before sticking her eggs to them. Size: 5 cm. •

BREEDING CORYDORAS

Once considered extremely difficult, this is now within the scope of the experienced and meticulous hobbyist. There is a boisterous-mating display, with the male chasing the female for perhaps several days. Spawning may be triggered by a variation in atmospheric pressure, a water change, or a rise in temperature. The male stations himself near the female, sometimes hanging perpendicularly in the water, to ensure his milt thoroughly fertilizes the tiny eggs. The female takes the eggs between her ventral fins and deposits them on a suitable surface which she has previously meticulously cleaned. The pair may repeat this ritual several times and hatching takes place a few days later. Note that the fry are very sensitive to any changes in their environment.

Hypostomusplecostomus (Loricariidae)

The pleco feeds on algae, spending the night on the bottom. Once it has reached a certain size, it can become invasive and disturb the decor, so it needs a roomy tank. Size: 20 cm.

Acanthodoras Spinossimus

• Ancistrus sp. (Loricariidae)

Several species of the bristlenose are sold in commercial outlets under a confusing variety of names. Mature males can be distinguished by the presence of long barbels on the head Ancistrus browses encrustant algae. The female deposits her eggs on carefully selected sites, though captive breeding is rare. Size: 13 cm.

Farlowellasp. (Loricariidae)

The mouth of the twig catfish is positioned well back underneath the head. This is a nocturnal bottom-dweller, not known to spawn in captivity. Size: 15 cm.

Farlowellasp. (Loricariidae)

The mouth of the twig catfish is positioned well back underneath the head. This is a nocturnal bottom-dweller, not known to spawn in captivity. Size: 15 cm.

A LITTLE SCAVENGER FOR THE BEGINNER: OTOCINCLUS VITTATUS(LORICARIIDAE)

This is a small, peaceable fish that lives on a diet of algae. It very rarely spawns in captivity. Size: 5 cm.

• Acanthodoras spinossimus (Doradidae)

The talking catfish has spines along its pectoral fins. It prefers darkness and soft, acidic conditions. It is omnivorous and quite shy. Size: 12 cm.

Gyrinocheilus aymonieri (Gyrinocheilidae)

The Chinese algae-eater has a sucker-like mouth for grazing \ algae. As this fish grows, it can become aggressive. It clings to rocks, foliage oi the glass. Size: 1 5-20 cm.

Sorub/ml/ma(Pimelodidae)

The peaceable shovel-nose catfish can reach 60 cm in length; a spacious aquarium is therefore essential. Mainly nocturnal; it is a greedy feeder, taking live prey or fresh food. There is a serrated spine on each pectoral fin. •

Native Catfish AquariumsCatfish Synodontis Nigriventris

Synodontis nigriventris (Mochokidae)

The adult of the black-bellied upside-down catfish swims, as the name suggests, belly upwards, while juveniles behave quite normally. A nocturnal, peaceable species, it is omnivorous, but will require a small amount of extra vegetable material. Rarely breeds in captivity. Size: 10cm

•Synodontis petricola(Mochokidae)

Like S. nigriventris, t h e e ve n -spotted synodontis is a native of Africa. It swims in a normal position and often remains hiddenduringtheday.Afew otherspeciesof Synodontis are available commercially. Size: 10 cm.

Native Catfish AquariumsNative Catfish Aquariums

• Kryptopterusbicirrhis (Siluridae)

The glass catfish or ghost catfish, one of the few aquarium species with a transparent body, has two long barbels acting as organs of touch. In the wild it lives - and breeds - in shoals in open water. It is not suitable for mixing with boisterous species, and will not spawn in the aquarium. Size: 10-12 cm.

•Eutropiellusdebauwi (Schilbidae)

A good swimmer, the three-striped glass catfish lives in shoals, frequently hanging in an oblique position, and is likely to die if kept in isolation for long. Omnivorous, it prefers soft, acidic conditions, seldom spawning in captivity. Size: 8 cm.

•Pimeloduspic-tus(Pimelodidae)

A twilight species, somewhat solitary, the angelicus pimelodus lives on the bottom and requires plenty of swimming space. As yet it has not been successfully bred in captivity. Size: 15 cm.

Pangasiussutchi(Pangasiidae)

An omnivorous species, the Siamese shark swims restlessly in shoals, and will need a capacious tank. There is no evidence of successful captive breeding. Size: 20-30 cm.

0 0

Post a comment