Armoured Catfish, Hoplo, Spotted Hoplo - Megalechis thoracata (Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1840)
by Julian Dignall, uploaded August 01, 1997
Corydoras get a lot of attention, but the family they belong to, Callichthyidae, also has a number of other genus ranging from the similar Aspidoras & Brochis to the more elongate Dianema and Megalechis. All of the Callichthyids possess the dual row of armoured plates along their flanks giving rise to the generic name of Armoured Catfish.
There are a number of new scientific names and genera arising from a revisions of Hoplosternum that will take time to become widely used. You will find these fish in most published literature under previous names; Hoplosternum (recently) or Callichthys (before the 1980s). Essentially the fish commonly known as H. thoractum is now placed in a new genus Megalechis as M. thoracata. The similar M. picta can be differentiated by a vertical black bar in the caudal fin which also has a black edge. As an aside, the other commonly available species affected by this revision is H. pectorale which is placed in a new genus of dwarf armoured cats as Lepthoplosternum pectorale. H. littorale remains as such. Irrespective of the scientific world, the common name Hoplo appears to have stuck.
One of the more active catfish that is seen during the day, Hoplos can be quite a personality in a community aquarium. In fact, their only down-side is their gregarious, boisterous nature. They are commonly bred by hobbyists and a tank of 1" long home-bred youngsters can often be found for sale. These tend to be much more competitively priced than wild-caught fish and are also more hardy."
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|Cat-eLog Data Sheet|
|Scientific Name||Megalechis thoracata (Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1840)|
|Common Name(s)||Armoured Catfish, Hoplo, Spotted Hoplo|
|Type Locality||Mana R., French Guiana.|
|Synonym(s)||Callichthys exaratus, Callichthys personatus, Hoplosternum personatus, Hoplosternum thoracatum surinamensis, Megalechis personata|
|Pronunciation||MEG ah LEK iss - tho rah KAT ah|
|Etymology||Megalechis: From the Greek megas, meaning large and lekis, meaning plate; in allusion to the extreme development of the coracoid bones on the breast of fully developed males.|
|Size||124mm (4.9") SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.|
|Identification||Can be distinguished from the similar M. picta by the absence of a conspicuous dark vertical band in the caudal fin. In M . thoracata the caudal fin is all-over greyish.|
|Sexing||A sexually mature male exhibits a thickened first pectoral ray which ranges from orange / brown to scarlet in colour.|
|Distribution||Trinidad, Guyana, Martinique, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru & Paraguay
Amazon (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco (click on these areas to find other species found there)
La Plata, Paraná, Paraguay, Upper Paraguay (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Guyana Waters, Coastal Rivers of Guyanas (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Trinidad rivers (click on these areas to find other species found there) (Click the map-icon to show/hide map of species distribution)
|pH||5.5 - 8.2|
|Temperature||17.0-28.0°C or 62.6-82.4°F (Show others within this range)|
|Other Parameters||Able to survive in poor water conditions.|
|Feeding||Not a fussy eater, most foods are accepted. Bloodworm and sinking catfish tablets are best, but once established will eat flakes at the surface. Larger fish will take cichlid tablets / doromin.|
|Furniture||Megalechis can be found in South American low-oxygen plant infested pools, almost puddles in some cases, but will happily live in most set-ups.|
|Compatibility||Peaceful and not predatory, although larger specimens can be downright boisterous at feeding time.|
|Breeding||Well conditioned pairs should spawn readily, but a large water change should prompt spawning of a more reluctant pair. Mature fish are typically 18 months to 2 years old. The male builds a large bubble nest, therefore surface movement from filtration should be kept to a minimum. A mass of floating plants (Wysteria is good) are necessary to anchor the nest. After spawning the male guards the nest. The eggs within should hatch after 4 days. The fry are free swimming after 2 days and should be fed newly hatched brine shrimp. They will grown rapidly and should be fed small amounts frequently for the first 6 - 8 weeks during which they can attain sizes of up to 1.5''.|
|References||Histoire naturelle des poissons v. 15, pp309, Pl. 443.|
|Registered Keepers||(1) MatsP (p: 2, k: 2), who also notes: "Quick growth from two inches to almost four in about half a year. Very active and eats ANYTHING.", (2) TP (k: 10), (3) Iwona (k: 2), (4) Stephen, (5) ali12345 (k: 6), (6) hoplo (k: 994), who also notes: "Spawned 15/11/07 1 male with 2 females
1456 young from that spawning
", (7) Daniel Machado, (8) Chrysichthys (k: 6), (9) CptnSpaulding, (10) ivokilli, (11) CatBrat, (12) fish fodder (k: 2), (13) mikelouth, (14) lazymf, (15) chrismarkham1982, (16) woofess, (17) Redcatman (k: 2), who also notes: "I live in a soft water area. The only water quality parameter measured regularly is pH which is kept between 6.5 and 7.0. Ammonia and nitrite are usually zero when I do occasionally measure it. Nitrate controlled by parial water changes every 2-3 weeks. The tank is filtered using an old (40 years!)Eheim external filter which has been in continuous use since it was purchased. Contains various Eheim filter materials also bought 40 years ago. Only material replaced is a layer of filter wool. Filter is cleaned out when water flow drops which is usually every 2-3 months.", (18) UNTgolf (k: 4), (19) ani-mal-lvr (k: 4), (20) amiidae, (21) Carp37 (p: 2, k: 7), who also notes: "3 females from Birelys on 28/6/07, plus 2 males from Hoplocat 14/07/08.", "Fish bred by Hoplocat- bought at SVAS auction. Originally had 4 in this tank- one female died 2009, most likely after getting stuck among wood decor; the second female had poorly developed fins and died April 2012.", (22) sherry44 (k: 6), who also notes: "arrived 26th sept 2007", (23) kagal, (24) irshprncsk, (25) Mrs.JP, (26) zenyfish (k: 3), (27) janev, (28) myrheksa (k: 8), (29) corydoras, (30) teddyman5 (k: 6), (31) Loracidlover (k: 2), (32) Pungen (k: 8), (33) Birger Amundsen, (34) joe.juice13, (35) SalmonAfrica, (36) aledk85, (37) rayrich (k: 3), (38) kubastanik, (39) launcap (k: 3), (40) chalkvandam, (41) MADRacing (k: 8), (42) geekshow, (43) le_fish, (44) Cornuta, (45) drgold (k: 8), (46) Phoxinus (k: 2), (47) Nick44 (k: 4), who also notes: "2 Pairs grown on from babies", (48) Chlngr (k: 3), (49) Kampfer, (50) theonetruepath, (51) GW_NL (k: 2), (52) thejudgement (k: 4), (53) kiwiplymouth, (54) fischkringli, (55) Reginator (k: 2), (56) dbrzz, (57) Birger (k: 9), (58) Juha (k: 5), (59) L number Banana (k: 2), who also notes: "Added purple beech leaves 4/22/09. PH at. 7.4 Spiral Vals, wisteria. Gravel from old tank, no filter, daily WC's at 10-15%. Airstone, AM sunlight. WC down to 15-20% weekly.
Making bubble nest 08/18/2009.
Update: No spawning occured. One died without the cause being identified. The other two are doing great. Size is approximate.
Update winter 2012 - no changes in the habits but no spawning. Still hand feed when I feel like it - wonderful fish!", (60) eoibio, (61) walshy317, (62) paul, (63) Cory_lover (k: 2), who also notes: "Been keeping these awesome fish for close to 2 years now, and they just spawned for me last night! My first ever Hoplo spawning!! woo hoo! :)", (64) ozarowana (k: 5), (65) Komolaj1, (66) Jools (k: 6), who also notes: "Being kept in slow water with duckweed, beech leaves and low light.", (67) drpleco (k: 5), (68) jacobhayes79 (k: 2), (69) Back, (70) pickles4601 (p: 2), (71) Bloodywertzie, (72) markhinch, (73) Hikarixz (k: 2), (74) Riv (k: 6), (75) highoctane500 (k: 4), (76) Phyllonemus, (77) mummymonkey (k: 52), (78) ketteringta, (79) MattP (k: 3), (80) PeterUK (k: 2), (81) chubbikins, (82) TurnedTo, (83) tijani (k: 3), (84) Noturus, (85) therealpigdog (k: 4), (86) Richard B (k: 14), (87) andysfishhouse, (88) Dee (k: 2), (89) Mowin (k: 11), (90) Shaun (k: 2), (91) Lars Jamne (k: 102), who also notes: "Got one adult pair, breeds every 6-8 weeks.....", (92) Buddiechrist, (93) JamesStuddart (k: 7), (94) snowball (k: 2), (95) arapaimag (k: 9), (96) linden09, (97) Draco Spectrum (k: 4), (98) browny85, (99) Void (k: 2), (100) N0body Of The Goat (k: 4), who also notes: "Very friendly, regularly eat food from my fingers", (101) nurglespuss, (102) minkweir, (103) Lilredbeaver, (104) s0llem, (105) anthonyking, (106) Catfish freak (k: 44), (107) james gilbertson, who also notes: "By far the most gentle cat i ever had, this is big bad barry as named by my son,", (108) diikis, (109) francistrus (k: 3), (110) transporter42, (111) Jason.G, (112) Fruityscone, (113) slimrs, (114) Greatguy, (115) yogi88, (116) Doras, (117) Dotty66, (118) Woodza73 (k: 5), (119) minipol (k: 11), (120) dav (k: 3), (121) Sarajute, (122) stealth77, (123) wirikwiri, (124) Iiriva (k: 4), (125) miguel mitchel (k: 3), (126) mikemaes, (127) lizimal, (128) andrebelg, (129) WhiteLomu (k: 2), (130) characinfan (k: 2), (131) Catfishfingers, (132) nmatt (k: 2), who also notes: "These guys are growing at rate of knots have almost doubled in size in only a few months. Great fish with bundles of character fast becoming my favorite fish ever!", (133) Xandoz, (134) p44236.
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|Breeding Reports||(1) Lars Jamne (b: 53).|
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|Last Update||2013 Feb 06 09:06 (species record created: 2001 Apr 21 00:00)|
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