Cat-eLog Right Arrow Bagridae Right Arrow Mystus

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Scientific NameMystus castaneus  Ng, 2002
Common NamePearl Catfish
Type LocalitySerian market, from Sungai Sadong, Sarawak, Borneo.
Pronunciationmiss tuss - kast AH nee uss
EtymologyThe generic name is probably derived from the Latin mystax, meaning moustache, in reference to the long barbels. It was first used by Scopoli in 1777 making it a very old genus that has included many catfishes from throughout the world at one time or another. The specific epithet comes from the Latin word for chestnut brown, in reference to the color in life.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 150mm or 5.9" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationFishes of the genus Mystus Scopoli are small to medium-sized bagrid catfishes occurring in South Asia. Roberts (1994) recognized Mystus to have an elongate cranial fontanel reaching up to the base of the occipital process, long maxillary barbel, very long adipose fin, 11–30 gill rakers on the first gill arch and 37–46 total vertebrae, about equally divided between abdominal and caudal regions. He included only eight species under the genus. Mo (1991) characterized the genus to have a thin needle-like first infraorbital, twisted and thickened metapterygoid loosely attached to the quadrate by means of ligament or a small extent of cartilage. Jayaram & Sanyal (2003) and Ferraris (2007) respectively listed 44 and 33 species of Mystus as valid.

This species is often misidentified in the aquarium trade as M. armatus (an Indian species).
Easily distinguished by its brown body, long barbels and dark triangular mark at the base of the caudal peduncle.
SexingMales have an elongate genital papilla in front of the anal fin. Females tend to be larger and fuller-bodied.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionPeninsular Malaysia and the Greater Sunda Islands (except northeast Borneo).
Pacific, Malaysia Waters, Peninsular Malaysia Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Pacific, Greater Sunda Island Rivers (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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IUCN Red List StatusLeast Concern
pH5.2 - 7.6
Temperature24.0-29.0°C or 75.2-84.2°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersDoes best in soft, acidic (pH 5?6) water, although tolerant of harder (pH 7-7.5) water.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingEasily adapts to a wide variety of frozen and prepared food in the aquarium. May eat very small fish.
FurnitureThe tank should be furnished with ample driftwood and rocks.
CompatibilityCompatible with most fishes, although very small fishes will be eaten. Ideal tankmates include larger barbs and rasboras in an Asian biotope setup.
This species is not overtly territorial, so more than one can be kept together.
Suggested TankmatesSuitable for a community tank. Ideal tankmates are active mid-water fish such as barbs and rasboras.
BreedingPrior to spawning the fish were kept in warm (23-24°C), very soft (3-4 GH), acidic (pH 6.8) water. A 25% change with water at 11°C reduced the ambient temperature to 21°C. This triggered a spawning response 7 hours later, the male displaying with fins outspread to the female. A few minutes of wriggling wit the fish side by side was followed by a locking of the pelvic fins and the female rolling over to an inverted position, releasing a cloud of several hundred eggs of ca. 1mm diameter. This was repeated for several times over two hours until several thousand eggs were released. The eggs drifted until sticking to plants or to the substrate, and began hatching after 24 hours The fry were free swimming three days after hatching.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesThe Raffles Bulletin of Zoology v. 50 (no. 1), pp 163, Fig. 2.
F Garside, 1985. The pearl catfish. Some notes on breeding. Aquarist and Pondkeeper 49(11):38-39.
Registered Keepers(1) ali12345, (2) Silurus, (3) Nikita, who also notes: "Steve is 8" TL (without those barbels) and seems to have stopped growing. Bought as a 5" specimin because he was in a crappy tank and couldn't be identified - it took me this site and about 4 years to do it. Kept on black sand in a 72 x 24 x 24 tan", (4) Amaranth, (5) Moomoo, (6) Liam50LB, (7) bgates, (8) CAtfishluvva (k: 2), who also notes: "The male was very tame and ate from my hand. Was more slender than the female who sported a round belly. They never spawned that I know off.".

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Breeding ReportsNone.
Articles
Article - CotM 2004 June
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Last Update2013 Jul 10 20:49 (species record created: 2002 Jan 27 00:00)