Article © Heok Hee Ng, uploaded April 01, 2007.
The 2004 expedition to northern India has been productive, resulting in several new catfish species being described and spawning at least four talks (in aquarium meetings) and at least one magazine article, translated into English and available here. To celebrate the third anniversary of this trip (and to round up the results of this trip to include a CotM article), I share my experience with one of the new species, Pseudolaguvia foveolata, discovered during this trip. Cast netting in the Tista River (a tributary of the Brahmaputra River) yielded the first specimen known to science, and almost exactly three years later, I was pleasantly surprised to see this species show up at an importer in Singapore.
I split the few that I had into two batches and placed them into to separate tanks that were very similar (but not identical) in setup. Both tanks had a substrate of fine sand with plenty of rocks for the fish to hide in, but one tank had a stronger current than the other. Having been to the habitat (the Tista is fairly fast-flowing where this species was first collected), I thought that the fish in the tank with the stronger current would be more active (since the conditions in there are more similar to the ones in its natural habitat). Surprisingly, the fish in the tank with a slower flow turned out to be more active (although it did spend almost all its time at or near the filter outlet), so it seems that maintaining a moderate (but not strong) current is more desirable. Another thing I noted is that Pseudolaguvia prefer to hide vertically amongst vegetation in areas of current, where they appear to use their thoracic adhesive apparatus to maintain their position (this behavior was also noted for P. tuberculata, which were being kept in the same tank). Unlike many small sisoroid catfishes, Pseudolaguvia foveolata did not show a tendency to burrow into sand (although they would do so very rarely).
Feeding them was less problematic than I had imagined. I initially thought that they would eat only live or frozen food, but found that they would also accept small pelleted food with ease. Pseudolaguvia make good tankmates in a setup with similar sized fish (e.g. Puntius gelius).
This is a unique little catfish worth considering for the intermediate aquarist with a cooler water setup and smaller fishes.
Copyright information for the images used in this article can be found on the species' full Cat-eLog page.
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