Catfish of the Month Right Arrow November 2013

Stream Catfish - Akysis longifilis   Ng, 2006

Article © Heok Hee Ng, uploaded November 02, 2013.

The catfishes of Asia have their followers, but they are often overlooked by many aquarists in favour of the more familiar corys, plecos and synos of South America and Africa. Perhaps this is due to a rather unfair view that many are difficult species to keep. This month, Dr. Heok Hee Ng introduces a small and easy to keep Asian catfish that might just get you over the threshold into the wonderful world of Asian catfishes.

The problem with keeping sisoroid catfishes (those in the families Akysidae, Amblyciptidae and Sisoridae) is that a large majority of them require fairly high levels of dissolved oxygen, cool water, and are very sensitive to water quality. This month's article looks at a species that is relatively easier to maintain and may serve as an excellent primer for hobbyists wishing to delve into this group of fascinating catfishes.

Akysis longifilis is a species known to the aquarium trade since 2006, around the time it was formally described. This species is known from the Sittang River drainage in Myanmar, and like all other species known from India and Myanmar, lacks serrations on the posterior edge of the pectoral spine and grows to a relatively large size (around 5 cm SL) for the genus. Although a large majority of sisoroid catfishes are difficult to maintain because of their exacting water/temperature requirements and finicky diet (showing a general unwillingness to take prepared food), this is happily not the case with this yellow and brown catfish. Akysis longifilis is fairly tolerant of warmer temperatures (up to 27°C, as long as there is sufficient water movement) and adapts readily to commercial dry foods (although periodic supplements of frozen/live food should be provided).

Like congeners, A. longifilis displays no aggression towards conspecifics and are best maintained in a small group. A substrate of fine sand should be provided, as the fish spends most of its daylight hours burrowed inside the substrate. Breeding is unknown, although simulating the onset of rainy seasons should be a major trigger, as has been demonstrated for A. vespa, another species from Myanmar.

Given its wider tolerance in water parameters and catholic diet, this catfish is equally at home in a hillstream biotope or a general community tank, and serves as the ideal bridge to the more demanding species in the Akysidae.

Copyright information for the images used in this article can be found on the species' full Cat-eLog page.

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