Catfish of the Month Right Arrow October 1997 • Article © Julian Dignall, uploaded October 01, 1997



Two Spot Catfish - Mystus bimaculatus   (Volz, 1904)

Mystus catfish belong to the Bagrid family whose many representatives can be found almost exclusively in Asia. There are a broad range of species from large vicious predators to the more passive Mystus bimaculatus. These fish are available fairly commonly and can be an active and interesting addition to suitably stocked community tanks. Perhaps the average aquarist might only purchase one or two of these fish for their tank, but it i worthwhile rearing a group together as these fish are occasionally spawned and the young relatively easy to rear."


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Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Mystus bimaculatus  (Volz, 1904)
Common Name Two Spot Catfish
Type Locality Sumatra
Synonym(s) Macrones bimaculatus
Pronunciation miss tuss - by mack ewe LATT uss
Etymology The 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. bi = two, maculatus = spotted in reference to the dark shoulder spot and the dark marking on the caudal peduncle.
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Jump to next section Species Information
Size 80mm or 3.1" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification Fishes 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.

Easily identified by its overall red-brown body and two dark markings on the shoulder and caudal peduncle. These markings are surrounded by lighter colouration.
Sexing Males possess a genital papilla just for of the anal fin. The genital papilla look like an extra unattached fin ray. Amongst groups of healthy mature specimens the females are more robust, especially when gravid.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Known only from peat swamps in Sumatra. The natural habitat of this fish is facing serious pressures from man.
Pacific, Greater Sunda Island Rivers, Sumatra Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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pH 4.0 - 5.5
Temperature 23.0-32.0°C or 73.4-89.6°F (Show species within this range)
Other Parameters To reflect the natural habitat, the tank should imitate a blackwater environment with soft, warm, and acidic water. That said, these very adaptable catfish will thrive even in medium hard water with a near neutral pH.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
Feeding Luckily, they are happy to eat most aquarium foods. Dry foods 4-5 days a week with frozen or live foods 2-3 times per week is fine for normal maintenance. Reverse this ratio when attempting captive reproduction.
Furniture For a true biotope, the substrate should consist of about 1/2 inch of peat. Place numerous pieces of driftwood about the tank to create hiding places and use lots of floating plants. These fish are also very happy in heavily planted tanks. The most important furniture is driftwood, rocks, or other structures that provide caves for the fish to hide in.
Compatibility These wonderful fish get along with most tankmates. When properly fed, they very rarely attempt to eat even the fry of other fishes. Ideal tankmates would be Pearl Gouramis, Krytopterus catfish, and blackwater Rasbora spp.
Suggested Tankmates Ideal tankmates would be Pearl Gouramis, Glass (Krytopterus catfish), and blackwater Rasbora spp.
Breeding So far only successful with hormone injections. These fish are commercially produced in the far East and Russia. Breeding these fish would be a very worthwhile attempt for an advanced hobbyist. Maintain the fish alone in the biotope set-up described above. When the females are gravid, begin daily large water changes with distilled or R.O. water that is slightly cooler than the temperature of the aquarium. The eggs should be scattered in the peat substrate where they will be protected from the hungry parents.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Jump to next section Further Information
References Revue Suisse de Zoologie v. 12 (no. 2)
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Last Update 2013 Jan 04 13:04 (species record created: 1997 Oct 01 11:22)

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