Catfish of the Month Right August 2003

Notoglanidium macrostoma
Dwarf Giraffe Catfish, Afrikanischer Tigerwels (Germany) - Notoglanidium macrostoma   (Pellegrin, 1909)

Article © Heok Hee Ng, uploaded August 01, 2003.

Hopping continents from last months South American feature, and taking a break from his accustomed stomping ground of Asian catfish, Heok Hee returns with insight into a catfish straight out of Africa.

Catfishes encountered in the aquarium trade are generally either attractively coloured with a bold pattern of stripes and/or spots (such as many L-number loricariids) or an exceedingly dull uniform brown or grey. However, there are a number of catfishes with a colour pattern that can be described as neither of very dull nor very attractive, and one such catfish, the dwarf giraffe catfish (Anaspidoglanis macrostoma), is the subject of this month's write-up.

The dwarf giraffe catfish was formerly placed in the genus Parauchenoglanis, but was placed in a separate genus on the basis of distinct (mostly osteological) morphological differences. Because of the taxonomic history, the dwarf giraffe catfish has often been confused with Parauchenoglanis guttatus (which is very rarely imported for the aquarium trade, if at all).

Like many other catfishes, dwarf giraffe cats are very shy and will spend most of the daylight hours hiding (although they can be coaxed out by food). The dwarf giraffe cat enjoys digging the substrate in search of food, like its bigger cousin, the giraffe catfish (Auchenoglanis occidentalis), so it is a good idea to make sure that any plants in the tank are potted (or otherwise well secured). Like many other catfishes, they are greedy eaters and have little trouble with most foods (including smaller tankmates if possible). They are not too particular about water conditions and will do well in mildly acid to mildly alkaline conditions.

Although dwarf giraffe cats are reportedly territorial in small groups, they have been successfully maintained so in aquaria. The secret to maintaining them happy and harmonious is to provide enough hiding spaces for all so that they can mark out enough territory. Of course, the sizes that the fish can grow to usually means that it is practical to keep only one or two fish in the average home aquarium. Apart from fishes small enough to be eaten, they get along well with other fish (provided that there aren't too many bottom dwellers competing for hiding spaces in the tank). They feel right at home in a west African concept tank, together with fishes such as Synodontis, Alestes, Barbus, Ctenopoma, and Pelvicachrormis.

Many catfishes featured as CoTMs usually have one (or more) of these features: attractive coloration, unusual shape, or an engaging personality. The dwarf giraffe cat can be said to have none of these, but continues to maintain a quiet, unassuming appeal among aquarists.

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

Down Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Notoglanidium macrostoma  (Pellegrin, 1909)
Common Names Dwarf Giraffe Catfish
Afrikanischer Tigerwels (Germany)
Type Locality Ogowe River at Ngomo, Gabon, 0°49'S, 9°58'E.
Synonym(s) Anaspidoglanis macrostoma, Auchenoglanis macrostoma, Parauchenoglanis ansorgei, Parauchenoglanis ansorgii, Parauchenoglanis macrostoma
Pronunciation mak row stow mah
Etymology From the Greek makros, meaning long (often mistakenly used to mean big) and stoma, meaning mouth; in reference to the size of the mouth.
Down Species Information
Size 240mm or 9.4" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification An uncommon import but the most commonly imported member of the genus.
Sexing Males are smaller than females and may be darker.
Down Habitat Information
Distribution Africa: Chiloango basin in Angola, central basin of the Congo Loémé basin in Congo, Ogooué basin in Gabon and the basins of the Nyong, Sanaga and Dja in Cameroon.
African Waters, Chiloango (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Congo (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Loémé (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Gabon Waters, Ogowe (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Cameroon waters, Sanaga (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Cameroon waters, Nyong (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Congo, Dja (click on these areas to find other species found there)

Log in to view data on a map.
IUCN Red List Category Least Concern, range map and more is available on the IUCN species page. Last assessed 2009.
pH 6.4 - 8.0
Temperature 22.0-27.0°C or 71.6-80.6°F (Show species within this range)
Other Parameters Prefers soft, mildly acid to neutral (pH 6.5-7.2) water, but can usually be maintained in mildly alkaline systems up to pH 8.0.
Down Husbandry Information
Feeding Their diet includes catfish pellets, prawns, earthworms, catfish tablets and frozen bloodworm, as well as smaller fishes. User data.
Furniture Medium sized rock work and bogwood. This species likes to root around in the substrate so make sure rocks and stones are well placed and plants will require to be potted.
Compatibility Tends to be territorial and with it's predatory nature, not suited for the general community tank. Fares much better in an African concept tank with other robust fish. Not suitable with small fish.
Suggested Tankmates Provide enough tank and hiding spaces if more than one individual is to be kept in the same tank. Ideal tankmates include riverine Synodontis, large African tetras (such as Brycinus or Alestes spp.), African barbs such as Barbus camptacanthus, riverine African cichlids such as Pelvicachromis, and African labyrinth fishes (Ctenopoma). Its territorial nature means that it is should not be kept with too many bottom-dwelling fish.
Breeding This species has been accidentally spawned in the aquarium, and as such, the spawning trigger is unknown. The fish nests in shelter (e.g. under rocks), and the parents (especially the male) exhibit brood care. The fry are free-swimming in approximately two weeks.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Down Further Information
Reference Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (Série 1) v. 15 (no. 2), pp 67
Registered Keepers There are 32 registered keepers, view all "my cats" data.
Wishlists Love this species? Click the heart to add it to your wish list.
There are 4 wishes to keep this species, see who wants what.
Spotters Spotted this species somewhere? Click the binoculars!
There are 18 records of this fish being seen, view them all.
Forum BBCode
Search for N. macrostoma
Look up Look up N. macrostoma on
Look up on Fishbase Look up N. macrostoma on Fishbase
Look up on Encyclopedia of Life Look up N. macrostoma on Encyclopedia of Life
Look up on Global Biodiversity Information Facility Look up N. macrostoma on Global Biodiversity Information Facility
Notoglanidium macrostoma QR code LFS label creator
ARN ref:1.243.300.102
Last Update 2020 Oct 24 02:22 (species record created: 2003 Aug 01 11:22)

Back to Catfish of the Month index.