Catfish of the Month Right Arrow December 2008

Asian Fighting Catfish, Bannertail Catfish - Olyra longicaudata   McClelland, 1842

Article © Adrian Taylor, uploaded December 01, 2008.

Adrian Taylor introduces an Asian catfish of the month this month. When not writing articles for this site, he's busy running his own and you can check it out at

This graceful Asian brown coloured catfish can on occasion be found in our local stores every few years or so and at an affordable price. Unfortunately many inexperienced aquarists make the mistake of purchasing more than one and adding them to their community tank. Apart from the fact that they will predate on very small fishes, they do have a rather sinister side to them. Their common name of ‘Fighting Catfish’ is well deserved, as these smallish, elongated catfish which only grow to a maximum of 110mm standard length, are exceptionally hostile and intolerant towards any other of their kind up to point of causing their demise. However; they will cohabitate quite peacefully with similar size fishes in the community aquarium.

Olyra longicaudata is wide spread throughout Northeastern India, Western Bengal & Assam; Northern Myanmar and through into Thailand. An ideal aquarium setup into which one can keep these feisty fighting catfish, would be one having a substrate made up of fine rounded gravel or sand, with small area’s of rocks or bogwood which have plants attached to them like Anubias and Java fern and small clumps of aquatic plants well rooted in the substrate such as Cryptocorynes. Temperatures of around 20°C to 25°C (68°f to 27°f) a hardness of around 12°dGH and a pH of between 6 and 7 should also be provided, and as these are a Catfish that originate from medium fast to fast flowing rivers it is essential therefore that the water in the aquarium also has a good flow to it. One way that this can be achieved is by using an internal power filter. Olyra longicaudata is a species that likes to forage for food in the twilight time’s, and therefore feeding is best undertaken just prior to turning off the aquarium lights; live foods such as bloodworms, white-worms, small earthworms and similar size organisms should be fed as these are a species that in most cases will ignore prepared commercial foods, although they will happily feed upon frozen foods such a Bloodworms, Mysis shrimp and adult brine shrimps.

Olyra longicaudata has at present not been bred in captivity and apart from females looking slightly more rotund when they are carrying eggs there are no known sexual differences. Other species of this family include Olyra burmanicus, Day 1872; from the Pegu Yomas area of Myanmar. Olyra horae, (Prashad & Mukerji, 1929; from the indawagyi lake & Myitkyina area of Myanmar. Olyra kempi, Chaudhuri, 1912; from the Assam district of India.

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

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