Article © Julian Dignall, uploaded January 01, 1999.
Everyone who sits down to write about catfish in general will mention in the first few paragraphs the immense diversity exhibited by this family of fish. This is rightly so and this diversity is part of the formula of their success, both in the natural world and in aquarists tanks. If you accept there is a successful formula then this month's catfish is a worked example.
This fish doesn't sit still under a rock all day, it doesn't grow to a full grown length that would require the conscientious fishkeeper to house it in an indoor pond and it simply refuses to eat, or even nip, other fish. It is, in fact, a true community fish. It spends its time shoaling very closely with its colleagues and these shoals actively drift up and down the aquarium in full view, all of the time. This then is a mid-water catfish adapted to daytime life in flowing water. Upon a time, while touring my collection of catfish, an "unconverted" newcomer to the hobby once exclaimed of the Striped Glass Cat, "It's a normal fish!". Later, while we watched some mollies magically produce live miniature mollies we had a chance to talk some more about our Glass Cat; Normal, I explained to him, is relative. Surely the very essence of fishkeeping is that there is no such thing as a normal fish.
So the African Striped Glass Catfish isn't special; however it amuses my slightly warped mind to keep them with more "conventional" benthic catfish in a display tank to add to the mid-water activity. This essentially boils down to a deep rooted desire on my part to keep as many catfish as possible. Because of this I have kept these active little catfish with most common types of community fish and learned that they fit in very well indeed.
Most often these catfish are imported and sold as Pareutropius debauwi, often leading to an alternative common name of "debawi cats". This isn't accurate however. The true P. debauwi is rarely imported and has several distinguishing features. P. buffei has three body stripes, the lower is broken around the pelvic fins and a stripe or spot on each of the caudal fin lobes. P. debauwi on the other hand has one body stripe and clear caudal fin lobes. These are not very good identification parameters however, as telling the two fish apart requires adult fish. Fish less than 1" in length of both species do not have all of these features, for example often young P. buffei have clear caudal fins and a greatly diminished lower stripe.
|Cat-eLog Data Sheet|
|Scientific Name||Pareutropius buffei (Gras, 1961)|
|Common Names||Three Striped African Glass Catfish |
Afrikanischer Glaswels (Germany), Afrikansk Glasmal (Sweden), Svalehaleglasmalle (Denmark)
|Type Locality||Bas-Ouémé between Dannou and Adjohon, Benin [Dahomey].|
|Synonym(s)||Eutropiellus buffei, Eutropiellus vanderweyeri, Eutropius buffei|
|Size||81mm or 3.2" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.|
|Identification||Most often these catfish are imported and sold as P. debauwi, often leading to an alternative common name of ''debauwi cats''. This isn't accurate however. The true P. debauwi is rarely imported and has several distinguishing features. P. buffei has three body stripes, the lower is broken around the pelvic fins and a stripe or spot on each of the caudal fin lobes. P. debauwi on the other hand has one body stripe and clear caudal fin lobes. These are not very good identification parameters however, as telling the two fish apart requires adult fish. Fish less than 30mm or so in length of both species do not have all of these features, for example often young P. buffei have clear caudal fins and a greatly diminished lower stripe.|
|Sexing||Females are heavier bodied, but this difference is slight and only noticeable in mature specimens.|
|Distribution||Africa: lower course of the Ouémé (Benin), the Ogun (Nigeria) and the Niger. |
African Waters, Cameroon waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Nigeria Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Cross (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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|IUCN Red List Category||Least Concern, range map and more is available on the IUCN species page. Last assessed 2019.|
|pH||6.5 - 7.5|
|Temperature||23.0-26.0°C or 73.4-78.8°F (Show species within this range)|
|Other Parameters||Slightly soft water is preferred.|
|Feeding||All prepared food, most frozen foods. Flake, bloodworm and brineshrimp are ideal.|
|Furniture||Open swimming space hedged with plants. Not too much light, ideally floating plants will give the best results in terms of settling the fish.|
|Compatibility||A perfect citizen for the small to medium sized community tank. To combat shyness keep this fish in shoals of at least six individuals.|
|Suggested Tankmates||The more active tetras, smaller barbs, rasbora and danios. These fish will also do well with loaches and other active bottom dwellers. To combat shyness keep this fish in shoals of at least six individuals.|
|Breeding||This fish is an egg-scatterer and thus the recommended two females and single male should be removed from the spawning tank immediately after laying eggs. Water temp. for this should be around 76F and the eggs will hatch after 3 days. The young eat freshly hatched brineshrimp and will grow rapidly.|
|Breeding Reports||There is no breeding report.|
|Reference||Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (Série 2) v. 32 (no. 5) (1960), pp 406, Fig. 3|
|Registered Keepers||Keeping this species? Why not . |
There are 47 registered keepers, view all "my cats" data.
|Wishlists||Love this species? Click the heart to add it to your wish list. |
There are 3 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.
|More on Pareutropius buffei|
|Look up Pareutropius buffei on AquaticRepublic.com|
|Look up Pareutropius buffei on Fishbase|
|Look up Pareutropius buffei on Encyclopedia of Life|
|Look up Pareutropius buffei on Global Biodiversity Information Facility|
|LFS label creator.|
|Last Update||2020 Nov 08 05:23 (species record created: 1999 Jan 01 11:22)|
Copyright information for the images used in this article can be found on the species' full Cat-eLog page.
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