Article © D & R Lalkaka, uploaded April 01, 2002.
This month I am indebted to Planet Catfish contributor Dinyar Lalkaka for supplying these great images of his fish. They instantly reminded me of how much I like this species and choosing it for catfish of the month was not a hard step to take.
Reading many catfish books you would be forgiven for thinking this is a commonly available catfish. In truth in the 1970's and early 80s, it was a common find in your LFS, but it hasn't been commonly available in more recent years. However, import patterns following their own rhythms, this fish has been turning up here and there recently. Perhaps it will become more steadily available over the next few years, giving us greater opportunity to learn about this pretty mid-sized catfish.
Although this species' head is always dark brown to black, the distinctive yellow and dark banding colouration across the rest of the body is variable - as are the exact size, shape and intensity of the dark pigment of the caudal fin lobe blotches. The fish have beautiful crystal blue eyes which are dull, but should never be cloudy in a healthy fish.
Keepers of this fish are used to rare sightings especially if kept in a heavily decorated tank. Because the fish is so infrequently observed the aquarist can note significant changes in size and shape. The fish is relatively fast growing, attaining its full size in under two years - given sufficient space and food.
Despite the fact it is hard to find a catfish book that doesn't feature this species, surprisingly little hard fact beyond basic husbandry exists. Experiments in spawning are perhaps hampered by the fishes territorial or carnivorous nature, but it is often the case that hardy species are easy to spawn once the secrets are unlocked. The recent spate of imports of this fish allow another generation of catfish keepers to try their hand at this, surely rewarding, accomplishment.
Copyright information for the images used in this article can be found on the species' full Cat-eLog page.
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