Tiny eel-like catfish from north east India. Looks like chinese dragon.

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kfamtvw7
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Tiny eel-like catfish from north east India. Looks like chinese dragon.

Post by kfamtvw7 »

I will add photos as soon as I can but these are hard to photograph and a drawing might actually be more informative.
I'm a competent fishkeeper but have no specific knowledge about catfish and I would really, really appreciate any help in Identifying two I've just bought. I know it's not necessarily wise to buy unidentified animals but the shop was going into covid19 lockdown and I didn't fancy their chances locked down in a crowded shop tank - also they are amazing and look like tiny chinese dragons.
Two of them came into my local fish shop mixed in among Pillaia indica dwarf spineless eels and as they are very similar in size and appearance I can only assume they were collected from the same habitat in north-eastern India at the same time as the eels.
They are very, very eel-like and have a similar body shape and sinuous motion to things like khuli loaches. The reason I'm assuming they are catfish is that they have 8 whiskers arrayed around their mouths, one pair of which is much longer than the others, and their heads are perfect miniature replicas of a wells catfish. They are both approximately 9cm long. They have a spiny dorsal fin that lies flat most of the time but tends to be erect like a sail when they are swimming. The pectoral fins are relatively large and spread out sideways like wings and both the pectoral and dorsal fins are quite far forwards towards the head.
I've seen them swimming to the surface as if they are gulping air but don't know if this is actually what they're doing, most of the time they tend to hang out in a hollow they dug out underneath some bogwood in the tank and they seem to like to stick together. They're feeding on frozen bloodworm and cyclops and tend to sit with just their heads emerging from under the wood or some plants but when they're out foraging around in the substrate they appear to use their anal fins like legs to help 'walk' themselves across the substrate. The tail fin looks like a tadpoles tail but shaped like a sharks.
The owner of the shop had no idea what they were beyond 'funny looking eels' but for some reason we both had the impression that these will grow much larger. I couldn't tell you why, it's just a hunch, and maybe only because they look a little bit like wells catfish which are huge.
They are a light brownish golden colour with faint mottled stripes running the length of their bodies. Being so small they're also partially transparent but do appear to have defined scales.
If you imagine a tiny african ropefish with 8 whiskers and a few extra fins you've pretty much got the right idea about how they look.
Based on the information available to me about the habitat of the eels they were with I have added some extra bogwood and a few oak leaves to their tank.
If anyone can help me with identification or specific care tips I would really appreciate it. I was thinking of offering them some chopped up earthworm in addition to the frozen food and maybe try to see if they'll take sinking pellets.
Thanks for your time.

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MarcW
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Re: Tiny eel-like catfish from north east India. Looks like chinese dragon.

Post by MarcW »

Sounds like an interesting fish, try going to the Cat-eLog here: https://www.planetcatfish.com/catelog/

One of the options is a drop down box for distribution, choose Indian waters, make sure you select the maximum number of results then hit search. The list will display pictures, from a quick scan there are a few which could be close to your description. Good luck getting an ID.

kfamtvw7
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Re: Tiny eel-like catfish from north east India. Looks like chinese dragon.

Post by kfamtvw7 »

That cat-elog is a really incredible resource, I was able to find the exact species within minutes.
Thanks a lot, they are sub adult Olyra longicaudata. Looks like they really do stay roughly this small so glad I've not got a tank buster on my hands.
Seems like I might want to give them a bit more flow.

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MarcW
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Re: Tiny eel-like catfish from north east India. Looks like chinese dragon.

Post by MarcW »

Yes, the Cat-eLog is really great! I've started looking at similar catfish to your Olyra as I'm about to setup a hillstream tank with some Barilius and Garra.

It'd be great if you could let us know how you are getting on with them in a couple months.

Good luck with them!

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Re: Tiny eel-like catfish from north east India. Looks like chinese dragon.

Post by Jools »

kfamtvw7 wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:50 pm
That cat-elog is a really incredible resource
Glad you like it, built here in Scotland. :-)

Jools

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Re: Tiny eel-like catfish from north east India. Looks like chinese dragon.

Post by dw1305 »

Hi all,
kfamtvw7 wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:50 pm
That cat-elog is a really incredible resource, I was able to find the exact species within minutes.
Thanks a lot, they are sub adult Olyra longicaudata. Looks like they really do stay roughly this small so glad I've not got a tank buster on my hands.
Seems like I might want to give them a bit more flow.
The Cat-eLog is an incredible resource, and there is also Catfish of the month. I just read the pages for Olyra longicaudata (not a fish I'm familiar with), and a worry I would have is that it says they are incredibly intolerant of conspecifics.
........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........
cheers Darrel

kfamtvw7
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Re: Tiny eel-like catfish from north east India. Looks like chinese dragon.

Post by kfamtvw7 »

Yeah the aggression is likely to be a problem but there's not much I can do in the immediate term other than add some more bogwood and stones to break up line of sight and make sure they can each have seperate territories to some extent.
I added more plants and wood and stones yesteray and I hope I'll be able to keep them both healthy until I can seperate them or find another home for one. I should be able to set up a seperate quarantine tank over the next few days.
It's strange because as you'll see from my initial post I've seen them occupying the same spot under a piece of wood with no signs of aggression, it actually seemed to me that it was some sort of social behaviour although I suppose they must have been competing for the space. They both now seem to have established seperate territories at exactly opposite ends of the tank and I'm squirting food down to them seperately with a large pipette to try and keep them from fighting over food.
Under normal circumstances I would feel terrible about buying them without a positive ID and forcing two animals that are likely to fight to live together but in this case I know beyond any doubt that they would have been isolated in a very bare shop tank, still together, but also overcrowded with multiple other species so I feel like they are still better off.
If anyone here is near me in Scotland and would like one then I'd gladly pass one along for free in order to avoid them harming each other.

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Re: Tiny eel-like catfish from north east India. Looks like chinese dragon.

Post by Kilo_SSK »

I can confirm that it's quite useful, I could identify the local catfish I could see and/or catch in the region because of it, even as a complete newbie!
This is what led me to this forum, on which I may well stay now that I'm considering buying a tank for a couple specimens...

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