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FAQs on Callichthyid Cats 2

Related Articles: Callichthyid CatfishesSummer loving: cats in the garden, kittens in the kitchen by Neale Monks,

Related Catfish FAQs: Callichthyids 1, Callichthyid Identification, Callichthyid Behavior, Callichthyid Compatibility, Callichthyid Selection, Callichthyid Systems, Callichthyid Feeding, Callichthyid Disease, Callichthyid Reproduction, Catfish: Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Reproduction

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FAQs on: Corydoras Catfish Identification, Corydoras Catfish Behavior, Corydoras Catfish Compatibility, Corydoras Catfish Stocking/Selection, Corydoras Catfish Systems, Corydoras Catfish Feeding, Corydoras Catfish Health, Corydoras Catfish Reproduction,
FAQs on: Panda Corydoras, Pygmy Corydoras spp.,



Seeking info about Callichthys  12/14/08 Hi there! I am back with yet another question, I hope it's not too much trouble. The LFS in my area is going out of business, unfortunately. They are sticking around for Christmas, and then they are calling it quits. Naturally, I was in there shopping for deals... In with their goldfish was what I initially thought was a porthole catfish, but after Googling around believe to be Callichthys callichthys. (It was simply labeled "armored catfish", which could mean anything!) It looks similar to the fish in the link below: http://badmanstropicalfish.com/stats/stats_catfish2h.html It was a dull olive green/grey color, so possibly a female? I believe this fish is also known by the common name Cascadura ("hard shell" in Spanish). Does anyone know anything about this fish, or know of a place to find more information? I can't seem to find much about them in my books, and the online information I have found has been spotty. Some websites say they get to 5" long while others say 8" or even 10" - and the acceptable tank size starts as low as 15 gallons, which I am certain can't be right. I have an unoccupied 29 gallon tank that I was going to turn into a brackish tank for guppies and platies, which might work out if this is indeed a brackish tolerant species. (We're only talking about 1.003-1.005 SG.) I imagine this catfish would keep the fry in check, which is fine by me! If I knew he would outgrow the tank, I could take my time finding him a more spacious home. Does this sound like an ill advised plan, or could it work? I never rescue fish from pet stores, because I know this only encourages them to restock. However, since the store is folding, I thought "just this once..." since I doubt anyone around here will appreciate a catfish like this. Thanks so much for any help! Happy holidays to you all, Nicole <Hi Nicole. The Porthole Catfish is typically Dianema longibarbis, a smallish (10 cm), midwater schooling catfish closely related to Corydoras. It's named after the row of roundish black blobs along the midline of the body, like portholes on a ship. It's a pretty good community tank catfish. Not a brackish water species, but otherwise adaptable. Now, Callichthys callichthys (the Cascarudo) is quite a different beast. It's quite a bit bigger (up to 20 cm) and unlike Dianema doesn't really swim about in midwater and prefers to slither about on the substrate between making mad dashes to the surface to gulp air. It's body is largely unmarked, but the pectoral fin spines have a distinctive orangey colour. It has tiny eyes! Callichthys callichthys is incredibly tough, and will tolerate slightly brackish conditions (around SG 1.003) without much bother. Hoplosternum littorale is a bit more of a brackish water specialist, and would be my recommendation for life with guppies and mollies. But there's not much difference between the two fish otherwise. Both species are boisterous, semi-aggressive at feeding time, but otherwise good community fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Seeking info about Callichthys 12/14/08
Hi Neale, Thank you very much for your comments. I don't know why initially I thought it was Dianema longibarbis, definitely no "portholes" since the body was overall drab with no markings. I guess the barbels looked similar, and I only had a vague memory of what a porthole catfish looked like from a TFH article I read last year. I can't remember seeing any orange, so maybe it was Hoplosternum littorale instead of a Cascarudo? (Thank you for giving me the correct spelling, that improved my hits considerably!) I'll look more closely today... <Hoplosternum (and its sister genera Megalechis and Lepthoplosternum, both of which contain former Hoplosternum species) are generally quite easy to tell apart from Callichthys. If you look at the head of Callichthys species, you'll see that the eyes are very small. It also has a basically square tail fin. By contrast, Hoplosternum has normal sized eyes and a deeply-forked, V-shaped tail fin. Maintenance of all these species is very similar, except to say that Hoplosternum littorale at least favours hard water, and quite possibly brackish water, in the wild, and consequently does not do especially well in soft/acid conditions. By the way, the orange pectoral spines on Callichthys callichthys are only obvious on adults, and I believe just the males at that.> I guess I will go ahead and get the catfish, and plan on putting an ad in the online classifieds next year, to see if I can't secure him a more spacious home. Right now he/she is just under 4" or so. The only thing that troubles me is that everything I've read says these are schooling fish, to be kept in groups of five or so. Would a singleton be exceedingly unhappy? (He/she is already alone in the tank.) <Singletons of all these catfish (they're very closely related) do just fine on their own, provided they're not combined with anything overtly aggressive.> I could get some Brochis splendens, if that would help, and move away from the slightly salty concept and choose different fish altogether. <Brochis are superb catfish, and tolerant of a range of conditions, though again, I'd not put them forward as obvious candidates for a brackish water aquarium. Hoplosternum and Callichthys spp. catfish do occur in brackish water, so would make better choices. Hoplosternum littorale at least has a tolerance for up to 40% seawater salinity! Given it's closely related to Corydoras, it might be quite a surprise to many people that this species favours brackish water habitats in the wild.> As you can see, I am already feeling attached...I think it's the tiny eyes that I find so endearing! Maybe because of being very nearsighted myself. <Sounds very much like Callichthys! Yes, these are probably "legally blind" catfish, but they don't seem in the least put out by that. When settled in, they are goldfish-like in their pushy feeding time behaviour, and become very good pets. They used to be common in the trade, but from the 80s onwards much scarcer as people switched to smaller or more colourful tropical fish. Callichthys are hardy, do well at subtropical as well as tropical temperatures, and will eat just about anything, so are really very versatile fish.> Thanks so much, once again. Nicole <Happy to help, Neale.>


Hello, I was wondering if you could tell me what I would need to breed Corydoras barbatus.   12/27/06 CJ <In a general sense/way yes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/callichthyids.htm and the linked files above. You would do well to further look into (the Net, libraries) books on Callichthyid Catfishes... David Sands works are especially notable. Bob Fenner>

Catfish Questions   8/12/06 Hello WWM Crew; Thanks so much for your great help with my marine reef questions in the past! In addition to my 350 gallon marine reef system I also have a couple of freshwater tanks which I have had for the last four years or so. Here's a freshwater question you never received before! I recently obtained seven little darling Corydoras adolphi which are now doing great in my QT tank. I have had them for about a week and in another three weeks or so I will be placing them in my 75 gallon "Amazon" tank. The Corys are currently kept in water with a PH of 6.4 - 6.6, which is approximately the same PH as in my main "Amazon" tank. My question is this: Where can I obtain some reliable information about these little guys. I have all the usual reference books, but not a single one even mentions this species. Google shows only a few entries, none of which are of any help to me. I realize there are about 140-150 different species of Corys, all of which are from various parts of South America and living in waters from a PH of about 5 to a PH of about 6.8-7.0. I would really like to take good care of these critters, but how do you suggest I do that without knowing anything about them? (Other, of course, than "all Corys are about the same" - which is definitely not the case!) I hope you can steer me in the right direction. Thank you very much. Tage Blytmann < For all your catfish needs check out planetcatfish.com. Just type in the species name under the search and read away.-Chuck>


Corydoras barbatus  2/6/06 Hello I am currently looking at buying 3 Corydoras barbatus and was wondering if $20 seemed like a good price for them. <For all three? Okay> I was also wondering if they would be compatible with my current tank in a planted 55 gallon tank and the following tankmates: 2 Corydoras paleatus 1 C. aeneus 6 Columbian tetra (Hyphessobrycon sp) 2 gold tetra 1 cardinal tetra (the sole survivor of a ghost shrimp incident) 1 flying fox 1 Pleco 1 Betta and hopefully soon: 10 blue tetra 6 glass blood fin tetra My tank currently has a ph of 6.0, 0 nitrites,0 ammonia, and 10 nitrates. Any information regarding C. barbatus' size and requirements will help Thank you CJ. <Should go fine: http://www.google.com/custom?q=Corydoras+barbatus+&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>


Photo copyright   1/13/06 Dear Mr. Fenner Robert <Ivan> I started to build web pages about CALLICHTHYIDAE about 6 years ago for my personal usage. At this time I no interested about copyright of the photos. <I see> Just now I choose to duplicate my pages. I want ask you if I can to use your photos on my web pages. All yours photos will be marked by your name and will be refers to your web pages. I started with publication of my pages. My web address is: http://www.gobyus.com/cc_sk/corycats/ These pages are in Slovak language. <Very nice appearance...> If you will not agree with using of your photos on my web, all your photos will by removed from these pages. I will only refer on your web pages as a source for me. Thank you for your answer. Best regards Ivan Sokol P.S. I'm sorry but English is not my native language. Please justify my mistakes. <No worries. I do grant you permission for this non-commercial use of my content. Thank you for your efforts. Bob Fenner>


More Corys, Crowding Concerns? - 12/18/2005 Gage, Not to worry. I appreciate the reply. (My reply was largely rhetorical, anyway.) <Hi, Tom; Sabrina with you today.> Now, (refreshing your memory here), four Serpae Tetras, six Bloodfin Tetras, six Black-skirt Tetras and a Red Flame Gourami in the 50-gallon tank. Eight Panda Corys enroute to the QT. Can I add another school of Corys (six Serpae Corys) or, is this, now, overload? <I think this is sustainable.  Go for it.> My best, Tom <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>


Pregnant Cory?  12/18/05 First, wishing you all Happy Holidays from Michigan (where there is no doubt of a 'White Christmas'!).    <And to all, peace on earth, good will toward all>   I have six Corydoras leopardus (Leopard Cory's) in a well-established, 50-gallon, community tank along with six Bloodfin tetras, six Black-skirt tetras, one Red Flame Gourami and four Serpae (Red Minor) tetras (will re-think this choice of animal in the future for a "community" FW venture).    <Okay>   The Corys are a particular favorite of mine and I spend a lot of time - inordinate, according to my wife - observing my fish, these especially. Tonight, one plunked himself/herself down on top of a decoration and "refused" to be moved. No labored breathing, parasitic "attachments", discoloration or outward damage/injury. Just wouldn't be budged by me or its tankmates, though some of the other Corys tried. (I've observed the occasional "pause" before in Corys but never on a prolonged basis.)    <What characters at times!>   Before making a panicked lurch for the QT, I reached in and gave the little fellow a shove. Off and, running, with no duplication of this behavior. Time will tell but is it possible that this is an indication of pregnancy? (I've never been a "grandparent" before. :) )      Thanks for your time, Tom <More likely "just dozing" or trying to capture your mind! Bob Fenner>


Fat Cory  11/30/05 Hi! I have a 15 gallon tank with a few goldfish and 2 albino cories. My landlord rescued the cories who were abandoned by a previous tenant and gave them to me. They've been living peacefully with the gold fish for many months now. I did notice that one Cory has grown very fat now, fat all around, yet it is still a small fish maybe 1 1/4" long. It's still been very active swimming and eating. Is it overeating or about to lay eggs? I haven't been able to find out what's wrong with it by researching on the internet. Do you know? Thanks! Lea <Cories will breed when given good conditions. If all else seems OK with them then your fish is probably gravid. Don> 


Sick Cory catfish  11/14/05 I have a 10 gallon tank with 7 tetras and 3 Cory catfish. One of my catfish has been sick for 2 weeks. I expected him to die a while ago but he just keeps hanging on so I was hoping someone could give me advice on how I could help him get better. He swims around but then rests upside down. <Yikes, bad> He also will swim straight up to the top of the water and then float upside down back to the bottom. Its like he's lost his sense of balance. <Yes> He doesn't have any other symptoms except lying upside down. My water parameters are all normal. The temp. of the tank is 80 degrees. I'm thinking that he might have a swim bladder infection, <Likely some damage here, yes> but have no idea on how to treat it. I want to stay away from medication if possible. Any advice? Thanks! <I would at this point simply observe this fish and hope for a spontaneous cure. Bob Fenner> 


Panda Cory with Milky Film 10/13/05 Hello, <Good morning. Sabrina with you.> This is my first fish tank and your website has been tremendously valuable. I keep making mistakes, though, and lost 4 panda Corys. Just when I think I've figured out what I'm doing wrong, another panda gets sick. <Yikes. Starting out, most folks make mistakes, so do not beat yourself up on this. It is how we are prompted to learn.> I now have two pandas. One seems healthy and active, but the other has milky white clumps on one side of his body. They started about 2 weeks ago and are spreading. I'm attaching two photos...I hope you can open them. I don't know if it's a fungus or bacterial infection. <A tough question. I, personally, think this is Columnaris or some other (severe) bacterial infection. Good photo, BTW.> I've been treating the tank with Maracyn for 8 days now. Initially, there was a small red spot in the white patch that's gone now. The Cory hides but eats actively (sinking wafers and shrimp pellets) and his breathing seems normal. Both seem to tolerate the Maracyn. <I don't think Maracyn (Erythromycin) will treat Columnaris; even if this is something else bacterial, I doubt that Erythromycin is the way to go; it only treats gram-positive bacteria (that's bacteria that have a cell wall); there are few gram-positive bacteria responsible for illness in fish.> <<This is incorrect: The difference between "gram positive" bacteria and "gram negative" bacteria has to do with how they take up (or don't) a type of violet stain (re: peptidoglycan w/in cell walls) .  Try Googling, or view here  Marina>>

My tank and mistakes: -- 7 gal, power filter with venturi tube, sponge filter, heater, light, live plants, driftwood. -- 1 male Betta, 2 panda Corys (at most 4). -- temp 80F, ph 7.0, total ammonia < 0.1ppm (was zero before Maracyn), nitrites 0ppm, nitrates 5ppm, dGH 2, dKH 2. -- 30-40% water change and gravel vac every other day, Amquel, Nutrafin Cycle every other change. Temp change 1-2 degrees after change. <This is too much maintenance, once the tank's cycled.> -- mistakes: --didn't cycle properly and overfed; lost 2 Corys due to high ammonia. --problems keeping temp and pH stable; okay now. --initially fed Betta live tube worms <Tubifex worms, perhaps? Try to avoid these; blackworms are safer (as in, less prone to passing along disease to your fish).> and now some are living in the gravel. I vacuum but can't seem to get rid of them. Maybe the substrate wasn't clean enough. <This is okay. The worms in the substrate aren't of significant concern unless they are very numerous.> --Two other Corys gradually got sick. <Ammonia again? Or this illness?> --one died after one dose of Maroxy; did quick water change and stopped. --another died after one dose of Maracyn II, same. I feel terrible about losing these fish. Is there anything I can do if the Maracyn doesn't work? <I've shown this to Bob, as well.... his recommendation is to treat with aquarium salt and a furan compound.... might read here for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/furancpdfaqs.htm .> I don't want to add another chemical or medicine that might do more harm than good. <The Maracyn likely will not be of help here.> I won't add new fish. Through all this, my Betta has been very active, eating heartily, and seemingly oblivious. <I would remove him from this system immediately, lest he contract the illness as well. Normally I would recommend the opposite, removing the infected fish to a separate quarantine/hospital system, but I would be fearful for the Betta right now.> Thanks for your expertise! --Anita <Wishing you the best, -Sabrina>

Panda Cory with Milky Film - II - 10/21/2005 Hello Sabrina again, <Aloha.> Thank you for your advice on treating my panda Cory with the bacterial infection. I set up a small 2.5 gal tank with power filter, heater, new gravel, two new live plants, and some decorations, then moved my Betta into it. Since the tank isn't cycled (I didn't use gravel from my main tank, due to the infection), I am monitoring the ammonia and doing 50% water changes every other day. He is settled and healthy, his normal self, though a bit cramped. <All sounds good for now.> I am relieved he's safe. In my 7 gal main tank with the two panda Corys, I added aquarium salt (dissolved in water) and began treatment with Furan 2 (two courses for 8 days). Today is the last day. The tank parameters are still: temp 80F, pH 7.0, total ammonia 0ppm, nitrites 0ppm, nitrates 5ppm. I have good news and bad news, plus more questions if you can help. <Alright! Let's get started.> First the good: Both Corys tolerated the treatment. The healthy one looks the same with no sign of infection. The sick one still has energy, eats a lot, and swims around. He has actually grown bigger in the three weeks since the white patches appeared. <Wow.> (He is the only Cory that developed these white patches.) Both seem to be breathing normally with no redness around the gills. Now the bad: The white patches don't seem to have reduced in size or thickness. It's difficult to tell if they've spread, but there might be a new patch on his right side. The past few days, I've noticed he darts and jerks more when he swims and hides more often. I looked at a close-up photo and was astonished to find that his left pectoral fin is gone! It was definitely there 5 days ago.



 Panda post-Furan2.

<Did you start medicating with a Furan compound yet?> I am attaching photos. Since this infection started, his left side seemed to swell and bulge around the pectoral fin. Since he's grown bigger, it's hard to tell if there's still a bulge. I plan to do a partial water change and put back the carbon filter as recommended on the Furan 2 package. <Mm, you should remove the carbon when you start treating with the Furan 2.> Should I keep the aquarium salt in the water or gradually remove it with water changes? <Fine to leave the salt in, as long as it is no more than 1 tablespoon per five or ten gallons.... less is better with Corys.> Is there another treatment I can try? <Have you started the Furan 2 yet? I would give it a second go, if you're already done with the first round.> Can his fin grow back? <Possibly, but also possibly not. Not to worry, though, he can live without a pectoral fin if it does not grow back.> Is it possible he can make it or does this mean he will slowly get worse and suffer more? What is the best and kindest thing I can do for him now? <In all honesty, I don't know his chances. It's a pretty bad infection. However, if he's still eating, I think there's still hope. I would give it a second round with the Furan 2, and if that still fails, I would consider going to something "stronger", perhaps Oxytetracycline....> Thanks for your help, --Anita <All the best to you and your fish, -Sabrina>

Panda Cory with Milky Film - III - 10/22/2005
Hello Sabrina, <Ahoy thar, matey!> <<Hey.. talk like a pirate day was last week!>> Thanks so much for your quick reply! <Sure thing.> To clarify, I ended 8 days of treatment with Furan 2 yesterday. (The package says to use it for 4 days, then you may repeat if necessary, which I did. <Ah, I see.> I cut open the capsules to get the right dosage for my 7 gal tank. I don't know if there's a better way. <Mm, probably that was right to do.> <<Please note: this stuff can stain clothes permanently.  MH>> I washed my hands immediately afterwards.) Three days after starting the Furan 2, I took a photo that shows the pectoral fin. Five days after that, another photo showed the fin was gone. (Without the photos, it's hard to compare how he's doing since he moves so fast.) <At least he's still acting well!> I removed the carbon during the treatment and just put it back yesterday. Today the water is clear again instead of greenish from the Furan 2. Is it okay to continue the Furan for another 4 days (for 12 total days)? <Actually, I would not.> It's hard to tell if it made a difference (except he's still here!). Do you have a recommendation for an Oxytetracycline product? I'll look for some today. <Having discussed this with Bob, I wish to recommend that you use Acriflavine in the water, instead.... Methylene Blue if you can't find Acriflavine. In addition to this, a food medicated with Oxytetracycline is a really, really good idea. Here is one place to purchase such a product: http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/29/cat29.htm?264 . Otherwise, you can make this yourself, if you can find Oxytetracycline.... or could use tetracycline.... or other antibiotic.... This article contains a passage about preparing your own medicated foods: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm .> Thank you! -Anita <Sure thing. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

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