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FAQs on Callichthyid Catfish Identification

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

Related Catfish FAQs:  Callichthyids 1, Callichthyids 2, Callichthyid Behavior, Callichthyid Compatibility, Callichthyid Selection, Callichthyid Systems, Callichthyid Feeding, Callichthyid Disease, Callichthyid Reproduction, Catfish: Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Reproduction

Who am I?

former Hoplosternum thoracatum    9/5/12
Bob and Crew,
When you have a moment, I would appreciate your assistance in tracking down a particular color variety of a freshwater catfish, or determining if it actually exists. LOL
Here is where you can find a picture of the fish:  Dr. Warren Burgess An atlas of Freshwater and Marine Catfishes Page 644 Plate 161 Right column 2nd picture down which is the former (Hoplosternum ) and the picture shows a perfectly Black and White variety I haven't seen anywhere.
I snapped a shot of it with my camera on my phone and will include:
Thanks for your time in advance,
Rick
<Juvenile Megalechis exhibit more defined markings, and that's what you're seeing here. This fish isn't "black and white" at all, though the ambient lighting and/or type of colour film used may suggest this. In any case, I'm fairly sure this fish is Megalechis picta, distinguished from Megalechis thoracata by the dark vertical band on the tail fin. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: re: former Hoplosternum     9/6/12
Neale,  thank you for your response.  This isn't the only picture I've found of this color variant.  There is a much older book I looked through and found a similar photo.  From the picture this doesn't appear to be a smaller or juvenile fish, although pictures can be deceiving. Thanks,
Rick
<There is much variation among juvenile Megalechis, and some can have very striking colouration. Ditto for closely related genera Hoplosternum, Callichthys and Lepthoplosternum. Nonetheless, I'm not aware of any pure black/white varieties among any. Older books suffer from the less than perfect translation of monochrome and colour film to paper, and the fact
many publishers (even today) tweak the colours of photos so that a given fish looks more attractive. Much better to use sites like PlanetCatfish and ScotCat to peruse recent photos of aquarium specimens, and use them to identify the fish in your tanks or at your local retailer. Cheers, Neale.>
Corydoras ID -11/18/07 Lord, I hate to bother you all again. But I've spent several days at planetcatfish.com trying to ID this little Corydoras catfish and can't seem to find what he/she is. I ordered Corydoras trilineatus and 2 of these came in the same batch. I'm putting them all in the 125 gal with the Severum (after 4 wks quarantine). I'd like to get a few more of this species because I noticed Corys seem to hang out with their own species pretty often and I want them to be comfortable. If you can ID him for me I'd certainly be grateful and so would the little Cory. Thank you all, you're the most wonderful group of volunteers I've ever encountered. Mitzi <Hello Mitzi. Your catfish could well be Corydoras trilineatus. As you perhaps realise, Corydoras trilineatus and Corydoras julii are routinely mixed up. In fact many catfish experts reckon that most of the fish sold as Corydoras julii are actually Corydoras trilineatus. The give-away is the head: Corydoras trilineatus has black worm-like markings on its head, whereas Corydoras julii has discrete, approximately circular spots. Because your fish doesn't seem to have those spots on its head, I don't think it is Corydoras julii. I agree with you that Corydoras are happiest in big groups. Six specimens seems to be the minimum to really get the most from them. Kept like that, they are less shy and more entertaining, as well as easier to breed. Thanks for the kind words, and hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Corydoras ID/tank height -11/18/07 I have a PS to the email below I just sent. I just read a quote from Neale at wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/callcatdisfaq2.htm saying "<Circulation of the water is important. But also how deep is the tank? Corydoras are obligate air breathers, and they will literally drown in an aquarium too deep for them. For the smaller species, around 30 cm is about right. Anything over 45 cm is dodgy, in my opinion.>" This had occurred to me before but now I'm extremely concerned. The 125 gal tank I planned to put 12 Corydoras into is 22" tall (or 60 cm). Is that going to be too tall for them?? If it is I'll just buy them a 40 gal long and put some Hatchet fish in with them. Just when I think I'm done worrying I find out I'm not :-( I'd love to hear your opinions. Mitzi <Hello Mitzi. In deep tanks, small Corydoras may struggle to reach the surface. In a plain aquarium, 45 cm may be taken as a safe depth of water for medium- to large-sized species like Corydoras panda and Corydoras aeneus. Smaller species, like Corydoras hastatus, shouldn't really be kept at more than 30 cm depth. In deeper tanks, it's generally recommended you go with Brochis rather than Corydoras spp; Brochis are altogether stronger swimmers and naturally come from relatively deep waters. Corydoras are very much shallow water fish that inhabit creeks and streams rather than rivers. My peppered Corydoras live in a tank where the water is about 40 cm deep, and they seem fine. What I have noticed is they often rest half-way on stiff plants such as Anubias. So, if your tank is unusually deep, you might incorporate such resting places so that their life isn't too difficult. Do note that I'm talking about the depth of water rather than the depth of the tank; by the time you allow for the depth of substrate and the air space at the top of the tank, your 60 cm aquarium will likely only contain around 50 cm of water depth. While still deeper than the optimum, with a few robust plants, bogwood roots, or rocky ledges, your catfish should be fine. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy - Gourami mix revisited: this time, +cats!   2/2/06   Hi crew!   Thanks for your quick+informative reply regarding my platies! The little guys look very happy! I followed your advice and bought a test kit: all very good readings:   Ammonia: 0   Nitrate:0   Nitrite:25 - 50 <These last two are crossed-over... and nitrate's a bit high. Do try to keep below 20 ppm... means covered on WWM>   Ph: not sure, as it was a funny light blue colour, but I'm guessing it was about 7.5, and they told me not to worry about it at my local fish store place.    <Is likely fine... also covered>   I did not buy the gouramis, as planned, but instead bought 2 little cats. I hope to get the gouramis later.      My question is about my cats. In the shop, they were labeled as "speckled cats", but when I got them home and looked in a fish book, there was a picture of them... Labeled as peppered Corys! I can't send a pic. with this, but I'm working on it! They seem very peaceful and fun loving, could they be the peppered Corys?    <Are very likely a species of Corydoras... maybe paleatus... covered on WWM... fine here>   Thanks for replying to my email, and once again, thanks for your great site! <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Corydoras Correction on the FW Web Site I will pass along your link request and ID correction. Thanks, Steven Pro Hello Steve, I was just checking out the WWM web site, very nice. I would definitely like to link with the site. Let me know if that would be possible or how to go about it. Also, some helpful input, I noticed on the page below: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/callichthyids.htm that the Corydoras catfish captioned "Corydoras barbatus" at the top of the page isn't correct. It appears to be a Corydoras semiaquilus, nowhere near a C. barbatus. Hope that helps a bit, Thanks, Eric <Thank you for this. Will check, re-label tomorrow. Bob Fenner>

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