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CATFISH

By Rhett Butler


MALAPTERURIDAE FAMILY

The Malapteruridae or Electric Catfish Family consists of one genus and three species distributed throughout Central Africa. These fish posses the ability todischarge up to 350 volts in order to catch prey and defend themselves.


Electric Catfish
[ Malapterurus electricus
SYN : Silurus electricus
PD : An elongated, thickset species having small beady eyes. There are three pairs of barbels protruding from the mouth. This species lacks a dorsal fin, but hasa rounded caudal fin. The body coloration is dark-pink to beige with irregular black spotting. Just prior to the caudal peduncle is a broad, dark markingfollowed by a whitish-pink stripe. At the caudal peduncle is another dark, broad band. The fins are generally colorless except for the caudal fin which has acurved brown stripe.
SIZE : To 39" (100 cm) in nature, although usually not larger than 12" (30 cm).
SS : Other Malapterurus species.
HAB : Widespread throughout tropical Africa; Zaire, Niger, Volta, and Nile Rivers.
S : bottom
TANK : A tank measuring 48" (122 cm) with a capacity of 55 gallons (209 L) is sufficient. Provide hiding places among rocks and caves. The lighting should bedim. This species will burrow in the gravel at night, so plants should be well-rooted or potted.
WATER : pH 7-7.8 (7.0), 5-20 dH (10), 73-86F (23-30C)
SB : A predatory species that should be kept singly. Other tank mates may be "shocked." This is a nocturnal species.
SC : None
FOOD : Live; fish, crustaceans, worms, insect larvae ; chopped meat.
SEX : Unknown.
B : Unsuccessful. This species is a cave spawner.
BP : 10. Has not be accomplished in aquaria.
R : This species is equipped with electrical organs in the cutaneous layer of the skin. The fish insulates itself against shock by a thick fatty layer. The head is the negative pole, while the tail is the positive pole. This species will grow accustomed to their keeper and may take food from one's hand.
DC : 7. This hardy species requires live foods. The Electric Catfish should be kept alone. Take care when preforming maintenance.