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CATFISH

By Rhett Butler

SILURIDAE FAMILY
The Siluridae or Old-world Catfish Family is found in Southeast Asia and is represented in aquaria, by the genera Kryptopterus and Ompok. Estimates from 60 to 100 species have been made.


Glass catfish, Ghost catfish [Pictures]
Kryptopterus bicirrhis
SYN: Cryptopterichthys bicirrhis, Kryptopterus minor, Silurus bicirrhis
PD: Its body is elongated and laterally compressed. This species is scaleless and lacks body pigment, thus making the body transparent. The internal organs and backbone are clearly visible. Depending on the angle of light, the body can have a iridescent rainbow color. A long pair of barbels are located on the upper jaw. The dorsal fin is very small, consisting of only one ray, while the caudal fin is forked.
SIZE: To 6" (15 cm) in nature, although not usually larger than 4.7" (12 cm) in aquaria.
SS: Kryptopterus, Ompok
HAB: Southeast Asia; slow-moving, rivers with heavy vegetation in Borneo, Java, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Sumatra, Malaysia
S: Middle
TANK: 20" (60 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L) is adequate for young fish under 2" (5 cm). Adults should be kept in larger tanks. The tank should have a moderate to strong current and be well-planted. A cover of floating plants is recommended to dim the light.
WATER: pH 6.5-7.5 (7.0), 4-15 dH (8), 73-82F (23-28C)
SB: A peaceful community fish that should be kept in a shoal of at least four fish. Single fish do poorly. A diurnal catfish. Do not combine with large, aggressive species.
SC: Tetras, Gouramis, barbs, danios, Corydoras, Loricarids, Loaches, Hatchetfish, Platies, Kribensis, Red-tailed Shark.
FOOD: Live; Tubifex, brine shrimp, insect larvae; flake.
SEX: Difficult to distinguish; females are plumper when mature.
B: Breeding is rare and usually accidental. Try feeding a pair mosquito larvae, Daphnia, and bloodworms to get them in spawning condition. Stimulate the rainy season to initiate spawning by daily water changes of 1/4 the tank volume. Lower the water temperature to 72-75F (22-24C) and reduce the tank water level to half of normal. Each day, add a small amount (5% of the tank volume) of soft water to the tank. If the fish are ready to spawn, the female's belly will swell. She will lay several hundred eggs on plants. Separate the parents from the eggs. Simulating the rainy season will help the eggs mature. Start feeding the fry with newly hatched brine shrimp.
BP: 9. Breeding the Glass Catfish is very difficult.
R: A nervous catfish.
DC: 4. The Glass Catfish is sensitive to changes in water chemistry and water pollutants. Its diet should occasionally include live foods.