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Catfish / Callichthyidae / Armored Catfish

Armored Catfish
Callichthys callichthys


SYN: Callichthys coelatus, Cataphractus callichthys, Silurus callichthys
PD: An elongated catfish with straight belly profile. Its head is broad and flattened and has small eyes. The body has two sets of plates. The upper has 26-29, while the lower 25-28. The body color is brown to flesh colored with each plate having its own unique color. In reflected light the body has a green to violet sheen, especially if good water conditions are maintained. The back and head are spotted with small black spots. The upper jaw has two pair of barbels-one set is long and points straight out, while the other is shorter and pointing downwards.
SIZE: To 7" (18 cm)
SS: Dianema species such as the Porthole Catfish are somewhat similar.
H: Widely distributed throughout South America; Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia. Often found in brackish rivers that are affected by the tide.
A: bottom
TANK: 24" (61 cm) or 15 gallons (56 L) is sufficient for fish to 5” (13 cm). The tank should be well-planted with large, robust plants and have a fine gravel substrate for burrowing.  Provide hiding places with roots, wood, and rocks. Like many other catfish, the Armored Catfish prefers large, shallow tanks.
WATER: pH 5.8-8.2 (7.0), 2-25 dH (10), 66-82°F (19-28°C). A 0.5 to 1% addition of salt is welcomed. This can be accomplished by adding 4 to 7.5 TSP. of salt for every 10 gallons (5-10 g salt/10 L).
SB: A nocturnal, calm, peaceful fish that likes to school. Recommended for community tanks with fish that are over 2.5" (6.4 cm) in length for it may eat fish smaller than this.
SB: Cichlasoma, Anostomus, Colossoma, Metynnis, Leporinus
FOOD: Live; fish, insects, worms; tablets; plant matter; vegetables. This catfish should be fed after the tank lights are turned off.
SC: The male is larger, more colorful, and has a thicker first pectoral fin. The front rays of the male's pectoral fins are red.
B: Keeping the water cool (68°F) may help induce spawning. A bubble nest is built on the underside of plant leaves by the male. 100-200 eggs are laid in the nest. The male guards the nest aggressively from all other fish and emits grunting noises. Remove other fish from tank. The fry hatch in 4-6 days and live on the contents of their egg-sacs for 2-3 days. Start feeding hard-boiled egg yolk and small live foods. The young are free swimming after 6-8 days.
BP: 7. Breeding the Armored Catfish is moderately difficult.
R: This fish often takes atmospheric air from the water surface via the mouth to the intestine. This fish has been known to leave the water and move across land during the dry season. The Armored Catfish grows slowly. It comes out at dusk to search the bottom for fallen food and often hides during the day. Wild-caught specimen have a difficult time acclimating.
DC: 3. A hardy fish ideal for community tanks with larger fish.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com