Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs on Catfishes in General

Related Articles: Catfishes, Sucker mouth Cats/Loricariids, Otocinclus, Callichthyids, Ictalurid Catfishes, Mochokids/Synodontis, Candirus (Trichomycterids, Cetopsids), Marine Catfishes: Plotosids, Ariids,

Related Catfish FAQs: Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Reproduction, Columbian "sharks",

A small Brazilian Red Tailed Cat, Phractocephalus hemilopterus

Chrysichthys spp. 1/19/10
I bought a catfish yesterday labeled as an aluminum catfish.
<Crikey! Haven't seen one of these in the trade for YEARS! Used to be semi-commonly traded here in the UK during the 1980s, when big catfish were very much the "in thing". Now hardly ever seen.>
I was under the impression that the "aluminum catfish" was a single species of fish that reached an adult size of about 8 inches. I was wrong.... When I got home, I did some research, only to find that almost all of the fish in the Chrysichthys genus reached sizes of over 12" in length.
<Indeed, several species sold as Aluminium Catfishes, including some Chrysichthys species, but also Clarotes laticeps, and possibly others. When at university I was sold an "Aluminium Catfish" that turned out to be nothing more than a Channel Catfish, Ictalurus. The Ali Cat name really gets applied to most any big, silvery (usually African) catfish. So you have to be careful. Yours certainly isn't an Ictalurus, and it isn't the Chrysichthys species I used to keep, Chrysichthys ornatus. It does look a lot like Chrysichthys longipinnis, what Fishbase calls the Aluminium Catfish. That species supposedly reaches a maximum length of 70 cm (27 inches), and even assuming it only gets about 2/3rds that size (often the case with riverine cats) you're still looking at some thing around 45 cm in length (about 18 inches).>
Some only got to 13" or so, but others topped 2'. Is there any way that I can i.d. my cat so I know how large it will get?
<As juveniles, many clarotid catfish look exceedingly similar, so it's impossible to say for sure. I think this is Chrysichthys longipinnis, though adults of that species have quite well developed dorsal fins. Do also look at Chrysichthys nigrodigitatus, another species that is occasionally traded. In short, review Fishbase, in particular the thumbnails of species in the family Claroteidae.
If you can provide any insight, that would be great. I think I have Chrysichthys auratus, but my fish is only a juvenile, about 1.5", so it's hard for me to tell.
<Quite so; Chrysichthys auratus should have an obviously golden colour, which this specimen appears to lack.>
I have attached some photos of it; sorry for the poor quality and the smudges on the glass. Semester exams are coming up and I haven't had time to clean my aquarium's glass.
Thanks in advance!
<I kept Chrysichthys ornatus for a long time, 10 years, before passing him on to another aquarist with some similarly venerable Ctenopoma and Synodontis. In short, my experience of Chrysichthys ornatus was that this was a very hardy, essentially peaceful, but extremely predatory animal capable of swallowing tankmates up to 2/3rds it size (lost a blue Gourami that way). So DO NOT underestimate the "bite" of these animals. They are top predators, and need to be treated as such. Typical riverine fish:
unfussy about water chemistry, but appreciate water current and good oxygenation. Eat anything; earthworms, krill, chopped fish fillet as well as catfish pellets will all work well for its diet. A superb fish, but you WILL need a big tank for him. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Chrysichthys spp. 1/20/10
Thanks for your reply Neale.
I looked through Fishbase and talked with the folks on planetcatfish.com....
<A good site.>
It seems that only time will tell what species I have, but what do you think the chances are that I have a species that will reach a size of under 12"/30cm in captivity?
<Unknown, but honestly, I doubt you'll be that lucky.>
The guys on planetcatfish mentioned C. polli,
<Not traded, so far as I know. If it's so uncommonly seen Fishbase doesn't have a photo of the live fish, it's pretty unlikely to turn up in a pet store.>
and I have been looking at a couple pictures of C. brevibarbis...
both of these seem to match my fish, at least more closely than C. longipinnis.
<This is the Ali Cat of the trade though.>
Or should I say, I hope that those species match my cat more closely than C. longipinnis?
<Comparing a photo of a pickled fish at Fishbase to a live one is practically pointless, so I really can't comment on Chrysichthys polli. I've never seen a live specimen.>
As you can probably tell, I really want to keep this fish...
<By all means keep it. Even if it's a small species, it's going to be around 30-45 cm when mature, and that's a fish that needs a big tank and robust tankmates. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Cheers, Neale.>

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>

Stunted albino channel cat I received a two inch albino channel cat from my mom who had it about 1 year. <Still two inches?...> I bought it a identical buddy and they live in a full whisky barrel that's spring fed. My question: why is my year old channel cat still two inches while its mate has grown another half again in three months. My mother kept it in poor water conditions; may have been malnourished, and it has a funny white bump showing through its skin slightly afore and above its stomach on one side. The poor critter won't eat much either, any suggestions? ~Dano <You list the two principal likely reasons for its stunting... keep up your efforts at feeding, and you may be rewarded with this Cat's return to growth, health. Bob Fenner>

UGF and Catfish Questions I hate to inundate you with questions, but I can't seem to find the answers to this anywhere else, and you guys always seem to have the right solutions. <No problem, Don here> I have been running an undergravel filter on one of my tanks but I now want to change and use canister filters instead. What do I need to do to make the transition? Can I leave the plate in and just take out the tubes? Should I wait a few weeks to allow the canister filters to get established? (I plan to use an Eheim 2229 wet/dry and an Eheim 2260 on a 215 gallon tank) <You want to remove the plates. Big job in a 215. If you can move the fish for a few hours, do it. If not I would start by siphoning out as much gravel as possible. You can rinse and reuse. Try to get the siphon under the plate before you lift it too far. There is going to be tons of nasty stuff under it. You want to get as much out before it floats away into the water. Don't do this until the new filters are cycled. Watch for ammonia and nitrite spikes afterward> Second question: is there any catfish similar to the giraffe cat that cleans the gravel like it does but does not get as big as the giraffe? <There is a dwarf giraffe catfish, to 8". See here: http://www.planetcatfish.com/cotm/2003_08.php Third: is it necessary to have a CO2 system for a planted aquarium? <No, not for most plants, but some need it and all will benefit. If you add one watch your pH> Last question: can Plecos be used in a fresh water planted aquarium? <Yes, most well fed Plecos will not eat your plants. There is always a chance however, if we're talking about the Common Pleco. I have three Big Spots and three Bristlenose in a lightly planted tank. Never lost a leaf. There are also many meat eating Plecos> Thanks for all of your help, Jim G

Mystery Customer? Well, I tried the CopperSafe and the Maracide, and to no avail. it didn't work on her. in fact, all it really did was cloud the water up in a gray kind of color. in any case, it was worth a try at it. thanks for trying to help. >>Ed; I apologize, I am new to the crew and I require some background info on your catfish. What are you treating for, and what are your tank parameters? Size, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate readings, and what exactly the problem is. Please let me know so I may help you. -Gwen

Glass cat aliment Ok, I've tried to figure this one out on my own, but I'm just not too sure. A few days ago I noticed one of my glass (ghost, etc.) cats had an odd white spot on its head. This was no ordinary white spot it is about the size of his eye, located towards the front-left side of his head. He was acting sort of sluggish till I started giving him attention and then he joined the rest of his group and acted like nothing was wrong. <Sounds like it is effecting him. A large white spot quite possibly is a large infection in/under the skin. My guess would be Columnaris. If there were smaller white spots around the area I would think it was ich. But, that large of a spot seems like a bacterial fungal infection of some kind.> I separated him to my QT to continue my inspection of his little translucent body. <Glad to see you already have a QT going. one of the best things a hobbyist can do to ensure a fish's health as well as the other tank inhabitants is to separate it from the others.> Well, his clear 'tail' is still pretty clear, but his innards (from what I can see behind his head) are cloudy and have a whitish-milky hue to them. <yes, I would think that it's a bacterial infection. It would be best to use Maracyn (a product brought out by Mardel) it had worked the best on my iridescent sharks (which like your fish are catfish). I had also used Jungle "Fungus eliminator" which did work, but I found that the fish's illness returned down the road.> He shows no obvious signs of stress- only separation anxiety- he eats, swims and follows me like usual. But it looks like something took the scales off the top of his head, I don't know what though, he's housed in a 29gal with 10 others like him (each with their own personality) and 7 ghost shrimp. <Most likely the infection started from the damage to the head. Keep him separated until he gets better, no use exposing the other fish. You will need to offer these fish larger accommodations down the road. They can grow to be quite big.> At first I thought fungus, but the large white area appears to be contoured with his noggin, not fuzzy. <Not all fungus is fuzzy, True fungus if fuzzy, but bacterial fungal infections can give a whitish blue coloration to the fishes body.> Too big for Ich; perhaps the hole is hole in the head - diet is varied and water is changed 25%/ 2 wk. I haven't a clue why his 'guts' would be cloudy. <an internal infection. It's not every fish that gives you the capability to see it's internal organs. I imagine many fish when sick would have inflamed or infected organs, but unless you have an autopsy on the fish you would never know.> I gave him salt baths yesterday and now I'm waiting- but like I said- he doesn't act like anything is wrong (other than he's been separated from his friends). <Try adding some of the medicine and see if it does have an effect on the fish. You might also want to look into medicated food, which is sold in most pet stores. That would ensure that it gets medicines into it's systems to help the internal problems.> Thanks, Dave O <Good luck with the fish, hope it gets better.-Magnus>
Re: Glass cat aliment (update)
Magnus, thanks for your great help with my glass cat. <Glad I could help.> He had been separated for a little over three weeks and the Maracyn seemed to be doing the trick- the whitish 'thing' on his head was about gone but his innards still seemed cloudy. <internal infections are hard to heal up... cause the fishes immune system really has to do the fight. External problems can be helped along with the medicine in the water.> That is, until this morning and now I'm even more perplexed by his ailment. You see, I found him dead on the bottom... with no internal organs. Yes, gone. There was an empty cavity from the anus to the skull- he was only flesh, bones, and skin (scale)- everything else was gone... just not there (it was a very disturbing and peculiar sight). <Wow... All I can think of is something from "Alien". I've only seen that happen in tanks with other tankmates. When the other fish/critters started snacking when the fish died.> Confused, I searched the tank for them (the guts)- but I guess they were sucked into the filter- there is nothing else in the QT (only the filter, heater & airstone). <I once had a goldfish that had similar problems... had internal infections (swelling of the body) and I found him with his organs missing and stuck to the intake of the filter. What I think happened to him (which might be the case here) is that the internal swelling and infection had became bad, the fish lost it's ability to swim well and became stuck on the intake filter. When it died, the bacteria already present in the body started feeding and I think with the help of the suction it actually tore the stretched body open. The internal organs were sucked in, and the fish was just sort of dangling at the intake. Perhaps this happened to your fish, and it somehow became dislodged from the intake and drifted away from it. This is just a theory, but it's about all I can think of that could have effected your fish like this. Unless you have Jack the Ripper hiding in you fish tank.> Yeah, I don't know what else was wrong with him, I'm guessing some sort of internal parasite, but I'll be keeping a watchful eye on the rest of them for any sign of trouble. <could have been an internal parasite that was growing inside... but I'm sure it would have been something you would have seen in the body of the clear Glass cat.> What should I do with my QT? Should I just dump the water and re-cycle it hoping that the ammonia spike will kill off anything that survived the 100% H2O change? Soak everything in a bleach solution? Or I am just paranoid, and the QT will be fine with normal maintenance (and no new fish/ hosts for a while)? <I would dump the water and re-cycle it. If you are worried, you can rinse the inside of the tank using extremely hot water to kill the parasites. I wouldn't use a bleach solution, most parasites can't live without a host. So if you leave the tank fallow (fishless) for 4-6 weeks than any parasite will have lived out it's life cycle and not been able to procreate.> Again, many thanks for your help with the initial diagnosis & treatment. <Wish I could have helped more. Sorry for the loss of your fish. -Magnus>

Ageneiosus marmoratus - "dolphin catfish"? Hi Mr. Fenner: <Crewmember Sabrina here for yah this afternoon> Hope everything is going great for you this holiday season. <Indeed it is, thank you - I hope all is well for you, as well.> I am writing to see if you can provide some info as to what is a "dolphin catfish". I did a search online and came up with many links that said a Dolphin catfish is the same as Pseudodoras niger. <This is what I have found, as well.> That was a surprise for me but I figured it could be possible. <Common names for many fish differ greatly depending upon locality, unfortunately. Latin names are much more sound.> However, 1 link took me to a website of a Japanese importer where he has pictures of different "dolphin catfishes" and they were all members of the family Ageneiosidae. <This is a genus of the family Auchenipteridae. Might want to make use of the inexhaustible PlanetCatfish: http://www.planetcatfish.com/core/index.htm . Check out the "Cat-eLog" - I love this site for catfish reference.> I have been looking for a specific member of the Ageneiosidae family for many years with no success but I have been looking for it under a different name (Marbled Flat-nosed cat or Marbled slopehead catfish). Is this family of catfish the ones known as Dolphin Catfishes or is it yet a different fish? <Honestly, I am not familiar with that common name, other than finding it via google searches, etc., and there, like you, I find it in reference to Pseudodoras niger.> Thank you, Ivan PS. Do you have any idea where I could find for sale the Ageneiosus marmoratus or other members of its family? <I believe I saw this fish once, and only once, at a store called "Jumbo Fish" in Wichita KS - Oh, how I loved that store! They had some of the most bizarre, impossible-to-find fish.... Rumor has it the place burned down (sob!), but I don't know that for sure (and I hope not!). I imagine if a store can get hold of it, you can too, with some serious prying and digging. Check with any local aquarium clubs, check on Planet Catfish's forum, ah, and you might try with http://www.belowwater.com/ as they tend to bring in some mind-blowing fish from South America. Good luck on the fish-hunt! Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Pregnant Albino Catfish Could you please tell me how long it will take my Pregnant Albino Catfish to have it's fry? <Mmm, is this (likely) a Corydoras (genus) catfish? Please see here for identification and information on reproduction: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/callichthyids.htm> Thanks Ryan Ferguson <Good luck, life. Bob Fenner>

Comments on Gold nuggets and such.... >Hi Marina >>Hello Wayne. >Just some notes re: the lady who lost her gold nugget and clown plec... First of all you're right to ask how much food made it to these plecs - I believe that the majority of these fish (like many numbers) die of starvation due to both inadequate and incorrect diet. Notice how so many people complain they grow so slowly, well there's a good reason. I have a few baby Bristlenoses I kept in a tank and hammered with food, they're about 5 months old now and the largest is nearly 3 inches. I remember keeping a bristle in with some Mbuna, and that [fish] just stopped growing when it went in there, in contrast to its brother who is now a good, fat, fully grown 4 inches. Also, as you point out the fish, esp. the gold nugget do not feed on algae, except in utter desperation, rather they pick up worms, bugs, critters and chew on the biofilm I believe. These fish are fussy on water quality and also water movement and dissolved oxygen content. Notice how this lady's and so many hung on the filter outlet. In the only good breeding report I've seen a powerhead was pointing at the spawning cave! 30% a month is thoroughly inadequate, and that LFS was pretty stupid to say so. My fish respond well to 10, 15 percent 3 times a week. I only gravel hoover every 2 or 3 weeks though to maintain a biofilm of mulm for continual chewing. I don't think these fish are too fussy about pH within reasonable limits, but I'm pretty sure nuggets at least are from acidic blackwater rivers (Lower xingu, but I need to check that). There is a theory that these low pH rivers are not terribly bacteria friendly, so fish from these areas are all prone to bacterial infection as they simply don' have a 'bacteria unfriendly' immune system - (examples wild caught Apistos, discus, L no.s). Again, another reason for those frequent water changes. So my bet here is a slight slip in water quality, plus a minimal diet caused a bacterial infection and pop. You might not even need the bacterial bit to kill a slowly weakening fish. So I would say if you're going to keep these fish be prepared to overfeed the tank and counter it with frequent small water changes. >>Agreed. >I truly wish I could help with the questions but I simply don't have an hour a day (small children = zero time at home) Regards, Wayne Oxborough >>Much to my chagrin (and others on the crew who know how much we truly need knowledgeable help), I do understand. Thank you for your input, though. Marina

Catfish id On that specific website the pictures do not match the ones on there it does a bit look like the black one but not really it looks like a bug. Please help. <You'll have to just research until you find the right one and then search for that specific one until you have found the info you desire. I can't tell you what it is or any info on it because I can't see it. Ronni>

Catfish id He is blk and has little tiny hooks that go all the way down to his tail. He looks is like mean looking. <Likely a Callichthyid. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/callichthyids.htm Bob Fenner>

Catfish food? That is a bummer. Thank you anyways. What is a good food to feed the cat fishes ? <... please use your computer search engines to gain more specific information re catfishes... there are species that eat most anything to ones with very specialized diets. Study. Bob Fenner>

Catfish L 18 and L 46 Hello, my name is Carol. I have a few questions about setting up a new tank. I was hoping to set up a tank so I could have a few catfish. The two catfish I really like are Gold Nuggets and Zebra Plecos. I was hoping I could have both types in the same tank. I understand Gold Nuggets are algae eaters and Zebra Plecos are meat eaters; both liking warm, high oxygenated, high filtered, flowing water. I was also hoping to include Fancy guppies (knowing that both catfish like peaceful tanks). <I would think that if the tank is large enough you should be fine. Plecos can become extremely territorial though so the tank does need to be large and do keep an eye on them.> (I have two other tanks...60 gal. with 3 Piranhas and a 60 gal with a mix...6 rummy nose tetras, 6 cardinals, 1 clown loach, 3 skunk Botias, Bala shark and a pictus. I have had both tanks 2 years now.) <Sounds like you are having fun!> I have looked for both types of fish in local fish stores...sales person didn't seem to know much about either fish and wanted $45.00 for the gold nugget (about 2"),and $95.00 for the zebra (about 2"). Ok to my questions: can the two types co-habitate <Most likely, see above> What size tank is needed (was told a 10 gal would be ok) <I think this is going to be way too small. Most Plecos can easy reach sizes near 1 1/2 feet and although it generally takes a while I've seen them reach this length in less than a year. Start with at *least* a 29 gallon, larger would be better.> Do you know where I could get the fish for a reasonable price? <This I can't help with. I've seen some dealers who carry them but that was a while ago and I don't remember prices. I also can't personally recommend them since I've never dealt with them myself. Sorry!> Thank you for your time. <Glad to be of assistance.>

Re: Spotted Rafael Catfish Blisters <Ananda here, fielding the freshwater fish questions...> Hello Again! I wrote in a week or two ago about a Spotted Rafael that had blisters and I was directed to your freshwater FAQs which I read through, but what I found was just a massive amount of letters about ich, and some other random things that didn't seem to match at all what I have been seeing on my fish. <Most of the freshwater disease questions we get are about ich.> <<And a huge gap of "need to be written" areas on all but our marine section on WWM>> I have been watching him very closely and calling a couple local and not-so-local fish stores looking for a definitive answer on what my fish is ill with and what I can do to fix it and all I have gotten is a consensus that this IS some sort of parasite. What my fish has is something I have never seen before, I have kept aquarium and pond fish for 13 years and never come across this. I am by no means an expert on fish disease, all I have ever seen really are Popeye, ich and anchor worm, so I am stumped by this one. He has blisters, they are about half the size of a pencil eraser and after a few days away I came home to check on him and, looking closely at the blisters, saw a tiny tiny worm, like a nematode, in each blister. <Yep, it's a parasite...though of course that's the easy part. I have been reading up on stuff for a couple of days, and am not finding much on skin-based blisters containing worms. It seems most worm infestations are more internal if they are not in the gills.> I don't even know where to start, I bought the medicine that the fish store handed me -- something I have never used and never heard of, it's "General Cure" for parasites by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. <I have no familiarity with that one, either.> Of course, none of the pictures they show on the front match what my fish has <That would make it too easy....> but the particular LFS said that was the answer. I was also suggested to use Paragon (spelling??) and Maracyn 2, among others I cannot remember...I did not however pick up anything but the general cure because the store nearest to me only carried the general cure (and I didn't recognize any of the names except Maracyn 2 and the particular LFS assured me it was not what I wanted anyway,) <I think I agree with that part of it.> <<This is likely some sort of "worm" parasite (more likely a digenean trematode/fluke but maybe a nematode) that is erupting from your Rafael... not too rare in wild-collected South American catfishes. The Paragon might help... there are other vermicides... Levamisole, Fenbendazole, Piperazine... that might be tried. These are all administered orally... via food if nematodes are involved here. Praziquantel (as a bath/dip, injected or orally) would be my choice of therapeutic, assuming this is (most likely) a fluke infestation>> so away I went to treat my fish and nothing has happened, it's an every-other day medication and it seems (understandably) that my fish has gotten worse instead of better. Five days later, he developed a blister on his belly -- his blisters disappear and reappear at random, and leave very little evidence of where they used to be, they do not seem to explode or anything of that type. <Very odd.> But since adding the medication he has grown somewhat listless, although he still eats. I'm so sorry of the incessant rambling! I'm very fond of this fish and I don't want to lose him! <Understandable.> I have heard a lot about using saltwater dips and the like, but I don't know if that would be appropriate in his case or if the fish itself would handle it well. <I do not think the fish would tolerate it particularly well, and am not sure it would help, as these seem to be somewhat internal in nature.> <<I concur>> I have been trying to figure this out for two weeks without any clues so ANY advice/help/clues/suggestions would be wonderful. <I would start on an anti-parasitic food, if you can find such. How do the fish's feces look? This may help diagnose the problem. Additionally, can you get a copy of Dieter Untergasser's "Handbook of Fish Diseases"? There is one treatment method suggested in there that sounds like it should work (method C6) -- if you do not have this book please let me know and I will provide details....> Again, I'm so sorry for this long email! <No problem.> Thank you for your time and great advice! Rachael <You're welcome...this has been somewhat of a stumper for me, too, so I am passing it along to the head "pet-fish boy" for further comment. --Ananda> <<Bob Fenner, who encourages you to seek out a copy of Edward J. Noga's Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment.>>

Aquari-sol/sluggishness Bob: It has occurred to me that the Otos and Corys are merely becoming more active now as a result of medicating and that their former inactivity was not normal after all. Maybe I just wasn't used to seeing them shoaling out in the open water and going to the surface a lot. They used to just scoot along on the log and plants and rocks. I also notice that the list of ailments treated on the package of Aquari-sol includes "sluggishness". What do you think? <A treatment for sluggishness? I've got to try this (on myself!). Don't know, but it's a possibility. Elevated temperature often elicits more of the "active response" in these fishes, as will water changes... Swimming about, in the open water, dashing to the surface are all normal, healthy behaviors with these fishes. Bob Fenner>

Re: Aquari-sol/light off? One more thing, Bob: Would you advise leaving the light off on the aquarium for a period as is sometimes recommended while treating ich? If so, for how long? <For ich I would stick to your regular lighting regimen (for interest and completeness sake I would leave the light off for Velvet infestations). Bob Fenner>

Sick Fish Hello. My Rosie barbs have been displaying unusual behavior: glancing off of rocks and decorations, one is hiding in the shadows twitching. There are no detectable spots on them. The fish store said it could be the beginning of some parasite as the PH dropped a week ago. <Maybe, or even just the pH drop itself. Do you have an ammonia test kit? I would measure this, now> They recommended Aquari-sol. Do you know if there is a problem with using Aquari-sol at 12 drops per 10 gallons in a tank with Otocinclus and Cory's? <Should be fine> The Otos' and Corys' are swimming around frantically when they usually don't move much in the open water. Thank you. <What sort of middle-ground temperature, pH and water hardness are you shooting for here? The minnows come from much cooler, higher pH and harder water than the catfishes listed. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Fish Hi Bob. O.K. the pH dropped as a result of adding RO water to my 7.4 tap water a week or so back to try to make the newly arrived Corys more comfortable. I have since learned that they might be fine in my municipal water as this is what they lived in at the store. I have had the temp at 78 but have raised it a bit at the suggestion of the medication manufacturer. Can this be making the cats uncomfortable? Should I lower it? <Seventy eight should be fine> Should I do a partial water change and stop or cut back on the medication? <I would dose per the manufacturer's instructions (I think a drop per gallon)> Or just wait and see? Also, I live in Chicago where the temps and humidity outside are fluctuating a lot now. Is this a problem? <Not if it's not affecting the temperature in your system. Bob Fenner> Sorry Bob, don't know if you got the last part: the ammonia is testing at or near zero

Re: Pseudodoras niger or jaguar catfish?? Hey Bob, are these guys related; Pseudodoras niger and Megaladoras irwini?? <Yes... same family... though a genus has changed... Please insert these names in www.fishbase.org and you will learn> also can u help me.. I am looking for a catfish that I can put in with my African cichlids.. at the moment I have a few Synodontis multipunctatus in there and they are all doing fine.... I was wondering could a Pseudodoras niger or jaguar catfish work in that kind of a tank.. <Likely yes... if they start out large enough, with plenty of rock spaces to get away, adequate feeding to initially fit in> I saw the Pseudodoras at my LFS and the guy told me that they can live in a tank with a ph of up to 7.8 and GH of 25... mine are ph 7.8, KH 12, GH 16.. its 280 gallons.. 96 x 24 x 31 dimensions.. <Mmm, as you'll find by looking at Fishbase... these S. American fishes prefer softer, less alkaline water... there are many "native" African choices to consider in their place> currently I have 8 fish in there.. a Kigoma frontosa (about 3"), Malawi blue dolphin (3" also), a gold Lepidiolamprologus profundicola (4"), 2 Neolamprologus sexfasciatus (2"), 3 Synodontis multipunctatus (4").. I plan to get more fish later on, but this is what I have at the moment.. I also plan to get 3 more Mpulungu Malawi blue dolphin.. 4 Mwele orange Altolamprologus compressiceps, 4 Mutondwe gold head Altolamprologus compressiceps, 5 Synodontis angelicus, 3 Synodontis multipunctatus and also 1 Lepidiolamprologus kendalli.. that's all I have looked into at the moment.. is this a good idea?? If not can yo u recommend any other catfish that would work. I really like how the Pseudodoras looks... its really cool and plus I have the big tank that it requires.. I just got my 280 gallon.. its cycling at the moment. Please help! <Do take a read through the family Mochokidae again... there are some nice choices there that are as available as these doradids... and much more appropriate in terms of water quality. Bob Fenner>

Ghost or Glass Catfish and midget clown loach I had a Ghost Catfish and it died this morning it was perfectly fine except some of its tail was bit of by my Firemouth cichlid.... <Oh oh... these two fishes are not compatible... the Firemouth (and most cichlids) are way too mean to house with an easygoing species like Ghost Glass Cats> The water conditions are fine and I didn't see any visual problems with the fish. just wondering what could have happened. It wasn't to old either it was only like 2 inches long. <I suspect that the initial trauma and "dark of the night" was too much for your catfish... Look for more "armored" species of catfishes, like the Suckermouth Catfishes. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/loricariids.htm> Also I have a baby clown loach ( doing fine) but when I got him hw was only like an inch long and he really hasn't grown much at all probably have had him for 4 months now. <Mmm, loaches are slow growers, but they also need plenty of "high quality" food... Are you making sure yours is getting enough protein in its diet? You might want to look into sinking pellets of sorts here> I had to treat him for ich right when I got him could the medication have effected his growth (used a malachite green based medication. <You're right. Good input, observation. It definitely could have done so.> Thanks for your help bye <Keep studying. Bob Fenner>

Columbian shark (catfish) Hi, Would you be able to tell me if the Columbian Shark (Arius Seemani ) will do ok with Oscars and Severums? <not recommended... quite an unnatural and unfair mix> I know the salinity of the water might be an issue. <a big issue... plus we are dealing with acidic loving versus alkaline loving differences here. One of the two will suffer in time if the salinity isn't a problem first> How best would you recommend dealing with the salinity? <keep them separate and raise the sharks in increasing brackish water over time> Would it be better for the Cichlids if I kept it lower than what is optimal for the catfish? Will the Columbian Shark do ok at a lower salinity, or can I raise it enough with harming the Cichlids? If so what would be a good level of salinity for all of them to do ok? <I simply wouldn't mix them... but must admit that the cichlids can take more salt than the shark can do without> Thanks in advance, Adam <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Columbian shark (catfish)
Hi, Thanks for the information. My understanding is that these catfish like freshwater when they are young. Is that correct? <correct> At what age ( size ) do you recommend making the transition from fresh to brackish and then to full saltwater ? <it should be a gradual process...ever-increasing and co-ordinated with a hydrometer. There is no hard rule about when to be at full seawater if ever. In fact, I do not believe that they need full seawater and can be held nicely in heavy brackish water as adults. As such... I would advise the coordination of a monthly increase in salinity with a hydrometer to climb to heavy brackish by 2 years old> Thanks, Adam <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Columbian shark (catfish)
Hi, Do you think a Jaguar catfish ( Liosomadoras oncinus ) would make a good tankmate for Oscars and Severums. If so, what should I look out for and be careful of (i.e. temperament, water chemistry compatibility,...stuff like that ) ? Thanks, Adam <There are many hardy catfish that are likely to fare well with Oscars however I would recommend bony plated species with cichlids more so in case aggression should arise. Pimelodelid cats are also aggressive and hardy but for their soft bodies they can suffer terribly with scrappy Oscars. Look more toward Hoplos and Plecos. Anthony>

Huge catfish=pissed wife Thanks for the fast response - The web site referred by you is great, eyes sore from so much screen info- going to buy some books before I lose my vision. Once again thanks. Huge catfish = pissed wife <Maybe start with a juvenile huge catfish and she won't notice as it gets so big? Bob Fenner>

Mystus mix with Molly O.K. ?? Your web site has created a semi-Aquarius tech in my wife's eyes. That allowed me to spend more on the species of fish for a 20 gallon fresh water tank. The only problem is that I have Pot Belly Molly's (6) - Zebra Danios (10) - and I just brought and addition, two Mystus (spotted) catfish. I confused them for the Cory Catfish which were good for a mixture within my tank. <not a perfect match though as most Corys do not favor brackish water ideally. Most are just hardy enough to tolerate it> Being that I add salt to my tank weekly (4 teaspoons non-iodized), would this affect my catfish in terms of ph in the tank ?? <it will not affect the pH but it may irritate the catfish in time. A little salt in the water is most always recommended though for the greater good of the tank> My tank's biological filtering is good, the nitrate/ammonia/and ph level's are set ok for my prior fish set-up. I have a whisper 3 stage filter/undergravel filter. Please help since I am really getting attached to my catfish. <hmmm... some Mystus can get large if not huge (your mollies might get eaten whole by year's end)... you may need a bigger tank for them anyways. Do check out fishbase.org for specs on more than a dozen Mystus species to find yours> Thanks. P.S. I have searched other web sites including yours but have not found any reference of a set up mentioned above or anything in general about my Mystus catfish mixed with my first fish or any other fish. Thanks again. <best regards, Anthony>

Algae eater please help... within the last 2 days my algae eater (don't know the scientific name of it, just your run of the mill pet store 1" or smaller algae eater) has developed a very large abdomen...just read that they are scavengers...my other algae eater died about a week ago and has not been replaced...could it be that this one is scavenging so much that he is now eating twice the amount as before?? otherwise he acts perfectly healthy... please advise and if you can't, is there any link you can provide me with?? ps: what exactly is the name of this algae eater anyway?? <Freshwater? Perhaps the "Chinese" Gyrinocheilus aymonieri... please use the search feature on www.WetWebMedia.com for more possibilities, pix of this species... Need to have more information re your set-up, history, livestock to render meaningful input. Bob Fenner> thanks, joy

Catfish with worms under skin hello my name is Kenny Mayer and I live down here in Texas and I have a question I have a pond about 100 ft by 100 ft and I have catfish in it that I have had all kinds of trouble with but I thought I was getting ahead and thought everything was under control till this weekend and went down and trapped some of my fish to have a look at them and I seen something I have never seen before it looked like they are getting worms or something under the skin can you give me some help to figure out what is going on I had some bass in another pond that did have actually worms in there fins and i was wondering if there is some kind of chemical that i can try to get ride of the worm problem before they kill my fish i heard some one say that iodine would help but have no idea where to get it so please give me some help thanks <Good observations. Yes, there are "worm under the skin diseases" of fishes that are real trouble. Disfiguring to actual causes of mortality. Most are either nematodes (roundworms) or trematodes (flukes)... I would do two things here. One, have a fisheries extension agent (you pay for them as part of your taxes) come out from the fish and game or college and determine the actual species involved, and Two: engage in a long term plan to eradicate them by interrupting their life cycle. Very likely an intermediate host in the way of a snail, waterfowl is involved and you can best get rid of the fish problem with eliminating a necessary "link" in the chain of life of this parasite by breaking the cycle. We can chat over all this more when you have ascertained what the actual "causative mechanism" (type of worm, cycle) you have. Bob Fenner>
Re: catfish with worms under skin
thanks for the info but have you heard of using iodine and where might i get something like that <What? No to using iodine for a parasitic problem... Study my friend. Read through the "Troubleshooting" and other disease sections on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

New aquarium owners (with Cats, with BIG mouths) Bob, Can you help out? Thanks, Susan <Sure> Subject: new aquarium owners we recently purchased an aquarium 2 blue canal catfish 4 neons 2 zebras so far, one zebra has turned up missing & now, one neon is gone we are concerned that perhaps the canal fish (about 2 inches in length) may be having our little fish for dinner please tell us the compatibility of these fish & if we should make some other choices for our bottom cleaners thank you for your assistance cj McDonald <You are absolutely correct... the "Canal" is actually "Channel" Catfish... cool water native species that are much more "eater-uppers" than cleaner uppers... that will gladly inhale your other fishes in time. Do quickly trade them back into your fish store... and get some peaceful Corydoras catfishes instead. Want to see what these look like? Please see our website: www.WetWebMedia.com under the "Freshwater Index". Bob Fenner>

Please read!!! Sick FW (actually more like saltwater) Catfishes... I'm sure you get a lot of email, and probably don't have a lot of time. <Same amount as everyone my friend> I have a freshwater aquarium with two Arius jordani (Jordan's Catfish) <Ah, yes... that minor prophet of democracy, first prez of Stanford, none other than David Starr J. himself> they both started getting white splotches. I first treated the tank for fungus. It cleared up part way. I figured maybe it was a secondary infection and read up on Ich. <Good so far...> I have treated them for Ich. One of my catfish has a white spike protruding from his side. <Yikes... likely an intraneural bone... not good... and possible evidence of a very aggressive bacterial problem... internal> He is not as active as he normally is. I don't know if he will survive. I had an ammonia problem not to long ago but that has been fixed. This all started occurring soon after the ammonia reached a safe level. <Actually, as you know... before, with the ammonia problem... or what actually "caused" the ammonia problem...> I might not be able to save this catfish, but I am really concerned with finding a solution to this. It might get my other catfish too. I have heard great things about your knowledge of fish and I am at a total loss to explain it. The catfish has also lost one of his whiskers, he seems to have an infection around his upper lip also. Like I say I may not be able to save this catfish, but I need to fix the problem so it does not happen again. Any feed back would be greatly appreciated. And thank you for your time. Sincerely, Luke <Thank you for writing. Please do quickly read over the section on "Hole in the Side Disease" under the "Pond Index" on my site: www.WetWebMedia.com and avail yourself of the proposed solutions there... I would make my own antibiotic laden food, keep water quality optimized and stable, slap on an ultraviolet sterilizer in the filter flow path if you have one (otherwise check with your marine aquarist friends to see if they have one "laying around"), add some salt (see the WWM site re) to the water, keep changing the water/gravel vacuuming regularly with pre-made, stored freshwater... Do think you have a gram negative bacterial hyperinfection here... and it can be stopped. Bob Fenner>
Please read!!!
Thank you for the prompt reply! :) It was highly informative. I sure hope it has been caught in time to be beaten back. Again I appreciate your response immensely! Thank you, -Luke <You're welcome my friend. Life to you. Bob Fenner>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: