his month we concentrate on a very weird
member of the Doradidae family, namely the "Spotted talking
catfish" Agamyxis pectinifrons. This catfish has been
in the hobby for many years and is sometimes overlooked in the
quest for the more gaudy colours of the members of the Loricariidae
family, i.e. the L-numbers, but as you can see in the picture
below it can even rival them in the colourful stakes.
There are two species in this genus, the
aforementioned A. pectinifrons and A. albomaculatus
(Peters, 1877). A. pectinifrons is found in Ecuador and
Peru while A. albomaculatus is only found in Venezuela.
There is not a great deal of differences as far as I can see in
the 2 species apart from maybe albomaculatus being a
bit slimmer and having more spots. There also seems to be a different
pattern in the caudal fin.
The first thing you notice is the weird shape reminiscent of the
"Hunchback of Notre dam" and old specimens can get very
hunchbacked in their advancing years. This is a very long lived
species with reports of 17 years longevity and are very hardy
A basic setup for the
"Spotted talking catfish" would be a not too brightly
lit aquarium with bogwood or equivalent for them to hide away
in the roots or in the crevices of carefully stacked stonework.
Substrate is not a great issue with either rounded gravel or sand.
A regime of monthly water changes should keep this catfish happy
for many years.
It is very nocturnal as are most members
of this family and you must be aware of their pectoral spines
as they can lock them and if your fingers are in the road it can
be mighty painful!. If catching this species for any reason you
must not use a net as their spines will get hopelessly entangled.
A better method is to lower a container to scoop it up in. If
you must handle this fish, make sure that you grasp it forward
of the pectoral spines in the head area.
In common with most of the Doradidae family when out of the water,
it can create a sound by grating its fin bones in each socket
and amplifying the noise via the swim bladder, which is one reason
why it commands the common name of the
Spotted Talking Catfish
D 1/5; A 1/11; P1/5.
Dorsal spine toothed on both anterior and posterior surfaces. Spinous
scutes confined to the posterior half of the body. 3 pairs of barbels.
Caudal shape, truncate.
Dark brown to blue-black, with numerous pale
blotches/spots on the head and body. Underside somewhat paler, similarly
marked. Fins dark, with pale stripes and spots which may run together
to form transverse bars. Old individuals are almost uniformly dark
brown with white blotches on the belly.
Good community catfish although very nocturnal.
May eat very small fish or fry on night time forages.
No reports on the breeding of this species
in captivity but may lay its eggs in floating plants in its natural
A good practice is to drop tablet food at
dusk, in the area where it resides.
It will eat a wide variety of foods including
flake, and frozen foods such as bloodworm.
Günther; Freshwater Fishes
of the World 1.
With (very) much slime.
pectinifrons : With a comb on the forehead,
(probably refers to the toothed dorsal fin spine.)
Jonas Hansel @