e stay on the African continent this month
but instead of sticking with the Mochokidae family from last month
(June 2005) we move on to a newish family, Claroteidae. The Giraffe
Catfish was a member of the African-Asian Bagridae family until
1991 when Mo split it up and constructed a new family, Claroteidae,
for the African Bagrids.
This Bagrid can grow to an impressive 46cm
(18¼ins) but it is basically a gentle giant and can be trusted
with anything that can not fit into its small mouth. Its long pointed
snout is well adapted to "sook" up worms and detritus
in the sandy substrate and as such you should provide your specimen(s)
with a sand floor to your aquarium with an external power filter
that has a good flow rate. It goes without saying of course that
you will need to provide this catfish with a spacious tank considering
its adult size.
It is very tolerant to most water parameters and as such you can
keep it in a low p.H. (6.5) with larger Characins or Barbs or even
in a Lake Tanganyika setup with Cichlids from that lake in harder
water, but my choice would be to stick with the former soft and
acidic conditions for a more contented individual(s).
Above you can see a specimen that I photographed
from the Port Doree Public Aquarium in Paris, France which was
captioned as A. occidentalis but it may represent another
close member of this family, Parauchenoglanis punctatus.
Update 2010: Teugels et
al. (1991) considered the genus Auchenoglanis to be comprised
of two valid species: A. biscutatus and A. occidentalis.
Due to the work carried out recently (2010) by Michael Retzer
there are now 8 in this genus with six new species, A.
biscutatus, A. occidentalis,
A. sacchii, A.
senegali, A. tanganicanus,
tchadiensis and A.
wittei. The main description
for A. occidentalis is that it can be differentiated
from all other congeners (except A. tchadiensis) by having
a uniformly coloured body. It differs from A. tchadiensis
by having oval-shaped tooth patches on the upper jaw vs.triangular
for A. tchadiensis.
Dorsal spines (total):
1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 7-8; Anal spines: 3-4; Anal soft rays:
7-8. Head large with heavily built body. The upper jaw has oval-shaped
The main description for A.occidentalis
is that it can be differentiated from all other congeners (except
A. tchadiensis) by having a uniformly coloured body
Best suited to the larger aquarium. Peaceful
large catfish which will do well in company of larger characins
from Africa and large Barbs.
No reports on the breeding of this species
in captivity as it would need a very large tank with a number of
individuals. In its natural habitat
the nested eggs are guarded by the male. Furthermore, the male plays
host to eggs and young of Dinotopterus cunningtoni, a member
of the Claridae catfish family, which takes advantage of the already
prepared nest and feeds on the host brood.
Will eat a variety of foods. Tablet and pellet
foods with a good quality flake and frozen bloodworms. Also
relishes live worms such as the common garden worm, making sure
that there has been no weedkiller on the premises, and white worm.
Froese, R. and
D. Pauly. Editors. 2005. FishBase.World
Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (05/2005).
Auchen; auchenos = neck; glanis = catfish.
occidentalis : Pertaining to
the west; from the west.
Sandford, Gina & Crow, Richard: The Interpet
Manual of Tank Busters, Salamander Book, p110-111.
Retzer, ME (2010)
Taxonomy of Auchenoglanis Günther 1865 (Siluriformes: Auchenoglanididae).
Zootaxa 2655, pp. 25–51.
Allan James @
A.biscutatus,A.occidentalis, Auchenoglanis biscutatus, Pimelodus
occidentalis, A. biscutatus occidentalis, Auchenoglanis occidentalis
occidentalis, Oxyglanis sacchii, Auchenoglanis occidentalis
var. tanganicanus, A.occidentalis tchadiensis, A.tchadensis,
A.occidentalis tchadensis, A.scutatus, A.acuticeps, A. wittei,
A.occidentalis tanganyikanus, A.vittatus
Senegal, Casamange and Gambia river drainages in western
| 6.5 - 7.8
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