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Brachyplatystoma juruense  (Boulenger, 1898)

rachyplatystoma juruense
is also known by its common name of the Zebra Catfish. This magnificent catfish belongs to the family Pimelodidae, representatives of which can be found widespread throughout the rivers of South America. This catfish was first described by the famous ichthyologist G. A. Boulenger of the British Natural History Museum after the genus was erected in 1862 by Pieter Bleeker on the basis of the type species Brachyplatystoma filamentosum.

Brachyplatystoma juruense = Sub-adult


Brachyplatystoma tigrinum is quite closely related to our factsheet of the month, but has a longer upper jaw, and the first rays of the dorsal and pectoral fins are described as being flexible and not pungent. Both of these catfish share a similar colour pattern of inclined stripes on the body, although it has to be said that Brachyplatystoma tigrinum is the more striking of the two fish. Brachyplatystoma juruense is quite often referred to as the "False Tigrinus". Fully grown specimens will lose the white cross bands of the juvenile pattern and begin to sport a darker body colour.

Brachyplatystoma juruense = adult




Aquarium Care: This is of course a catfish for only the most experienced of catfish keepers and as it will grow to a length of around the 2 ft (60cm) mark, a large tank for an adult of at least 6' 0" (180cm), or over, is called for. Subdued lighting is best for this species as you may spot it out during the day. Provide hiding places such as large stone caves and driftwood strategically placed throughout the aquarium so your specimen can move and seek out another refuge in the tank. If hiding places are not provided they will clamp there fins and try to hide behind heaters and filter tubes. Only keep with its own kind or larger non-catfish species such as large Pacu's or similar Characins as they are out and out predators.


Head strongly flattened. Maxillery barbels can grow to nearly body length. Upper and lower caudal filaments greatly extended. Inner premaxilary teeth: narrow and long, outer ones shorter, thicker and curved strongly inward.

Body light brown to dirty grey with numerous light brown to yellow vertical bands. Caudal fin with black and yellow spotted pattern. Individuals can vary in colour pattern.

Suggested tank mates! anything that does not constitute a meal, I would suggest some of the larger Characins as opposed to any other catfish, which may compete for territory. Most enthusiasts would keep this catfish as a single specimen in a display aquarium.

There are no known obvious external sexual differences 
Not recorded.

As these are predatory catfish they prefer meaty foods such as whole prawns, mussels, pieces of fish, beef heart (sparingly) and earthworms etc.

Brachyplatystoma: Greek, brachys, eia = short + Greek, platys = flat + Greek, stoma = mouth
juruense : This "pim" (Brachyplatystoma) named after the river of the type locality. Rio Jurua

Glossary of Terms:

Maxillary barbels : Pertaining to the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels)

Premaxilary: In relation to the premaxilla (an upper jaw bone) e.g. premaxillary tooth band.

Caudal: The tail.

Schreiber, Roland; Keeping Brachystoma juruense. Tropical fish Hobbyist April 1994.
Baensch, H.A. and R. Riehl 1995 Aquarien Atlas. Band 4. Mergus Verlag GmbH, Verlag für Natur- und Heimtierkunde, Melle, Germany. 864 p.

Photo Credits

Top image: Daniel Blom.


Bottom image: © Enrico Richter @  Amazon Predators
Factsheet 216

Platystoma juruense, Ginesia cunaguaro  
Common Name:
Zebra Catfish
South America: Amazon and Orinoco River basin. Type locality: Rio Jurua, an affluent of the Amazons, Brazil.
60.0cm (24inch)
22 -27°C (71-81°F)    
6.0 - 7.2.
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                                                                                                                                  Factsheet 216 = updated December 14, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top