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Brochis splendens (Castelnau, 1855)                                 

t first glance you could be excused of thinking that this was a Corydoras species, but one look at the broader based dorsal and you can then see why this is in another genus, and along with another two species, B. britski and B. multiradiatus form the genus, Brochis. They look superficiality like a large bodied Cory but whereas the Cory's have between 6 and 8 dorsal ray counts Brochis splendens has 10-12, B. britski has between 15/18 and B. multiradiatus, with has also a longer snout, has 17.

Brochis splendens

There is actually a good excuse for compiling this months factsheet ( Jan.2001) as this was one of the fish that I had collected on my Peru 2000 trip in July alongside a few other U.K. catfish enthusiasts including good friend Jools Dignall of Planet Catfish fame.
We caught semi adults (picture above) at about 6cm in length in a small cocha (small lake cut of by the main River) in the Rio Orosa just downstream from the Madre Selva Forest Preserve. We also caught them in the banks of the main river as they seem to prefer slower moving waters and plenty of vegetation, and this is certainly different from the C. elegans that we had caught earlier in the day in a small red clay bottomed stream that was not too far away from this location..

Brochis splendens=just caught

They have a nice bronze/green body coloration and when caught in the wild (picture above) the colours stand out magnificently and you can see why their common name is the “Emerald Catfish” but they do fade slightly when brought home. We found this in most of the fish that we caught as there must be something to do with the diet and or water parameters that we can't seem to impersonate in our own tanks.

You can still sometimes see this fish sold in the aquatic outlets as Brochis coeruleus, a synonym which was used to describe the juvenile version of this fish which was superficially different to the adults in colouration and thus led to this confusion.

Dorsal 1/10-12; Anal 1/6-7; Pectoral 1/7-9; Ventral 1/5; 21-22 bony scutes in the upper lateral series, 20-21 in the lower. More strongly compressed than the Corydoras spp., from which the genus Brochis is further distinguished by the longer-based dorsal fin and the armoured snout. Males are a little shorter than females and slimmer and its ventral fins are slightly pointed.

Ground colour of head and body can vary from dull brownish/grey to bluish or greenish metallic coloured. The lower half of the ventrolateral body scutes can be light yellow to light pink. Dorsal, adipose and caudal fins greyish, reamaining fins without pigmentation, except for the pectoral fin spines. In some specimens there are dark grey spots on the dorsal fin rays, sometimes forming one or two rows.

Keeping Brochis splendens in the aquarium does not present too much of a problem as long as you provide good water conditions and a few good hiding places to make them feel more secure in their surroundings. You are also better keeping at least 6 of this species as they are never very happy kept as individuals. A planted tank can also enhance their well being.

This catfish is not the easiest to spawn but you can see a full report on the breeding of the Emerald catfish on the breeding section of the ScotCat articles page.

The usual fare for adult Corydoras, a good quality flake food, tablet food, frozen bloodworm, grindal worm and whiteworm used sparingly.

Brochis: A sling, (a reference to the structure of the barbels).
splendens: Splendid; bright or glittering.

Burgess, Warren E. Dr.; Colored Atlas of Miniature Catfish.
Baench; Aquarium Atlas 1.
Sterba Gunther; Freshwater Fishes of the World no 1.

Photo Credits

Allan James @ ScotCat
Factsheet 55

Brochis coeruleus, Brochis dipterus, Callichthys splendens, Chaenothorax bicarinatus, Chaenothorax semiscutatus.
Common Name:
Emerald Catfish
 Brazil Brazil, Rio Tocantin.
 Peru Peru, Upper Amazon near Iquitos, Rio Ambyiacu, Rio Orosa.
 Ecuador, Ecuador, Rio Napo.
8cm. (3¼ins)
22-27°c (72-81°f.)
6.5 - 7.0
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                                                                                                                                    Factsheet 55 = updated January 21, 2005, © ScotCat 1997-2018  Go to Top