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Goeldiella eques  (Müller & Troschel, 1849)

oeldiella eques,
a member of the Heptaperidae family, is quite a pretty species and is noted for its sloped head and the common name of the "Fox Face Pimelodella" or the "Horsehead Pimelodid" referring to its specific name eques (meaning horse). It is monotypic (the only member of its genus) with Goelldiella being a sub-family of the Pimelodidae, Heptapteridaeinae, which is now been given full family status. There are up to 200 species in this South and Central American family comprising mostly of the genera Imparfinis, Pimelodella, Brachyrhamdia and Rhamdia. Most are predators which vary in size but can be kept in an aquarium with tank mates that have been chosen carefully.


Goeldiella eques
Goeldiella eques = head view



Distinguished from the close family of Pimelodidae by the flattened head, the shape of the occipital crest and the narrowly rounded anal. The obliquely rounded caudal and long adipose fin, together with distinctive lateral band which forks a t-shape from the base of the dorsal. Often confused with the African Bagrid Chrysichthys ornatus from the Claroteidae  family due to its similar colour pattern. The difference of course is that the African species, C. ornatus, has an extra pair of barbels in having nasal barbels, a shorter adipose fin and a different head shape and is also not as rare in imports as G. eques.


The maps show the area's above for the locations for
Goeldiella eques in the coastal Rivers of the Guianas and Amazon River basin. Type locality: in allen Flüssen Guiana’s.


Aquarium Care: In the aquarium you should treat this species as you would any "Pim" and house them with tank mates that are the same size or larger and who occupy a different layer of the tank be it mid water or top. Provide a sand or rounded gravel substrate some driftwood with subdued lighting. Plants are optional as they may be uprooted on their night time forays.



Described as the body being not as wide as deep at the level of the pectoral fins and is compressed towards the caudal. Large eyes, being contained only about 5 times in the head length. There is a deep groove from the maxillary barbel to below the eye; the maxillary barbels are long, extending to beyond the tip of the caudal fin. The adipose fin is long, about 3 to 3½ times in the length.


Body lightly coloured with a thick brown line starting from the insertion of the dorsal fin through to the caudal peduncle which has a brown band. Caudal fin has a brown bar running through it. A dark brown bar runs from the insertion of the dorsal fin on a slant to the gill plates. A thinner line runs from this to just under the head. Dorsal fin has a thick brown bar on the leading rays. There is also a light brown band running on the top side of the body from just under the dorsal and ending at the posterior end of the adipose fin. There are also brown speckles on the body which can deviate from specimen to specimen. The belly is white to cream coloured. The head area is spotted.


Not suitable to be housed with smaller species but should fit in with South American Cichlids and larger Characins in a spacious tank.

As yet unknown.

Sexual differences

Not yet described.



Mostly live foods such as earthworms, whiteworms and frozen foods such as bloodworm and tubifex. Will also accept catfish pellets, mussels and tablet food.


Goeldiella: In honour of Goeld, (diminutive form).
eques: From ‘eques’, a horse.


Burgess, W.E. 1989 An atlas of freshwater and marine catfishes. A preliminary survey of the Siluriformes. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey (USA). 784 p.
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.

Sands, David; Catfishes of the World, Volume 3 Auchenipteridae & Pimelodidae. Dunure Publications 1984.

Google Maps - ©2013 Google

Glossary of Terms

Occipital : A median bone on the upper surface of the back of the head; pertaining to the occiput.
Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
Maxillary barbels
Pertaining to the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels)
Anal fin
: The fin forward from the anal cavity.
Caudal fin: The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body.
Pectoral fin: The paired fins just behind the head.

Photo Credits

Top left: © Enrico Richter @  Amazon Predators

Top right: © Johnny Jensen @
Johnny Jensen's Photographic Library

Factsheet 204

Pimelodus eques 
Common Name:
Fox Face Pimelodella, Horsehead Pimelodid
South America: Coastal Rivers of the Guianas and Amazon River basin. Type locality: in allen Flüssen Guiana’s.
25cm. (9¾ins)
23-26°C (72-79°F)    
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