his month (November 2011) we welcome
back Steven Grant, well known U. K. aquarist and author.
He takes a look at the small anchor catfish, Hara jerdoni.
This factsheet is about a dwarf catfish
usually known in the hobby as the Anchor Catfish. A short note
about the generic name used here: Most hobbyists and aquarium
literature use the generic name Hara Blyth 1860 for
this species. However, Thomson & Page (2006) synonymised
Hara with the older name Erethistes Müller
& Troschel 1849. Ng & Kottelat (2007) do not agree with
this and because of this and the prevailing usage in the scientific
community I will use the name Hara here.
This is the easiest of the Hara
species to identify as it always stays small (2.5cm SL maximum),
its pectoral fins are proportionately very long, and the posterior
processes of the coracoid reach the insertion of the ventral
When I first kept this fish many years
ago it was kept in a tank with a gravel substrate and undergravel
filter. They did Ok but recently I have kept them on a substrate
of sand and they have done much better. Through the day they
live in Java Fern or Java Moss and when the lights are turned
off they swim very energetically looking for food. They don’t
seem to appreciate a fast flow of water and in the wild they
have been found in sluggish water with lots of vegetation so
this should be replicated for them in the aquarium. They seem
to prefer cooler temperatures but will be ok up to around 78°F.
They won’t eat dried foods so need
to be fed with live or frozen foods. I have noticed mine eating
aufwuchs of the fronds of Java Moss. They can be bred as testified
by the spawning account of Adrian Taylor, BAP secretary of the
All in all they are an interesting and
rewarding little catfish and one that is recommended.
Remarks: There are some publications
that sight this species as Erethistes jerdoni due to
a paper published in 2006 by Ichthyologists Alfred W Thompson
& Lawrence M. Page of the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Ferraris (2007) also stated that the Erethistidae be moved back
into the Sisoridae family.
D 1/5i; A 3/5i-6i; P 1/4i; V 1/5. Head
and body moderately compressed. Dorsal profile curved from tip
of snout to level of nares, then evenly sloping to origin of
dorsal fin; evenly sloping ventrally to origin of adipose fin
and gently concave from origin of adipose fin to end of caudal
peduncle. Ventral profile flat to pelvic-fin base; sloping gently
dorsally to end of anal-fin base and gently concave from end
of anal-fin base to end of caudal peduncle. Strong and very
long pectoral fin spines and post-coracoid processes. Skin with
Base colour can be grey, light brown, reddish
brown or dark brown, with mottling caused by darker patches or
bands. An albino specimen was found in West Bengal, India.
An extremely peaceful species. Its diminutive
size and tiny mouth meaning it can be safely kept with any species.
Should be kept with small, peaceful tankmates.
Has been bred by UK Asian catfish enthusiast
There are no proven
external sexual differences, but females appear to get
a deeper and wider body, and their pectoral fins spines
appear more convex.
Will eat most small live foods. Bloodworm
(live or frozen), Cyclops, small daphnia, microworm etc. They
also appear to eat aufwuchs from plants, notably Java Moss.
a local name and specific epithet for a congener;
jerdoni : Named after the ichthyologist
T C Jerdon.
Ng, H. H.
and M. Kottelat,
A review of the catfish genus Hara, with the description
of four new species (Siluriformes: Erethistidae). Revue
Suisse de Zoologie v. 114 (no. 3): 471-505.
Ng, H. H., 2010.
The monophyly and composition of the Asian hillstream
catfish family Sisoridae (Teleostei: Siluriformes): evidence
Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters v. 21 (no. 3):
Taylor, A. W.,
Thomson, A. W. and L. M.
Genera of the Asian catfish families Sisoridae and Erethistidae
(Teleostei: Siluriformes). Zootaxa No. 1345: 1-96.
The paired fins after head and before anal fin.
Ventral fin: The
paired fins, between the pectorals and the anal fins.
Coracoid: Middle and lower section of
the pectoral girdle.
The area between the dorsal fin and the tail.
Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection
without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
Pelvic fins: The paired fins, between
the pectorals and the anal fins. (also referred to as
Anal fin: The fin forward
from the anal cavity.